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Happy Thanksgiving


Before all the cooking starts I wanted to take this opportunity to wish all of you that celebrate Thanksgiving a wonderful holiday. We have so much to be thankful for, I know I do and putting aside the food we should pause and give thanks for everything, a warm home, plentiful food, family and friends and I think about those that do not have this. Whether human or animal I have to stop and remember those that are not as blessed. Thank you to all of you who have stuck with me and have been so encouraging.

Have a joyous day with friends and family and enjoy all the delicious food. 

Suzanne and Percy and my sweet angels Izzy and Nando who crossed the rainbow bridge




Photo by James Ransom

Photo by James Ransom

Every year I make the same meal for Thanksgiving, there is little to no variations year to year because everyone loves it that way. It makes things easier sort of, the only planning involves the shopping and of course the preparation. I try to make as much in advance as possible to save myself work on the big day. This will be Percy’s first Thanksgiving with me and I plan on giving him a plate of food along with the rest of my guests. I am excited that this year my two cousins will be joining me as well. My menu is very basic, nothing fancy but everything is homemade and has withstood the test of time. The dishes on the menu are linked to former posts so that you can see the recipes. Mashed potatoes, well, no recipe required, so my potatoes have not lumps I use the food mill and then simply add sour cream, butter and salt and pepper, thats all, the same goes for the pumpkin pie, I used canned pumpkin and follow the instructions on the back of the can, I’ve tried other methods and quite honestly the results are so similar it’s not worth the extra effort. The meal is always served with wine, this year a Cabernet Sauvignon, Lambrusco, Sparkling blanc de blanc and I am still undecided on whether to serve a Chardonnay or white bordeaux.

Thanksgiving Menu

butter and herb roast turkey


mashed potatoes

oven roasted brussells sprouts


cranberry sauce

dinner rolls



Pecan Pie

Apple Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Spiced Apple Pecan Loaf And An Auction For Charity

3 mini loaves

3 mini loaves

You all know about my passion for animals and that I work with rescue and animal related charities. One of the groups I work with is called PugsquadSOS. We recently had an auction to benefit a small animal rescue group in upstate NY and I donated homemade baked goods. One of the items I included in this box of treats is this homemade spiced apple loaf. I used my banana bread recipe and adapted it for apples adding some warm autumnal spices and homemade applesauce. It turned out really well, the bread is not overly sweet, is light and smells wonderful because of the spices. This loaf along with other homemade baked goods is currently up for grabs on Instagram, we are raising money for 2 little dogs that need very expensive life saving surgeries and their families do not have the means to pay for it. If any of you would like to bid on my offering or any of the items on instagram go to @portiathepug_paw_pal_auction.

I am bringing these loaves with me to Fiesta Friday #145, last week I co hosted and this week we will all be voting on the feature recipes.

I would also be remiss if I did not acknowledge our veterans today. Thank you to the men, women and canine corp that sacrificed life and limb so that we may enjoy the freedom and safety that sadly we sometimes take for granted, without their bravery it would be a far different world. Bless our Veterans and take care of them each and every day and not just on Veterans Day.

Spiced Apple Pecan Loaf

Makes 1 standard size loaf or 3 mini loaves

4 oz (1 stick) softened butter

1 cup sugar (preferably organic)

2 eggs at room temperature

1  cups flour

1/2 cup spelt flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp allapice

1/4 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 heaping cup applesauce (I used homemade unsweetened and it was about 1 1/4 cups)

1/2 cup creme fraiche or sour cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped roasted pecans

1 apple peel left on, cored and cut into thin slices

Pre heat oven to 350 degree’s. Butter or grease standard size loaf pan or 3 mini pans.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. While creaming the butter sift or whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and spices.  Add eggs one at a time beating between each addition until eggs are incorporated. Add the flour mixture and beat only until combined. Add the applesauce, creme fraiche and vanilla and beat until combined. Fold in the pecans and scrape into baking pans. Place apple slices and whole pecans on top and bake until golden brown and when tester inserted it comes out clean. This will take close to an hour for a large loaf and about 25 minutes for 3 mini loaves.


Auction items

Auction items

The winning bid will receive:
1 dozen chocolate chip cookies

1 dozen healthful dog cookies

1 dozen fig/pistachio rugelach

1 dozen ginger spice molassess cookies

1 mini loaf banana bread

1 mini loaf spiced apple pecan bread

Beetroot, preserved lemon, dill & verjus sabja seed ‘risotto’- A Guest Post By Elaine

I am very excited about this guest post, I have know Elaine@foodbod for a long time, she is a constant source of inspiration for me and I am so grateful that she made this lovely dish especially for this post. Thank you so much Elaine, I admire your talent, your delicious recipes constantly remind me that healthful, clean, whole food does not have to be boring, it’s beautiful, vibrant, exciting and most importantly delicious. What she does with vegetables and spices is downright sexy. I follow Elaine on instagram as well and she checks up on me, giving me pepp talks and words of encouragement. It means the world to me, thank you Elaine and I think this dish is spectacular. I am bringing this dish to Fiesta Friday #144, I have been delinquent for a few weeks and thought this very delicious and special dish would make a great addition to the party. The cohosts this week are, me, moi, I (LOL) and the talented and lovely Margy@La Petite Casserole. Hope you all join the fun!!

Beetroot, preserved lemon, dill & verjus sabja seed ‘risotto’



I’m so happy to be here again, doing a guest post for lovely Suzanne, such a lovely friend in our blog world. Suzanne has recently made some changes to her food choices, and has been doing brilliantly at increasing the health benefits of her meals and enhancing how she feels physically. Change isn’t always easy and I fully support everything she is doing; my recipe(s) will hopefully provide some more food for thought…

It all began when I read a post from Mollie for a spicy tomato jam; I like the idea of jams and chutneys, but I don’t like the sugar. I don’t eat sugar in any kind of form, except for the odd banana, but I realise that sugar assists in giving jam it’s texture and general gloopiness, so my brain started to tick… I’ve seen lots of recipes for using chia seeds to make jam, but I don’t actually like chia seeds (I know it’s sacrilege to say that, but I really don’t like the flavour or texture of the tiny seeds); I’ve also seen sabja or basil seeds used in the same way, which intrigued me. You can find these seeds in Asian stores or online.


Sabja seeds swell to many many times their size when added to liquid, without adding a strong flavour, but with bringing huge nutritional benefits, and being great for digestion. For more information about these little seeds, check out these links:

Sabja seeds are typically used in drinks or sweet offerings, but my mission was to use them in savoury creations, so for my first experiment, I utilised Mollie’s recipe, left out the apple juice and the sugar, but added sabja seeds. And created a great spicy tomato sauce…



Spicy Tomato Jam

They work really well, they bulk out the sauce, and don’t quite create the jam like consistency I’d hoped for, but do act as a thickener, whilst adding all their goodness. If you try the sauce cold, you can detect the seeds moreso than when you eat it warm, not unpleasantly, but when you eat them warm, they merely melt into the sauce. I’ve eaten this with various vegetables, I think it would be good with pasta too.


Next experiment: I wanted to try out the seeds as a rice replacement in a risotto style dish, just because I wanted to see how it would work, and again, it would create a great healthy dish. And I can tell you, this works really well!!!! If you are looking to cut done on calories or carbs, or just want to increase nutrients in your diet, I think this might be useful for you. Or, like me, if you just fancy experimenting, give it a go!




Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 banana shallots, peeled and finely chopped
5 baby beetroots, cooked
100-150ml verjus/verjuice (you could use white wine if you like)
Handful of fresh dill, roughly chopped
35g sabja/basil seeds
1 preserved lemon, drained, washed, flesh removed & discarded, and skin finally chopped

Optional to serve: Crushed roasted hazelnuts, goats cheese




Firstly, purée three of the baby beetroot with a couple of tablespoons of the verjus (make sure you try a bit of this puree, it’s so good!) and roughly chop the other two.

Use a pan with a lid.

Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a pan over a medium heat, then add the shallots and cook until nicely softened.

Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so.

Add the puréed beetroot, chopped beetroot, preserved lemons, dill and verjus, and any beetroot juice, and cook until the beetroot is nicely warm.

Add the sabja seeds, stir it all well, and continue to cook over the heat for a few minutes. Turn of the heat, put the lid over the pan and leave it for a few minutes before serving, this allows the seeds to really plump up.

Stir well before serving.



Serve with a sprinkle of finely grated cheese, or stir through some soft goats cheese and sprinkle with crushed roasted hazelnuts.

This is a light version of a risotto idea, I found it sufficiently filling and interesting to eat on its own. If you like a richer risotto, stir through some mascarpone, or cream, whatever is your choice; I also kept mine quite chunky, I like to be able to chew my food, but feel free to chop everything finer or purée all of the beetroots if you’d prefer a smoother version – but do try it as it is first and see what you think.


And there you go, something familiar, yet different, I hope you like it. Thank you for having me Suzanne xxx