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November 18, 2012

Recipe for fennel, avocado and grapefruit salad with orange vinaigrette {vegan, gluten-free}

Fennel, avocado and grapefruit salad, a green treat for the holiday table.

The first time I joined my husband Ted's family for a Canadian Thanksgiving meal, we were invited to celebrate with a group of friends at a camp in southern Ontario. The hosts assigned each family some potluck dishes to bring, and one of our assignments was carrots and celery sticks. When we arrived and added our contribution to the long buffet table, I noticed that our little plate of celery sticks was the only speck of green in a sea of brown: turkey, potatoes, gravy, parsnips, onions. If your Thanksgiving menu is looking a bit on the brown side, add this fennel, avocado and grapefruit salad to the mix. Raw fennel, thinly sliced and "marinated" in a mustardy vinaigrette, mellows to a very mildly anise flavor that pairs brilliantly with the tangy grapefruit and creamy avocado. Unexpected, and sure to be a hit.

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November 15, 2012

Recipe for squash walnut wheat muffins

Squash walnut wheat muffins add a bit of sweetness to the Thanksgiving table.

Every holiday table needs something small, sweet, orange, and full of carbs. These squash walnut wheat muffins fit the bill. Made with healthy white whole wheat flour and canned squash purée (which could also be pumpkin purée, if that's what you have in the cupboard), these little muffins satisfy the sweet tooth, and the carb tooth (if there is such a thing). And on a table filled with dishes served family-style, it's nice to have something just the right size for one person. Muffins generally don't overnight well, but I like to save a few for breakfast the next morning, when a quick zap in the microwave brings them back to life.

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November 13, 2012

Recipe for sugar-free slow cooker cranberry sauce

Sugar-free slow cooker cranberry sauce, with hints of orange.

My cranberry sauce failures -- undercooked, overjelled -- are the stuff of legend in my family. I admit that the molded cranberry sauce I watched slide down the sink drain as I inverted it onto a platter shook my confidence for a while, but it didn't defeat me. I've tried many versions of cranberry over the years, including spicy dried cranberry and pear chutney, my personal favorite. With several Type 1 diabetics in the family, I wanted to create a sugar-free cranberry sauce they could enjoy, and this one was a hit on our holiday table last Thanksgiving. Prepared in the slow cooker, with just a few ingredients (and no blurping splatters all over the stove), it's so good that nobody will believe it's also sugar-free. Make this several days ahead and store in the refrigerator; let it come to room temperature before you serve.

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November 11, 2012

Pumpkin "hummus" recipe {vegan}

Pumpkin "hummus", a new holiday appetizer.

Sides make the meal, never more so than on Thanksgiving, when there's so much pressure to serve the same family favorite recipes year after year. Yes, the favorites are wonderful and bring back memories, but updating traditions can create new memories -- and it's more fun for those of us who are the cooks. From now until the day, I'm sharing recipes for some of the sides from my own holiday menu. First up, a new appetizer on my table this year: pumpkin "hummus", made not with tahini and chickpeas, but with peanut butter and canned pumpkin purée, warmed up with smoky paprika and harissa. Serve it on pita triangles or celery sticks, and be sure save some to smear on leftover turkey sandwiches.

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About The Perfect Pantry®

  • My name is Lydia Walshin. From my log house kitchen in rural northwest Rhode Island, I share recipes that use what we keep in our pantries, the usual and not-so-usual ingredients that spice up our lives.

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