Thanksgiving 2016

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I hope everyone enjoyed a very wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and weekend. I am so grateful that I was able to spend so much time with my family and cook this very special meal for everyone.

We have so much to be thankful for with my third niece Adelyn’s first Thanksgiving! My brother had to work but we were able to celebrate with him this weekend for his 30th birthday. There have been so many wonderful celebrations happening that its been so important for me to pause and be grateful for these special opportunities to connect and spread loving kindness with the ones I love and beyond.

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I have so much to be grateful for and I know that gratitude helps me so much in my life to be happy where I am and accepting of what is, while looking towards the changes and strides I want to make going forward. This year cooking was wonderful as always, this is my 7th year of Thanksgiving traditions on Unrivaledkitch and I am so grateful to continue this culinary adventure on my blog. I hope to continue for many years to come and also to continue the holiday season food updates.

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Here is the Thanksgiving menu for 2016.

Honey glazed Ham
Citrus herb brined turkey and turkey breast
Roasted turkey gravy
Mashed potatoes
Marshmallow yams with brown sugar caramel and marshmallow
Sweet lemon cranberry relish
Smashed Yam casserole with cinnamon spice crumble
Beet carpaccio with roasted almonds, arugula, blue cheese, lemon zest and cracked pepper
Roasted mushroom and sausage cornbread kale stuffing
Beef and pork Zucchini, celery and black olive stuffing
Green bean casserole
Roasted Cauliflower and broccoli
Mac N Cheese
Croissants

 

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Two Dinners with Five Variations for Seven People

Some dinners at our table just turn into an experimental multitude of different dinner plates, especially if we have guests or if there is something my sister is craving and my brother-in-law doesn’t really prefer. I have no problem cooking different dinners for one meal every once in a while, but I think it’s really important for families to share the same meal as often as possible especially when they have children. Kids need to know that chicken nuggets and noodles are not the only things they can survive on and when we all eat the same dinner, this makes them understand that a little more.   
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Please remember that not forcing children to eat what we eat is also a good way to start to introduce them to different foods. Kids have a natural inquisitiveness to variety if we allow them to understand and investigate new foods. This is something I work on with my niece very often. She may have a preference for certain things, but she still tries different foods on her good days and she’s 2 years old. So even just giving a couple of pieces of a new fruit, vegetable, protein or grain may incite inquisitiveness in our children’s taste buds and if that’s as far as we get and we try something else later, well I think that it’s progress. Sharing our good eating habits with children is so important to the modeling of their behaviors with ours, which allows them to understand that they can like and eat foods that adults like to eat as well.

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So on this particular occasion my sister had a craving for pork chops. My brother-in-law does not eat pork much at all, so I had to make a different meal for him so we could have pork chops. I love pork chops, but I only need a little bit to satisfy my pork craving. They are easy to cook, have a great amount of protein and can be a very flavorful vehicle for a family friendly meal. When you pick pork chops, choose lean cuts that are cut about an inch to an inch and a half thick. If you choose pork chops thinner than this, you run the risk of having very dry pork chops, so I don’t recommend having thin chops unless you’re going to cook, serve and eat them right away; otherwise, the natural juices will dry out rather quickly. The pork chops I made were with a celery, onion and spinach cream glaze. I used parsley and rosemary to compliment the pork chops and to make a little bit of an herb crust on the outside of them.
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For side dishes I always enjoy roasted cauliflower and so does my niece, so I pretty much always have roasted cauliflower in the kitchen.  I also roasted cauliflower with a little rendered pancetta, a bag of kale and some zucchini; high heat at about 400 degrees, some salt and pepper and a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. It’s a fantastic side dish if anyone needs a really delicious elegant dish to add along with any protein or to add with just about anything: toss it into pasta, serve it over brown rice or just eat it alone.
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Seems like these days, if I get the oven on I roast more than just one thing because it saves time, gives flavor to veggies and makes them ready to eat, if you’re not into eating the raw variety. I like using dried parsley, garlic powder and salt and pepper to season my vegetables, but mixing up the seasonings helps keep it new and fresh. Maleeya, my niece, really likes roasted vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, butternut squash and so many more; all of these are rock stars in nutrition and when you cook them this way, kids have a friendly finger food to devour. If you haven’t roasted cauliflower, you’re missing out. It’ll be your new potato chips.
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My brother-in-law loves fettuccini alfredo. Pasta with cream sauce is a luxury item in this family, but every now and again I pull out the Parmesano Reggiano and we have a feast.  I knew my grandma would love to have a fettuccine as well, so I made a quick chicken stock, creamy sauce with broccoli and chicken.

So after roasting my way through the kitchen I ended up with dinner for seven people with about five different variations, all equally delicious for everyone. I’m pretty sure this is not normal, but cooking doesn’t have to be normal, sometimes we have to think outside the box and make what we really feel works and tonight I did just that.

Cheers to cooking your way in your kitchen. I hope you enjoyed my journey!

Cheers

-Unrivaledkitch

Village Café in Bishop, CA

On our way home from Mammoth we have some mandatory stops to make. Most of the time we have to get gas for the ride home, so we stop at an Indian reservation that has a casino on its land and a gas station to fill up. My mom puts in $5 at a slot machine and tests her luck and then we’re off to the next stop. My brother and dad like to get beef jerky from Mahogany Smoked Meats and we get cheese bread and raisin bread from Schatz bakery. This time we also stopped for breakfast at the Village Cafe in Bishop. The Village Café is a strange place off a dusty road and they are only open five days a week from 7 a.m. till 2 p.m. with the exception of some special days of the month when they may be open for dinner, but you’d have to stop by to know.

The Village Café looks like it was formerly someone’s home. The structure is almost that of a single-story house where you’d be eating in the den of grandma’s country-style flat. My dad jokingly said the bathroom is down past the living room where they’re watching TV, make sure to say hi as you pass by, and honestly it looks like that. Small town folks trying to make a living rustling up some grub—I like it.

So as we all arrived, we had a sampling of many items off the menu. I ordered grilled pork chops with home fries and eggs over easy, with gravy on the side and a biscuit; my mom had corned beef hash, which came out burnt so they had to make another one; my dad had a delicious ham steak, eggs and potatoes; my brother had French toast; my sister-in-law had lobster eggs Benedict; and my grandma had eggs with a biscuit and gravy.  I really enjoyed my pork chops; they were lightly floured and cooked on a flat top and the gravy was good, but I’m glad I got it on the side because it would have been way too much if I hadn’t.

The wait staff and everyone in the restaurant were so nice to us, always checking that we had everything we needed. It was really an enjoyable breakfast before the long ride back to Los Angeles.

cheers

-Unrivaledkitch