Thanksgiving Holiday Menu

Fall Colors

Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  If you’re frantically searching the net for tried and true recipes for a terrific holiday meal, I’ve got 5 ideas for you right here. Attached are recipes I have used year after year for Thanksgiving and you can make all of the recipes the day or night before and heat the dishes in the last hour before dinner.  Just plan for oven space in that crazy hour!

Make these recipes ahead and enjoy more time relaxing and conversing with family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving!

Carol’s Cranberry Sauce

The Creamiest Creamed Corn

Creamy Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes

Steamed Mashed Yams

Pumpkin Custard

 

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Pork Chops & Apples

Pork Chops & ApplesThere are plenty of apples to go around this time of year and cooked apples are yummy as they bring out their sweetness. I created this simple recipe for a quick weeknight meal or a nice Sunday dinner.

Pork Chops & Apples

  • 4 pork chops
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • seasoning salt
  • 2-3 apples, sliced

Heat a frying pan to medium heat. Melt coconut oil and sprinkle seasoning salt into oil. Set your pork chops in oil to sear. Sprinkle top of pork with seasoning salt. Set sliced apples into pan surrounding pork chops so that they cook in the oil. Turn chops every few minutes to cook evenly. Stir apples when turning chops. When chops are nicely browned, make sure they are cooked completely through before serving. Serve pork chops and apples with roasted vegetables. Serves 4.

Source: Jackie Mack, Lingonberry Lane

 

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The Garden Tour – Alaska

Westchester Lagoon

Westchester Lagoon, Anchorage

We headed to Anchorage the Wednesday before Labor Day. The weather was cool at Westchester Lagoon along the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail but the shadows intriguing. Friday we followed Turnagain Arm towards Whittier and experienced the longest tunnel in North America – 2.5 miles long! I can say my stomach was in a knot until we saw the light of day again. This tunnel was built for train traffic but all day long it is scheduled for car/truck traffic to keep Whittier connected to the ‘mainland’ Peninsula. Whittier was chilly and wet but I know it has potential on a warm summer day when you can see the water and surrounding and schedule a boat excursion.

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“Log Cabin Gifts”, Whittier

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Kenai Lake at Cooper Landing

The trip from Anchorage to the Kenai Peninsula was spectacular. A few clouds made way for blue skies through Turnagain Arm and Tern Lake at the Seward Cutoff. The views of never-ending mountains with glaciers, albeit melting, are amazing. Cooper Landing is the sight of Kenai Lake, the beginning of the glacier fed river. The Kenai River flows 82 miles westward from Cooper Landing to the mouth of the Kenai at Cook Inlet. Along the way it flows through Soldotna, my hometown and right next to Lingonberry Lane.

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Garden fresh omelet, Homer

At the end of the road, we stopped overnight in Homer and were treated to a wonderful night’s stay with a view of Kachemak Bay. We had dinner at Two Sister’s Bakery with fresh seafood and greens – the mussels in garlic and wine were divine. We picked up some baked goods for our Sunday Brunch by the garden.

The next morning, even with cloud cover the views are stunning from West Hill Road. My cousin’s garden is lush. We were treated to a garden fresh omelet, (chickens onsite) fresh berry and melons.


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View from Island Watch Vacation Rentals, Homer

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Eagle on Bishops Beach, Homer

After heading back to Anchorage to meet my brother’s family again, we ventured up to Palmer on Labor Day to take in the onion harvest at Glacier Valley Farm. We marveled at the beautiful HUGE onions and my husband of farming roots complimented the soil quality. We were treated to a tour of the farming facilities and neighboring VanderWeele Farms, the largest vegetable farmer in Alaska who immigrated from the Netherlands 50 years ago. Alaska Agriculture is going strong in the Valley! We dined on cabbage, kohlrabi, kale, zucchini, summer squash, strawberries and cauliflower. The quality of the produce we enjoyed for dinner that night was tip top.

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Onion Harvest at Glacier Valley Farm, Palmer

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Glacier Valley Farm floral

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VanderWeele Farms, Palmer

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Alaska Garden TourOur Alaska mini-break was a complete success. The best part of the long weekend was the relationship with my Alaska family.  By circumstance we connected through beautiful gardens.

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Alaska Awaits

Kenai Lake, Cooper Landing, Alaska

Kenai Lake, Cooper Landing, Alaska

The summer has flown by; family trips to Utah and Minnesota and hikes and beach outing in Oregon. Our college student left early to start her training for her major of study and she has made the leap into Greek life. I saw an amazing eclipse last Monday in Portland. We were graced with blue skies at the University of Portland to watch the eclipse of the sun/moon above the bell tower in the Quad. The eclipse was a special moment in time when for 2 minutes everyone looked skyward together and was reminded of how utterly amazing the universe is and how small we really compared to the power of the sun. There are so many things in our life to be thankful for. A roof over our head, great food to eat, dear friends and family – the list is long. However with all the unrest in the greater world it’s hard not to get caught up in the low energy of mankind and that energy unfortunately has reared it’s head on college campuses, including my daughters. I was secretly hoping our world would realize the power and synchronicity of the universe during the eclipse and drop all cultural disagreements and live in harmony forevermore. But that didn’t happen. There are times when I really feel like I need a good dose of grounding and this next week I will look for that.

My husband and I are heading home to Alaska this week. I so look forward to breathing the clean autumn air. I expect to see a tinge of golden as the seasons are shorter in the North Country. I can’t wait to walk the Coastal Trail in Anchorage and visit with my brother and his family – maybe play a good game of Nerts. I can’t wait to drive from Anchorage to Soldotna through the mountain pass on one of the most beautiful drives on earth. And then Kenai Lake (above) – the outstanding blue green clear frigid water is healing to my soul and just being near it puts me in a place of comfort. I grew up listening to the water rush by our home on the banks of the Kenai and I so look forward to walking our Lingonberry Lane from Margie’s to Jean’s homes and taking in the fresh air. I’ll check the woods of our little road for ripe lingonberries. It may be early for them. I’ll gaze at the rushing waters of the Kenai – still blue green after all these years of power boats, fisherman and still holding up strong. We’ll head to Homer and Kachemak Bay and hopefully get out on the water – maybe to Halibut Cove? I just can’t wait. I know this will be renewing to see my family and to experience Alaska again. Thank goodness Mother Nature and home offers us the comfort when we most need a boost. Alaska – be at your best – we’re heading your way!

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Out in Oregon – Angel’s Rest, Cape Falcon and Short Sand Beach

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Oregon is an amazing place to live if you like getting out and enjoying the beauty of nature. We’ve had 80 degree sunny weather for about a month (until a hot streak this week). A few weekends ago, I hiked Angels Rest, with my daughter, in the Columbia River Gorge. We hiked on a Sunday, which was a bit busy, but the hike up the top was worth while. The summit (2.4 miles one way) exposes a rocky three sided cliff with expansive views of the gorge both ways. As beautiful as the views are…extreme CAUTION should be taken at the summit. The views are amazing but hiking and observing should be done with care.
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Last weekend we got to the coast and headed to Cape Falcon. The Cape is located in Oswald State Park, a gorgeous piece of property along the Oregon Coast between Cannon Beach and Manzanita. The trail is 2 1/2 miles each way and the trail is lush green on the way in with peaks of Short Sand Beach, a beginning surfer’s paradise, along the way. The walk is very protected and the sea air was quite comfortable. The end of the hike brought more steep cliffs so again, CAUTION should be taken. We were greeted by a group of hikers watching a whale frolic in the surf.

After hiking back down from Cape Falcon we ventured over to the Short Sand Beach. It was warm and protected in a cove. Beach goers were actually playing in the shallow water (site not often seen on the Oregon Coast because of the cool water temps). And there were dozens of wanna be surfers waiting to catch a wave. I wished, as I basked in the sun in my hiking clothes, that we would have found this beach 18 years ago. The beach is a short hike off highway 101, where you would park your car but it’s worth the struggle getting your gear in!IMG_8685

View of Short Sand Beach from Cape Falcon hiking trailIMG_8686

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Crispy Cashews

Crispy CashewsNow this is the way to eat nuts! Nuts even in the raw form have an anti-nutrient called phytic acid. In order to get the most from our nuts, seeds and grains soaking is an age old time tested process. So as part of my health quest I soaked and roasted cashews for the first time. Yum. Crunchy, rich and so delightful are the finished product! This process takes only time and a long oven stint of 12 hours. Enjoy!

Crispy Cashews

  • 4 cups of raw cashews
  • Filtered water
  • sea salt

Cover raw cashews in a glass jar with warm filtered water. Add 1/2-1 tablespoon sea salt. Soak about 6 hours or overnight. Rinse the cashews after soaking. Put on a baking sheet or a  9 x 13 glass pan. Roast at 200 degrees for 12 hours. Cool and put in a glass jar with secure top for storage. Enjoy the crunch!

Source: The Heal Your Gut Cookbook

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Summer BBQ Menu

Summer BBQ MenuSummer BBQ season is in full swing! We are having an amazing weekend in Portland. If you’re looking for a few sides for your BBQ on Monday here are some good options for you. Serve these sides and dessert with your burgers and brats or even steaks.

Have a restful and memorable weekend!

Crock Baked Beans

Fresh Green and Veggie Salad with Lime Cilantro Vinaigrette

Raspberry Blueberry Crisp

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Mexican Herb Salsa

Mexican Herb Salsa

It’s that time of year when the craving for fresh and new adds to our plate make us feel springy. Here’s a salsa that would be a great add to fish, pork, or chicken. It could be eaten with baked fish or a burrito. Tonight we’re trying it out with slow cooked pork.

Mexican Herb Salsa

  • 3 tablespoons diced shallots
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, diced
  • 1/8 cup avocado oil
  • sea salt to taste
  • 4 tablespoons mango, diced
  • 2 tablespoons minced jalapeno

Soak shallots in the lime juice in a small bowl. Chop cilantro, mango and jalapeno finely and combine all ingredients. Salt to taste. Serves 4. Makes about 1/2 cup salsa.

Source: Inspired by a recipe in Good Housekeeping, April 2017

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Kauai in Photos

unnamed-8Aloha. Kauai is an amazing island. It is lush and green, the beaches and water pristine and the sun shines after the rain. The sites are gorgeous. A highly recommended excursion is a boat trip up the Na Pali Coast. The sites are like no other I’ve seen from a boat, perhaps only rivaling the Gulf of Alaska in my lifetime of boat rides.
Poipu Beach in Koloa is a destination on the South side. The sun shines more consistently at Poipu than in the North. We have stayed on Poipu Beach two years in a row and have had consistent sun in March with a few rain showers sprinkled in. Kiahuna Plantation Resort has offered relaxing vacations with a beach right outside the complex and rentals for surf, snorkeling, and vacation info and excursion scheduling right at the beach hut. We love the green space the development has not turned into a pool and close proximity to the beach. Kauai
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unnamed-2unnamed-3Waioli Huiia Church, Hanalei
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KauaiKauaiQueen’s Bath – an oasis right along the coastline with waves crashing up against the outside. I saw the danger ‘swim at your own risk sign’ after we’d visited and swam in the bath. It most refreshing. Queen’s Bath is a short hike from the neighborhoods of Princeville on the way to Hanalei.

Kauai is a wonderful, relaxing vacation. The island shuts down around 9:30pm but this was good for our style of low key vacation. We appreciate the slow life and healing benefits of the sun and surf…renewing for all.

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Chicken Fajita Salad

Chicken Fajita SaladThis entree is a a quick delicious meal on a night when you have a few minutes to cook dinner. The key is to have leftover roasted chicken. If you have 1/2 of a roasted chicken you should be in business to feed four. You can stretch this recipe by adding black beans, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, etc. to the salad. The filling can also be used to make a good ole’ burrito.

Chicken Fajita Salad

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups shredded roasted chicken
  • 1 red or orange pepper, sliced/julienned
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced/julienned
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

Salad fixings:

  • lettuce
  • salsa
  • avocado
  • sour cream

Saute onion and peppers in olive oil and garlic in large frying pan on medium to low heat. When onion and peppers are softened but not brown add chicken and spices. Combine all and heat until chicken is warm. Serve with lettuce and your choice of fixings to make fajita salad. The entree can also be a base for chicken burritos.

Source: Jackie Mack, Lingonberry Lane

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