Thanksgiving Leftovers Quiche.

quiche done

Thanksgiving is wonderful – full of food, family, gratitude….and leftovers. So many leftovers. No one wants to see all this delicious food go to waste, but after a few days of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and whatever else, you just can’t even pretend to want to eat it anymore.

If there is one thing I can’t stand, it’s wasting food. I do everything I can to use up leftovers. I admit, there are things that occasionally wind up getting pushed to the back of the fridge, only to be discovered a few weeks later when the door is opened with a blaring “What’s that smell?!” But, alas, I do try.

We had a ton of Thanksgiving leftovers as usual. After two nights of eating them as-is with just a mere reheating, I wanted to think of something more creative to do with them. And suddenly, I did: a Thanksgiving Leftovers Quiche!

I’m sure I’m not the first person on the planet to think of this very idea, but I thought I’d share my version, in case there are others out there who have tired of turkey but can’t bear to toss it.

I started with a from scratch pie crust (10 oz AP flour, 7 oz shortening – cut in, 3 oz cold water with 1 tsp kosher salt dissolved in it) pre-baked at 375 for 10 minutes.

quiche crust

Where the magic happens.

Next, I threw in some leftovers. We had turkey, mushrooms and asparagus.

quiche filling

Insert your leftovers here.

Next, I shredded (ok, my husband did the actual shredding) some MontAmore cheese, and sprinkled it on top. By the way, MontAmore is my new favorite cheese. You need to try it. I don’t mess around when it comes to cheese.

quiche cheese

MontAmore = love.

Finally, I made a simple custard (3 eggs, 1 cup milk, a little bit of salt), and added that to the party.

quiche unbaked

Party in a crust.

Next, I baked it for about 40 minutes at 350.

quiche done

A quiche to build a dream on.

Finally, we ate it. And it was better than any Thanksgiving leftovers I’ve ever had before.

quiche eaten

Looks like Pac-Man, tastes like heaven.

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Living, Loving, and Giving Thanks.

Like many others, I was thinking tonight about all I am thankful for. There is much – very very much. More than ever before, I reckon. There are a number of reasons why this is so, from being more aware, to being more open, to giving more of myself – to name a few of the biggies. However, when I think about what I’m most thankful for, one thing comes to mind – and it may come as a surprise to many people. But if it were not for this, I would not be who I am today.

I am thankful for having my heart broken.

Since this fateful event a year and 8 months ago, I believe I have learned more about myself than I had in the 35 years leading up to that day. I learned that being alone is not the same as being lonely. In fact, the opposite is true – it took being thrust unexpectedly into being alone to finally free me of feeling lonely. It allowed me to let people in – really let them in – which was something I could never do before. Sure, I had lots of friends, and some of them I even considered close – but I often felt that they never really knew me. Thanks to my broken heart, I finally was able to share the “real” me with others. And it has made all the difference.

I made a conscious decision to never let my heart close again – to keep sharing, and growing, giving (and forgiving), learning, and most importantly, loving.

I’m thankful everyday for the pure joy of being alive; and for all the friends and loved ones I have the honor of sharing this with. You’re all in my life for a reason, and for that I’m eternally grateful and unquestionably lucky.

And even though in my old age I’ve become more of a Buddhist than a Catholic, I would like close this post with my favorite quote from the Bible – something that’s gotten me through many tough days, and maybe will do the same for some of you – good old Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone. My world is a better place because of you. 🙂

Cranberry, Gingerbread, Pumpkin, oh my!

Thanksgiving may be gone, but the leftovers remain…and will probably for at least a week or so. This is by no means a bad thing, in my book, especially where dessert is concerned. I was particularly busy this Thanksgiving, as I had not one, but three Thanksgiving celebrations to make desserts for! And I couldn’t have been more thankful for the opportunity to do so. Not only did it give me a chance to try out some recipes, but as I mentioned in the past, the flavors of fall are by far my favorite and really do make the best desserts. So this year, I spread my little baking wings, and tried three distinct dessert varieties:

1. Pumpkin.

I wound up making two pumpkin desserts, both from one cake recipe. A pumpkin cake with pumpkin buttercream:

pumpkin inside and outside.

 And out of  the leftover cake and icing, came pumpkin cake balls:

great balls of pumpkin.

 2. Cranberry.

Last year, I made a cranberry fudge pie for the first time. It turned out pretty good, but after a year of schooling, I thought I’d try again, and see if I’ve improved at all in a year.

a year's worth of pastry school was worth it.

 3. Gingerbread.

I’ve been on a gingerbread kick since I made it in class two weeks ago, so I decided to make a gingerbread cake to take over to my parents. Well, in a true act of serendipity, the cake went from good to heavenly by the mere mistake of melting too much butter. I realized it immediately after I had melted it, and didn’t add any extra butter to the recipe, but had this bowl of melted butter just sitting there, with nothing to do. “Hmmm…I bet I could make some sort of glaze with that,” I thought. So I grabbed some cinnamon and confectioners’ sugar, and next thing I knew, I had created an easy, yet amazing buttery glaze which fit the cake like a glove.

MFEO.

 I also added something else to this gingerbread cake which was entirely intentional – mashed pears. I had all these leftover little pears that were starting to turn brown and I really wanted to use them. So, I cut them up, mashed them in a bowl, added some cinnamon and brown sugar, and threw it into the batter. The result? An even moister and flavorful cake!

Now, I should be happy that I wound up with no leftover desserts – it means that everyone really liked them and that’s the goal, right?  Next year, I’ll just have to make them bigger. 😉

Giving thanks.

I’d like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude toward the many people/things/events that touched my life this year. It’s in the most challenging times when you realize what truly matters. So take a moment, look around you, and be thankful for the wonders that abound. Be thankful that you are you. Be thankful for the great friends that stand by you when you can barely stand yourself. Be thankful for every step and every breath you take (Sting was on to something). Be thankful for love, for nature, for your totally awesome cat (ok, or dog). Be thankful for teachers, for the ability to learn endlessly and constantly improve. Be thankful for change, for without it you’d never grow and become better. Be thankful for art, for music, for the ability to forgive. Be thankful for feelings, for understanding, for kindness, for respect, and integrity. Be thankful for work, for play, for laughter and even for tears. Be thankful for strength, and creativity. Be thankful for imagination. Be thankful that you have these things, and if you don’t, be thankful that you are capable of finding and learning them. Live life each day with joy and passion. And no matter where you are, or what you are doing, always remember to be thankful for dessert. 🙂

turkey: it's what's for dessert.

Never take anything for granted;

Always be thankful for the simple things;

Slow down and enjoy every moment;

Love with your whole heart.

 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. 🙂