PATSY R. BRUMFIELD: Beginning to feel like soup time

It’s a good time around my house for lots of reasons.
1. I shut down all heating and cooling. That means my utility bill just might be tolerable, for once, if I’d quit running the sprinklers on the flower beds and garden.
2. The little freezer above the refrigerator starts getting inventoried and its contents emptied out as soup ingredients.
3. The more room I’ve got in the freezer, the more likely I am to start cooking for Thanksgiving.
Saturday, I made a most delectable vegetable soup with homemade veggie stock instead of chicken broth. I used all sorts of red, green and yellow tomatoes and peppers stored away for just such an occasion. My vegetarian daughter sounded her praises, and I even had a quart to take to my friend Pamela, who got herself into a car wreck by thinking she could cross two lanes of North Gloster without fear.
My children have gone wild for healthy eating. I don’t know how that happened. Goodness, I’ve spent the better part of 30 years cooking with as much butter, pork sausage and whatever, although truly, I have begun to think more healthily the past couple of years, thanks to good tips via the Food Network.
But now, when it turns to butter-and-cream time – that is, Thanksgiving and Christmas – I’m staring at the recipes everybody has come to love and expect, and I’m trying to figure out what to do with my new-found health standards. I believe I can pull off the sweet potato and green-bean casseroles as tasty as before with some creativity and less fat. I think I can make two versions of dressing – one with chicken broth, the other with vegetable broth – without much trouble.
I can use egg substitutes, olive oil and fake butter. I also can watch the sugar outside of desserts. That leaves the key lime pie and a new pumpkin cake I discovered, and the family crowd will just have to decide what to do there. There’s always sugar-free Jello.
But the turkey will remain. I think only my daughter has gone meatless, and she won’t mind a plate without it. Martha Stewart suggests I “dry brine” the bird this year, which could be a lot less trouble, in theory, but I’ve gotten pretty good with the salty, spicy overnight soak. In the end, it all comes down to quantity. There’s nothing worse than not having enough leftovers for turkey sandwiches.
I’m counting 14 people at my house on Thanksgiving. We’ll have two dogs and a baby, too. I’m prayerful the weather will cooperate so I can set up some getaway space on the porch and in the back yard. The past two years haven’t been very pleasant. Two years ago, it was downright frigid and made for a very uncomfortable Black Friday experience for the golfers.
Then there’s nap-space to consider. Who amongst us doesn’t feel like a little siesta after all that turkey?
My daughter may be the only one without that excuse, but she’s such a princess, she’s going to want one anyway.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.

Patsy Brumfield