Forget Disneyland, Finland is the happiest place on earth. Yes, Finland. It seems the United Nations researches a bunch of countries every year and ranks them on happiness. One might assume that warm, sunny countries are the happiest. One would be wrong. During the dark days of December, Finland averages less than six hours of sun. In fact, every one of the top five – Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and The Netherlands – are all well north of the equator.
Happiness is a lot about attitude. Winter days may be short but Finland can thank its lucky stars and hard work for many things. Starting with a healthy life expectancy, the Finns enjoy decent incomes along with a country and culture built on freedom, trust, social support and generosity.
Okay then, we might not be Finland but there is still a whole heap of stuff that can make us happy and fill us with gratitude.
Let hear it for …
- An average of nine hours of sun in December.
- Indoor plumbing.
- Yoga pants.
- A warm winter jacket.
- Snow boots.
- Warm socks.
- Finding a ten dollar bill in your back pocket.
- An internet connection and the hours of joy-filled procrastination it brings checking out Facebook and watching laughing baby videos.
- The vote.
- A warm bed.
- A funny story.
- Fresh air.
- Clean water.
- An education.
- A good hair day.
- A little black dress.
- A great book, even a good book.
- A great movie, even a good movie.
- The sense of accomplishment you get from fixing something – anything … a drippy faucet, a gnarly stain in a favorite shirt, a formatting glitch in a document …
- Finding a great anything on sale.
- A snow day.
- A delicious dinner with people you love.
- Even when they drive you crazy, family around the Thanksgiving table.
And that’s just for starters … Happy Thanksgiving and bon appétit!
Perhaps I should have added Thanksgiving leftovers to the list. Most tetrazzini has peas, I prefer spinach and, so, make the swap. Feel free to swap back. Enjoy!
- Béchamel Sauce (recipe follows)
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian herbs
- About 4 ounces (2 cups) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 pound mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups bite sized pieces cooked turkey
- 1 – 1 1/2 pounds frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
- 12-16 ounces spaghetti
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly butter a large casserole.
Make the Béchamel Sauce. (Recipe follows.) Whisking frequently, cool the sauce in the pan for 10-15 minutes.
Put the sour cream, white wine and 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian herbs in a large bowl and whisk to combine. A little at a time, whisk the Béchamel Sauce into the sour cream. Add 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and whisk to combine.
Meanwhile, lightly coat a skillet with olive oil, add the onion and mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and sauté until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for about 3 minutes more.
Cook the pasta according to package directions, less 1 minute, and drain.
Add the turkey, sautéed vegetables, spinach and pasta to the sauce and toss to combine. Transfer everything to the prepared baking dish.
Put the breadcrumbs and remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano and herbs in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Drizzle with a little olive oil and whisk again. Sprinkle the casserole with the cheesy breadcrumbs.
Can be made ahead to this point, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temperature before baking.
Bake the casserole at 375 degrees until piping hot and golden, about 45 minutes. If it browns too quickly, lightly cover with aluminum foil.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 4 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking continuously, for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the nutmeg and add salt and pepper to taste.
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- One Year Ago – Macadamia Snowballs
- Two Years Ago – Ginger-Orange Cheesecake
- Three Years Ago – Chocolate Walnut Tart
- Four Years Ago – Citrus & Spice Sugar Cookies
- Five Years Ago – Peppermint Bark Cookies
- Six Years Ago – Mixed Reds & Greens Holiday Salad
- Seven Years Ago – Snowy Pecan Balls
- Eight Years Ago – Chocolate Truffles
- Nine Years Ago – Smoked Salmon Mousse
- Ten Years Ago – Roasted Beans
- Eleven Years Ago – Winter Soup with Pasta, Beans & Greens
Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!
What are you grateful for this Thanksgiving? Feel free to share!
Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2019