Thanksgiving is ALMOST HERE!

Hello everyone! I hope that you’re enjoying the crisp autumn weather, as the days grow shorter and snowflakes begin dotting the air. As our thoughts turn collectively to turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, I wanted to touch base for a quick run-down of Thanksgiving recipes.

The holidays can be especially hard for those on salt-restricted diets – but they don’t have to be. With a little preparation and ingenuity, these times can be the best – and healthiest – you’ve ever known.

So let’s talk TURKEY. When it comes to the bird, think fresh. Although most free range fresh turkeys are expensive, they’re worth it. Not only will you be getting a bird much lower in sodium, but the animals themselves are also treated much more humanely. WIN-WIN. Whole Foods Markets, as well as many food co-ops, farmer’s markets, and butcher shops are selling fresh birds like hot cakes this time of year. With a little leg work, it shouldn’t be terribly difficult to find one. If you haven’t or can’t purchase a fresh bird though, don’t despair! Most supermarkets have a whole array of options. In the past I’ve opted for kosher birds, which tend to be lower in sodium than the standard butterballs. But don’t limit yourself. Roast chicken is a healthy substitute, as are guinea hens, duck and quail. And many butcher shops have fresh birds that have not been treated with the broth/salt injections commonly afforded the processed birds.

Or, if you’d prefer skipping poultry altogether, I highly recommend this fabulous recipe for Roast Pork with Dried Plums.

Not to overlook vegetarians, I have recipes for several meat-free entrees that are sure to please. Vegetarian Holiday Loaf is adapted from a Vegetarian Times recipe of the same name. Vegetarian Lasagne, Zucchini Cakes, and meaty Gorgonzola Portobellos are all delicious, and there are a ton of other vegetarian entrees at THE DAILY DISH.

But – as usual – I’m getting ahead of myself! Why not start at the START with a delicious soup or salad! Soup makes any meal more memorable, and I have recipes for some serious stand-outs. Butternut Squash Soup will have your guests raving. As will the phenomenally gorgeous Beet Soup or Apple Butternut Soup. If greens are more your speed, try this tasty Warm Asparagus Salad or Simple Autumn Salad.

Now, let’s talk sides. No turkey dinner is complete without Cranberry Sauce and Stuffing! Baked apple slices are delicious with fowl, and are a sure hit with kids. Another idea is topping Mashed Sweets with some marshmallows, baking, and serving as an irresistible sweet potato casserole. Or you could try your sweet potatoes roasted, as in Fingers and Sweets. Creamy buttermilk mashed potatoes are FABBBULOUS, as are the always popular Twice-Baked Potatoes. Winter squash is also wonderful this time of year! For an extra showy and delicious meal, I highly recommend both Stuffed Acorn Squash, as well as Roasted Butternut Squash and Shallots.

Since most of us love some bread with our meal, try the simple rolls I made this summer with my daughters. Incredibly easy and delicious – and a great time even if you don’t have children of your own.

And what holiday meal is complete without DESSERT? Pumpkin pie is a must-have at our house. But there are some other absolutely delicious pies to consider as well – Squash and Pear Pie and Sweet Potato Pie are particularly popular this time of the year. I also highly recommend Pears in Wine, which look (and TASTE) divine but are supremely simple to make.

Finally, don’t forget beverages! I recommend a nice chilled white wine to complement the meal, but if you don’t drink alcohol, there’s no reason to feel deprived. Try some sweet milky Chai Tea with dinner or dessert.

Just remember, Thanksgiving is set aside as a day for giving thanks for all of our blessings, enjoying friends and family, and celebrating life. So don’t let your kitchen time stress you out so much you lose perspective. If things burn, flop or turn out just plain ugly, laugh and put your feet up, knowing you tried your best. There was always plenty of cursing around the kitchen while I was growing up, and my mom often sat simmering long after the meal was over. But there’s no reason to sweat the little things. So enjoy yourself, and enjoy a big satisfying meal without having to worry about the aftermath.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

ATTENTION DAILY DISH RECIPE SITE READERS

I have been fielding emails from many of you since Memorial Day regarding the status of The Daily Dish. I know it’s been confusing, my having kept the same page up from May 26th until this very morning. The lack of daily updates has been a source of anxiety for some of you, and for this, I apologize. I do recognize (and am indeed honored) that many people have come to depend on my website, and I do not mean to disappoint. But for the time being, I am on hiatus.

This post as well as this one provide much more detail as to why I am (at least for the time being) suspending work on The Daily Dish. Without being crass, I simply am being underpaid. I have spent HOURS AND HOURS each week for months working on recipes for the site, shopping for ingredients, cooking, cleaning, photographing, programming, and more. Running, writing and creating The Daily Dish is like working a full time 40 hr a week job for free. In addition to the time involved, it has also been a financial drain, with all of the food, gas and other expenses coming purely out of pocket.

I have thought long & hard about how to support this venture, whether it be through advertising on the site, publishing and selling a physical cookbook, asking for donations. I have up until now foregone ads for the sheer fact that I loathe them. I do not want to clutter my site w/ a bunch of google click-throughs intended to deceive & lure readers away from real content. I despise flashing banner ads – which frankly no one should have to deal with, but especially not those suffering from Meniere’s.

I am still quite wedded to the idea of publishing my own cookbook, but have been unable to make further strides b/c of the burden of updating the website. I simply can’t do both. It took me over 2 years of writing and research before I could even get the site up & running. Maintaining it has been a chore and a half. Now that I am on break, I have more time at my disposal for working on an actual book. Many people have responded favorably to the idea, and I very much welcome your comments regarding one. Would readers be interested in buying my book were I able to get it published? It may be easier for people to work from a book in the kitchen. It is for me. And so, I am exploring it as a viable option.

Just this morning, my dear friend Tracey emailed me another possible solution to my dilemma. A man engaged in a different-but-similar niche website has successfully campaigned the past two years for donations, along the lines of a PBS pledge drive. He has set periodic financial goals to cover his time & expenses, then asked readers to contribute whatever they can. This seems like a plausible solution, but again, I am not sure how readers would react. Would people be willing to pay for a service they have already come to expect and enjoy for free?

Please, if you value the website and the work that I have done, give me your feedback. It is essential for the continuation of The Daily Dish.

Attention DAILY DISH Readers

Today’s recipe – Salmon Cakes – will be my last new post for a week. We are celebrating my grandmother’s 95th birthday with extended family this weekend and I’ll be BUSY!!! Unfortunately, waaaaaay too busy to make updates to the website. I will resume regularly-scheduled posting on Wednesday, April 30th, once the craziness has died down and everyone has returned home. Till then, please feel free to browse the Recipe Index at your leisure for hundreds of mouth-wateringly delicious low-sodium dishes. Many thanks for your continued support and VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMA!!!

WOW. I just won another contest. ROCK ON!!

Dear Christin:

Congratulations! The recipe you submitted to our website, Stonyfield.com, was selected as a winner in our Monthly Recipe Drawing for the month of November. Your prize, a bag full of Stonyfield Farm goodies, is waiting for you! Please reply to this message with a mailing address that we may send your prize to.

We will be featuring your winning recipe on the Get Cooking Monthly Recipe Drawing section of our website and would also like to include your photo and hometown. If you would like your photo included, please send us a digital headshot of yourself when you send your address. Thank you for submitting your delicious recipe. Be sure to visit Stonyfield.com frequently to get new and updated recipes!

Best Regards,

**** ******
Marketing Coordinator
Stonyfield Farm

NEW! Reader Recommendations page

For those of you reading through from my “day job” — this morning I launched a new READER RECOMMENDATIONS page. I hope this will become a valuable feature of the site; a place to share and collect information about low-sodium products (and the all-important where to find them), salt-free recipes & other cooking tips.

I created the THE DAILY DISH website to be a COMPLETELY FREE resource to those in need. I myself despise those obnoxious flashing banner ads and loathsome deceptively-placed promotional links. So contrary to (what many see as) good sense, a year into this venture I still continue to run my website gratis for the world. Over this past year I have garnered a dedicated and growing readership. Hundreds of people visit the site each week and find it a useful tool. So… Here’s your chance to give a little bit back!

AS AN EXAMPLE.. People google into THE DAILY DISH each day looking for places that sell salt-free or low-sodium bread and lavash. If readers would just take a second to email about where they buy their bread, I can post a list of stores by state and location. I myself can provide information about not only Philadelphia, but Atlanta, as well as some parts of Vermont. And I’m just one person. If Knowledge is Power, then collectively we can all be stronger.

My readers are valuable, and I KNOW they have valuable information to share. People on low-sodium diets suffer from inconvenience as well as health ailments. Some feel alienated from life and loved ones, particularly when it comes to social (read, eating) situations. Eating out isn’t fun when you have to check and re-check orders! And having to explain your medical history to strangers is embarrassing. But life on a salt-free diet doesn’t always have to be so hard. Through this forum, YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE and all it takes is a moment of your time. I look forward to hearing from you.