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Simple dishes to splash autumn’s colors on Thanksgiving menu

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Bring the vibrant hues of autumn to your Thanksgiving menu, with simple recipes that focus on the rich harvest colors including golden yellow, deep green, and burnt orange.

With its sweet orange flesh, butternut squash soup is a seasonal standout, especially on a chilly November holiday when served from a washed and warmed hallowed out pumpkin. To prepare the soup, split a butternut squash in half, remove seeds, place halves cut side down on a greased baking sheet, and roast at 375-degrees for about 40 minutes. Once tender and cooled, scrape out flesh into the bowl of a blender, adding three cups of vegetable broth, one teaspoon of curry powder, plus salt and pepper. Puree and pour into a pot to warm. Serve topped with roasted pumpkin seeds.

Follow the soup course with a crisp harvest salad: either plated individually, or presented on a large platter and tossed tableside, begin with a bed of prepared greens, including spinach and romaine lettuce for contrast. Next, arrange rows about one-inch wide of multi-colored chopped vegetables, including shredded carrots, diced tomatoes, corn kernels (drained from a can of corn), sliced celery, diced beets, chopped walnuts, sliced green onions, and crumbled feta cheese. Once presented to your guests, drizzle on this classic vinaigrette: Combine one cup of extra virgin olive oil, one-third cup of balsamic vinegar, one teaspoon Dijon mustard, one clove of minced fresh garlic, one teaspoon of dried herbs (such as an Italian seasoning blend), plus salt and pepper to taste.

Follow your traditional Thanksgiving feast with an easy and colorful layered dessert, prepared in a trifle bowl, or in easy-to-serve individual clear glasses, such as wine goblets. Spoon in layers of seasonal flavors such as crushed gingersnaps, prepared butterscotch pudding, whipped cream, vanilla pudding, and drained mandarin oranges. Repeat and refrigerate until serving time.

Fox Point : 3300 Charles J. Miller Memorial Highway, McHenry, IL 60050 : 815.322.7166 : http://www.seniorlifestyles.com/foxpoint.

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