Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

All week, I had been thinking of my missionary, more than usual.
It didn't quite feel like it was going to be Thanksgiving.
We had invites, and many friends who wanted us to join them.
We just wanted to take the day off and spend it at home together.
We do like that, for some it's not the way to spend a holiday, but for my strong silent mysterious man... it's ideal.  I don't mind, because he loves it so much... and my family puts up with my many phone calls during the day to catch up on all the play by play's of their day together.  It works for me.

Wednesday morning I was getting ready for work and trying to decide... do I fix the traditional food.
It isn't really Thanksgiving without a food comma is it?

At lunchtime I got this email from my mother...

Cornbread is done......for the dressing.

Bryan's Chocolate Birthday Cake is cooling!

Pumpkin Pie is in the oven......not on the menu but Cliff said it
wouldn't be Thanksgiving without pumpkin and sweet potato pie.....his
sweet tooth must have hit a good lick!!!!!

Potatoes are on the stove......hoping they don't boil over!!!!
Elephant Garlic......for the Garlic Mashed Potatoes is roasted.

Table cloth washed and beautiful flowers and candles in place.

Sweet potatoes for pies are baked......a trick I learned from Paul Deen
last year so I'm going to try it this year.  She says you get a much
better flavor if you use baked instead of cooking canned ones.

Next I will get sweet potato pies in oven.
Then dressing is after that.

Tonight I will put green beans in crock pot.
Tomorrow I will make macaroni pie and gravey.

That's it!!!!!
Looking forward to Lynn coming over to get the turkey going!!!!!
Beth, have you and Jim decided what you're doing tomorrow?????

Love and hugs from my kitchen to yours!!!
Whoops, that's Paula's line...............

Well that sealed it for me... I was going to be cooking... something!  It just all sounded so good, and her Paula Dean enthusiasm somehow gave me the courage to try.

So I called her to line out my menu and get some recipe ideas and tips, and she made me promise to just cook with what I had at home and NOT go to the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving.
Not sure if I could do that, but I promised none the less.

I was going into a downward spiral, anxious to make a thanksgiving meal, but not wanting to go to the store.  And not sure if I could pull it all off without a few more things to finish some recipes.  But secretly really missing my missionary!!
I had just gone into his room and was laying on his bed, soaking up what smell still lingers in his room, wondering if I should finally sterilize it and clean out all the old holey socks and raggedy tshirts left behind in drawers, and fitting in a past thanksgiving memory every other thought.  Alligator tears welling up in my eyes.

When the doorbell rang!  It was the missionaries!!!!  
Wow, heaven sent... they were ready for some game playing!
Yay, we played rook and laughed and made some cookies and milk for them.
It was a wonderful evening and they left leaving me with reassured feelings that I would survive this Thanksgiving, and that my missionary would be well taken care of somewhere out there. They will never ever know how wonderful and uplifting it was to have them in our home!!  I went to bed with my heart very full.

Thanksgiving morning I woke up at 5am and could not sleep.  I ran up to the store and picked up a few last minute items to finalize my menu plans.

Came home and put our 20lb. turkey in... ( I know it is huge, but hey, we have missionaries who promised they would love to take left overs this weekend to snack on the rest of the week)
I tried a new stuffing recipe... half my mom's cornbread sage dressing and half from a friend that I fell in love with a couple of years ago... and added slivered almonds.
And any good southern born soul KNOWS it's not Thanksgiving without Macaroni Pie!!
It's a family recipe that I wrote down from my grandmother when I first got married.... I love the torn piece of paper I wrote it on ... and it was written just how she remembered it in her mind.
It takes an entire marriage to perfect it, so don't try it your first Thanksgiving out.
And if your Yankee husband doesn't like it, make it anyway, so you don't get too homesick.

Green beans in the crock pot...
Stuffing turned out perfect, the best ever and I am writing down the new developed recipe, it's a keeper!!!
Then by the time the annual parade came on, I was sitting down with my feet up under my snowman blanket with the laptop to catch up my blogging!
With my dogs all by my feet with my favorite warm socks on, and my strong silent mysterious man still napping!

 After some perfect quietness to relax... I finished making the meal.
Garlic mashed potatoes, and gravy... opened the cranberry can and got it out in a perfect roll to slice (isn't that the thanksgiving challenge of the year... not cracking the jelly cranberry stuff? and having it look like a perfect tin can mold?  ha ha ha)
 We chased some squirrels that were completely annoying the back yard!!
Where is that bb gun?
The turkey was perfectly cooked, I am loving Alton Browns brine I have used it for a few years now and it just gets easier every year.  It helps when you can pick up the turkey with your hands and not try and maneuver it with two wooden spoons.  
I still have to use the spoons to get the stuff out of the inside though... something about sticking my hand down inside, major creepies.  But I am a world away from who I was handling raw meat 3 years ago!
 The major winner in my book this year, was the Pecan Chewies!!!
5 Stars... I saw the recipe here and besides the tweaking of the stuffing it was the only thing new I made this year. Mine are a little dark...  it's says be careful not to overcook, but I am loving the crispy edges myself.  But they do keep cooking when you take them out of the oven, so be careful... the timing is a little tricky. It's like eating a pecan pie in a brownie, minus that weird too sweet filling you wonder what it is made of.  It's chewy yummy center with a little crunch from the pecans, and a crispy thin top.It is heaven in a pan!  I am not joking!!!!!!  I wouldn't joke about something so good.
My strong silent mysterious man apparently isn't a fan of pecan pie, so he still hasn't tried the chewies and with any luck I will have the whole pan to myself!!  Oh YUM!!!!!
Note to self: forget pecan pie... do the chewies!!!  The perfect substitute!

It was a lovely Thanksgiving, with more leftovers than even my teenager would have eaten, not sure what I was thinking, but it kept me busy, made me very happy, and helped to not miss him, at least the two seconds while I was busy raving about the pecan chewies!!

At the end of the day,   Jim's favorite part was the naps and the smashed potatoes (that I fix at least twice a week for him)... and he said 
"one Thanksgiving down, only one more to go til the missionary comes home".

I am so grateful for a loving Mom who doesn't even know that she pulls me out of my holes, still!
I am grateful for a loving husband, who even though he could have just been good with smashed potatoes, let me, just be me.  As crazy as I am cooking for an army, with no army.  And he loves me for just being me.
I am grateful for missionaries serving all over the world, who follow the spirit of the Lord and go where he asks them to go.  For living their lives in a way to carry His spirit with them.  And to be instruments in His hands to serve all of His children.
I am so grateful for family.
We love and miss all of our family.
I am thankful for all that we have been blessed with in abundance that comes because of a Heavenly Father who knows me and loves me.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Della said...

Beth, you lift me up!

Johnna said...

wow what a menu! i can't wait to try the pecan bars.....look yummy

amberchristinesnow said...

glad your day went well...your blog is the best...i can check up on you when ever i can grab a second...being gma has worn me out this week, but your blog gave me a recharge! xo

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