After a long sabbatical, I plan to post new snippets with some holiday recipes from around the world. May your upcoming holiday preparations be interesting and fun. Stay happy and healthy until I write again.
For this post I don’t have to go far from home to remind me of the holiday season, of Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m reminded of one day in the 1980’s when I toured the home of Lydia Maria Childs’ grandparents who had owned an old Georgian Colonial on the other side of the Mystic River in Medford, Massachusetts in the U.S.A. I had saved up enough money for a down payment on a house and Lydia Maria Childs’ grandparents old home was for sale. I toured the house with my husband and I was extremely excited by the prospect of owning such a wonderful piece of American history. I said yes to the real estate agents offer of a purchase price of only $42,000. Unfortunately, after adding up the costs of owning and maintaining such a large structure, we decided against the purchase and moved on to other options. At a later date, Tufts University bought the home for a huge sum and the house remains on the U.S. Trust for Historic Preservations’ registered historic homes list.
Lydia Maria Child was a author, abolitionist and activist who was born into a prominent New England family in Medford, Massachusetts. She was schooled in her early years in Medford Schools. She would often visit her grandparents at their home and wrote this song as an adult. Sometimes when the snow is deep and the air is chill, you can almost see the her sleigh coming across the old Craddock Bridge in Medford Square.
By Lydia Maria Child
Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house we go:
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.
Over the river, and through the wood,to Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for ’tis Thanksgiving Day.
Over the river, and through the wood
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
as over the ground we go.
Over the river, and through the wood,
and straight trough the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow,
it is so hard to wait!
Over the river, and through the wood,
when Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, ‘o, dear, the children are here,
bring a pie for every one.’
Over the river, and through the wood,
now Grandmothers cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!
May your holidays be as filled with joy as the young Lydia Maria Childs’ was on that long ago Thanksgiving Day.
Remembrance Day falls this year in Canada on November 11th. Some provinces and territories celebrate it, also, on November 12th. My Dad hails from Newfoundland, and at times he made what he called scrappy pie to celebrate it. It is on Remembrance Day there that Canadians remember all of the fallen soldiers from past wars.
My great-uncle Charles was killed in Belgium in the first World War and is buried where he was killed defending his fallen comrades. His name is called out and his memory is saluted by a contingent of military members at Parliament every year on this day. For this I simply give you my father’s Americanized version of Scrappy Pie (or Newfoundland Seafood Pie):
Potato topping ingredients: 1 cup all purpose flour, 1/2 cup fresh mashed potato, 4 ounces butter, 1 tablespoon milk, 2 Tablespoons dried breadcrumbs.
Filling: 16 ounces whitefish (cod, haddock, whiting or your choice), large cooked shrimp (8 ounces), 1 small onion- chopped fine, 1 cup frozen peas, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley – chopped fine, zest of a lemon – grated, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 2 cups milk.
Sift flour into a large bowl. Using a pastry blender or fork, mix this with the mashed potato until thoroughly blended. Blend in the butter, then draw into a dough, adding a bit of water until dough sticks together. Wrap dough in pastic and chill in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.
Prepare filling by cutting fish into chucks and putting them into a 10 inch pie pan or baking dish. Mix in the seafood, onions, peas, parsley and zest. Blend the cornstarch with a bit of milk in a bowl. Heat the remaining milk almost to boiling and stir it into the cornstarch mixture. Return mixture to pan and stir until the mixture thickens. Add seasoning and pour over fish filling. Cool for 20 minutes. Bring oven to 400F (200C).
Roll out the dough between sheets of wax paper to overlap to of pie plate. Remove the top of the waxed paper and use the bottom sheet to help position dough on top of seafood mixture.
Press dough around edges of pan and clean up the edges. Slash center of pie with small knife to vent steam. Brush the crust with milk and sprinkle liberally with plain breadcrumbs.
Put pie on a baking sheet Bake for 10 minutes – then drop temperature to 350F (180C). Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
My father cooked this for us when we were very young and it’s the closest I can come to the original recipe. I sought out Scrappy Pie recipes everywhere to no avail, so if someone could forward me more from the great nation of Canada, I would greatly appreciate it.
May you stay safe and sound on Remembrance Day. And to my remaining Newfoundland cousins, may the sea treat you right and the cod keep running.
Today brings a normalization of the weather here in New England after the monster hurriane, Sandy, hit our shores. We give thanks to God that we were spared, in my hometown, the devastation that struck the coast farther south of here, especially in the states of New York and New Jersey. Our prayers go out to those whose lives were disastrously affected by the hurricane everywhere along the eastern seaboard.
Today, for everyone who is able to celebrate this Halloween holiday with some resemblance of normalcy, I simply give you an recipe from an old church bulletin. I’m unsure where it originated from, but it was being used and copied somewhere around the 1960’s and has been made in my family to celebrate different holidays since that time. It is very good to use at children’s costume parties.
3 1/2 Tablespoons raspberry gelatin
3/4 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Beat egg whites and salt on high speed with electric mixer until light and foamy. Gradually add gelatin and sugar and continue beating to stiff peaks. Mix until sugar is totally dissolved or kisses will be sticky. Add the vinegar. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoon onto lined, greased baking sheet. Bake kisses at 250 degrees for 25 minutes and then turn off the oven, leaving them in oven for additional 20 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and remove immediately to wire baking rack to cool.
Makes 6 dozen.
I hope you find these simple to make, and please have a safe, happy Halloween night.
I often made a version of this Thanksgiving pudding in honor of the Native Americans who shared the first American Thanksgiving that took place close to my home at Plymouth, Massachusetts. It is an old American tradition to have this simple pudding during this autumn season, but in these modern times, it has fallen out of favor to be replaced by packaged pudding mixes. It’s very easy to make and would make a good addition to the Thanksgiving table. Serve it up with some sugar-free dairy whipped topping or a dietetic ice cream for an almost authentic diabetic treat.
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 cups milk
1/3 cup thick sugar-free maple syrup
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon margarine (60% oil content) or butter if desired
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
Mix together the milk, salt and margarine. Scald this mixture by bringing it to a rapid boil. Mix the cornmeal into the milk mixture slowly. Cook in a double boiler for about 15 minutes until mixture is thick. Add maple syrup, beaten egg, salt, cinnamon, and raisins. Add chopped walnuts and mix thoroughly. Put into pan that has been sprayed with butter flavored cooking spray and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately two hours. Pudding should be slightly firm and knife inserted should be slightly dry. Serve cold or slightly warm.
The holiday of American Thanksgiving soon approaches, this year falling on Thursday, November 22nd. This is the time to start thinking about buying your turkey. The turkey sales at your local supermarket will be coming up soon and, if that is your choice of a entree this year, it would be a good time to consider what type it will be, whether it be a frozen, fresh, Kosher or pre-basted. The choices in many markets are endless. I’ll bring you more information on choosing and preparing a turkey at a later date. In the meantime, here is a little quote and a recipe which can be used interchangeably for a variety of holidays, be it Halloween, Thanksgiving, Rosh Hashannah, Christmas or New Year or any other special occasion. Feel free to give the sugar-free, diabetic recipe a try. I like it a lot and use it on a weekday basis.
Ah! On Thanksgiving day, when from East and from West,
From North and from South come the pilgrim and guest,
When the gray-haired New Englander sees round his board
The old broken links of affection restored,
When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more,
And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before,
What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye?
What calls back the past, like the rich pumpkin pie?
CRANBERRY NUT CRUNCH BRITTLE
1 cup dry sugar substitute (cup for cup measure)
3/4 cup salted nuts (such as peanuts, cashews, almonds, or macadamia), chopped coursely
1/2 dried cranberries
1/2 cup sugar-free maple syrup
1 teaspoon margarine or butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon vanilla extract (not imitation)
Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or butter it. Taking a very large, heat-proof glass measuring bowl, mix the maple syrup and the dry sugar substitute and microwave on High Power for 4 1/2 minutes. Add the margarine or butter and the vanilla extract, mixing well to combine. Continue to microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. Mix in the baking soda. Stir thoroughly until the mixture becomes light and airy. It should foam a bit. Pour the hot mixture onto the baking sheet. Place the baking sheet on a heat-proof kitchen surface such as a wire baking rack. Cool for 1 hour. Break into pieces and store in tins or other sealed container. Makes 8 servings.
5 grams Carbohydrate
170 grams Sodium
3 grams Protein
8 mg. Calcium
1 gram Fiber
Happy Holidays to all!
About 2000 years ago in what is now the green lands of Ireland, the nation of France, and the United Kingdom, the new year was celebrated on November 1st. It was the beginning of the cold, dark weather in those lands. The winter season was synonymous with death. The Celts lived in those lands and they held the belief that on October 31st, the night of Samhain, that the ghosts of all the dead came back to life. n that night, the spirits played pranks and tricks, causing problems by damaging the harvest and reeking havoc in many other ways. Celtic priests believed that these spirits had come back to earth to ease the Druids’ attempts to predict the future.
To solve this, the Druids built large bonfires to burn sacrifices. The populace observed this day of the dead by wearing costumes in the form of animal skins or animal heads. Fortune telling was also done on this night. When the celebration was done the hearths were relit from the bonfires to usher in a mild winter season.
When the Romans conquer most of the territory in the year 43 A.D., they held rule for over 400 years. During this time two holidays were merged into one creating the Celtic celebration called Samhain. One holiday was Feratia, held in late October and the other was name after the goddess Pomona, goddess of trees and fruit. It is believed that apple bobbing originated with this goddess because she was symbolized by the apple. Today, children at Halloween parties held throughout the world bob for apples. The custom more than likely originated in those ancient times.
By the seventeenth century, Christianity had spread to Celt lands. Pope Benedict IV, in the 1600’s, deemed November 1st as All Saints Day, trying to replace the practice of the pagan festival of the dead with a Christian replacement. This day of All Saints was also known as All-hallowmas or, alternately, All-hallows. The night before it, which once was known as Samhein began to be know as All Hallows Eve. and, as the years went by the night became known as Halloween.
To this day bonfire are lit, in some places, on Halloween night. Children and adults alike dress in devilish costumes as ghosts, goblins, favorite characters and all manner of ghoulish, frightening dress. The populace in many nations delight in door to door trick-or-treating and festive, spooky parties. Little know the true meaning of Halloween night, but all delight in the ghastly activities.
Below is my recipe for Druid Stew. No one knows from whence this stew came from, but it could have come from the burning hearths somewhere in the land of the Celts.
2 pounds stewing beef, cut in cubes
5 potatoes, skin on, chopped into one inch cubes
1 1/2 cups cut up celery, slice diagonally
5 Tbsp. quick cooking tapioca
6 carrots, cut diagonally
1/2 cup beans (northern, pea bean, kidney) – canned
1 package onion soup mix
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 cups tomato juice
4 cups water
two bay leafs
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
In layers with beef at bottom, place all ingredients except tapioca , juice and water, one on top of another (in layers) into a deep oven-proof pot with lid. Pour liquid on top of dry ingredients and then sprinkle with tapioca. Put lid on tightly or use tin foil.
Bake at 350 degree for 4 hours. Do not open the oven door or take lid off pot. Do not stir the stew – leave the lid on.
Serve with puff pastry pumpkins, witches and ghosts made from Halloween cookie cutters and frozen puff pastry sheets, or with your favorite ghostly bread. (Puff pastry can be found in your supermarkets’ frozen department).
- Top ten Irish traditions for Halloween – SEE PHOTOS (irishcentral.com)
My Auntie Annie’s busiest times of the year were most major holidays. Not only was she busy during American holidays, but during most of the major international ones, as well. You see, she was a worker at one of the larger U.S. candy factories that made famous brand novelty and boxed fancy assortments. She had been working at the factory as a line worker and then a fancy chocolates dipper since the turn of the 20th century. She would trek off to the chocolate factory every morning for over fifty years, having started her job, in those very emancipated days, at a young and tender age. Her salary was well received by her struggling family, who also enjoyed the fruits of her labors – having access to chocolate bars, candy wafers, turtle clusters, caramel, and a full product line of tooth decaying, fattening goodies.
During the holidays , before Halloween, Auntie Annie would have us for a visit and when she was making candy gifts for Halloween, Thanksgiving, New Years, Hanukkah and Christmas, she would often teach me how to make one of the famous candies that she worked to turn out on a daily basis at the factory. She would have huge pans of bubbling, boiling caramel. Chocolate would be melting at the front of the stove. Her idea of a double boiler was a spaghetti cooking pan with a very large bowl sitting on top. There were several of these crowding her old fashioned stove. She taught me how to make her famous Chocolate turtle clusters when I was about fifteen years old. During that visit, she also tried to teach me how to put the swirls on those fancy chocolates with creme centers, but I was a dismal failure and my attempts looked more like puckery little blobs. Those were fun and unique Autumn days and we, as little children (and all of our young friends, too), looked forward to our holiday boxes and tins of these delicious, sinful, ultimately perfect treats. I hope you like them as much as my family does.
ANNIE’S CHOCOLATE TURTLE CANDY
Equipment needed – large baking sheets, metal spoons, wooden spoons, measuring spoons, waxed paper, large metal bowls, double boiler, candy tins and boxes.
Cover baking sheets with waxed paper and grease lightly grease waxed paper with margarine.
42 candy caramel squares
3 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups dry roasted peanuts, unsalted (may use toasted walnuts, unsalted almonds, macadamia nuts or hazelnuts)
1 cup milk chocolate morsels or chopped milk chocolate bars
Arrange several nuts, in cluster, on baking sheet. You may use the amount you would like. Place nuts one inch apart or more from each other. Put caramel squares in the double boiler with butter and put over boiling water until completely melted, stirring constantly. When caramels are melted, remove from stove and stir in vanilla. Drop melted caramel in spoonfuls onto nuts until they are thoroughly covered. Let nut clusters cool to a firm, cool stage. Melt the chocolate and butter in double boiler over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Pour melted chocolate over nut clusters and cool them on the tray until they are firm. Do not chill in refrigerator as this may discolor the candy clusters. Put in metal tins between squares of wax paper and store in a cool, dry place.
We always loved making these with my Aunt Annie and no holiday was complete without them. I plan to get started on mine in a few days for future gift giving. I wonder if my aunt haunts the old site of the candy factory these days, wandering the halls, checking on equipment, chocolate mixtures, and trekking into the factory to check on the efficiency of present day laborers.
If they hear the sound of her shoes tapping around the chocolate vats, then they know that she’s on the lookout this Halloween season.
- Properly Preparing and Melting Chocolate (berries.com)
Salem, Massachusetts lies just north of my home in the vicinity of Boston, Massachusetts on the northeastern coast of the United States. The town is steeped in early colonial history being the location of the famed Salem witch trials. To this day, the infamy of trials remains strong in the minds of New Englanders, and to the thousands of American tourists and foreign visitors who flock to Salem throughout the fall season and Halloween night on October 31st. During this time, many venues are open to visitors who come dressed in all manner of costume to visit restaurants, plays, museums, local merchants, ghost houses, and historical attractions. If you have a chance to come to Salem for a attraction or tour, don’t be surprised if you see revelers dressed as ghosts, goblins or ghoulies, witches, monsters, and vampires. You might even meet up on their fog ridden, supposedly haunted sidewalks or graveyards, the ghosts of hung trial victims or, perhaps, a wandering brain-eating zombie. Revelers abound and children and, adults as well, all enjoy the festivities that are, in thanks, mostly to the witch trials that took place there. Here is a brief, capsulized explanation of the events that took place in those harsh, superstitious times.
In 1692 at what is now Salem, 20 people were put to death and 200 were accused of practicing witchcraft. Hysteria reined in the town and the surrounding area, spreading throughout Massachusetts. It was during those early years of the colony that it was believed that the devil granted those loyal to him the power to cast spells and to bewitch the inhabitants.
In 1628, Massachusetts Bay Colony was founded through a charter with King Charles II of England. The Puritans, through this charter, were given rights to colonize in that area of Massachusetts. The charter was revoked later because of violations, including discriminating against Anglicans and running a mint, among other infractions.
In 1691, resentment ran high among the colonists. Families argued with neighbors over minor disputes, smallpox ran rampant, and problems arose with the local Native American tribes. Add to that harsh New England weather and the populace was ripe for tension.
In the early Winter of 1692, young girls – Elizabeth Parris and Abigail Williams began having fits (contortions, shaking, screaming and gibbering in what appeared to be some devilish throes of spasms). Soon, other girls in the town also started showing signs of what the local physician deemed to be bewitchment by the devil. Arrest warrants were issued the following month for Sarah Good, an elderly woman, and Sarah Osborn, a beggar, who the girls accused of witchcraft. As time went on more girls joined the hysteria and they too began having uncontrollable devilish fits, with the addition of feeling as if they were being bitten and pinched.
Mary Shelby, a neighboring matron, proposed a counter black magic in the form of requesting that her slave, Tituba, bake a rye cake cooked with the urine of a victim. The cake was to be fed to a dog (a witches agent). Tituba was also being suspected of witchcraft and bewitching of her neighbors. Her baking of the witch-cake made her even more suspect. On February 29th warrants were issued for Tituba and two other woman. Some victims, at this point claimed they saw “witches flying through the mist”. Tituba, in the end, after a trial in a court of ‘oyer’ and ‘terminer’ admitted to being a witch to shift blame from herself and cast doubts on others.
Eventually, when the trials ended nineteen people had been executed, most hung at the Salem Gallows and others pressed by stone until their death. Four of the victims of the witchcraft hysteria perished in prison. Overall, 200 people were accused of witchcraft. At a later date all of the people accused of witchery were exonerated, but the memory still lingers among New Englanders. Today, what remains of the accused and victims are the, perhaps, imagined spirits that roam the streets and byways of modern Salem, Massachusetts.
I am including a recipe that I found locally that is very close to the original used in the early years at Salem and the surrounding locale. This recipe dates from the 1800’s, but I do not know how close in ingredients it is to the original. Fat and calorie content have not been adjusted. It would not do justice to this original to change it. The flavor would just not be the same.
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup molasses
1 cup whole milk
1 cup salt pork, chopped very fine
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Sift together the flour and spices. Add in the chopped salt pork and raisins. Mix thoroughly. Dissolve the baking soda in the molasses and then add it to the milk. Mix well until molasses is incorporated. Gradually add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients, beating well with electric mixer until well blended. The mixture should be smoother at this point. Pour into large pudding mold of your choosing. A Halloween themed mold would be a good choice. Steam the pudding for 4 hours. Cool the pudding and unmold on fancy ceramic plate. Serve with sauce of your choosing.
(To steam pudding – 1. Find a large pan with tight fitting lid to fit your mold 2. Lightly bunch a large wad of aluminum foil and place in bott m of pan 3. Wrap pudding mold in cheesecloth and place of foil without mold touching pan bottoms or sides 4. Add water up side of pudding mold halfway 5. Cover pan tightly using fitted lid and steam on low heat for 4 hours on low heat or until tester comes out clean 6. Unmold from pan after gently loosening by turning upside down onto platter or plate.)
This can be served with some whipped cream. This is a nice dish for a cold Halloween night dinner.
Below is an older recipe that my mother had in her recipe box. Even though she was being treated for a heart condition, she had many low or sugar-free and fat free recipes in her collection. I always stole some of these after working all day and would ruin my dinner having just a few too many. I’ve adapted them to be more diabetic friendly by replacing some of the sugar with dry sugar substitute and lessening some of the fat.
45 min preparation time
3/4 cup margarine, softened
1 cup dry sugar substitute (Splenda for Baking)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 medium eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (pure vanilla is best)
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cups raisins
Cream margerine, sugar substitute and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Blend in oats, baking soda and salt, then add the flour. Blend thoroughly until of stiff consistency. Add raisins and mix completely.
Chill dough to make it easier to handle. Roll the dough into ball (36 portions) and flatten with a glass dipped in water and powdered sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cookies should be lightly browned. Do not overcook.
Remove cookies from baking sheet to wire rack. Let cool.
Serving size: 1 cookie
Total fat 5.9 grams Cholesterol 25 mg. Sodium 141 grams Protein 2.0 grams Carbs 17.1 grams Sugar 4.3 grams
I always like to have a few of these cookies for my bedtime snack with a glass of milk.
Please refer to your diabetic diet plan or ask your nutritionist for the proper amount of cookies you may have.
Today is Columbus Day. This is usually not one of my great celebratory holidays, but it is worth mentioning There are usually no major parties or events for today, at least not here in Massachusetts, but it is a good day to catch up on some chores and to relax if you happen to be lucky enough to have a day off from work.
I am looking forward to this Halloween at the end of October and am already making plans for a small celebration while handing out goodies to young holiday revelers. In the meantime, I have been checking out exchange lists for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to go along with some sugar-free appetizers and snacks that I’ll be whipping up. I’ll be feeding other persons with a variety of dietary problems and will need a small and varied assortment of goodies to go along with the special beverages.
Below is a listing of alcoholic beverages and their calorie and carb counts. I do not condone of condone of the overimbibing of adult beverages when suffering from diabetes and ask that you please contact your dietitian or physician for advice on whether they are part of your diabetic meal plan. Also, when stricken with diabetes, you probably suffer from related maladies requiring potent prescriptions. imbibing alcohol can greatly interfere with the potency of these medications and bring on a list of alarming symptoms in a diabetic than in a healthy individual. That being said, the chart below gleaned from The Joslin Guide to diabetes by Richard S. Beaser, M.d. with Joan V.C. Hill, R.d., C.D.E. should be extremely helpful.
BEVERAGE AMOUNT (ounces) CALORIES CARBOHYDRATES (grams) EQUAL TO:
Beer 12 150 14 1 bread starch & 1 1/2 fats
Light beer 12 100 6 2 fats
Nonalcoholic beer 11 50 10 1 bread/starch
86 proof(gin, rum 1.5 105 trace 2 fats
Red table or rose’ 4 85 1.0 2 fats
Dry white 4 80 .4 2 fats
Sweet wine 2 90 6.5 1/2 bread/starch & 1 1/2 fats
Light wine 4 55 1.3 1 fat
Wine coolers 12 190 22.0 1 1/2 fruit & 3 fat
Champagne 4 100 3.6 2 fats
Sherry 2 75 1.5 1/2 fats
Sweet sherry/port 2 95 7.0 1/2 bread/starch &
1 1/2 fats
dry 3 105 4.2 2 fats
Sweet 3 140 13.9 1 bread/starch & 2 fats
- This should suffice to show nutritional values and correct exchanges for the most popular beverages. Personally, I forego partaking of the alcohol in favor of the fake versions. There are several that have left a nice impression and the low alcohol Arbor Mists are a good choice. Again, check with your health care practitioners and enjoy the upcoming holidays.