We enjoyed a lovely Thanksgiving. (by the way, the photo on the left is not a photo of our Thanksgiving table, I down loaded it from the internet ... I forgot to take a photo of our table setting ... a blogger & scrapbooker who forgets to take photos ... go figure) In years past we often journeyed to Mr. B's grandmother's home for Thanksgiving. On the years we elected to enjoy a quiet intimate gathering with only our immediate family in our home, it has been a tradition to prepare roasted chicken, a delight for a very worried turkey somewhere out in this world. However, since Mr. B's grandmother passed on earlier this year (http://herpeculiarlife.blogspot.com/2008/05/reflections.html ), I thought I'd break our immediate family tradition and prepare a turkey instead of a chicken - sort of in remembrance of Granny. Well after many years of marriage, my dear Mr. B informed me that he actually prefers roasted chicken over turkey! Here I was feebly attempting to re-create his grandmother's Thanksgiving dinner and he surprises me by letting me know he's always preferred our smaller intimate family gatherings with roasted chicken. Not only was that a huge blessing, but I was also gently reminded that it is always best to just be one's self. Imitating others may be a form of great compliment, but most folks, especially the one's who love you most, prefer you just as you are, uniquely and wonderfully made.
Since I had planned ahead with regard to our celebration of abundant blessings, I was able to enjoy the day with my family. Aside from roasting the turkey, my entire Thanksgiving Day preparations took less than 2 hours in the kitchen. Later in the evening, I spent about an hour with clean-up ... Not bad when you've served enough food to feed a 3rd world country. One of the things I love most about having Thanksgiving dinner at home is the leftovers. I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving leftovers. The day after Thanksgiving our family enjoyed a three day hunting trip. Upon our arrival home, I was so glad I had not taken any leftovers with us. We savored a second round of turkey, dressing and pumpkin pie. Waiting a few days only made it all the more tasty.
Our older children live out of state and thus we normally do not get to spend Thanksgiving with them, but I do send them homemade pumpkin pies (see "how to ship perfect pies and cakes", http://herpeculiarlife.blogspot.com/2008/11/how-to-ship-perfect-pies-cakes.html). I miss them so much, especially during holidays. However, this year the "missing the babies blues" were not quite so bad because it is our turn to have them for Christmas!!!! We alternate Christmas celebrations with the in-laws. We get the even years & the in-laws get the odd years. So far, this plan is working out great. It saves a whole bunch of hurry, hurry, rush, rush for our children and each side of their family gets to enjoy a relaxed gathering. Also, by making only one holiday trip each year, it is much more cost effective for the children. How much celebrating can one REALLY enjoy when you have the knowledge of the arrival of a large credit card bill looming in your mail box because you felt obliged to travel to several locations all over the country to spend a holiday with your and your spouse's families? No, I'd rather be able to FULLY enjoy my children, knowing that they had plenty of time to save up air fare and that they don't have to go into debt to come see us.
Earlier in this post I mentioned that we went hunting for a few days. A couple funny things, as usual, happened during our time in the woods. The best one being our little EJ and OG crashing the four-wheeler into a tree. Of course, at the time of the crash I was not laughing. I was actually fussing at Mr. B, "I told you they were not old enough to drive that thing ... what were you thinking?" Mr. B's reply, "Well, I didn't think they'd wreck the thing." My response, "Yeah that is what caused the crash ... you didn't think ..." (my older kids know exactly how this conversation played out and yes, in my mind, it's all Mr. B's fault even though he wasn't driving). The crash wasn't a serious one, they weren't even driving fast enough to get thrown off the thing when it crashed or even make a mark on the tree - (Thank you Lord). But they were frightened and worried. The entire time I was carrying EJ back to the camper to give him a good "look over" asking, "Where does it hurt, Where does it hurt?" (Mr. B was carrying OG), he was crying, "Daddy's going to be mad at me, Daddy's going to be mad at me. WHAAAAA! Daddy's going to be mad at me. WHAAAA! " They weren't hurt, not a scratch on either of my little chicks. BUT, they were worried that they wouldn't get to ride the four-wheeler anymore. Turns out this was a perfect opportunity for Mr. B to, again, discuss four-wheeler safety with the little ones. Well, it's taken a few days, but I have have finally begun to see the humor in this little drama. By the way, it only took Mr. B, OG and EJ about 5 minutes to find the humor in all this and practically laugh their heads off their necks - I guess I am way too serious. My brothers and cousins were allowed and did FAR more dangerous things than this. But when it comes to my little chicks, this mother hen doesn't want them out from under her wing - EVER!
Last night, I "made-over" our Thanksgiving leftovers. Here are a couple of my "make-over" recipes.
Turkey Florentine Casserole
2-4 c. cooked, cubed turkey
1-2 c. cooked, drained spinach OR 1 pkg. frozen, spinach, thawed and drained OR 3 c. fresh chopped spinach
3 c. prepared cream of mushroom soup (see cream of anything soup mix recipe: http://herpeculiarlife.blogspot.com/2008/11/simplified-sundays.html )
3-4 c. dressing, add enough water to make it into a spreading consistency
Grease 8" x 11" casserole pan. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine turkey, spinach and cream soup. Pour into casserole. Spread dressing over top of turkey mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 -40 minutes until top begins to brown and casserole is bubbly. 10 servings
Sweet Potato Cakes
3-4 cups Twice Baked Sweet Potato Casserole (see recipe below)
3 bunches green onion, chopped
1 c. frozen corn OR 1 can, drained
2-4 tbs. oil
Combine twice baked sweet potato casserole, green onions, corn and enough flour to make a soft dough. With floured hands form into approximately 8 patties. Fry in oil until browned, flip and brown other side. 8 servings
Twice Baked Sweet Potato Casserole
(recipe adapted from Taste of Home magazine)
4 sweet potatoes
2 c. grated cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 c. melted butter
Wash sweet potatoes, prick with a fork, wrap in foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour or until tender. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, remove skins. In a medium bowl, mash sweet potatoes. Add cheese, bacon and butter. Pour into a greased casserole. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes until top begins to brown. 8-10 servings