Giving Thanks

We had an absolutely beautiful day yesterday up on the farm with Mom, Dad, Michael, Wayne, K, Grandma, and even Poppy, who made the trip up to snowy White Hall. We couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous setting for Thanksgiving this year, which even included a drive up to the uncles’ tree field to cut down a Christmas tree for our home this year.  We are staying in today to rest, decorate, enjoy holiday movies, and close out November with thanks and happiness.

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Thanksgiving on the Farm

K came down this weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving and join us at the farm, along with M & W and Great Grandma Nell.  Wayne put out a feast, like he always does, starting with French cheesy pastry, portobello mushrooms stuffed with spinach and Virginia ham, and crab dip.  That all came before we even made it to the main feast, and then it was all followed by dessert  — apple pie and chocolate pecan pie.  It was decadent, to say the least, and by the time it was all over, none of us wanted to move — and the three adults in our car were pretty jealous of the toddler and baby who had fresh Christmas pajamas to wear for the ride home.

Here are some pictures from our day, which was clear and beautiful, but cold.  Not so cold, however, that Nellie couldn’t see the horses, which was all she talked about on the way up.


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It was quite the horsey weekend, actually.  Great Grandma Nell gave Nellie a horse purse, and K bought Nellie a stuffed riding horse for an early Christmas present.  K then jerry-rigged one of Nellie’s dolls to the horse upon her request, which was acceptable only after Nellie determined that she, herself, did not fit on the horse.

Speaking of presents, K just returned home from Spain and brought goodies for everyone — including a (totally daycare appropriate) flamenco dress, which has become Nellie’s new favorite thing ever.

In case you’re wondering, Nellie hit her cheek on the coffee table last week while attempting a complicated twisting dance move on the couch.  Last holiday season, she gave herself a black eye when she tripped in the kitchen at the old house — also just before our annual holiday trip to the farm.

The kid makes holiday photos tricky.

We were sad to say goodbye to K, who headed back to NY early this morning, but next up, it’s our turn to travel!  Connecticut in a week to see Nellie’s cousins, followed by a little Christmas in New York!

Happy holiday season!

Thanksgiving Menu

I had really hoped to try some new Thanksgiving recipes this year in advance of the holiday — I get a big kick out of rotating in one new thing each year, and doing so has found a few winners (such as the stuffing I now make every year) and a few losers (a chopped cranberry orange salsa comes to mind).  This year, I had big fantasies of pre-Thanksgiving dinner trials with full themed menus — Southern Living had some amazing looking sides featured in their mag this year — but, alas, between the holiday coming early and the house stuff, I seem to have run out of time.

So I am going with the standbys this year (and nothing wrong with that).  Compared to our big family feast on the farm last year, this Thanksgiving will be much quieter with just six at our house.

Since I love checking out what others are putting on their table, I thought I might include links to some of my favorite recipes (just in case you need one more…)

Nell already tried out Thanksgiving at her school party — she approves!

Thanksgiving Day Menu 2012:

  • Appetizers (Cheeses, crackers, deviled eggs, and whatever I buy to make up for the fact that I already ate most of the appetizers during football this weekend…)
  • Pre-dinner Prosecco
  • Turkey (No recipe here — just butter, poultry seasoning, and fresh herbs.)
  • Sage, sausage, and apple dressing (Instead of stuffing cubes, I use a loaf of wheat and a loaf of white, and I make half the dressing in the bird, and the rest in a buttered casserole dish.)
  • Cranberry sauce (Nothing magical here — I make cranberry sauce all of the time: water, sugar, cranberries.  Sometimes I add cinnamon sticks, orange zest, or other ingredients, but that is really a game-time decision based on my mood.)
  • Mashed potatoes (I usually mash something else with my potatoes — it’s a compulsive habit of mine to boil and mash multiple things at once. This year, I think I am going with butternut squash.  And butter, of course.)
  • Sweet potato casserole (This is the one G’s mom makes, and I will never make anything better — I have tried.  So this is the one.)
  • Green bean casserole with homemade onion rings (G loves the standard green bean casserole — yanno, cans, cans, and cans — and I don’t, so I make his sweet potato casserole so I can make this one however I want. I’ve tried a bunch of variations and come to several conclusions: 1) fresh green beans and fresh baby bellas are better than canned veggies; 2) canned cream of mushroom soup is inexplicably delicious and should not be messed with; and 3) homemade buttermilk onion rings are ALWAYS the way to go.  The result is a wing-it recipe — I blanch the beans; saute the mushrooms with onions, salt & pepper; mix the whole shindig with cream of mushroom soup; top with a little bit of cheddar cheese; pop it in the oven at whatever it happens to be set to; and top it all with homemade onion rings.  Helpful hint if your store refuses to carry buttermilk like mine: just add one tablespoon of white vinegar to just under a cup of milk (so they total one cup) and let it sit for five minutes. Voila!)
  • Crescent rolls (Um, yeah, from a can that I roll out, obvs)
  • Copious amounts of wine
  • Pies (Not my responsibility! Woohoo!)
  • Ice cream
  • Coffee

Happy eating!