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Posted By Susan Bernhardt
If you've ever seen Norman Rockwell's painting of Thanksgiving, 
that's how Kay could best describe the holiday at her parent's 
home in eastern Wisconsin. With her parents, six siblings and 
their spouses, and twenty grandchildren, a crowd gathered each 
Thanksgiving Day. Of course, not everyone came each year, but 
still...there was a lot of family that gathered to spend this 
important holiday together, a day for gratitude and thankfulness 
for abundance. 

Kay realized that not everyone was so fortunate as to have a good 
meal, a comfortable home, or a loving family to spend the holiday 
season with. Before heading off to their Thanksgiving celebration, 
Kay and Phil took a small portion of their time and bounty to 
ensure that the less fortunate would at least have a hot meal and 
a place to go for the holiday. 

Kay thought her mother was a great cook. Her mom started roasting 
the turkey, the largest she and Kay's dad could find, early 
Thanksgiving morning. The turkey was stuffed with a sausage and 
vegetable dressing and expertly trussed. As family woke up that 
morning and came downstairs, the aroma of turkey roasting in the 
oven permeated the house. After breakfast, the children watched 
the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, while visiting and 
preparations were going on in the kitchen.

Two children's tables were set in the kitchen, while in the dining 
room, there was a large table for the adults, and another smaller 
table in the living room for the overflow. For many years, 
grandparents were in the mix.

Kay and her mother believed that the food should not only taste 
great but should be attractive, colorful, which made it healthy as 
well. Fresh vegetables of all colors, orange, yellow, green, and 
red were prepared and served in bowls set at each table. Some were 
preserved from their organic garden. After grace was said and a 
toast made, the family's Thanksgiving feast began.

Afterwards, while the tables were being cleared and desserts 
prepared for serving, those lucky enough not to be in the kitchen 
were either visiting in the living room or watching the football 
games on television. When the time came for dessert, pieces of 
pumpkin and mincemeat pie, and coffee were served.

Soon, the stores would be opening their doors for the Christmas 
shopping season, the sales floors transformed into landscapes of 
evergreens and red ribbons. Christmas music would be playing on 
the radio, and everyone preparing themselves for Yuletide cheer. 
But for now, the family was together to celebrate good food and 
good times with good people. Everyone was thankful to spend this 
time together, and Kay's family Thankgivings always went late into 
the night. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


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Posted By Susan Bernhardt
The aroma of home cooked vegetable soup filled the kitchen. 
Deirdre stood over the stove adding herbs from her garden to the 
pot. She had roasted the organic vegetables before hand to enhance 
their flavor. Soup was one of Deirdre's favorite healthy comfort 
foods. She believed in a connection between physical health and 
spiritual health. Her homemade vegetable soup increased positive 
feelings on a cold and dreary autumn day.

To reduce the consumption of unwanted toxins, Deirdre tried to 
make meatless meals  from the  lower end of the food chain, a 
couple of times each week depending on plants, grains, nuts, and 
seeds. Using the vegetables from her garden and buying organic 
produce gave her body a break from the pesticides and herbicides 
used in most commercial agriculture. 

One of the main ingredients of the soup was carrots from her 
garden.  Besides sweetening the broth and tasting great, they 
provided a rich source of caroteinoids, potent antioxidants found 
in orange, yellow, and red vegetables and fruits. There is a 
correlation between carotenoid rich foods and the prevention of 
heart disease.  In a recent study, people consuming at least one 
daily serving of carrots or squash had a significant decrease in 
heart attack and stroke risk. Scientists at the CDC have found 
alpha-carotene to be effective in inhibiting the growth of cancer 
cells. The liver converts beta-carotene to Vitamin A, Vitamin A 
being an essential component in eye health.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

5 large carrots, chopped
5 stalks of celery, chopped
2 tomatoes quartered
1 large onion chopped
½ to 1 minced serrano pepper (optional – spicy)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
6 cups water
¼ cup dried mushrooms. (Deirdre used porcini mushrooms Kay brought 
back from Italy for her.)
1 teasp. dried thyme
1-2 whole bay leaves. Be sure to remove before serving or put in a 
spice ball.
Salt, pepper to taste (minimal)

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Toss the vegetables in the olive oil 
and put in pan. Bake 30 minutes until vegetables are browned. 
Remove pan from oven. Put one cup of water in pan and loosen any 
vegetables that might be stuck. Transfer vegetables to a pot. Add 
remaining ingredients. Bring this to a boil, reduce heat and 
simmer for an 30 minutes.  

This can be also be used as vegetable stock for other soups, 
sauces, stews, and pasta dishes. 


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Susan Bernhardt


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