23 November, 2010

Thanksgiving Feast

I am exhausted, but very happy to report that our class Thanksgiving feast was lovely and I believe, quite successful.

Centerpiece Masterpiece!

Placecard and lovely centerpiece
In preparation for today, yesterday my lovely assistant and I shoved all the shelving over to the sides of the classroom.  (It was a bit unceremonious, but was certainly necessary in terms of space requirements.)  Then we divided our normally grouped together, 4 tables into 2 long tables.  We brought up some adult sized chairs and mixed them in with the child sized chairs.  We weren't quite sure how many parents were coming so we just gave it our best guess and hoped.

Now I will now dispense sagacious advice on hosting a child friendly Thanksgiving feast.  Not that it is so sagacious, but it is time tested, so at least that is something.  Are you ready?  Tah dah!

Here it is:

1.  If you are a classroom teacher, ask parents to help.  My parents were so amazing.  We could never have done it without them.

2.  Cook all you can with the children, ahead of time!  The day before is very good.  Use crock pots if at all possible.

3.  Prepare (if time and space allow) small stations around the room for the children to show their parents food preparation works they have learned since the beginning of the year.

4.   Use as much "fancy" cutlery, dishes, and napkins as possible.  I don't mean the fancy china, but using real dishes as opposed to paper plates really can make all the difference.  Also use cloth napkins and tablecloths.

5.  Help the children iron the tablecloths and cloth napkins, the day before.

6.  Have the children set the tables.

7.  Have the children use the nature table items and whatever else they wish to use from around the room, to arrange centerpieces in the middle of each table.

8.  A good project for the children the day of the feast is making place cards, one for themselves and one or two for parents or grandparents (or whomever) will be attending.

9.  By all means, finish up your feast with a group song.  I highly recommend John Denver's Grandma's Feather Bed.  My class thoroughly enjoys that song every time we sing it, and as some of the children were headed to their grandmothers' houses for the holiday, the song felt extra appropriate.

Here are some more of the children's lovely table decorations:


Here are the 2 recipes we used.  They are quite delicious and honestly, almost ridiculously easy.  Also they cook in the crock pot for a long time, and this kills any germs that may have unwittingly been spread by coughing or sneezing children.  If you decide to make either of these drop me a line, and let me know how you liked them.  Happy Thanksgiving!  : )

Thanksgiving stew recipe (serves 6)
3/4 pound boneless skinless turkey thighs -- cut into bite-sized pieces
2 medium green apples -- cored and diced
2 pounds yams -- peeled and cut into 1" chunks
1/4 cup diced onion
1 cup chicken broth or bouillon
1/2 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
1 tablespoon maple-flavored syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 cup light sour cream or plain nonfat yogurt
Combine all ingredients, except sour cream or yogurt, in crockpot. Cover and cook on Low 6-7 hours or until yams are tender.

Serve in bowls with a dollop of light sour cream or plain nonfat yogurt.
Butternut squash soup
1 butternut squash
2 T olive oil
2 small medium onions, or 2 T onion flakes
4 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
2 small apples, peeled and cubed
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cinnamon
The Directions.
Use at least a 5 quart crockpot for this soup.
Cut the squash in half long ways. This is terribly hard to do. If you microwave the entire squash for 2 to 5 minutes on high, the skin will soften, but you will still need to use a pretty powerful knife. If you can find already peeled and cubed butternut squash use that.  (Some recipes say you can roast the squash whole.  Poke a bunch of holes in it, put it in a pan large enough to hold all the juices, then cook it a long time - maybe 45 minutes or so on 350 degrees.)
Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp. Brush olive oil on the inside of the squash and roast it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until you can peel the skin away from the flesh.
Plug in your crockpot and turn to high. Add the broth, and the onion and apple. Stir in the spices. Cover to let heat.
When the squash has finished roasting, add it to the pot. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on high for about 4. 
Blend in small batches with a stand blender, or carefully blend with an immersible wand.


1 comment:

  1. Everything looks fabulous, and the recipes sound yummy! I just found your blog via The Adventures Of Bear, and I have just hit the jackpot! Your downloads are awesome! I will be using all of them. I once tried to do an artist study on Da Vinci, lets just say it didn't work out. Your printables are sure going to revive this study with the children. They are going to love the activities when I blog about it I definetly will be linking back. Thank you so much for sharing! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!


Thank you for your comments. They are always much appreciated. : )