Keeping Thanksgiving in Perspective


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Pictures of Thanksgiving focus on beautiful tablescapes, perfectly prepared food,  and exquisite settings. When these images run through our heads, and we are caught up in the hustle and bustle of pulling the BIG meal together, we can lose sight of the true meaning of the holiday.  When this happens to me, I think back to my most memorable Thanksgiving, and it helps me to keep things in perspective. This post is my story of that special Thanksgiving.

Growing up, my son played many competitive sports. Golf was one of them. Like most competitive sports now a days, this one was year round. One of his (and our) favorite events was the George Holiday Tournament. This event was played at Myrtle Beach National; three rounds with the first beginning on Thanksgiving day.

This particular year, we were cold, hungry and tired after the first,  five hour round and we all looked forward to filling our tummies and a simple way to celebrate the holiday.  Anticipating a restaurant cooked meal, we were most disappointed.  Did I mention it was Thanksgiving?  The only thing open was ………Waffle House! Hmm, left with few options, what did we do?  In search of something resembling Thanksgiving, we high tailed it to the grocery store!

Back in our cozy hotel room the four of us  dined off of paper plates and ate with plastic ware. The menu was something like this: precooked rotisserie chicken, frozen microwaved vegetables, ready made tossed salad with bottled dressing, crusty bread and store bought pumpkin pie. Although the food was not what my kids were accustomed to on Thanksgiving, I could tell they were enjoying this most unusual venue. Instead of focusing on the food, we found comfort in being together. This makeshift holiday meal helped us to remember what is truly important.

Forget the perfect plate, enjoy the holiday for it’s true meaning! Happy Thanksgiving!

Have you had a Thanksgiving experience that helps you remember the true meaning of the holiday?

Lactose Free Hot Chocolate

 Lactose Free Hot Chocolate

I have never been so happy for cold weather!  After Sandy stormed North, a cold front moved in and Coastal North Carolina has been experiencing temperature highs similar to the month of January. Yea, I know I told you I love the hot weather; why is this artic air making me smile? Simply because I am posting  a recipe for holiday hot chocolate and I didn’t want to post it in beach weather!

As the holidays approach, magazines, cooking shows, and blogs will be jammed with  delicious foods you can make and share with family and friends. But scarce are the recipes for people who want to enjoy the holidays with BIG taste yet are following modified diets.

Today’s post is a recipe challenge to bring you a lactose free holiday recipe that still allows you to enjoy the taste of dairy! Lactose intolerance is common in adults. As a matter of fact, 30 million American adults have some amount of lactose intolerance by age 20. Lactose is the sugar naturally occurring in milk and other dairy foods. The enzyme lactase, made in the small intestine, helps  the body absorb lactose. Not having enough of the enzyme lactase, is not serious, but results in uncomfortable symptoms as quickly as 30 minutes after consuming milk or milk products. If you are such an individual, you should know that there is a great alternative for you: lactose free milk.  What’s different about lactose free milk? It is cow’s milk, to which the lactase enzyme is added, breaking down the lactose into simple sugars (glucose and galactose). The resulting milk contains 0.25 g of lactose per 100 mL versus 4-6 g lactose in regular milk. Lactose free milk provides the same nine essential nutrients as regular milk.  Just like regular milk, you can drink lactose free milk and also cook with it. My dessert recipe for lactose free hot chocolate demonstrates both!

This hot chocolate is sweetened with a hot fudge sauce that my Grandmother used to make and serve over vanilla ice cream.  ( I am one of 14 grand-kids who looked forward to enjoying it when we visited her in Pennsylvania. ) The original recipe calls for five ounces of evaporated milk.  If you are lactose intolerant, you may tolerate 2-3 tablespoons of  fudge sauce made this way.  I have chosen to make my own evaporated milk with lactose free milk, keeping the dessert lactose free  and also showing how lactaid milk is an ingredient to be used in cooking as well as a beverage for drinking.

Have you ever used lactose free milk in cooking?

 Lactose Free Hot Chocolate

Festively Lactose Free Hot Chocolate

by Diane Boyd


for lactose free hot chocolate (makes 6 servings)

  • 36 oz. lactose free milk (whole, 2%, 1% or fat free/skim)
  • fudge sauce (recipe follows) 12-15 tablespoons, or to taste

for fudge sauce

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons of cocoa
  • 2 Tablespoons of margarine
  • 5 oz. lactose free evaporated milk
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla

for lactose free evaporated milk

  • 2 cups lactose free milk (whole, 2%, 1%, or fat free/skim)

for lactose free hot chocolate/single serving

  • 6 oz. lactose free milk (use whole, 2%, 1% or fat free/skim)
  • 2-3 tablespoons fudge sauce, or to taste


for hot chocolate

Heat lactose free milk in small sauce pan and stir in fudge sauce. Heat but do not boil.

for fudge sauce

Place sugar and cocoa in a heavy sauce pan and warm. Add margarine and stir until it melts. Add lactose free evaporated milk and stir until mixture boils. Cook 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and sea salt.

for lactose free evaporated milk

Pour 2 cups lactose free milk into a wide mouth pan. Set on stove top low heat. Keep milk below a boil so it will not curdle and stir often. Let reduce to about half. (I reduce mine to 5 oz.)

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Disclosure: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Southeast Dairy Association. I am eligible to win prizes associated with the content. I was not compensated for my time.

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