I love a good holiday card. For all the hassle, family photos wind up being sweet and occasionally goofy reminders of the most important part of this time of year: the joy of togetherness.
This season is a chance to enjoy time with loved ones. Whether your family is lighting a Menorah, gathering around the Christmas tree, or posing for a holiday photo, I hope you take a moment to pause and take it all in.
I’m sharing our photo with you today because I want to spread the joy of this season and wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday.
I also want to thank you for being a part of my extended grassroots campaign family. I consider myself lucky to be able to serve the people of Minnesota, and you play a big role in making that possible.
Thank you, and have a wonderful and safe holiday season.
P.S. My heart is always full around this time of year, but I definitely don’t neglect my stomach either. As you can see from the recipes below, that would require some serious willpower. Try a few for yourself!
AUNTIE CARLA’S PUMPKIN CORNBREAD
It is impossible to just have one piece.
2 cups cornmeal
2 cups white flour
1 cup sugar
2 tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. On the first speed of a hand or standing mixer, beat together the eggs, oil, pumpkin puree, and milk.
4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry in three batches with a rubber spatula. The batter will be smooth, and is more fluffy than liquidy.
5. Pour the batter into a 9 by 13 baking pan (or two loaf pans), and place in the middle rack of the oven.
6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick stuck in the middle of the cornbread comes out dry.
7. Let the cornbread cool for ten minutes, and then cut into pieces and serve.
THOMASIN’S ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 in. cubed chunks
3 tbs. unsalted butter, cut into small chunks, plus more for greasing the pan
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbs. light brown sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Grease a cookie sheet, and scatter the squash chunks on it.
3. Evenly spread out the chunks of butter among the squash, and sprinkle the cinnamon and brown sugar evenly on the squash.
4. Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until the squash is tender. You can poke the squash with a cake tester, a fork, or a small knife to test.
FRANNI’S PAUL BUNYAN DOUBLE CRUST APPLE PIE
12 medium granny smith apples
1 cup sugar
3 heaping tablespoons flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Dash of salt
3 tbs butter, softened
¼ cup lemon yogurt
1 tbs milk
1 10” deep dish pie plate
1. Core and peel apples. Slice in ½ moons about 1/8” thick.
2. Place in extra large bowl, then, using thin slices, evenly distribute the butter within the apples.
3. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl and add to apples, evenly coating all apple slices.
4. Roll out one crust and place in pie dish.
5. Combine milk and yogurt. Add to apples slices in bowl so all slices are evenly coated.
6. Spoon apple slices into pie plate in circular layers, building apples to a center mound.
7. Roll out second crust. Place on top of apples, molding crust to the mound.
8. Trim, crimp edges, and cut out vents using a knife or decorative cutter.
9. Lightly brush crust with milk or left over juice from apples.
10. Pie may boil over so place on a tin foil pizza pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, occasionally checking crust. Serves 14 to 16.
AL’S WILD RICE STUFFING
It’s great alone, but Thomasin loves mixing it up with peas, mashed potatoes, and gravy.
1 lb. Wild rice (Mahnomen)
one stick butter
ten cloves of garlic
3 medium sized yellow onions
4 stalks of celery
2 lbs. White button mushrooms
salt to taste
1. In a colander, rinse the wild rice.
2. Put the rice in a pot, and cover with 3 inches of water. Boil in a pot, uncovered, for about 20 to 25 minutes. If you’re using Mahnomen wild rice, it will cook more quickly than the paddy variety.
3. While the rice is boiling, slice (do not mince) the mushrooms, onions, garlic, and celery.
4. Melt the butter in a skillet, and sauté the onions, garlic, and celery until they begin to bleed a little liquid into the butter. Then add the mushrooms. The celery and onions should not be totally soft.
5. Once the rice has cooked, drain it and add to the sautéed vegetables.
6. Add salt to taste, and stuff into the turkey before roasting. The rest can be eaten as a side dish at dinner.