A fresh crunchy slaw lightens the holiday “overstuffing” and a date-studded pumpkin bread is perfect for giving. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

For many of us, Thanksgiving is going to be different this year. We may not be hosting as many guests as we usually would or traveling to meet up with our beloved family members. Whatever you decide is best for you and yours, I trust you will be smart while you do what feels comfortable for you.

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at [email protected]

I normally host Thanksgiving here at the cove and for years I’ve roasted the biggest turkey I could find and been in charge of the sausage-apple stuffing and mashed potatoes. My grown children arrive with appetizers, side dishes and desserts to share. I’ll still be seeing everyone this year, but we’ve opted to come up with a few new traditions and are spreading out the holiday by getting together in smaller groups that include outside activities and al fresco dining. We are committed, we are hopeful and we are determined to safely enjoy one another’s company in the coming days.

This week I’m sharing some flexible menu suggestions that include a soup that uses up the remainder of the Thanksgiving bird and a healthy seasonal salad to have as a side dish on the big day or as a medicinal remedy on Friday if you ate too much the day before.

Lastly, this recipe for pumpkin bread elevated by crystallized ginger and gooey dates is a tasty addition to the holiday table. Mini loaves of this quick bread also make a lovely hostess gift to share over the next several weeks. It’s easy to make, holds up well to a spread of softened butter or cream cheese, freezes well and is grandchildren approved. You may want to make a double batch.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all from the cove. I’m grateful for each and every one of you.

Curried Turkey Vegetable Soup

2 medium onions, chopped
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon curry powder
3 cups turkey or chicken stock
1 cup red potatoes, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh sage, minced
2 cups cooked turkey, cubed
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 (9-ounce) package fresh spinach, julienned
Salt & pepper to taste

In a Dutch oven or stockpot, sauté onions in oil until tender. Stir in flour and curry until blended. Gradually stir in broth. Add potatoes, celery, carrots, parsley and sage. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender. Add turkey, half-and-half, spinach and salt and pepper. Continue to cook and stir until spinach is wilted and soup is heated through. Yield: 6 servings

Brussels Sprout Slaw

3 cups Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced or shaved
2 cups carrots, shredded
2 cups red cabbage, shredded
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup scallions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup

Place all vegetables and cilantro in a large bowl. In a small bowl, stir together garlic, lime juice and maple syrup. Pour on vegetables and toss. Yield: 4 servings

Pumpkin Bread with Ginger and Dates

2 cups flour, plus 1 teaspoon
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finally chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups dates, chopped and tossed with 1 teaspoon flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter five mini-loaf pans or two regular loaf pans and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour, sugar, ginger, baking powder and baking soda, nutmeg and salt. Add pumpkin, milk, eggs and butter.

Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds then continue to beat on high speed for 2 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally. Add remaining flour and beat until well mixed. Stir in flour-coated dates.

Spoon batter into pans. Bake mini loaves for 30-35 minutes and regular-sized loaves for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack in pans for 10 minutes; remove loaves from pan. Cool completely, then drizzle with glaze. Yield: five mini loaves or two regular-sized loaves

Glaze: In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar, 1/8 teaspoon powdered ginger and 2-3 teaspoons milk.

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