Saturday, November 30, 2013


This year I had Thanksgiving at my house for the very first time. I found myself so overwhelmed with thankfulness over such simple things, things like this...

A recent (pre-Thanksgiving) conversation with my mom:
Mom (clearly worried for me): "How's it going?"
Me (not worried at all): "Good. I'm making a spreadsheet of all the prep and cooking times to get myself organized."
Mom: "DON'T EVEN BOTHER! It's impossible!"
Me: "Actually, it's done. I've got it all figured out, It's gonna be perfect."

Even typing this I realize how cocky that sounds, but actually my expectations are pretty low. Although I do consider myself a perfectionist and like to "do things up right" I am never one to sweat the small stuff. I knew we would all be together and there would be food and that's all I really cared about. The last few years have been rocky (to say the least) so really just being present and enjoying each other was all I cared about. There are also a few other details to note about my apparent lack of pre-Thanksgiving stress. First, the hardest part, the most complicated and integral element- the THANKSGIVING TURKEY, was delegated to my mom because I have no business cooking some giant bird. This is mainly because I'm recently coming off of 20+ years of vegetarianism, but besides that it's simply and truthfully way beyond my culinary skill set. With that pesky turkey out of the way (and being cooked at my parents' house and brought over in time for the start to the meal) I was free to create a pretty nice spread of appetizers, side dishes and desserts.

The other thing to note about the above conversation is that I use the term "spreadsheet" VERY loosely in a vain attempt to make myself feel a little better about having ZERO Excel knowledge. My spreadsheet was done the way Ma Ingalls would do such a thing, with pencil and paper. Wait. Who am I kidding? As if Ma Ingalls would need to write that shit down. She would have that meal all whipped up before Pa even got back from Mankato with the flour.

But back to the important thing that I'm most thankful for: my family! My crazy family with all it's ups and downs. The hard times that are hopefully in the past, but which brought us even closer together. I'm thankful for the laughs and kitchen floor push-ups. I'm thankful for the random hilarious phone calls. I'm thankful for the love and hope that is sometimes so raw and close to the surface that it's hard to stop my eyes from welling up with tears.

Our first Thanksgiving menu:
pink lady apple slices with lime (always the unexpected party pleaser)
sugar-and-spice candied nuts (always the obvious party pleaser)
cheese & crackers
brie & leek tartlets
potato & leek soup (crock pot version)
kale salad (I have a good friend who always says "I have this killer kale salad recipe..." Thanks, Erin)
crescent rolls (my mom insists that my son loves them, I've never seen him touch one)
cheesey sweet potatoes
garlicky mashed potatoes
butternut squash (mom!)
roasted asparagus (mom!)
turkey, of course (mom!)
pumpkin pie & chocolate cream pie (mom!)
pear cornmeal cake with rosemary syrup

It was amazing.