Being Thankful

Every year at Thanksgiving time people run around to get all the right ingredients for the perfect meal. Let’s take a step back and think about the real meaning of this holiday. The first Thanksgiving is a celebration of new found friendship between the Native Americans and the Pilgrims —a celebration of their harvest and settling into a new village together. Now Thanksgiving is running around to get lots of food and decorations which precedes the rush for Black Friday specials. Let’s take a few minutes to think about this holiday in the frenzy of rushing it to just get to Christmas.

Think about all the beautiful parts of your life (your family and loved ones, your health, your achievements, the beauty of the world around you… I could go on and on) that you should be thankful for. Take time and make a list. With my students we make a large pumpkin pie out of construction paper and we put all the things we are thankful for in the “slices”. Look through the lens of a child and you will be able to simplify the glorious little things that we should be thankful for.

I would like to be thankful for all that I have had in my life, for all my loved ones that I am missing today and for all the future memories I will make with my family and friends. I wish all of you a Happy and Thoughtful Thanksgiving. Enjoy the beautiful people in your life as you don’t know how many more times you will have together. Take nothing for granted and live with all your heart.

Bring Your “Best Friend” to the Dog Park

One moment of your time, just a few minutes out of your day can make your dog “smile” all week or at least cuddle up and sleep while you go out into the world. Remember they only have you to wait for while you have the whole world.

Dogs socializing with other dogs and their humans keep your dogs healthy and happy. Believe it or not a dog has the same kind of up and down moods as its owner. A dog is happy when it is warm, well-fed and well-loved. When I️ ask my doggie if she wants to go to the dog park, she lights up and runs wild. She skips happily to the car and cries louder as we approach the turn. Just a few walks around, a few sniffs at other dogs, laying on her back for some adult attention and skipping around makes her happy for days. In fact, she usually gets tired after three short walks around. She is happy and content the rest of the day. These are memories that make for a happy pet who cuddles up a little more and will stand by your side forever. There is no stronger loyalty and love than that from your sweet little puppy whose whole life revolves around seeing you come home, getting a cookie and getting a belly rub.

So when you have that extra half hour or so to spare, give your time to the one who loves you unconditionally. They are only with us for a short time, let it be special for them.

Elaine Gallagher

The Stuffed Pepper

A meal should be colorful and look appealing. What we love about peppers is the different colors and unique flavorthey come in. You don’t have to stick to the ordinary green pepper. Tempt your guests with an array of colors and meaty fragrance.

You need:

4 large peppers in assorted colors, 1 cup brown rice, 4 medium meatballs in tomato sauce, Asiago and Parmesan cheese, extra tomato sauce.

1. Cut off tops of peppers and clean out seeds

2. Boil for 5-7 minutes. Drain.

3. Prepare rice and meatballs to your own taste. Chop meat up with rice, extra sauce, cheese to taste. Put peppers in small pan so they stand up.  Stuff peppers to rim. Add tomato sauce and more cheese on top.

4. Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes (depending on how golden brown you like them)

For more variations on my stuffed peppers please see full article at

Keeping the Butter in Butternut Squash

Keeping the Butter in Butternut Squash

By Elaine Gallagher

When preparing for our Thanksgiving celebration I always try to include one or two new recipes. Over the past few years I have included Butternut Squash as a side for those people in my family who love butternut squash and who also do not like sweet potatoes. I do not give up sweet potatoes. I just add one more dish to the main course. Save the diet for the next day people.

1. With Maple and Cinnamon:

This delicious, mashed butternut squash is baked with a crunchy brown sugar and pecan topping. It’s an easy casserole to bake; it’s perfect for Thanksgiving dinner or everyday that you crave butternut squash.

1 Butternut squash, large
1 Egg, large
2 tbsp Maple syrup
Baking & Spices
1/4 cup All-purpose flour
1/3 cup Brown sugar, light packed
1/4 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1/4 cup Granulated sugar
1 dash Salt
1/2 cup Pecans
6 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Milk

Peel the butternut squash; scoop out the seeds and soft pulp and discard. Cut the squash into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Steam over simmering water for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Remove the squash to a large bowl and let it cool slightly.
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Butter a 1 1/2-quart casserole dish.
Beat the squash with the maple syrup and 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. Add beaten egg, milk, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Then add the cinnamon and a dash of salt, to taste. Blend well.
Transfer the squash mixture to the prepared casserole.
Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over the squash.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the casserole is hot and the topping is golden brown.

2. With Goat cheese and Rosemary

Goat cheese and fresh rosemary will add a certain richness to mashed butternut squash. This is a great alternative to sweet potatoes (or an additional Thanksgiving treasure)

1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
3 ounces goat cheese
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced
salt and black pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Once boiling add a big pinch of salt and cubed butternut squash.
Cook the butternut squash until soft, about 10-15 minutes.
Drain the water out of the pot and add in the goat cheese, milk, rosemary, salt and pepper.
Mash with a potato masher or immersion blender/stick until desired mashed consistency is reached.
Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

3. Casserole for Family

This recipe tastes similar to sweet potato souffle, with a custard-like texture. Use with any meal that sweet potatoes seem to go with especially turkey at Thanksgiving or a ham.

1 butternut squash
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
TOPPING 1/2 (16 ounce) package vanilla wafers, crushed 1/2 cup margarine, melted 1 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
Put butternut squash in the microwave and cook on high, until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Cut in half, scoop out seeds and cube. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add squash and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash.
In a 9×13 inch casserole dish combine 3 cups mashed butternut squash, white sugar, milk, vanilla extract, salt, flour, eggs and 1/4 cup melted margarine.
Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until set.
In a medium bowl, combine crushed vanilla wafers, 1/2 cup melted butter/margarine and brown sugar. Crumble over top of cooked casserole and return to oven to brown until desired color.

No matter which one you choose, or if you have your own favorite, make butternut squash part of your special celebration day.

****For Thanksgiving just add some smashed vanilla wafers, Brown sugar and margarine melted on top of any of these recipes and it will add a special flavor to your feast.