Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

thanksgivingdinnerCan you believe that Thanksgiving is in just two days? Time just flies this time of year. Normally, I consider Thanksgiving my favorite holiday but due to the nature of this year I’m not quite as into it as I usually am. Nevertheless, I’m doing my best to make it a good holiday.

As usual, we will be hosting at our house. I don’t find the cooking to be a chore, and honestly we really like not having to drive anywhere on Thanksgiving. (Plus, I can have an extra glass of wine — ha!) Drew’s mom and aunt will be coming up, but that’s all so it will just be seven people.

My Thanksgiving menu doesn’t change much from year to year. I keep it pretty traditional, though I’ll try a new recipe or two sometimes. Usually one of the appetizers or desserts will be something new.

Here’s my list…

Cheese ball and crackers
Devilled eggs

Roast Turkey with sausage-cranberry stuffing
Gravy
Mashed potatoes
Roasted sweet potatoes
Asparagus (it happens to be on sale this week and Drew requested it)
Cornbread with cranberry honey butter (new recipe)
Tossed salad
Corn
Cranberry sauce

Sugar-free blueberry pie
Pecan pie or sugared pecan topped cheesecake

For wines I have a riesling, a vino verde, and a petit syrah. I also found a non-alcoholic black currant cordial that I thought might be nice either mixed with seltzer or kicked up with vodka. So we will try that, too! 

A couple weeks ago I made a 9-lb. chicken, so this 12.5-lb. turkey won’t be too far off! Of course, I will also have my Crock Pot ready with onions, celery, and carrots to make an overnight turkey stock. I look forward to the soup as much as the roast bird! And of course I also love a turkey sandwich on Thanksgiving night. I always like to have it on white bread with American cheese and lots of mayo. It’s one of those things from my childhood that still just makes me feel all happy and at home!

Today I also started a cranberry fluff, which we will be taking to the “feast” in my daughter’s class tomorrow. If it comes out good I’ll be sure to write about it.

What about you? Are you hosting Thanksgiving or travelling somewhere? Anything new and exciting on your menu or do you also keep things fairly simple and traditional?

Thanksgiving 2014

thankgiving 2014

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Here in the Northeast, it was rather eventful… the first major snowstorm of the season hit, complete with travel tie-ups and serious power outages. The snow started on Wednesday morning, and as I suspected, the library opted to close so I didn’t have to go in to work. Drew’s mom and aunt came up in the morning, as well, in order to stay ahead of the storm.

thankgiving 2014

For most of the day we watched the snow fall. (We ended up getting close to a foot!) The kids were excited and built a snow man and snow fort in the afternoon. We had all just settled in to start a movie before dinner when everything went silent. Yes, the wet, heavy snow (or an accident… or who even knows) caused the power to go out. At first we were hopeful it was temporary, but soon we realized that we wouldn’t be able to use the oven to make dinner. So while I was gathering candles and oil lamps, Drew got out the propane grill and camp stove so we could get everyone fed.

Outages were widespread and I began to get worried about what would happen for Thanksgiving. Would I be able to cook? We came up with a plan B, just in case. Luckily, the mashed potatoes and stuffing were already made. We could easily warm those on the wood stove. We figued we could cut up the turkey and cook it in the Dutch oven outside if we had to. We all went to bed, not knowing what to expect in the morning. Luckily, our power came back around 1 AM. I was incredibly thankful! Some people in the area are still without power.

Thanksgiving day was very nice. I was able to cook the traditional dinner after all — no fire pit cooking was necessary! I think everyone enjoyed the meal — we were sure full! I made roast turkey, sour cream mashed potatoes, green beans with slivered almonds, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, cornbread, and cranberry sauce. My mother-in-law brought the cranberry-sausage stuffing. For dessert we had apple crisp — simple, and just enough!

thankgiving 2014

After the dishes we washed, and turkey bones were simmering to make stock, the kids and Drew’s mom played board games for a while. I did a bit of crochet, and Drew started to put up the Christmas tree. I think we’ll decorate it tonight.

thankgiving 2014

Today I did some more cleaning, and I’m just taking it easy. No shopping for me today! There’s nothing I really need and I just don’t have the patience to deal with the crowds. I used to always enjoy going out on Black Friday, but in recent years it has gotten way too crazy. Nope, not for me anymore. I think I’ll spend the rest of my day off working on craft projects and making some turkey soup for dinner. Some down-time in front of the fire seems pretty perfect to me!

5 Easy Last-Minute Thanksgiving Dishes

5 Easy Last-Minute Thanksgiving Dishes | puresugar.net

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and if you’re still agonizing over the menu, don’t fret! I’m sharing 5 easy recipes — 3 for side dishes and 2 for desserts. I’m actually making up the sweet potatoes today and bringing them to my in-laws’ house tomorrow!

Maple Baked Sweet Potatoes
maplebakedsweetpotatoes

Green Beans with Lemon
greenbeanswithlemon

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
sprouts

Peanut Butter Pie
peanut butter pie

Flourless Chocolate Torte
flourless chocolate torte

 

From our house to yours… Happy Thanksgiving!

Chilly Sunday

week

Hello, hello! Hope you all have been enjoying the weekend. As usual, it’s been pretty busy around here. It’s easy to gripe and say I’d rather be at home (which is true), but at the same time I’m thankful for a part-time job that I love, friends to see, and activities to keep everyone happy.

Friday night was our Cub Scout pack meeting and we held a rain gutter regatta. For those who don’t know what that is, the boys build boats (similar to Pinewood Derby cars) and then by blowing throw a straw, they sail them down the channels of an inflatable rain gutter. This was the first year we used the inflatable “gutters.” In previous years we used actual rain gutters, which were bulky and messy.

Rain gutter Regatta

Rain gutter Regatta

The boys all had a great time! We just raced for fun. Then I suggested that the parents race their kids’ boats. At first there were a couple moans and groans but you could tell everyone secretly wanted to do it,  ha ha! It was great!

Yesterday I worked at the library in the morning and then we went to a friend’s birthday party in the afternoon. I did a little shopping at Michael’s and Sam’s but let me tell you — I am not exactly digging the “holiday spirit” out there, especially this early in the season. Everyone is impatient and rushing and angry. Kind of the opposite of what this time of year is supposed to be about, isn’t it? We did what we had to do and came home. Between people’s attitudes and crazy traffic, I had really had it.

Today was much different. I helped set up the parish center for tomorrow’s very special preschool Thanksgiving feast. I made a quick run to Stop & Shop (again, it was crazy but at least being by myself it was easier to handle). And that was about it. It was freezing out there today, so I was happy to come home and make a big pot of chicken and rice soup. I also decided to bake a pie since I have so many apples in my refrigerator for some reason.

Now I’m just getting dinner ready: the soup, some oven fries, and sandwiches. Easy! Though I’m mostly looking forward to a slice of pie for dessert 😉

applepie

This week should actually be pretty relaxing. I’m not cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year — I just need to make the sweet potatoes and cole slaw — so I can relax a bit. The kids have a nice break for the holiday. And yes… I am very much looking forward to putting our Christmas tree up at the end of the week!

What are you all doing for Thanksgiving this year? Staying home? Travelling? It is my favorite holiday, and I just can’t wait!