Thanksgiving is typically a very traditional holiday for most families, including mine. It’s often filled with the same people, the same food, and the same rituals year after year. That’s what makes it so comforting.
But this year my Thanksgiving was a blend of the old and the new. It was filled with most of my favourite things that makes Thanksgiving feel so familiar, but with some new twists and perhaps even new traditions. It was different, yet still had all the elements that make Thanksgiving so special.
On Sunday I went to JZ’s family’s Thanksgiving for the first time and got to partake in their traditions including his grandma’s Slovenian soup and an intense game of Blackjack! I made these apple spice cupcakes with cinnamon cream cheese frosting from Canadian Living to contribute to the meal. They were basic cupcakes, but the caramel topper I made using this tutorial really made them stand out!
My family’s Thanksgiving was on Monday. Like always, we went to the Norfolk County Fair beforehand. It no longer holds the same appeal now that I’m older and don’t care for the rides or games, but I keep going back because of its nostalgic meaning to me. And I still enjoy the horse shows and giant pumpkins!
Our Thanksgiving meal was essentially the same as every family holiday dinner, right down to the side dishes. Despite eating the same thing two or three times a year for my entire life, I still look forward to their familiar flavours every time!
I like to add a twist every year by contributing a new side dish though. This year I made this roasted squash with lemon tahini sauce from Bon Appetit, which was a hit amongst all the squash lovers in my family. The slightly bitter, tangy sauce was a good complement to the sweetness of the squash.
The real side dish standout was my dad’s cheesy baked cauliflower though. With a topping made of mayonnaise and two types of cheese, it will convert even the biggest cauliflower skeptics (just ask JZ)! I love the dish as is, but as an experiment, I decided to try making a lighter version with the leftover cauliflower.
To lighten it up slightly, I replaced the mayo with Greek yogurt and reduced the cheese by just a touch. The result was a healthier version of my dad’s dish without sacrificing any flavour.
See? Sometimes slightly changing traditions can be a good thing.
- 4 cups large cauliflower florets
- ½ cup shredded extra old cheddar cheese
- 1 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- 1.5 tbsp plain 2% Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Salt to taste
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Fill a large pot with about 1 inch of water, and bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower and let cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until it is tender and able to be pierced with a fork. Then drain and place in a 1 to 1.5 quart baking dish and sprinkle with salt.
- In a small bowl, combine the cheddar, Parmesan, Greek yogurt, and Dijon mustard. Stir to mix well, then spread it on top the cauliflower.
- Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese starts to brown.
What are your Thanksgiving traditions?