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As I mentioned, this week contained Veteran's Day and I'd like to talk about making a Festive meal for those who are lucky enough to have their own service member's home for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas and New Year's.

Being a traditionalist, I'm all for the Turkey or Ham dinners with all the appropriate sides. I'd say go for a Standing Rib Roast as well, but I leave that up to your family and their traditions.  What I like to do is step up the usual dishes by tweaking them up a bit.

Turkey lovers try stuffing the bird with various citrus and herbs.  I love to use tangerines and limes instead of oranges.  I have rosemary a plenty so I usually tuck sprigs under the breast skin as well as in the cavity.

Everyone serves cranberry sauce-but try making your homemade version a bit less sweet and use a nice cabernet or merlot in place of the water or juice.  

As you all know-I make a mean and famous mashed potato recipe that has been published numerous times.  It's a mixture of cauliflower and potatoes and its low in fat.

Green bean casserole?  Make it with fresh beans that have been lightly steamed and homemade mushroom gravy and fresh pearl onions instead of the frozen and canned stuff.  Go ahead and used the "canned fried onions" if you must-or try topping the casserole with some other crunchy topping!  Maybe a savory streusel?

No one wants a holiday without some kind of pumpkin dessert-try a pumpkin/apple streusel or maybe a lite mousse.

Do something special for your veggie tray or salad.  Try a couple of new vegetables or a different dip or two.  On the salad-use different greens, spicy instead of sweet toasted nuts, a homemade dressing instead of off the dressing aisle! And if you use pre-made, try some new and different tastes.

Our family members who are in the service deserve the best when they come home and we deserve the best to enjoy the precious moments with them!


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