Before Thanksgiving 2011

This past week was the week when our world turned new with the energy of 11/11/11 being light fed into ourselves and our earth.

I was so fortunate to celebrate 11/11/11 at 11 am with a wonderful group of people brought together by Carol Cannon. Carol led us into a meditation and heart joining oneness process orchestrated by the Divine University Project.  Later, Carol honored me by having me read the invocation that Patricia Cota- Robles gave us that appeared on this blog. We shared the wonderful breakfast Carol made for us along with inspiring words, poems, music and special origami cranes that one of the participants made for us all.

We were all palpably vibrating with the new energies of love and oneness. Our little cranes retained the vibrating energy so strongly that even now I can hold them in my hand and feel the flow!

This energy is the hope of our new earth that is unfolding on so many levels now.

By contrast, to ground those energies,  as much  as I love thinking beyond the box and as much as I strive to embrace growth and change as my way of life, for the holidays I love the ritual of anticipating the traditional associated foods prepared pretty much the same way year after year.

Here are two recipes from my family’s Thanksgiving table.

Sometime in the very early 1970’s I began making this really yummy Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Casserole that is never old in my family.

Sweet Potatoes a la Meryl

5¼   pounds  sweet potatoes

1/2   stick of  butter

3/4   bag marshmallows — tiny

1/4   teaspoon  nutmeg

3/4   teaspoon  cinnamon

3      slices pineapple canned in juice- well drained and cut into small cubes

3/8  pound  pecans — chopped

Pecan halves to garnish and enough extra tiny marshmallows to completely cover the top of casserole

Bake sweet potatoes at 425⁰ 45 minutes to 1 hour, until well done and soft.  While still warm, peel off skins.  Melt butter.  Add at least half the marshmallows, heat gently to melt.  Combine and mash together potatoes, marshmallows, spices, drained pineapple and pecans.  Place in a casserole, smooth top.  Garnish with remaining marshmallows and pecan halves.  Bake uncovered in moderate oven until warmed through, about 1 hour.  The marshmallows on top should look toasted and browned.

Note.. I put the butter and some of the marshmallows in a very large mixing bowl and put the hot potatoes into the bowl. This melts the butter and marshmallows enough so you can add the rest of the inside marshmallows and rest of the ingredients into the same bowl before transferring the whole mixture to a buttered casserole.

As many of you know, my beloved mother lived to be 97 years old. As a child this was one of my favorite Thanksgiving foods that she  made. As my mother aged, she gave me about five different recipes for this wonderful Cranberry mold.  Each one had different ingredient amounts, different ways to process the food and each one showed her process of aging in her varying handwriting. About two years ago I finally was able to get it right.

Alice Chodosh’s Thanksgiving Cranberry Mould

2 cups raw cranberries

1 medium Navel orange

3 smalls packages red Jello  ( I use raspberry and strawberry)

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon Knox gelatin ( unflavored)

1 medium can ( 13 oz.) crushed pineapple

1 cup of pineapple juice from the crushed pineapple

3 cups boiling water

1 can Mandarin Oranges, for garnish

Combine 1 teaspoon of the Knox gelatin with 1 cup of the pineapple juice by sprinkling the gelatin over the juice. Let it stand in a small bowl for about 1 minute, or until completely dissolved. Add 1 cup boiling water. Stir until dissolved.

In a large bowl, put 3 packages of Jello dissolved in 2 cups of boiling water. Stir until dissolved. Add the liquid pineapple gelatin.  Put this in the refrigerator until it is syrupy and starting to set.

Cut the Navel orange into eights with the peel. Wash and dry the cranberries. In a food processor,using the steel chopping blade,  add together ½ of the berries and ½ of the orange. Repeat.  Stir this mixture in with the well drained crushed pineapple and ½ cup of chopped walnuts. Mix thoroughly.

Lightly oil a 5 or 6 cup tube  mould.

When the Jello has set a little ( syrupy like peaked egg whites) add the mixture to it. Ladel it into the tube mold. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it is  completely solid.

To unmold: Put a knife around the edges- or to take less time, put the tube in the sink with hot water for one minute. Put a plate over the top.. flip it over onto the plate.. shake it and .. Ta Da!  ( Caution.. if you leave it in hot water too long your mould will melt).

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!!


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