Thursday, November 22, 2012

When Artists Cook

Hi, Jennifer McLean here and I'm Canadian. Yep, that means we already had our Thanksgiving, in early October, if you were interested. We tend to have a quieter celebration than the ones I hear my American friends have. Our day is usually just a few family, no dressing up or extra preparation, just turkey with all the fixings and a few rented movies. It's kind of nice, a holiday that isn't hectic. 

Mom and I have even started tweaking recipes so they can be made a day ahead of THE day, taking the pressure off even more, allowing everyone, including the cook, to relax and enjoy themselves.  The one thing I still do every year is count my blessings. I try and think of just how lucky I have it, what I'm thankful for who I love. This year I made a little visual that helps me see the things on my mental list.
My Thankful Chart
  1. Family - I've been reminded this year just how fragile family can be as I get older. Loyalty is always a good thing.
  2. Friends - I'm incredibly lucky to have the extraordinary friends that I do. I just wish I lived closer to them. They're worth every effort to stay in touch, they are all beautiful people and I'm a lucky girl.
  3. Health - I work on this daily. This year I've seen some real strides toward where I want to be. Yay!
  4. Love - This is the most important thing. Love one another, it's good for you.
  5. Peace - I try to be kind to everyone, hoping that in kindness, as it stretches from person to person, there is always a glimmer of a truly peaceful world.
  6. Hope - With the bombardment of all the negative things I hear on television and the internet, I fight to remember to keep hope alive.
  7. Joy - I try everyday to increase it. Even if only to remember to smell the proverbial roses. 
  8. God - Although in a small bubble, not small in my life. Only something very personal, something I don't talk about in public. I feel no need to talk about my spirituality, it's between me and the Universe.
  9. You - My blog friends. I feel lucky to know you all and to share with you, back and forth, our love of art. It adds immensely to my daily happiness.
As I mentioned above, mom and I have been tweaking family recipes to find a way that they can successfully be made the day ahead so the one cooking on Thanksgiving day isn't overwhelmed. We found some serious success with this potato recipe. I call it Rustic Romanoff because we have a fancy potato recipe that has been a family staple for most of my life. But this tweak is easier to make and better if let to sit in the fridge for 24 hours before baking it off. Here it is, ENJOY!!
Rustic Romanoff Potatoes

  • 3 large russet baking potatoes
  • 1/2 - 1 cup sour cream (or light sour cream)
  • 1/2 - 1 cup mayonnaise
  • garlic powder to taste (or minced fresh garlic)
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 - 6 oz old cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 1/2 lb bacon
  • 4 green onions (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 Tbsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  1. Wash, poke, wrap in foil and bake the russet potatoes until done, approx. an hour.
  2. Let potatoes cool completely then dice up into 1 inch cubes.
  3. Sauté the bacon until tender/crisp then break into small pieces.
  4. Mix up all the ingredients together in a large bowl with the diced potatoes and bacon, reserving some cheddar to sprinkle on the top.
  5. adjust spices to taste.
  6. Pour the mixture into a 9" x 12" pan and spread generally smooth. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  7. Bake for approx. 1/2 hour at 350 degrees or until hot and bubbling. Serve immediately.
  • amounts are general, use the amount needed to make the mixture creamy.
  • the recipe can store in the fridge before cooking for a minimum of 24 hours and can also be reheated as leftovers with great success.

Happy Thanksgiving to you!



  1. Sounds good, Jennifer. I will add that to my list for future celebrations. This year we helped the school nutrition workers raise money for scholarships by purchasing a complete meal. No prep necessary other than reheating everything.

  2. Jennifer,
    We're in flip-flopped position this year. I'm an American living in Quebec, where today is just another ordinary day, and where the Canadian date in October is fairly low-key, too.

    We'll be having some folks over for a dinner on Saturday night, as a mid-week feast just doesn't fly when everyone has to go back to work on Friday morning. BUT, we're serving dinner this evening (a full turkey dinner) with the U.S. Consulate and staff at a local soup kitchen. It will be the first time I've not been home with family (in Montana) for this holiday, but I can't think of a better way to spend it.

    Hope you have a pleasant Thanksgiving!
    Bethann @ fruit.root.leaf.

  3. This sounds really delicious. So exciting to see your tangles. Really nice designs. My husband gets the family this year, so my fellow artist,Tina, invited me to her house for Thanksgiving. Tina and I joined Weight Watchers together last month so aside from traditional recipes of turkey and twice-baked potatoes, I am bringing a WW salad of Carrot and Apple Slaw, and my favorite green bean recipe, which is fresh green beans, fresh tomatoes, a yellow onion, some fresh garlic cloves, fresh Italian parsley, salt and olive oil. Cook the green beans and the sliced up onion(without skin) until just tender in a large pot of boiling salted water. Pour off almost all of the liquid. In a separate pan put the olive oil, chopped up plum tomatoes, garlic cloves, salt and fresh chopped parsley. Cook tomatoes until soft enough to mash with potato masher. The dump into green beans and cook together until beans are really tender to your liking. Add more salt if needed. Tina is also making a WW pumpkin souffle! There will be Tina, Myself her 23 year old daughter and Tina's Aunt and Uncle(in their 80's). We will play cards afterward. Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Nice tangle, Dion. Our thanksgiving is usually pretty low-key as well and we don't dress up. You potato recipe sounds really good.


  5. this sounds great, jenn! i may have to try it - don't cook much, but this sounds - and looks - delicious!

  6. sounds perfectly delicious... wish it was cooler so I might be more tempted to try it... going to file it for the winter... think it will be very popular...xx


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