Daily Affirmation

The best things in life are free.
The second best are very expensive.
- Coco Chanel

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend in a Nutshell

It's times like this that I miss my daughter.  My daughter the picture taker.  We had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner, but did I take any pictures?  Well, yes - at the last minute with my phone, and they're all fuzzy.  L took some, but he tends to not take pictures of people.  He's fond of shooting inanimate objects, like the table, the turkey, etc.  He snapped one of Grandma near the end, but it's fuzzy.  I really do mean to take pictures, but I get busy cooking and talking, and talking and eating...and then I forget.  So I apologize, but this post will be mostly just words.
It was a Thanksgiving of firsts: my first time making gravy.  My first time making real whipped cream.  A new sweet potato recipe (thank you Pioneer Woman!) and a new member of the family (Ashley) at the Thanksgiving dinner table.  The day before Thanksgiving, I worked a half day, rushed home and began to cook.  In one afternoon I made mashed potatoes, the sweet potatoes, two pumpkin pies and the cranberry sauce.  I was just finishing up when L came home from work - just in time to take me out for a little Mexican food dinner.  I'm not used to standing on my feet for that many hours at a time and my dogs were barkin'.
Thanksgiving morning came a little bit early for me, but I put my game face on and trudged down to the kitchen to get the turkey in the oven.  One thing I love about L is his interest in cooking.  He beat me down to the kitchen and removed the turkey junk (the neck and "giblets") and proceeded to rub the turkey with a garlic butter mixture.  We'd never done that before either, and I'm here to testify that it was the most beautiful turkey we've ever had - due largely to the browning from the butter.  Gorgeous.  I've always stuffed my turkey's, but this year we didn't.  I prefer the taste of stuffing "in turkey" but all the cooking shows kind of freaked me out about the dangers of food poisoning from doing it that way, so we just baked it this year.  Meh... not as good, but it wasn't bad.
My grandma and aunt came right on time.  I wheeled my grandma's chair up close to the stove where I was making the gravy.  I told her I needed her expertise and she brightened right up.  She loves to get out and feel like she's doing things she's always done, and it was good to have her "help."  Ashley, Scott, and Ashley's friend Tara arrived soon after.  Tara brought good little rolls, and Ashley not only brought her assigned green bean casserole, but also a PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE.  This is exactly why Scott was such a genius to marry her.  She is a family treasure.  Plus, she has nice friends.  I was so happy that Tara came.
I'd made up my mind to only eat a little bit.  But, have you ever noticed that just a little bit of each and every side dish there is, plus turkey, adds up to a whole lot of food?  Well, it does.  I was foolish again this year and ate way too much.  I could barely eat pie, but I managed.  Took one for the team.  It would have been rude to not have a piece of cheesecake, right?  So we ate and laughed, and ate some more.  Grandma was pretty with it, and loved being in the middle of everything.  It seemed like the party had barely started when it was time for everyone to go, but that's the way it is with good times, isn't it?
Unsuspecting Grandma doesn't realize how naughty L is...

Grandma holding court at her end of the table

The rest of the weekend continued in the same way.  It was one continuous round of feasting.  L's birthday was celebrated on Friday.  I took him to dinner to a little place he'd been wanting to go to.  We had lobster fritters, grilled rib eye steak, warm spinach salads and ice cream sundaes for dessert (his was peanut butter ice cream with chocolate and marshmallow topping and mine was just pure chocolate but with toasted marshmallow topping. )  We left the restaurant in the same condition we'd been in the night before after Thanksgiving dinner.  But with big smiles on our faces.
Saturday: took L to see the movie we'd tried to see on Friday, but it had been sold out.  Unstoppable with Denzel Washington.  I recommend it.  Good couples movie - something for everyone.  Then off to the first holiday party of the season at the home of a coworker.  It was in Manhattan Beach, which should have been my first clue that it was going to be fabulous.  We drove up to the house and my jaw kind of dropped.  And it never shut the entire time we were there.  I've never been inside a more beautiful home.  It kind of made my teeth ache it was so gorgeous.  Kind of Italian with frescos painted on the walls and ceilings, beautiful heavy furniture, shiny hardwood floors, and the food... oh my, the food.  He'd hired a chef to cook for us and it was amazing.  I don't usually like prime rib, but this was amazing.  So full of flavor.  I loathe Brussels Sprouts (I've refused to eat them for over 45 years) but these were not only tolerable, I liked them.  There were little tastes in between to clear the palate, and the individual chocolate souffles at the end...well, I think I heard angels singing.
Most of the folks I work with are serious wine snobs, so I'm sure it offended a few senses to see all of that beautiful food washed down with Diet Coke and water.  *sigh*  Our host had a different wine to go with each course, but to his credit he didn't bat an eye when we declined.  I love that in a host.  He didn't even get upset when we declined to taste his sampling of micro brews after dinner.  (Our post dinner entertainment.)  We were good sports and swirled each sample and sniffed to catch whether it had a fruity bouquet or a citrus-y one.  But we didn't taste.  So funny what people get excited about.  Micro brews and wine are very exciting for this bunch so L and I were fish out of water.  You know, trying to look interested, but really wishing we could head for home, which we did soon enough.  But not before gathering the recipe for those Brussels Sprouts from Chef Jorge.
Sunday: another dinner at L's folks for his belated birthday.  This time lasagna.  More full tummies.
Monday: 90 minutes of yoga and then a brisk walk for another 30 minutes.  It feels good to go to bed feeling lighter than I have in days.
But it was a good weekend full of family, friends and lots of good food.  Did anyone get out shopping on Friday?  My daughter went out at 5:30 in the morning in Mesa, but scored some great deals.  I shopped a little bit today, on Cyber Monday.  Bring on the Christmas season!


  1. Wish I could have been there! Looks like we'll be coming Saturday though. Still need to iron out a few details.

  2. Isn't Thanksgiving great? Good food, family time, full tummies, it doesn't get much better than that. You were busy preparing for the feast. I think Mexican food is a perfect dinner the night before. Cute pictures of Grandma. I went to one store on Black Friday. This is the first year in the past 12 that I didn't meet with my daughters to grab some smokin' deals! We had a wedding instead.

    Glad you had a good weekend!

  3. In all this post, one thing sticks in my head--you've never made gravy before? I can't believe that!

  4. I was surprised to read that you'd never made gravy before, too. How did you manage to escape that?

    Sounds like a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. And I want the brussel sprouts recipe!


  5. I've only made gravy a couple of times--we have a love/hate relationship thing going on.

    You have been busy girlfriend--it would hardly all fit in a nutshell!

    Sounds like a lovely holiday--like you said--now on to the next!

  6. Sounds like an eventful Thanksgiving! Glad you had a good one. Rex and I shopped at Best Buy on Black Friday, in and out though, no real shopping. Only bought a GPS system since Rex's broke, but no Christmas shopping. Bummer.

  7. Wow You guys ate a whole lot of YUMMYness over alot of days. My mouth was watering just reading through this post!
    And I would love the recipe for the Brussel Sprouts if you feel like sharing :-D
    Your Grandma looks sooo sweet. My Grandma died last year and we are really missing her this year - it warmed my heart that you brought her over to the stove while you were making gravy.
    Glad you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  8. Thanksgiving is supposed to be about eating all day. And never let them talk you out of unstuffing your bird- just pray extra hard before the meal.

    If you have some kind of magical recipe that can make those yucky little cabbage heads taste good, please share.

    Also my Schroebsband didn't weigh the truffles right, and they were returned for insufficient postage- I resent them. Sorry for the delay.

  9. Thank you for letting me come to your Thanksgiving! All the food was so good, especially the potatoes... And it was even better as leftovers! :)


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