U R a Gift (Mama Inez’s Chocolate Pie and the best recipe ever for leftover turkey!)

One of the biggest things that healed my self-image was getting back in the kitchen with the women I love.

As a Thanksgiving gift to you, we are sharing family favorites. One of them is so top secret it almost caused a family feud. But Papa and Nana’s love overruled and we are sharing Mama Inez’s Famous Chocolate Pie with the world (or just the people who follow my blog). It’s risky, I know, but love takes risk! Mama Inez was a beautiful woman who would want us to share this delicious gift. Just please don’t mess it up by walking away when you are supposed to be stirring. You can sip and stir, talk and stir, listen and stir, but no texting while stirring! Do it the old-fashioned way and make a Mama proud!

11.16.14 family, jennifer strickland

Below are some of our classics: Aunt Kelly’s Winter Squash Soup, Mama Inez’s Famous Chocolate Pie, and Nana’s Spoon Bread (a huge family tradition that makes leftover turkey ten times better the next day!)

 But before that, a Thanksgiving poem to share:

“Thanksgiving is about family — about cooking together all day long from old recipes given to us by our mothers and grandmothers and remembering things they said … It’s about taking the time to season and simmer, until every room in the house is filled with the sweet, warm breath of Thanksgiving … It’s about sitting down to pray with the people who mean the most to us, and believing in the words more because we are saying them together, and passing love around the table and bowing our heads over turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy until every heart is full.”                     — Anonymous

Give Thanks, Count Your Blessings, & Enjoy!

Aunt Kelly’s Winter Squash Soup

11.26.14 U R a Gift 1 11.26.14 U R a Gift 3 Thanksgiving, Jennifer Strickland 
2 acorn squash
2 butternut squash
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
8 teaspoons dark brown sugar
4 carrots, peeled & havled
1 large onion thinly sliced
10 cups Chicken Stock
3/4 teaspoons ground mace
3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Kosher Salt to taste
Creme Fraiche, for garnish
Snipped fresh chives, for garnish

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Cut the four squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard seed.

3.  Place the squash halves, skin side down, in 2 shallow roasting pans. Place 1 T. butter and 1 tsp. brown sugar in the cavity of each half. Arrange carrots and onion in slices around squash. Pour 2 cups of stock in each pan, cover tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 2 hrs.

4.  Remove pans from oven, allowing vegetables to cool slightly. Scoop squash pulp out of skins and place in a soup pot. Add carrots, onions, and cooking liquid.

5.  Add remaining 6 cups stock, mace, ginger, cayenne, and salt. Stir well and bring to boil. Reduce heat, simmering uncovered for 10 min.

6.  Puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Make sure the lid is fastened tightly so the hot liquid doesn’t spray out. Return puree to the pot, adjust seasonings, and heat through. Serve each portion garnished with a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkling of chives.

The magic of this soup comes from baking all your vegetables first to release a rich depth of flavor. Great with crusty french bread for any fall meal, or as an appetizer!

Mama Inez’s Famous Chocolate Pie

11.26.14 U R a Gift 8 Thanksgiving, Jennifer Strickland 11.26.14 U R a Gift 7

Mama Inez will not put up with you walking away during the stirring portion of this recipe. So park yourself and stir. The moment you walk away, thinking the chocolate is not thickening, it will thicken and coat the bottom of the pan. So don’t do it!  Stir, stir, stir until the chocolate has a thick, pudding-like texture and clings to the back of the spoon. Do our Mama proud!

6 Tablespoons (level) cocoa
1/2 cup flour
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
Dash salt
2 cups half-n-half
2 cups milk
4 pats butter
4 capfuls vanilla

Beat eggs and sugar together. Add flour and salt. Stir in cocoa. Mix well. Add half-n-half and milk. Cook over medium heat. Cook till thickens. Stir continually. Remove from heat and add 4 pats of butter and 4 capfuls of vanilla. Let cool and pour into pre-baked pie crust. Top with a layer of whipped cream — fresh is the best! Or serve with a dollop on top. Refrigerate.

This is a great Thanksgiving pie or Christmas pie. It’s also a great pie to serve your husband and family with a cup of coffee on a day when they need to feel extra loved. Papa likes to heat his for 15 seconds in the microwave and enjoy it warm with a glass of cold milk.  đź™‚

Nana’s Spoon Bread

Honestly, what are you going to do with all that leftover turkey? Spoon Bread is the answer! We look forward to it the day after Thanksgiving just as much as the day of!

2 cups milk
1 cup white cornmeal
1 Tablespoon sugar
5 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks soft butter or margarine

Scald milk. While hot, stir in cornmeal, beat thoroughly and cook until thick.

Remove from heat. Add butter, salt, and sugar. Beat vigorously until butter is melted and well mixed with cornmeal. Set aside to cool.

Beat egg yolks and stir into mixture. Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites.

Pour mixture into a buttered casserole dish. Bake 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until cake tester inserted comes out clean.

While the Spoon Bread is cooking, chop up your turkey meat, both light and dark, into small chunks.  In a saucepan over medium heat, warm up leftover gravy or make fresh gravy.  Mix the chopped turkey meat into the gravy and keep warm.

On the plate, spoon out some bread and ladle the gravy on top.  To make it extra special, add a dollop of cranberry sauce.  Serve immediately.

To me, there is nothing like women in the kitchen, loving, leading, learning. I am thankful  for the women who I have rubbed elbows with in the kitchen. You are beautiful to me.


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