MagPad Dinner Table

MagPad Dinner Table

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner 2010

In case you haven't heard, I became a grandmother last week.

Savannah was born on November 19th.
She was 8 lbs 15 oz

She is so precious.
I traveled 10 hours by carand then 6 hours by shuttle bus to meet her in Idaho.

I was there over the Thanksgiving holiday and got to make theThanksgiving dinner for David, Janelle,and David's Grandmother.

We had: Turkey, Gravy, Stuffing, Rolls, Mashed potatoes, Green bean casserole, Cranberry Jello salad, and, Punkin crunch for dessert

Several years ago, I figured out that making the turkey the day before relieved a lot of stress on Thanksgiving day. It allows you to get the turkey all cooked, carved and cleaned up without having to worry about all the last minute things that go on with serving the holiday meal. After I have cooked the turkey, I carve the whole bird and put the sliced meat in one or two 9 x 13 pans (depending on how big the turkey is) with a can or two of Swanson's chicken broth to keep the meat moist. Then I put tinfoil over it and heat it up the next day 15 to 20 minutes in the oven before dinner is served.

After the turkey is carved, I put the carcass in a big pot and cover it with water and add onions, carrots, and celery. I let it boil for about 45 minutes. After it cools down I remove and discard the bones, and cooked vegetables and put the broth in the fridge or freezer. You can use this broth to make turkey vegetable soup or creamy turkey soup for the days ahead with some leftover meat, new vegetables, noodles and spices (such as Mrs. Dash).

Why Eat Together?

When we were in Utah last week for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Deseret News had an excellent article entitled: It's Time for Dinner (with family) by Carolyn Campbell . I would suggest that you click onto the link and read the whole article.

Here is a little section of the article that I thought was interesting:

So why eat together?

Family bonding

Eating a family meal creates an environment that fosters conversation. During dinner, the family has the opportunity to spend time together, author Janet Peterson says.

"Because they are sitting down together at the table, looking across at each other, it is a level playing field, with the parents not standing taller than the children, which creates a more relaxed atmosphere," she says.

Saving money

"Restaurants are in the business to make money," Peterson said. "Their labors, real estate and profit margin all cost. If they don't make money, they don't stay in business." She says if you multiply the average of $812 spent annually per person on eating out, it doesn't take a CPA to tell you that it's costly, especially for a family with children.

"Restaurant prices in recent years have risen slightly faster than inflation, making it even more expensive to eat away from home," Peterson says.

Healthier meals

A study published in the British Archives of Family Medicine found that having a family dinner was not only associated with a healthier way of eating, but also had a positive effect on the family's physical and emotional health.

The study reported that those who ate dinner with their families were more likely to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables daily. The home-cooked meal is more likely to contain a variety of food groups. Milk or water is more likely to be served, and less soda pop or high fat foods are typically offered.

Commercially prepared foods are notoriously high in sugar, starch and fat, although some restaurants do list low-fat items on their menus, says Peterson. She adds that home cooking allows a family to select healthful ingredients, tailor meals to suit their own particular nutritional needs and tastes, serve portions appropriate to age and activity level, and monitor methods of preparation.

We also eat more when we eat out.

"Everything is super-sized," Peterson says. "Restaurant portions continue to increase. The usual restaurant plate used to be 10 inches in diameter and now it is 12 inches."


Preschool children who eat with the family have better language skills, according to the Rockford Clinic. Dinner-time conversation exposes them to a broader vocabulary, especially as they listen to adults and older children. Eating together as a family can teach good communications skills, such as listening patiently and expressing one's opinion in a respectful manner.

According to researchers at the University of Illinois, children age 7-11 who did well on school achievement tests ate the majority of their meals and snacks with their families.

One study points out how family dinners are strong preventative medicine. Joseph A. Califano Jr., president of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, reported: "Intensive research and teen surveys have consistently revealed that the more often children eat dinner with their parents, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use illegal drugs."

Family tradition

Food served at the family table helps shape and give lasting meaning to our cultural heritage, says Katherine Carson, associate professor of food science at Pennsylvania State College.

"Positive food memories created during childhood are cherished for life," she says.

Peterson adds that food provides a connection among families.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Meatball Soup

20 meatballs (homemade or store bought)
1 TBS olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced OR 1 tsp crushed garlic from jar
1/2 cup diced carrots
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup orzo pasta, uncooked
3 cups spinach, de-stemmed and chopped coarsely (1 cup if using frozen spinach)
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil. Saute onions, garlic, carrots.

Add chicken broth, orzo pasta, and meatballs. Bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add spinach and boil for 5 minutes longer.

Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4-6.

This soup is from Trader Joe's cookbook and is officially called "Italian Wedding Soup." My friend Carrie invited me over to have some when I was having a very bad day. It filled my tummy and evening with happiness!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Homemade Eye Glass Cleaning Spray

1 cup of water
1/4 cup vinegar
1/8 cup rubbing alcohol
2 drops of dish soap

Combine above ingredients and fill into a spray bottle.

To clean glasses:
Spray both sides of each lens and rub clean with a soft cloth. Never use paper towels, toilet paper or kleenex as they contain harsh abrasives that will scratch your lenses.

Scott cleans his glasses every day, sometimes twice, so he asked if I could find a recipe for a cleaning solution for his glasses.

The above recipe is a combination of two recipes that I got off the Internet. It takes pennies to make this compared to the cost of picking up something from the store.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Breakfast Casserole

½ lb cooked bacon, ham, or breakfast sausage(or any combination of the 3)
chopped veggies (optional. We like to use broccoli & tomatoes. You can also do red peppers and onion if you want even more flavor)
12 eggs
1 c. milk
1 pkg. (1 b.) frozen shredded hash browns
1 c. cheddar cheese (shredded)
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp pepper

In a bowl, beat eggs and milk. Stir in all other ingredients. Put in greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 45-55 min or until well set. Serve topped with salsa.

Scott's secretary served this at a work breakfast the other day. He mentioned how good it was. When I asked Jo Ann for the recipe, I recognized that is was the same recipe that was posted on Family Favorite Recipes that can be found on my blog list (on the side of this page).

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pumpkin Crunch

1 package Yellow cake mix
1 can (15 oz.) solid pack pumpkin
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup nuts
1 cup butter, melted
Heat oven to 350°. Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bow. Pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Then sprinkle with nuts. Drizzle with butter. Bake for 50-55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool, served chilled. Serve with whipped topping.

I saw this recipe in the paper this morning. Once again I got off
Later....I was looking for another pumpki1n recipe on this blog and noticed that I already posted this recipe in 2008 here. Silly me