Category Archives: Thanksgiving

Ratatouille—Vegetables after the Carb Fest!


We have had a wonderful Thanksgiving here in Texas.  It was wonderful to drive to be with our Giese family.  Thanksgiving is the only time of year that the entire clan (close to 40 of us) plan to get together.  This year we were just outside of San Antonio and next year I get to host!!! (And yes, the spreadsheet is already forming in my head and I’ve determined where furniture will be placed too!)  Then on Friday we drove over to see Brad’s parents and had another wonderful feast.  Needless to say, we need some vegetables without butter and brown sugar all over them!

I just finished prepping this Ratatouille recipe that I found last winter in “Slow Cooker Revolution”.  I served our dish with some Rigatoni Pasta to help my kids be a bit more receptive to this vegetable focused meal.  It does take a bit of time to prepare (30 minutes) but then you have 4 to 6 hours to clean up the kitchen and know that later your family will have a warm, healthy meal without any butter 🙂


Cut into 1-inch chunks:

  • 2 eggplants (2 pounds)
  • 3 zucchini (1 1/2 pounds)

Heat in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat:

  • 1 Tablespoon of olive oil

Brown in the heated oil for about 5-7 minutes:

  • 1/2 of the eggplant; turning it to brown on all sides.  (I pepper mine a bit)

Transfer browned eggplant to your slow cooker.

Repeat process with 1 Tablespoon more of oil and remaining eggplant.

Then, work in two batches again, to brown the zucchini (adding 1 Tablespoon of oil before each batch.)

Put the browned zucchini in the slow cooker.

Heat 2 more Tablespoons of oil in the skillet.  Add to the shimmering oil:

  • 2 onions, halved and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme (could use 2 teaspoons of fresh if you have some)

Cook the vegetables for 8 to 10  minutes until softened and lightly browned.

While the vegetables brown, drain but reserve the drained juice

  • 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes

Once the vegetables are browned, Stir into them and cook for 1 minute:

  • 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour

Slowly whisk into the skillet, scraping up any browned bits and smoothing out lumps:

  • the reserved tomato juice

Transfer everything to the slow cooker.

Stir  into the slow cooker:

  • The drained, diced tomatoes

Cover and cook for 4-6 hours on low until the vegetables are tender.

Prepare your desired pasta just before the vegetables are finished

Stir into the vegetables:

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
Ready to cook for 4-6 hours!

Ready to cook for 4-6 hours!



It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Thanksgiving


Wow!  Thanksgiving is next week.  I can’t believe it.  Recently I had the privilege to guest post on the fun and informative blog Play! Eat! Grow!.  There I shared in one post several of the things I have blogged over the years here regarding how I prepare for the actual meal on Thanksgiving.  But as anyone knows that has hosted the big day AND hosted guests in her home leading up to that big day….there is a LOT more to plan than one meal.

My meal planning is coming along thanks to the tips I shared at Play! Eat! Grow! on November 14.  See…I’ve already been shopping:

Here are many of the shelf items that I purchased this week.

Then there is the refrigerator…..

Remember don’t worry about how much butter or sour cream….just enjoy!

One thing that I do is mark the special Thanksgiving items with a “T”.  This reminds me not to use it and also lets my family know that it has a higher purpose at a later time. 🙂

I don’t just think about food as I prepare for the week but also all the other little things you need to have when hosting the meal and having house guests.

Paper Goods:

  • paper towels
  • toilet paper
  • paper plates for leftovers on Thursday and those spur-of-the-moment dessert needs
  • napkins (of course one must have cute napkins to go along with the paper plates!)
  • good “to go” containers for those that live close enough to take some of the bountiful meal home with them at the end of the day

Cleaning Items:

  • Dishwasher detergent- it is my nightmare to run out of this and be forced to wash everything by hand after standing all day to prepare the meal.
  • Clorox wipes- quick swipes of the bathrooms

Food things that are not a part of the Big Meal:

  • Easy Breakfast for Thursday morning—This year Entenmann‘s won sometimes it is Pillsbury.
  • Snacks- chips, dips, veggies to munch
  • Amoroso’s rolls for leftovers  (Like I’ve said before…If God ever takes us from PA, I will miss Amoroso’s rolls.)
  • Sandwich items for lunches leading up to Thanksgiving
  • Easy meals for the evenings leading up to Thursday (I’ve been known to freeze a meal or two and pull it out during this week.)
  • Coffee from my favorite place—a treat to myself!

I know the list above is not an exhaustive list but it is a great start and should prime the pump for other things you need to prepare in advance so that you can enjoy the holiday.  It is a time to be thankful not to be ticked off.  So take some time to think through the entire week and see what you may need to do (or give up on) in order to make this a holiday to smile about.