Thanksgiving links and ways to use leftovers

Happy Thanksgiving to the Bleeding Heartland community!

Some holiday-related links are after the jump, along with a bonus action alert and a couple of recipes for Thanksgiving leftovers.

Food Democracy Now wants you to write to your senator here to support The Access to Nutritious Meals for Young Children Act (S.2749). This bill proposed by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York would “improve children’s access to healthy meals in child care centers, family child care homes, and Head Start and Early Head Start programs.” Food Democracy Now cites a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report, which

found that 14.6% of U.S. households, or some 49 million – 1 in 7 Americans – suffered from going hungry at some point in the year 2008, a significant increase from 2007.  In 2008 the number of children going hungry in the U.S. reached a record 16.7 million – or 22.5%.  That’s 4.3 million more than in 2007.

Speaking of food, the Organic Consumers Association  

gives special thanks to the indigenous farmers and wildcrafters of the Western Hemisphere for cultivating and preserving our food, fiber, medicinal herbs, and biodiversity for thousands of years. […]

Seventy-five percent of the food of fiber we grow today was discovered and cultivated by the native farmers and hunter-gatherers of North, Central and South America.

These indigenous varieties include corn, beans, peanuts, cotton, potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers, avocados, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, squashes, black walnuts, pecans, chocolate, tobacco, rubber, sunflowers, and medicinal herbs and plants.

Iowa State University economist Dave Swenson posted a good piece on things he’s thankful for. Excerpt:

I am heartily grateful that this recession has not visited this state or my friends and family like it has visited others.  We are lucky here in the Midwest and the Plains mostly because our economies didn’t bubble up to unsustainable highs; therefore, we were not forced to suffer the brutal adjustments so many other places must.  This time our commodity based, plain vanilla, slow growth existences sheltered us from the worst of it all. It isn’t that we did things right; it’s that we didn’t do as many stupid things as others. […]

While the federal stimulus package is creating near-term economic activity, and will continue to do so over the course of the next year, there is nearly nothing our run of the mill local or state politician can do to change the pace or pattern of economic change.  Recession recovery takes time. There is a glut of houses to be sold, excess inventories to be liquidated, American car companies to be reorganized and retooled, and millions of households needing to find stable footing.  This will take months if not years.  Policies need to reflect that reality at both the state and federal levels.

I am grateful unemployment assistance benefits have been extended by the federal government despite partisan griping and claims more aid would be a disincentive to finding work.  I am also relieved by the increased aid and health care assistance afforded children whose families have descended into poverty.  It was not too long ago that a recession visited children most harshly.  We are fortunate as a society that over the years our collective compassion and willingness to deliver care to our most vulnerable citizens have increased.

I am grateful I am not compelled to tell people that recovery has begun or is just around the corner in order to drum up business, sell newspapers, move homes, or otherwise boost my prospects.  Recovery has not begun.  Proof of that came out today as 2nd quarter GDP was revised downward by 7/10th of a percent.  […]

We won’t be in recovery until the U.S. and the many regional unemployment rates stop increasing; when there is convincing data that more people are working and that household incomes are rising, then we can herald the recovery.

Governor Chet Culver’s official Thanksgiving message is here. I can’t agree with adding “clean air and water” to his list of “many blessings that we enjoy here in Iowa.”

Iowa has numerous water quality problems, and depending on where you live, our air quality’s nothing to write home about either. For instance, “Iowa has some of the highest atmospheric ammonia concentrations and nitrogen deposition rates in the country.” Ammonia emissions “harm terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems and contribute to the formation of fine particulate matter.” Speaking of which, “Fine particulate matter concentrations in much of Eastern Iowa are near or exceeding this Clean Air Act standard [of 35 micrograms per cubic meter].” Fine particulate matter contributes to various respiratory and heart problems. Iowa doesn’t collect sufficient data on other hazardous air pollutants.

On a lighter note, Talking Points Memo founder Josh Marshall is thankful for the best new euphemism of the year: “hiking the Appalachian Trail.” Talking Points Memo is thankful for the “wild and wacky political voices” that provide so much good blogging material, as well as for the reader tips that pointed them to breaking stories.

I also appreciate the tips I sometimes get from Bleeding Heartland readers, as well as the many thoughtful diaries and comments that others in this community have posted.

Regarding the Thanksgiving meal, which is such a big part of the holiday for many families, my advice is to scale back the number of dishes you have to cook. For instance, we’re not big stuffing fans in my family, so I’m not making stuffing this year. I’m making butternut squash soup, turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, salad, and a side vegetable. We’re not big gravy fans, so I think I’ll skip the gravy-making. I am not much of a baker, but I ordered rolls, pies and pumpkin bars from one of my favorite local bakeries.

I throw extra carrots, celery, onions and garlic in the bottom of the roasting pan. I drain those well and store them in the refrigerator. The day after Thanksgiving I make soup by blending the leftover vegetables with enough water to thin it out. Heat it up and you’ve got a fairly rich soup for lunch on Friday.

Here’s an idea for extra cranberry sauce, if you don’t want to put it on your leftover turkey sandwiches: mix the sauce with a few chopped apples and pour it into a pie crust (I buy frozen, but you can make your own crust). Make a simple crumbly topping with a little flour, rolled oats, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the top. The internet is full of recipes for this kind of topping. Bake and you’ve got an extra pie to share on Friday and Saturday.

Please share your own Thanksgiving thoughts, recipes or traditions in this thread. After the jump I’ve posted an easy thing to do with vegetables from the bottom of your roasting pan and a way to use leftover cranberry sauce.

Tags: Thanksgiving

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