What the heck? It was October, I blinked and now it's December. Christmas is only three weeks away. That's insane! I am so not ready. We spent last weekend pulling out all the boxes of decorations from the garage and we are still unpacking and putting stuff up. Tree is going up tonight. We might find time to decorate it in January. While I am a Halloween fanatic, Mr. L is really into Christmas and I fully support him. In fact, if I had my way, our house would look like one of those HGTV specials...you know, the ones with the houses with a gazillion lights on them that run through three grand a week in electricity bills during the month of December. I aspire to be Santa Bob. I think the only reason I'm not is it takes me all of November to pack up the Halloween stuff...no time to start on Christmas.
I actually have been cooking though. I think that's a good thing...being too busy to post because I'm spending time in the kitchen. The week before Thanksgiving had me testing some recipes to take to Thanksgiving dinner at my Grandma W's. I'll try to post about those recipes soon.
As for Thanksgiving, it was a wonderful day with my Dad's family. Driving the three hour trip (normally less than two) wasn't fun. I was very thankful for the GPS system that had a "detour" function. I saw some wonderful back roads on the way to Davis while missing the crazy, wall to wall traffic on the highway.
This year we all decided to pitch in and help my 93 year old Grandma with the cooking. I think it's the first time I was there when we all pitched in like that. And as with a lot of dinners, ours didn't exactly go as planned, but it was still a wonderful meal.
- My sister was in charge of the turkey and stuffing. Unfortunately she got sick just before the holiday and couldn't make the festivities. Trooper that she is, she cooked the turkey and made the stuffing and had my Dad pick it up and bring it to us. She used one of those bags to cook the turkey in and that's the first time I've ever seen turkey so moist it just fell off the bone. As for the stuffing, Mr. L was completely depressed after he rooted through our fridge the day after Thanksgiving to find out that we hadn't brought any home.
- My Dad was in charge of the appetizers. He brought enough food to feed half of China. Seriously, we had a smorgasbord of goodies to keep us occupied until the big dinner that would have fed Michael Phelps three times over.
- My Aunt was in charge of the salad. As we were cleaning up at the end of the night I heard her laugh. Sitting on the table was the red onion that never made it to the salad. Didn't matter as the dish was still great.
- My Uncle J and his son were in charge of the mashed potatoes. This quite honestly is my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal. I know, I know, it's usually my favorite part of every meal, but there is just something so right about having them on the holiday table. After I had plopped a big spoonful of spuds on my plate, I went to reach for the butter. Uncle J's son leaned over and whispered in my ear "we already put two sticks of butter in those potatoes". I just smiled at him and continued to add more butter. Come on, it's Thanksgiving, the calories don't count.
- My Gram made several things that make Thanksgiving at her house Thanksgiving. Her creamed onions are legendary and I think we could actually do without the turkey at Thanksgiving before we could do without her creamed onions. She made her wonderful cranberry sauce. And she made gravy. Now the gravy was a bit of a challenge. Gram is used to using the juices and tasty bits that show up in the bottom of the roasting pan. But because my sister had used a bag to roast the turkey, she didn't have this option. But Gram is Gram and one of the best cooks I know. She took a bit of this and that, some juices in the bottom of the bag, stirred it over a hot burner on the stove and presto, we had wonderful gravy for our dinner.
- I was in charge of the green beans and the rolls. I ended up just buying rolls from the local market as Grams kitchen is a bit small and I wanted to try to limit any cooking I had to do. For the beans I made the green bean with bacon recipe out of the November Everyday Food Magazine. I decided to be creative and also make the Sweet Potato Casserole from the same issue. Martha let me down. I didn't think it was sweet enough. I threw most of it away and made a second batch which I took to the dinner. I also made a mincemeat pie (filling from a jar and store bought crust) as sometimes one cannot live by pumpkin pie alone. Lets just say I had some interesting events with said pie and crust. I want to thank my mom for being a taste tester on my recipes.
At one time EVERYONE was in the kitchen except maybe my brother. Seriously, in a kitchen basically just slightly bigger than a postage stamp were my Uncle and his son making the potatoes, Gram at the stove concocting the gravy, my Dad carving the turkey, me dealing with the beans, my Aunt setting stuff up and Mr. L taking photos. But it worked. And for that I am grateful. I need to take photos of my Grandmas stove and oven one of these days. I believe it's original to the house which means it's at least 50 years old.
My favorite moment of the evening though, happened between myself and my little brother. He's twenty years younger than me and at times I'm very aware of the generation gap. While I was trying to get everyone seated to eat, my Grandma handed me a can of cranberry sauce. Even though she had made a fresh sauce of her own, she said the can must be opened because my little brother liked it better. I heard some protest coming from my brother who was in the dining room, but I found the can opener, and plated the wobbly glob of sauce. My little brother came in with a bit of an exasperated look on his face..."I haven't liked this stuff since I was seven years old!" he exclaimed. And I stood and laughed and gave him a big hug..."Grandma still treats me like I'm twelve sometimes, but that's okay. She's Grandma". And we both smiled. At 93 I think my Gram has earned the right to want to please the 7 year olds in all of us.
I realize I don't normally post this much personal information, a slice of life you might say. Unfortunately several of my family members at this event aren't well and I was very aware that this might be the last Thanksgiving I get to spend with them. I wanted to record some memories so that I don't forget what a wonderful meal we had, even though times for many members of my family right now aren't easy.
I would like to make one last comment on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Am I the only one who wondered if I had come across a Nickelodeon special? It seemed that 90 percent of the "acts" singing during the parade were teens. But all was forgiven for the teeny-bop overload, as the parade folks redeemed themselves when one of the floats Rickrolled. I was in hysterics and crack up every time I think about it. If you haven't been rickrolled yet, dont' worry. I'll get you one of these days.
Happy Holidays. Just don't remind me how little time I have till Santa gets here.