Wishing all readers a very Happy Thanksgiving !!
Festivals are a way of life in India..Seems like there is one every month, if not more frequently ! That was why it was so interesting to come to a different country and observe and understand the traditions and rituals observed here, in the United States ..
One of the big holidays is undoubtedly Thanksgiving...nearly all families have some or the other plans for this holiday...the Thanksgiving meal that people look forward to, getting together with family members, exchanging news and catching up....sentiments that are shared by millions of people around the world, irrespective of whether they celebrate Thanksgiving or not...
At the core of this celebration is another sentiment..acknowledging the good things in your life and being grateful for it...In a world where pressures and stresses are rampant, it is very easy to overlook what you already have..easy to focus on the negative aspects and completely forget the positive things..easy to ignore that one might be among the luckiest people on earth and indulge in self-pity...
Wanting to get into the Thanksgiving spirit, I decided to bake muffins, made with pumpkins, of course :).. As I measured and mixed and poured ...I thought about all the wonderful things in life that I am grateful for and decided that I should have a list ...a list which would remind me that I am indeed one of the luckiest people on this planet...a list which would pull me from the murky depths of self - pity if I ever chose to indulge in it ...a list which I could always add to and which I could glance at everyday and be thankful...
So here goes...I am thankful for:
* A healthy mind in a healthy body - for never having spent a day sick in bed...I think we take our health for granted sometimes...I cannot imagine the kind of difficulties that deter the physically and mentally challenged everyday...everyday activities that come as second nature to some ...
* For the opportunity to have received a good education..I can read and write and relate to events going on in the world ...am able to communicate with anybody that I choose.
* For a good marriage..a partner in life who accepts me, with all my quirks and irritating habits...who understands me and lets me be who I am...It is so dismaying to find that people are in abusive relationships at all levels..physical and emotional abuse..not restricted to people from the working class alone...that kind of mentality has no class discrimination..
* For amazing parents who wanted so much more for their children than they ever had..for their all-encompassing love and trust...for knowing that however old I become...I will still be their child..
* For loving relatives...with all their eccentricities and oddities...they are still family and will always provide me with roots wherever I am.
* For a healthy child...for getting the opportunity to be a mother...to be something that nature has intended for me...to experience the pain and pleasure of being totally responsible for another person....I cannot even imagine the agony suffered by parents whose children are sick or the disappointment endured by people trying to have children and cant..
* For a large number of friends who have become an extended family...who make me laugh and make use of my shoulder to cry upon and lend their shoulder when I need it..who rejoice in my happiness and empathize in my sorrow...
* For having met a lot of people who were kind and helpful to me at various stages in my life...they have motivated me and put me under an obligation to pass that along...
* For being able to live my life in my way..there are so many countries in this world...why go that far...there are so many villages in India still...where girls do not get the chance to get a decent education...let alone have a career outside the home..
* For having a roof over my head and for having more than 3 square meals a day..You just have to turn to the news channels to see the suffering that is the bane of some peoples' lives in almost every country in the world..With no access to shelters and limited or no access to food...no way of knowing when your children will sleep on a full stomach again...it has to be heart wrenching...
* For being able to live in a place where I can have and voice my opinions without being discriminated against...for not having to face brutality of any kind ...
* For all of life's lessons, bitter and sweet...for they have made me who I am..
No doubt, I am going to keep adding to this list ...but just looking at this list has cleared away all the clouds of doubt and has me anticipating the coming day with an eagerness..
Would you like to share what you are thankful for?
We did not celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday as a ritual at our place, but I couldn't resist trying my hand at a recipe containing a very traditional Thanksgiving ingredient : Pumpkin..
I browsed several sites in search for a recipe that sounded delicious...and hit upon one here.
I tweaked the recipe a little ..I am not a vegan..I do not use eggs however and I find it very easy to adapt vegan recipes.
Servings: 12 muffins
1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup pureed pumpkin (fresh or from a can)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a muffin tin with shortening or oil spray. I used the muffin liners available in the grocery stores...I sprayed the liners with a little cooking spray before inserting them into the tray...makes it a little bit easier to extract the muffins later :)
2. Sift together all the dry ingredients..the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and the spices.
3. Whisk the wet ingredients in another bowl.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
5. Combine until just mixed. Over mixing the batter will develop the gluten in the flour and will make the muffins tough, so be a little careful at this stage !
6. I also folded in some chopped walnuts.
7. Fill in the muffin cups, leaving a little space on the top.
8. At this stage, the muffins are ready to be baked for about 25 - 28 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
9. Not content with this, I tried another add-on, a crumb topping. I mixed two tbsp of flour with 1 tbsp of butter, 1 tbsp brown sugar and 2 tbsp shredded coconut. I sprinkled this mixture over the muffins before baking them off for the required time !
The muffins turned out really moist and the spices improved the taste tremendously. The muffins just got better the next day , but unfortunately, the husband didn't take to them so much because he didn't like the taste of the pumpkins..but that only meant that little P and I had that many more muffins to share and enjoy !
If you have no objections to the taste of pumpkins, you ought to try these out.