Friday, November 28, 2014

A Married Thanksgiving

I was so busy cooking in the kitchen yesterday that I didn't even have a chance to pop on in and wish the blogging world a happy Thanksgiving! But I do hope you had a wonderful day. Ours was great. We had a lot of dishes to make-- everything was homemade from scratch with the exception of my pie crust-- and it got a little stressful at the end, just with the timing. That's almost the hardest part, isn't it? Making sure everything is done and ready at the same time. But I told myself and G not to freak because, hey, it's just us! There's no one to impress, and we're not keeping anyone waiting but ourselves :)

Fortunately, despite my worries that the holiday would be lonely or sad as just the two of us, it was anything but. I think the fact that our full menu kept our minds and hands busy helped, but it was truly nice to just sit down to an abundant table filled with food, cheers to each other and enjoy one another's company. Plus, after dinner, there was no pressure to sit and make small talk or feel bad for wanting to just crash on the couch. The hubs immediately got up and changed out of his jeans and into some sweat pants. The perks of a low-key holiday at home!

All but one of the dishes we made were new-to-us recipes and I'm pleased to report that everything came out delicious. The cornbread and ciabatta stuffing with spicy sausage and pecans, which I made the day before, was a big hit (G said, to my delight, "Wow, this is really good stuffing!" after his first bite), and the "best ever" green bean casserole, cooked in our Lodge cast iron skillet, was far superior to the condensed-soup kind. The turkey was tasty thanks to an herb paste smeared over and under the skin and the slightly-sweet, onion-heavy gravy was so good it was addicting, I dolloped it on almost everything. My mom's sweet potato puree was a nice taste of home (and yummy for breakfast this morning). 

Next Thanksgiving, I'll hold back a little on the orange juice and zest in the cranberry sauce (or just use a smaller orange as ours was huge!) and I might try another mashed potato recipe. This one was good, but not out-of-this-world amazing like I hoped. We didn't use a potato ricer or food mill though, just a standard masher, so maybe that's the secret.

Finally, dessert. G seemed to love the 3-in-1 Apple-Pumpkin-Pecan Pie since he had two slices (even while claiming to be already full). The pie didn't set up perfectly but the flavor was there. I'm still an apple pie girl though. And the hubs still favors pumpkin. The battle continues!

I set the table with some of our wedding "china": colorful plates from Anthropologie, green rocks glasses from Bed, Bath & Beyond, gold-stemmed flatware and handblown pink wine glasses from Crate & Barrel. I also busted out the hand-painted lavender champagne flutes we toasted with on our wedding day. Tea lights were placed in vintage glasses that were part of our wedding decor, too. It felt good to put to use all these extra special items.

One tradition that I enjoyed when I spent Thanksgiving with G's aunt and uncle, and extended family, a few years ago was when, after dinner, everyone took turns sharing what they were thankful for. I know this is something many families do but it was new for me. I remember being so nervous. G and I were still young in our relationship and I had just met many of the people around the table for the first time, but everyone was so warm, welcoming and lovely. I'm paraphrasing now but, I shared how thankful I was to be around such good energy and how thankful I was to have G in my life. I started tearing up as I spoke, a mixture of nerves and true emotion, and even though I was mildly embarrassed at the time the moment has remained a wonderful memory on my heart and I like to think it endeared me to the family and solidified my place in it, even early on.

So last night, I placed on each of our plates a paper and pen so we could record what we are thankful for this year. After dinner we took a minute to jot down our thoughts and then we read them to each other. Not surprisingly our thoughts were almost exactly the same! I look forward to making this a tradition for us each Thanksgiving, and my heart swells at the idea of our children one day sitting around the table and sharing with us what they are grateful for.

Full of good food and good wine, the hubs passed out around 11 o'clock, but I was still wide awake. I stayed up with the pups, though they quickly fell asleep as well, most likely thanks to the large chicken jerky treats and several bites of turkey we fed them (it was their Thanksgiving, too!). Jasper, a little cuddle monster, conked out in my arms in a food coma.

Yep, a good day was had by all.

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