Experiencing in-person interactions with family and friends is a lifestyle that motivates us to be the best versions of ourselves.
Being around family and friends can provide emotional support, grow our confidence, and help us face challenges when we share our problems. We end up being encouraged and motivated. Social connection fortifies our sense of purpose and belonging. Meaningful memories are created.
Thanksgiving is a holiday designed to bring people around food. What an excellent opportunity to show gratitude whilst re-writing old traditions.
This year, I have a dozen or so friends from our neighborhood coming over for dinner, some of whom have never been to a Thanksgiving meal. I am grateful for my community of friends here in Luxembourg.
Beverages: Alice Hartman Crémant from Luxembourg. Pear Sangria.
Appetizers: Warm Brie with Pumpkin Jam & Walnuts. Shrimp Cocktail. Charcuterie Board.
Vegetarian Station: Polenta Cakes Creamy Pine Nuts Pesto Porcini.
Main Station: Thyme Roasted Leg of Lamb au jus. Spice Rubbed Chicken. Pita. Beetroot Humus & Pistachio Garnish. Freekeh Salata Pomegranate Seeds.
Sides: Creamed Sweet Corn. Glazed Yams with Toasted Coconut & Cranberries.
Desserts: Pavlova with Berries. Chocolate Delight. Pecan Pudding Royale.
Freekeh is a Mediterranean super grain with a hint of smokiness and nutty flavors. Just like it’s cousins, bulgur, barley and farro, this grain has been around for a long time. You can buy this cooked, or you can simply toast the grains, add water, cover, and let steam.
My recipe is quite similar to a tabouleh for the most part.
1 cup cooked Freekeh (different brands offer a variety of cooking methods), 1 can chickpeas, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp each of ground coriander, ground cumin & smoked paprika. Salt & pepper, 1½ cups cherry tomatoes halved, 1 finely diced medium size shallot, ½ cup of diced cucumbers, 1 cup chopped apricots or dates, ½ cup of olives halved, 3 tbs. Greek yogurt, 2 tbsp chopped mint. 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds.
Pre Heat oven to 200C/390 F, in a roasting pan, toss chickpeas in olive oil and roast for 15 minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Add tomatoes, apricots, freekeh, spices and seasoning, mix together. Roast for 10 minutes until tomatoes start to burst. Toss in cucumbers, olives and shallots, garnish with pomegranate seeds and serve with seasoned mint yogurt on side.
Did you notice how many vegetables, nuts, fruits, herbs, legumes and grains were penned in my menu?
Suggestions for a more sustainable meal this year in order to give back to our environment:
- Start your own trend by planning a plant-forward dinner with family and friends.
- Use reusable dinnerware, glasses, and napkins.
- Chose a slightly smaller bird which will help reduce the water footprint, it will also require less cooking time. Get one that is organic, and pasture raised.
- Try out a mushroom gravy that is lighter and goes with the side dishes as well.
- There is a huge variety of fresh vegetables out there for all of us to play with different flavors in many ways.
- Eat mindfully by taking a moment to smell, taste and savor the food.
- Express gratitude for those who prepared and served the meal, including the farmers who grew the food.
What does Thanksgiving mean to you?
Whom and what are you thankful for?
What is your favorite part of Thanksgiving?
Wishing you every blessing of this bountiful season, hope your table is full of nutritious and delectable food, surrounded by your family and friends!