November – Colorado Holiday Season Starts

102610_0051_October20105.jpgThanksgiving
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

Thanksgiving reminds us of the ancient celebrations of harvest. A time when offerings were made in gratitude to the earth’s abundance and prayers spoken for winters survival. What do you have to be grateful for? Take a moment to consider all the blessings in your life and give thanks for all your blessings.

The holiday season starts with a vengeance this month as we are barraged with slogans of buy, buy, buy.  Leave the mass marketing behind and make this the season you strive for quality, not quantity. Prepare a harvest feast with apples, squash, kale, cider, pomegranates and other seasonal foods. Go skiing, sledding, ice skating, visit someone who is ill or lonely, contact friends and family that have been too long out of touch. Take time to slow down and live your life; especially at this time of year when there are so many fun things to do.

Happenings

Denver Arts Week – November 6-14. denverartsweek Get your culture on. Loads of free and discounted events for museums, theater, dance, music art walks and more.

8Hungry? Make reservations for First Bite Boulder, November 13 – 21. firstbiteboulder. For one week more than 40 of Boulder’s top restaurants offer a 3 course menu for $29 per person. I love to peruse the menus for cooking inspiration.

On a budget and looking for something to do? Free days this month in Denver include:

Denver Zoo – November 2, 13 and 19
Denver Art Museum – Saturday, November 7.
Molly Brown House – Wednesday, November 11
Denver Botanic Gardens – November 13 and 14.
Denver Museum of Nature and Science – Monday Nov. 9
More free ideas for the budget conscious: freeholidayandwinterevents

Herb of the Month – Rosemary

rosemaryRosemary is an easy to grow, tender perennial and one of the few herbs that does well when grown as a houseplant. If growing it indoors give it plenty of sunlight and air flow and only water when it’s dry.

Rosemary is the traditional herb for memory.  The piney scent has been used for centuries to revive and recall. Used as a popular cooking herb, rosemary is also antimicrobial and can be used in teas and skin washes.

Rosemary is a stimulant, improving poor circulation and digestion. A rosemary hair rinse is great for treating dandruff and adding shine and luster. Rosemary was added to dream pillows to prevent nightmares and used in wreaths to protect the household from bad energy.

Rosemary works great with pork, chicken, game and winter squashes, potatoes, beans and greens. It is a strong herb so use in moderation.

Rosemary Hair Rinse

Take ¼ cup of dried or fresh rosemary and cover with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cover, let sit overnight.  Strain out the rosemary and to ½ cup tea add ½ cup warm water. After shampooing, wring out excess moisture from hair and pour the rosemary rinse over hair. Let sit for a minute or two, massaging into scalp and then rinse out.

potatoesRosemary and Garlic Roasted Potatoes

  • 2 lbs washed potatoes, cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
  • 2 tbs dried rosemary
  • 1 -2 small onions, peeled and cut into quarters
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss ingredients with olive oil to coat lightly and add salt and pepper to taste. Lightly oil a sheet pan and spread potatoes out into one layer. Roast for 30 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and tender.

Recipes of the Month

Greens with Beans and Bacon

swiss-card-saladDo you always hear how good greens are for you but have no idea how to cook them? Try this recipe, easy and delicious! Vegetarians can use veggie broth and skip the bacon.

  • 1 and ½ pounds kale or Swiss chard (about 2 bunches), tough stems and center ribs cut out and diced like celery.
  • 5 bacon slices cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1tbs honey or agave nectar
  • Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1- 15 ounce can white beans (any type you like) drained and rinsed well.

Stack a few kale or chard leaves and roll lengthwise into a cigar shape. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-wide strips with a sharp knife. Repeat with remaining leaves.

Cook bacon in a wide soup pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, then transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Add diced stems and ribs, garlic and onion to drippings and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until soft. Add kale leaves and cook until wilted and bright green, about 1 minute. Add broth, vinegar and honey and simmer, partially covered, until just tender, 6 to 10 minutes. Add beans and heat through. Toss with bacon and seasonings and serve.

Chorizo and Cornbread Stuffing
Tired of the same old stuffing? Spice that turkey up this year with this spicy version. You can cook it separately or stuff your turkey with it. Enough for a 10-14 pd. turkey.

  • 1 lb chorizo sausage
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 3 cups crumbled corn bread
  • around 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup diced pepper, you can use bell, Anaheim or jalapeno, depending on how hot you like it.
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Cook the chorizo in a skillet over medium heat until the fat has been rendered, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, celery, pepper, and garlic to the chorizo and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the crumbled corn bread and cilantro. Add the chicken stock slowly, making sure the stuffing doesn’t get soggy. Stuff the turkey and cook accordingly or put in a grease baking dish and cook at 350 for about a half hour.

pumpkin-festDecadent Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

  • 2 cups half and half, or you can substitute milk if you’re worried about calories
  • 1 -15 oz. can pumpkin
  • 1 cup. brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. ginger powder or 1 tbs. fresh grated ginger root
  • ½ tsp. cloves
  • 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 10 cups 1/2-inch cubes bread, Italian or French bread work nicely
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • Powdered Sugar

Preheat oven to 350.  Whisk half and half, pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, spices and vanilla in a large bowl to blend.  Fold in bread cubes.  Add chocolate.  Transfer mixture to a greased 11 x 7 glass baking dish.  Let stand 15 minutes.  Bake until tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes.

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • ½ cup whipping cream

While the bread pudding is baking whisk brown sugar and butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until butter melts.  Whisk in cream and stir until sugar dissolves and sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes.  Sift powdered sugar over pudding.   Serve warm with caramel sauce.

Posted in 2015-older, The Herb Blurb and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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