Crafts & Potluck

Last Sunday Chris and the guys went out for a steak dinner and then to the Bears game at Soldier Field. Rather than spend the night alone with the kids, I invited my sisters, mom and grandma over for dinner and crafts.

I am certainly not a crafty girl, but its fun to gather ladies around a table for an evening.  Because we are in the season of Thanksgiving, I thought it would be timely to make homemade gratitude journals.  A couple years ago I started this simple tradition with my own little family – the journal sits near our dining table, and most evenings we take turns sharing one thing we are grateful for from the day.  Some days are big (family, warm house, healthy food) and other days are simple (dollhouse, sweet lady at the farmers market, cookies).  I hope the women I am always grateful for enjoy their gratitude journals.

I asked everyone to bring a dish that matched a “Fall in the Midwest” theme.  Meghan brought spinach-artichoke dip, Colleen brought a slow-cooker bean and farro dish, my mom brought a corn and fava bean casserole and my grandma brought the wine.  I made an earthy and hearty Potato and Celery Root Gratin.  Something about it just tastes like fall to me.

It was a perfect collection of comforting and warming dishes, and I couldn’t have been more content.  Nothing like gratitude and good food to warm up a chilly night.

Potato and Celery Root Gratin

4 potatoes, sliced thin (leave the peel on)

2-3 celery roots, peeled and sliced thin

1 pint heavy cream

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

Few sprigs fresh thyme

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 1/2 cups freshly grated Gruyere cheese

salt, pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the cream into a small saucepan and toss in the garlic and thyme.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Remove from heat and whisk in mustard.  Set aside.

Layer half of the potatoes and celery root slices on the bottom of a small casserole dish (mine is about 7″ x 10″).  Sprinkle half of the cheese and add some freshly ground pepper and a bit of salt.  Sprinkle some fresh thyme leaves on, too. Layer on the remaining potatoes and celery root.  Hold a small strainer over the dish and pour the cream on top (the strainer should catch the garlic cloves and thyme).  Sprinkle remaining cheese and some remaining thyme.

Cover dish with foil and cook for 45 minutes.  Remove foil and cook for another 20-30 minutes – til the cheese is starting to brown and the veggies are tender.

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1 Comment for this entry

  1. Great Grandma Smithe says:

    I love my Grateful journal and have invied Papa to add his words into it as well. Thank You for your endless creative ideas and the invitation to spend the evening with you and yours… Certainly one that I ccontinue to recall as I pick up my book with the hand crafted cover…. :>)

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