"The best of times are always found,
When family & friends are gathered around."
This is truly my favorite time of year because the heat of the summer is tamed, the farm work outside is mostly done and it's now time to spend hours inside with friends and family. By enjoying the harvest from the summer's hard work and keeping warm by the fireside. Be it a fall family gathering and Christmas meals or anything in-between, this is a time for family, food and giving thanks to our Creator for the seasons abundance!
Sometimes though it's easy to get stumped on what to make with that abundance. That is why we gathered 14 recipes from farm/homestead blogs to liven up your holiday meals. It's time to gather, celebrate and enjoy food that is as good as the company we are with! Farmhouse style.
Growing up I looked forward to these family visits so much that I made my self sick almost every holiday. Well to be truthful some of it was the anxiousness and anticipation but some of it was also the food that got eaten at those visits too. Many of the common dishes served were not always real food, from scratch recipes. They were some times processed, containing lots of refined sugar, processed and bleached flour that had been devitalized of its nutrients.
While everything tasted fabulous and looked fantastic, the nutrition was lacking in areas. There is a way to enjoy all the traditional food we love with more nutrients though, by just swapping out bad ingredients for the good. The following are 14 recipes for family gatherings that are sure to delight the taste buds but also nourish the body as well!
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Having a boatload of hungry guests could be the perfect storm unless you have the appetizers lined up and ready to go while they wait for their meal. Kick off family and friend gathers off right with a cheese board or grazing board. This one has a twist though as it is not just any 'ole cheese pairing but tea and cheese! (What else did you expect from this tea sommelier right?!) Not only does this take care of your appetizer checklist but it also helps with the drink list as well. Add in some other grazing board favorites such as chocolate cherry bark, sea salted hazelnuts, green tea and cumin crackers and some cured meats and you are ready to go. Read more about pairing tea and cheese here.
Nothing like the need to start off a party or family gathering right! Continuing on with the cheese theme is this fabulous pairing with Blueberry Orange Spice fruit spread. What is a fruit spread? It's like a jam but one that cannot be labeled as such as it has a higher content of fruit rather than sugar. Jam has more sugar than fruit. The higher fruit combo is not only healthier but also more flavorful as it is packed full of actual fruit. Not only do we love this recipe for Baked Brie from Mt. Hope Farms but their fruit spreads are some of the finest. Which is proved by their winning streak in the Good Food Awards!
Start your party off right with some Turkey Pinwheel appetizers. Very simple to make and easy to do ahead of your gathering. These Turkey Pinwheels are also infused with some herbal cranberry goodness. Also a great recipe for left over turkey and left over cranberry sauce! These turkey pinwheels also make an excellent lunch the next day. Find the recipe for these cranberry turkey pinwheels here.
Add a little twist to your gathering and a healthful punch with these Spicy & Fermented Green Beans from The Healing Harvest Homestead. Naturally fermented veggies provide a huge serving of natural probiotics (as we refer to them in this house, "good bugs") for your gut. Not only are they helpful to a healthy digestive system but they will make an excellent addition to your cheese plate, grazing platter and or main dish. Grab the recipe for Spicy Fermented Green Beans here!
See that potato masher there? Yep the hand held one. I still use a hand held one to mash all of our potatoes. Even with a Kitchen Aide Stand Mixer, this is the way I prefer to do it. Why you ask? My grandpa. I have so many memories of him making mashed potatoes and mashing them with a hand masher. It seems like he was 80 and still over there mashing potatoes - he is also why we still hand wash our floors with a rag. But I digress.....
There is something about keeping a tradition alive and passing it down along with the story. Do you have any traditions like that? Maybe it's a recipe that grandma use to make? Some family favorite. Any how, THAT is why I still use a hand masher. But alas, there must be something to mash, which leads us to The Prairie Homestead's Best Mashed Potato Recipe ever. Perfect and creamy.
Soft, light and fluffy savory scones are just the thing to compliment your other fall dinner dishes. These Rosemary Gruyere Savory Scones are addicting and go perfectly with your turkey dinner or any family gathering. A truly southern dish paired with fresh rosemary and gruyere cheese, this scone recipe is sure to be a favorite. Grab the recipe, and the DIY savory scone video here.
Photo Courtesy of The Healing Harvest Homestead
Cranberries are a must have at any fall gathering! Bring this unique recipe to your next gathering, brought to us by The Healing Harvest Homestead! Fermented cranberries with all the spices of fall from orange zest to cinnamon, clove and ginger! Or add which ever spices you desire! Some of our Oregon Mulling Spices would be a fantastic addition to this recipe. Not only will this be tasty addition to your fall meal but it helps out gut health just like the Spicy Green Beans above AND the addition of the health promoting spices to boot. Plus they are super simple to make and last a long time in the fridge. Perfect for any impromptu gatherings. Grab the recipe for Fermented Cranberries here.
Photo Courtesy of The Elliot Homestead
There is just something about Shaye Elliot's recipes that scream love. I think its the heart and dedication that she puts into everything and it starts with how she grows the bulk of their own food. The love starts in the garden, shows up in the kitchen and ends up on the plate. Not just plopped there to nourish family but served up perfectly with a dollop of love.
These Spiced Sweet Potato Souffles with Roasted Walnuts are no different! Made with wholesome all natural ingredients, super simple but made to impress. This sweet potato recipe is the one to share at your holiday family gathering for sure! Grab the recipe for this fabulous dish here on Shaye's blog, and thank you Shaye for an excuse to finally buy my own set of ramekins.
Photo Courtesy of The Prairie Homestead
Everyone gather around, it's time to carve the turkey! The mainstay of many family gatherings around the table is a roasted turkey. I have many memories of my grandpa and my dad carving the turkey as it came out of the oven. "Testing" it to make sure that it was just right! And then a few other family members coming in to "test" and offer their opinion as well. Sadly turkey's are one of the items this time of year that are full of the most junk. While it basically looks the same as a pastured raised free range turkey, conventional turkeys are typically raised in crowded confined areas and so many of them "vegetarian fed". Let me tell you what, ladies and gentleman, turkeys ARE NOT VEGETARIAN and neither are chickens for that matter. In fact our rooster the other day caught a mouse and was running around trying to keep the hens from it. To keep the hens at bay he swallowed the thing in one gulp. A pastured raised, free range bird will also save you some of the sleepiness you get after your big turkey dinner and the flavor will be worth it. Grab a sure fire way to cook up your prize turkey over at The Prairie Homestead blog.
Photo Courtesy of The Elliot Homestead
We have this dream on our small micro farm that some day we will raise all of our own food. While we make some head way every year in the vegetable department the meat department is an area we haven't seemed to tread on much. We have raised one lamb up enough to put in the freezer. Even that didn't go so well, as "Big Boy," the ram, ended up there because he was eating all the chicken feed. Let me tell you what, we proved why grain fed lamb is a bad idea. There wasn't much meat and the fat was abundant. I don't know about you but loads of lamb fat are hard on my digestive system. Grass fed is totally the way to go.
Raising pork is also on our bucket list. Some day when we also get that milk cow and have lots of milk to feed the pig. The children already have the said pig named - actually two pigs. Chris P. Bacon and My Nice Old Pig (a.k.a. MNOP, also the name of the place that the Farmer works at). So in the mean time I dream of making our own ham. I might just have to hunt one down this holiday season so that I can take advantage of this fabulous recipe from The Elliot Homestead.
Photo Courtesy of Melissa K. Norris
Cooking for just a few people or a smaller crowd? Sometimes a whole turkey or ham is just too much. A whole chicken is a good plan in this case. In fact, if your turkey doesn't defrost all the way, 3-4 chickens in instant pots will save you in a pinch. Ask me how I know. Though back when I needed that option the Instant Pot wasn't in existence yet. Melissa K. Norris has a great recipe for making a whole chicken quick over on her blog, grab the recipe here.
What is a fall gathering without pumpkin pie?! Have you noticed a theme in our recipe selection? All these lovely recipes are based on healthy homemade ingredients! Our pumpkin pie pick wouldn't be anything less. Jill from The Prairie Homestead takes this traditional pumpkin pie recipe and turns it into a healthful option. Sometimes I even justify it as breakfast ;) Hey - it's a vegetable with eggs, starch and natural sweetener. Sounds like the perfect breakfast to me! Grab this fabulous Honey Pumpkin Pie recipe over on the Prairie Homestead Blog. You won't be sorry, trust me. You might just make an extra one to have for breakfast all week or to share.
"Jello"! A recipe must have since the 1950's for so many family gatherings! This gelatin takes on a whole new life though as we infuse organic all natural herbal cranberry tea into it for flavor and color, making sure to skip the dangerous dyes that are in boxed gelatin. To kick the health factor up a notch this recipe also replaces processed sugar with a natural sugar alternative. Grab the recipe for this healthy "jello" gelatin and use grass-fed gelatin for an extra nutritional boost! Great for an appetizer, dessert or side!
Oh my goodness! I saw this photo and I think I almost drooled.... ok maybe not but I thought about it! This fantastic recipe from Melissa K. Norris is the perfect addition to any fall gathering. It brings back tradition by keeping alive Grandma's cooking. Intimidated by making a pumpkin roll? No need to worry as Melissa has a video of how to make it as well as the recipe! Nothing like watching some one make it before attempting it yourself. Grab the recipe for this Pumpkin Roll and the video over on Melissa's blog.
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