Written by Jennifer Duty
I know in California we are reeling from reoccurring fires, 6- and 7-day power outages, mandatory evacuations, no cellphone or internet service, poor air quality, and 80 to 90-degree weather, but it is time to think about the holidays.
Our family does one holiday at a time, so Thanksgiving is on my mind today. I am currently sitting outside with feet on newly over-seeded grass that is soft and moist. The sky is the clearest blue. The palm trees are gently swaying. I am surrounded by the most beautiful homes on wheels (RVs) that cost more than my first house. People are headed to the pool in groups, carrying towels and small ice chests. The temperature is moving into the high 80’s today. Welcome to Palm Desert, California.
The desert is a magical place. I love it any time of year. The fall and winter bring an amazing weather like no other place in the world. New grass, flowers are being planted everywhere, the trees are being trimmed, the Farmers Market is just starting for the season. The desert is ramping up for the season, the rest of country is getting ready to settle in for a long cold wet winter.
This year Thanksgiving will be celebrated is Borrego Springs at La Casa del Zorro Resort. It is an old school resort in the small town of Borrego Springs in the middle of California’s largest state park, Anza-Borrego Desert. It is very remote and one of a few certified international dark-sky parks in the US. The opposite of Palm Desert. The landscape is natural and rugged. A beauty all of its own. It is home to Jeepers, dirt bikers, boon-dockers, and Over-landers.
Ocotillo Wells is a 4x4 side-by-side haven. There are hiking trails for miles. In the spring after heavy rains the desert floor explodes with desert wildflowers. It is quiet. I mean quiet. The owls and the coyotes own the night. During a full moon you can see for miles. This is where we will spend our holiday. Even though the resort offers a full traditional Thanksgiving meal, I will still be cooking our own dinner. I will be bringing most everything over from Palm Desert.
There is a small, full-service market there, but organic or pasture raised foods can be hard to find. The farmers market doesn’t get started until January in Borrego Springs. So I plan ahead. We should be fine. Also, there two good taco shops.
The meal will be a one pot fare. The room does not have a kitchen. There is small refrigerator. We will have a refrigerator pie, probably not a pumpkin or apple unless I buy one. The day will be filled with a Jeep run, hiking, eating, visiting with friends that are full time residence, lots of golf, pie, a deep soak in the hot tub finishing the day with some vintage James Bond.
I hope everyone has a relaxing, stress free day, filled with gratitude. Be Safe.
Instant Pot Thanksgiving
We will be having ham instead of turkey. Ham is easy. It is already cooked, so it just needs to be heated up. The Instant Pot helps with that.
1 - Costco ham with an organic brown sugar and crushed pineapple glaze.
I will cook the vegetables after the ham is done. I will use the steam method in the Instant Pot, using the stream tray. I love how fast and easy it is to cook potatoes. I will cook potatoes for a few minutes and then add carrots on the last half of the cook time. Carrots cook faster than potatoes.
There will be cranberry, but out of the can.
I will buy croissants from Costco instead of dinner rolls. We use them to make sandwiches later.
Olives, pickles, chips and dip will be out all day.
The Pie-Chocolate Pudding & Cream Cheese
1- chocolate or graham cracker pie crust
1- large instant chocolate pudding mix
1- cream cheese. 8 ounces. You can use the brick, the tub, or the whipped. I will use the whipped because I will be doing everything by hand, probably using a plastic spoon.
1- tub of Cool Whip
1- half gallon, organic, whole milk
First, get your crust out.
- Next, you are going to mix half the Cool Whip with cream cheese.
- Mix it until well blended and fluffy.
- Spread this into the bottom half of the pie crust.
- Make the chocolate pudding using the pie recipe on the side, not the pudding recipe. The pie recipe is thicker.
Spread the pudding on top the cream cheese, covering it, filling up the pie crust. Mine usually is almost overflowing.
You could probably make two skinny pies.
Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour. I make the pie first thing in morning.
Serve the pie with a few sprinkles of Pacific Flake Sea Salt and a dollop of Cool Whip.
Joy & Blessing to All
“Pacific Flake, a California sea salt harvestry”