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I received an e-mail from Senator Al Franken (D. MN) and his wife Franni that inspired me to write a Thanksgiving themed diary.  Franken is a very influential figure for me in terms of both comedy and politics.  Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them is one of my all time favorite reads and of course I'll be ready to fight for him in 2014.  But onto the email.

Franni Franken sent out an e-mail that's filled with delicious family receipts that you can make for tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner with the family and friends.  Here they are:

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It is impossible to just have one piece. Be sure to make it the night before so you can have some with your Thanksgiving morning coffee.

2 cups cornmeal
2 cups white flour
1 cup sugar
2 tbs. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 1/4 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. On the first speed of a hand or standing mixer, beat together the eggs, oil, pumpkin puree, and milk.
4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry in three batches with a rubber spatula. The batter will be smooth, and is more fluffy than liquidy.
5. Pour the batter into a 9 by 13 baking pan (or two loaf pans), and place in the middle rack of the oven.
6. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick stuck in the middle of the cornbread comes out dry.
7. Let the cornbread cool for ten minutes, and then cut into pieces and serve.


1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 in. cubed chunks
3 tbs. unsalted butter, cut into small chunks, plus more for greasing the pan
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbs. light brown sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Grease a cookie sheet, and scatter the squash chunks on it.
3. Evenly spread out the chunks of butter among the squash, and sprinkle the cinnamon and brown sugar evenly on the squash.
4. Roast in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until the squash is tender. You can poke the squash with a cake tester, a fork, or a small knife to test.


1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 in. cubed chunks.
3 tbs. unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring the butternut squash chunks to boil in a saucepan.
2. Turn the heat down to medium, and let cook until the squash is tender, approximately ten to fifteen minutes.
3. Drain the squash, and mash with a masher or a hand mixer.
4. Add the butter and salt and pepper to taste.


    It's great alone, but Thomasin loves mixing it up with peas, mashed potatoes, and gravy.

    1 lb. Wild rice (Mahnomen)
    one stick butter
    ten cloves of garlic
    3 medium sized yellow onions
    4 stalks of celery
    2 lbs. White button mushrooms
    salt to taste

    1. In a colander, rinse the wild rice.
    2. Put the rice in a pot, and cover with 3 inches of water. Boil in a pot, uncovered, for about 20 to 25 minutes. If you're using Mahnomen wild rice, it will cook more quickly than the paddy variety.
    3. While the rice is boiling, slice (do not mince) the mushrooms, onions, garlic, and celery.
    4. Melt the butter in a skillet, and sauté the onions, garlic, and celery until they begin to bleed a little liquid into the butter. Then add the mushrooms. The celery and onions should not be totally soft.
    5. Once the rice has cooked, drain it and add to the sautéed vegetables.
    6. Add salt to taste, and stuff into the turkey before roasting. The rest can be eaten as a side dish at dinner.

And this last one is to have the morning after Thanksgiving:

This is my favorite use of left over turkey.

2 slices of rye bread
1 tsp unsalted whipped butter
turkey breast
2 iceberg lettuce leaves
salt to taste

1. Spread unsalted whipped butter on the rye bread.
2. Sprinkle on salt.
3. Place turkey and lettuce on top of one piece of bread, and place the other piece ofbread on top.
4. Slice in half and enjoy!

Thank you Mrs. Franken for the recipes!  

I will be having more diaries soon.  I am currently working on a diary about why Senator Saxby Chambliss (R. GA) is the GOP Senator I loath the most so be on the look out for that one.  I will continue to focus on Senate races coming up but I also plan to have some diaries focused on the upcoming Governor's race in Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania is my home state and I always go back home to visit family and friends in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia plus I have a lot of family members that went to Penn State (I went to Temple University) so this upcoming governor election is a personal one.  I will be reaching out to @bfbarbie and @CasaBlancaPA and other anti-Corbett activists on Twitter to help provide source material for my upcoming diaries.  @bfbarbie and @CasaBlancaPA are the Twitter activists Corbett tried to subpoena in 2010.  

I am hoping that I won't have to write a lot of diaries about the upcoming Minnesota Senate race and this article from The Hill gives me a sense of optimism:

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Franken could prove to be tough to beat, however. The former Saturday Night Live star has assiduously worked to establish himself as a workhorse rather than a show horse in the Senate since his narrow recount victory over Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.).

Franken has refused most interview requests from national media outlets and publicly tamped down his funny side while focusing on constituent services. Most recent polls show him in a fairly strong position for reelection in the Democratic-leaning state, with an approval rating around 50 percent.

“Sen. Franken loves his job representing Minnesota in the U.S. Senate, and looks forward to making his case to his constituents to serve them for another 6 years,” Franken spokesman Ed Shelleby told The Hill.

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Another factor: Minnesota’s state Republican Party, while in better shape than it was a year ago, remains in disarray. The party still has a large level of debt, though it’s slowly paying it off, and Ron Paul backers hijacked the party’s conventions last spring and nominated one of their own over the establishment’s preferred candidate to challenge Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). That candidate, state Sen. Kurt Bills (R), won just 31 percent of the vote.

Republicans are considering revisions to their nomination process, changing the tradition of the state party choosing its nominees at a convention to having an open primary. - The Hill, 11/17/12

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I guess if there is one thing I have to give thanks for it's Ron Paul's supporters causing hilarious chaos within the Minnesota GOP.  Lets see how that convention idea goes.  The Republican candidates mentioned are Reps. Erik Paulsen and John Kline, former Senator Norm Coleman, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek, former state Rep. Laura Brod  and of course... Michele Bachmann.  But there's no way in hell the Minnesota GOP is going to allow that to happen, hence why they want to change their nominating process from a primary to a convention.  

It's still early and Franken may not have to be one of the seats that we have to spend a lot to defend by why not throw him some fundraising cash as a way of saying Happy Thanksgiving to the Franken Family:

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I wish all of here in the Kos community a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!

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Comment Preferences

  •  That wild rice stuffing looks yummy! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    exterris, OLinda, ExStr8, IB JOHN, ms badger
    •  We alway bring wild rice home with us from our (7+ / 0-)

      vacations in Minnesota. I never much liked wild rice until I had it in MN and discovered that the kind you get in regular grocery stores elsewhere is nothing like the real thing from MN proper.
      You cook it like brown rice -- it can take 45 min before it splits and puffs up. (the grocery store rice never reached that point). You can order the good stuff directly from various places MN, for example a family owned store (I think it's the grandson of the original owner) called Bemidji Woolen Mills carries it.
      I get the kind that says "hand parched." Some of the tribes in Northern MN sell the rice harvested from their lakes. I brought some home last year from an Indian tribe and it was really really good.
      The way I make it:
      Rinse the rice thoroughly in cold water and drain. Cook it with the prescribed amount of water (I think it's a 3:1 ratio of water to rice but check directions on package or look online). When it just puffs up turn it off. All the liquid should be gone.
      While it's cooking, saute onions, dried cranberries and chopped almonds in butter. (I think butter tastes better with the wild rice than olive oil which is what I usually cook with).
      Mix with cooked rice. Salt & pepper to taste.
      (note -- amounts are to taste. I like a lot of the onions, cranberries, almond mixture, so I make a whole hell of a lot to mix in -- maybe 1-2 cups of the mixture to 8 cups of cooked rice).
      Even my very critical MIL loves this!
      p.s. Bemidji Woolen Mills makes a lot of their woolen products right there in the store and uses local people. The owner, who's a really nice guy, told us he can't compete with Chinese manufacturers on price, but he's done okay because he makes high quality products -- which they are. He uses antique knitting machines and other old but good equipment. He also carries a lot of Pendleton and other standard brands but has a lot of locally made products in his store, including some Indian art. Here's a photo of a stone carved by an Ojibwe artist that we bought at that store).
      .(I hope I embedded this correctly. I have the image library and used it in a diary, but didn't know how to do it in a comment)

      We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

      by Tamar on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 03:54:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's a link for them - a business to support! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ms badger, Tamar, greengemini

        Never heard of them, but happy you mentioned 'em.

        •  Thank you for this. I like supporting true small (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lineatus, greengemini

          businesses (not of the Hedge Fund variety).
          The owner came out to talk to me when I asked about the carved stone and he was very enthusiastic about his store and "factory" (it is technically a factory, but there are maybe 5 or 6 people working there and they all call the owner by his first name -- he knows all about their families and lives).
          When I brought my husband back to look at the stone (it was for his birthday), the owner took us on a tour. I loved the antique knitting machines which are kept in operation by a guy who knows all their quirks.
          This spinnner's heart was particularly impressed by the room-sized carding machine (also an antique). It's now used to make synthetic fiber batting for quilts and pillows, but it used to be for carding wool prior to spinning it.

          We're not perfect, but they're nuts! -- Barney Frank

          by Tamar on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 06:39:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I adore wild rice (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ms badger, Tamar, lineatus, gosoxataboy

        and I should have thought to make some for tomorrow. I even have some in the pantry, that I brought home from Netroots Nation/ Minneapolis last year.

        "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

        by sidnora on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 05:08:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  T&R'd (9+ / 0-)

    because I love Al Franken. He is one of the first, or maybe the first who decided to fight back!!

    I'm having a hectic morning, but I did notice an email from Franni! It sure caught my eye, and I thought, oh how different. :) But, I didn't have time to open it. Planned on opening later of course, and now I know what's in it!

    Franken has refused most interview requests from national media outlets and publicly tamped down his funny side while focusing on constituent services.

    Lawrence O'Donnell talked about this and how Al concentrates on his local area and doing a good job for his constituents rather than being in the limelight. He went into the Senate so famous with possibly other Senators worried he would steal the light. He kept his head down and did the work. He gives interview to local media.

  •  I donated to Al last time. . . . (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IB JOHN, ms badger, greengemini

       and I think what Chambliss did to Max Cleland in '02 was despicable.

  •  Thanks for the post PDog-slipping on a banana peel (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, ms badger

    I'm gonna try the wild rice recipe. Got my rice from the Minnesota Ojibwa Tribe (H/T to our diarist Ojibwa). It's the best wild rice I've every had.

    What are their names and on what street do they live-David Crosby-"If I Could Only Remember My Name"

    by IB JOHN on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 03:14:37 PM PST

  •  Chef Franken on video (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ms badger, gosoxataboy

    From Almanac 2009

    and Frannie

    Some people have short memories

    by lenzy1000 on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 04:02:54 PM PST

  •  Your senator is a treasure. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But boy, that is Minnesota cooking!

    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

    by sidnora on Wed Nov 21, 2012 at 05:10:16 PM PST

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