Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving, Advent, and Turkey Salad on a Roll

Youngest showing her Turkey Spirit
JULIA: It's the last day of Thanksgiving vacation and the first Sunday of Advent, the liturgical season preceding Christmas. Advent is a nice balance to the pre-Christmas craziness, because it calls people to slow down, anticipate, and be mindful. For us, it means keeping the run-up to the holiday gradual; so today we'll put up some outside decorations (if the drizzle stops.) Next Sunday, the Smithie (and me, a little) will do indoor decorating. The third Sunday is known as Rose or Refreshment or, if you're British, "Stir-up" Sunday, and that's when we get our tree. 

Yes, that's our Shih Tzu on my sister's deck. He came along!
In some ways, I think instead of "keeping the Christmas spirit all year long," we should try to keep the Thanksgiving spirit throughout December - that kind of fun, mellow appreciation of family and friends. Yes, we stress on Thanksgiving - how can we bake the cornbread if the turkey's not out yet? What do we say when Great-Uncle Bob tries to hand out Trump bumper stickers? But nobody except Martha Stewart is trying to make Thanksgiving perfect. Good is good enough. 

The Boy and the Boy Wonder
So today's recipe is an turkey salad that uses the ingredients you still have hanging about in your fridge and pantry. Perfect for dinner tonight with soup or for your lunch bag tomorrow. Sadly, I have no turkey (!) so I think I'll pick up a plump chicken on the way home from church and roast that.

The original recipe was created by Jocelyn of inside BruCrew Life, a baking blog which has some great recipes.

3 cups cooked shredded turkey
3/4 cup chopped pecans
2 celery stalks, diced
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup diced apple chunks
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (Jocelyn substitutes this for half the mayo you might ordinarily use to cut the fat/calories down)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup fresh finely diced parsley (I actually had leftover spinach leaves when I made this salad last year, and they worked fine.)
salt and pepper to taste
King's Hawaiian dinner rolls (the original sponsors of the recipe. I used regular leftover white dinner rolls - for some reason, there is always one unopened sheet of dinner rolls after my holiday meals - but since we love Hawaiian bread, I can only imagine how delicious the salad would be on these.)

Mix it together. Yes, that's the sum of the preparation. My favorite kind of recipe. No, wait, I'll add a final instruction:

Relax while you enjoy your sandwich!
Me, the girls and Robbie at the National Zoo. We're all holding leaves Robbie gave us.


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  2. YUM! That sounds fabulously delicious. And Julia, you are a constant treasure.

    Today for me--turkey soup. Any recommendations or suggestions?

  3. Wishing we had leftovers to make this from - My daughter hosted our Thanksgiving in Brooklyn and though she did send us home with leftovers, we inhaled them the minute we got home.

    I agree, Julia, the Thanksgiving spirit is lovely and not nearly as frantic or commercial as Christmas. Hanukah is actually pretty low key and nice and what's not to like about potato latkes?

  4. Julia, I love the pictures of your beautiful family! I just know that spending time with you all would be so much fun and so interesting. I'm imagining what delightful repartee would be floating in the air.

    The turkey salad recipe sounds yummy, but I'll probably just heat up some mashed potatoes and green beans to accompany sliced turkey. I'll get a couple of turkey sandwiches out of the leftover turkey, too, and I'd love to try a potato pancake with some of the mashed potatoes. My father always fixed himself a potato pancake the next day when we had any leftover mashed potatoes. My husband left to go back to Kansas this morning and took half of the leftovers back with him, but there is still a good little amount for me.

  5. Julia, the photos are lovely--so easy to see how relaxed and enjoyable your time together was! Especially love the photo of you and your girls and the little one at the zoo--so much fun to go to the zoo with kids (be the old or young!).

    We don't get too frantic about Christmas here--the tree will go up in a week or so, along with some other Christmas must-haves--the boys' snow globes from when they were little--etc--and the baking will commence--and requests for once-a-year-favorites--and we'll remember our loved ones (my mom was a Christmas baby and my dad born on New Years' Eve), and plan time to spend with those we love!

    Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season from now until the New Year rings in!

  6. What a wonderful family and delightful pictures.

  7. Just in from Church to find this delicious-sounding recipe [and it's been warm enough here that there's still parsley growing in the herb garden on the front porch!] . . . we'll definitlely give this a try.

    Love the thought of keeping the Thanksgiving spirit throughout the holiday season. It's a perfect idea. Thanks for sharing the lovely pictures of your family . . . .

  8. Thanks for sharing the wonderful pictures, and the delicious recipe. We had lots and lots of turkey so I can give it a try.

    When my children were still living at home we eased into the season gradually; every weekend brought another event. The first thing was bringing out the Christmas dishes. Now that we have matured a bit, we do the decorating more at one time because we poop out more quickly.

  9. Julia, love the recipe, and love the sentiment and the pictures even more.

    Today it is pouring here (again) and some friends and I and my daughter are making a quilt top for the expected granddaughter. We have things for sandwiches and my friend's manicotti for dinner.

    So a lovely, productive, and very laid back day, and I'd say we are keeping the spirit of Christmas.

  10. I love your idea about keeping the Thanksgiving spirit alive through December, Julia. Thank you for that and the great photos.

    I finished my Thanksgiving leftovers yesterday, but did make Rhys' parsnip soup yesterday as well, so I'm good to go for a couple of days.

    Enjoying temps in low 60s here in Solana Beach. Here's to a smooth re-entry into the work week for all!


  11. Advent definitely holds me in check -- I could go Christmas crazy! I love Advent -- the beautiful anticipation of joy. Thanks for the reminder.

    I did not make an enormous turkey, so with soup yesterday we are done with left-overs, and I am happier about that. We're having pizza tonight as a last celebration of this holiday before we all disperse and study and work and get things done.

    We are so spoiled this year by the beautiful autumn weather (Cape Cod).

  12. The other thing I almost wish we could keep were the Thanksgiving temperatures - as you can see from the pictures, it looks like early fall. The day after T'giving, when we took Robbie to the zoo, it was almost 70!!

    Alas, back here in Maine it's a high of 42 and expected overnight lows of 17.

    Oh, and I'm still so tired from the 12 hour drive yesterday, I decided not to roast a chicken. Ross is making spaghetti carbonara instead. And that will be good enough!

  13. Sounds tasty! I'm with you on the gradual approach to decorating. I've started treating the assortment of items like a big Advent calendar, taking out a few each day, just "enough" to feel the spirit. "Enough" is a great goal. ;-)

  14. lovely blog Julia, so nice to share some of your weekend. No wonder you are exhausted from the drive! Spaghetti sounds perfect

  15. Spaghetti--PERFECT!

    My soup turned out fine..made real stock, cooked it four hours! ANd worth it. Whoa. My short story is taking longer than that..

    Love you all...and glad you all are safely home, Julia!

  16. Welcome home, Julia. I'm not complaining about the temps. FB reminded me that 2 years ago it was 3 degrees.

    Pens! I adore fountain pens. I was in San Francisco a few weeks ago and visited a craft fair at the Ferry Building. Among the jewelry and woodworking stalls was one selling handmade fountain pens. They started around $250. A bit too rich for me but I would love a fancy Mont Blanc.

    My husband is a scrooge about Christmas and wouldn't put up even a window light if I didn't do it. I'll take a day in the next few weeks to decorate inside and out. I'd love to make one of the book trees I've seen.