Another wonderful Thanksgiving has come and gone. I ate too much, laughed a lot and truly felt thankful for all of the blessings I have in my life - so all in all, it was just as it should be.
For every Thanksgiving that I have had EVER in my life, we have spent it with the same family friends. Some years, it is the only time we see them, but it is as if no time has passed. They are the kind of family that you choose and I look forward to seeing them every year. Depending on who brings who as a date and who has friends in need of a Thanksgiving to attend, we usually have somewhere between 12 - 16 people at my Dad's house every year. It is a bit chaotic but I would have it no other way.
To make it easier on everyone, we are all assigned certain items to bring which for me is always pecan pies and quiche for the next morning since our friends always stay the night at my Dad's place. I make 2 pecan pies, 1 quiche Lorraine and 1 broccoli cheese quiche. They are really good, if I do say so myself.
The day of course, always starts with cheese, and lots of it. From cheddar to blue, brie to manchego - we have it all. This is, in my mind, the ONLY way to start the day. Cheese for breakfast? Don't mind if I do...
Lots of crackers to go with the cheese. Duh.
Now - this is a picture of the stuff that comes in that little bag in the turkey. I like to pretend that these things don't really exist and I am actually really shocked I got close enough to even take this picture. My Dad, however, loves these nasty little bits and was eating them. Gross. GROSS!!!
Speaking of my Dad, here is he basting the turkey. Oh delicious turkey - I am so, so thankful for you. Also - not so sure what he was doing with his lips in this picture.
You may be wondering what in the heck-fire this is and I don't blame you. However, despite it's obvious strange appearance, this is what is lovingly referred to in our family as "The Jello Thing" as in, "Hey Dad, are you going to make that jello thing?" The jello thing is a bit of a legend around our house and no Thanksgiving is complete without it. Apparently my Great-grandma picked this recipe up in the 50's and it has been going strong since. My Dad is the master chef of this and while I still don't know how to make it, I know that it has whipped cream and walnuts in it and that it is delicious and I will love it forever.
Calling all American blog readers: ever had Yorkshire Pudding? No? It's okay - I hadn't either until I started fraternizing with a bunch of Brits, but let me tell you - it is a darn SHAME that this is not a regular in the American diet because it is delicious. Last year was the introduction of the Yorkshire Pudding to our Thanksgiving, thanks to my English fiance Dan, and it is here to stay.
In short, according to the recipe that I used from an English cooking site, the batter is simply equal parts egg, milk and flour all mixed together. You then get your oven really hot (approx. 450 degrees) and pre-heat some muffin tins with 1/2 tsp. oil in each cup (however, traditionally you use the drippings from a beef roast). Once the oil is smoking, you fill each muffin cup 1/3 of the way and quickly put back in the oven. Then, you wait and DO NOT open the oven. Yorkshire puddings are a bit like a souffle in that you just have to trust it is working. After about 12 min. they are done and this is what happens:
These puppies puff up like crazy and they are SO SO amazingly delicious and perfect. We now have them in place of dinner rolls. Because of the way they puff up, they have these little wells in the center that hold gravy and what have you just perfectly. I had never had to make these on my own without the guidance of my Englishman so I was nervous, but they turned out really great.
The other really great thing about Thanksgiving was that my brother Conor, who has been away studying and expanding his mind at university, was home. This makes everything better instantly and I already cannot wait for his return at Christmas.
He is turning 19 soon. Sniff sniff.
And last but not least, here is a picture of all the food that ended up in my tummy. See the yams at the top of the plate? My Mom makes those. They have apples and cranberries in them and are the best yams this side of the Mississippi. I swear. Yum. Just looking at this makes me hungry for it all again. Everything was excellent.
Oh how I love Thanksgiving.
I hope that you all had a great holiday weekend and that happiness and good cheer is with you as we all dive head first into this holiday season.