Happy Friday! This weekend is a lovely weekend for us Canadians because it’s Thanksgiving! I’m pretty sure this will be my first time having turkey since last Thanksgiving… as long as I don’t see the raw bird, I’ll be okay. It’s almost like chicken right?! Like numbers, the majority of meat is just not for me.
Anyways, I first should tell ya that Thanksgiving in Canada is not as big a deal as it is south of the border. I think Thanksgiving confuses Canadians — we can’t even decide what day to have the dinner: is it Sunday or Monday?! I had my first “American Thanksgiving” experience last year and oh my: food coma, football overload, pumpkin mania, wine, beer and more wine. You guys certainly know how to throw a holiday!
Many of my Canadian friends don’t even have a Thanksgiving dinner — are you shocked?! Thankfully my family has always had a Thanksgiving feast, which I love! My dad blasts Motown on his record player (yes records…) while preparing the turkey, stuffing and potatoes. My mom is responsible for the sides (salad, cranberry sauce, veggies, sweet potato pie) and desserts (from apple crumble to lemon squares and everything in between).
A few weeks ago, I received a very thoughtful e-mail from my dad suggesting we “lighten up” our festive meal and asked for my suggestions. I was really touched and admire the changes my own family has made.
We still want to enjoy all of the classics but we are doing two things: making less food and lightening up some of our dishes… some just need to be left as is and I am learning to be okay with that.
Making less food: Stuffing and potatoes with turkey is pretty necessary. But we are working on controlling the ginormous portions and eliminating the days of leftovers by just cooking a smaller quantity.
Lightening it up: We usually make a sweet potato pie (that tastes like a dessert) but this year I am going to make mashed sweet potatoes with some cinnamon and nuts. Sweet potatoes are just as the name implies: sweet. So (I think) the marshmallows and brown sugar can definitely be omitted. My mom also suggested making her cranberry-orange sauce with honey rather than sugar — another great idea! Balance.
For many of us holidays are a time when we let loose and eat whatever we want. I completely respect this (and did this) but my biggest piece of advice for enjoying the holidays without going too crazy is to pick and choose. You can have it all, just not all at once. If you know you want the pecan pie or apple crumble, can you take a pass on the potatoes? Ask yourself if you can do without it. If you can’t, then go for it and enjoy. If you can, then pick and choose.
If you’re looking for a light yet delicious fruity Thanksgiving side then I’ve got you covered! For whatever reason, fruity sauces and chutneys taste great with turkey. Cranberry sauce is the classic but why not change things up with this pear compote? Seriously. Do it :)
I’m going to have to make another batch before Sunday because I’ve done some damage… straight from the jar.
Ingredients (Makes aprrox. 2 cups)
- 3 pears, peeled and diced into cubes
- 1/3 cup raisins (I used golden raisins)
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
1. Add the pears and 2 tbsp. of lemon juice to a small pot over medium heat.
2. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Add the cinnamon, honey and raisins and stir to combine.
4. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes — until the pears are soft and the compote has thickened.
5. Allow to cool and serve with your turkey and Thanksgiving feast (or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week).
Wishing all my Canadian friends a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving!
Questions of the day…
What are your Thanksgiving traditions?
What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?
Do you like fruity sauces/compotes/chutneys with turkey?