Time to Give Thanks
Now that the weather is cooler and the seasons have changed, we are seeing more and more people cooking at home – which is excellent practice for the holiday season to come! This month, we celebrate three important holidays in November:
The first is Veteran's Day, which is celebrated on November 11. This year Veteran's Day falls on a Thursday. Things will most likely be celebrated a little differently because of COVID-19. Some families may celebrate together the whole weekend, while others might maintain social distance. Either way, we all know that means loads of FOOD! With all our fall fruits and vegetables available, creating delicious menu items is a breeze. Check out our Fall Harvest items to get your party started. And a big THANK YOU to all the amazing Vets out there.
November is also time to give thanks for everything around us. We enjoy our families and friends and show our appreciation on Thanksgiving. On the fourth Thursday of November (this year, it is November 25), this annual tradition brings families and friends together for a feast of thanks. Originally, it was a three-day feast, giving thanks to God by the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony, who safely survived a brutal winter. It provided food for 53 pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. Today's Thanksgiving feast has many similarities in the foods served: berries, fruit, pumpkin and squash, but the holiday may be enjoyed a little differently with social distancing. There will probably be more Zoom calls instead of family get-togethers with the travel limitations. Families are making their own special meals as opposed to everyone gathering at one home.
Melissa's wants to celebrate with you by offering some serving suggestions to enhance your current Thanksgiving Day feast. Trends are leaning toward healthier gatherings, and new items such as fresh jackfruit, legumes and grains are making their way into kitchens nationwide. Try mixing grains with your favorite stuffing recipe to add fiber and nutrition; add fresh or dried cranberries, and you have a delicious healthy side. Other fun appetizers are dragon fruit slices placed on top of a star fruit slice and then topped with a dollop of Greek yogurt. Try simple Melba toast rounds topped with Melissa's Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto mixed with cream cheese. Everyone will love it, and it is fast and simple to make.
Planning is vital for a successful holiday meal. Prepare your turkey early in the morning and cook it all day to get the aroma in the air. Use a turkey "bag" to ensure a moist turkey, and it basically takes care of itself (no basting). You can even toss your veggies into the bag with the turkey. Use plenty of baby fingerlings, baby carrots, and peeled pearl or boiler onions to serve as a tasty side dish. Melissa's Steamed Line is a fast and delicious answer for side dishes. Our roasted brussels sprouts are popular for any holiday meal; heat and toss with some crispy onions for a real treat. Organic baby yams are always a hit served casserole-style and topped with marshmallows. Fresh cranberry sauce and Roasted Baby Dutch Yellow® Potatoes will be perfect sides, along with the green bean casserole that everyone loves and looks forward to every holiday season. Make it simple and easy, but tasty and filling.
Another hot trend is grazing boards, cheese platters and charcuterie boards. Fill these with fresh cheeses and meats, and add fresh grapes, dried fruits and nuts. These make a perfect appetizer station along with fresh-cut fruits and vegetables to take the edge off your appetite. Your guests will thank you!
This year, Hanukah starts very early! This food-filled, festive holiday begins at sundown on November 28th. Hanukah lasts 8 nights. Hanukah is celebrated with the Festival of Lights. Each evening, the family gathers for a candle lighting ceremony where one candle of the menorah, an eight-branched candlestick, is lit each night until all eight candles are burning. The festive evenings are filled with games of dreidel, an ancient ancestor to today’s spinning top, and Hanukah gifts are exchanged. The feasts of Hanukah are abundant with Jewish specialties such as brisket, matzo ball soup and potato latkes.