Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Our New Thanksgiving Tradition: Simplify and Do Our Own Thing

Happy Thanksgiving! I love this time of year. Everyone gets together, feasts together, and we all stop to focus on the good stuff in life.

Our celebration this year is different from our norm. Typically, we spend our Thanksgiving with family, on a big farm with all the usual trimmings: big turkey, stuffing/dressing, mac and cheese, pumpkin pie…the works. But this year, we’re not going. And I’m kind of excited. The years we’ve stayed home have usually had a major reason – usually baby-related (miscarriage, too close to due date, and then a brand-new baby). This year, a slew of small factors combined to keep us home, and I can’t wait to celebrate with just my little family of four-plus-dog.

If you know me, you’ve probably heard of my semi-rant about Thanksgiving. I just don’t understand why we cook a turkey, which is by nature dry, and what 80% of people have for lunch every day, to celebrate any holiday. I mean, how many times have you heard people say they’d rather have the sides than the main dish? Yet we all go out and pick out the ‘perfect’ turkey and spend almost an entire day babying it to try to make it ‘perfect.’ I don’t understand why we spend our precious time off stressing.

So this year, since we’re in control of the festivities, we decided to go off the beaten path. Which means simplifying what we do, and basing our choices on we’d enjoy, rather than what we’re supposed to do, while sticking to a basic framework of main dish, veggie, gratuitous carb and dessert.

Here’s our menu:
Grilled churrasco steaks with chimichurri sauce (sorry but steak > turkey any day, my friends)
green bean bundles (green beans tossed in olive oil, garlic and salt, wrapped in bacon and cooked til crisp)
mofongo (latin dish of green plantains mashed with pork cracklins – chicharrones to my people – and garlic)
apple crisp

Since I know my kids won’t eat the steak, and might or might not go near the mofongo (sometimes they devour it, sometimes they won’t to near it), I’m throwing chicken tenders and sweet potato fries in the oven – mostly so I won’t have to deal with whines of “I don’t like thaaaat!!!!”

Except for the kids’ meal and the chimichurri, everything is fresh and homemade, but simple. I don’t mind putting in effort, but I’m only putting effort into what we’ll truly enjoy. And as an added bonus, we get to choose where our splurges will be. So our apple crisp will be lower on the sugar and amped up in spices. I might hold back on the chicharrones in the mofongo to save a few calories.

As far as the ‘timeline’, we’ll sit down at the table when it’s all ready instead of trying to stick to a self-imposed deadline. We’ll keep the table simple, and I have cute disposables for dessert to lessen the cleanup.

Mostly, we just want time to relax and be together. Besides, we’d rather save the crazy for our son’s fifth birthday this weekend.

And that’s our Thanksgiving tradition: celebrating with those you love, and being thankful for what we have, and doing it in a way that will allow us to truly enjoy our time.

 

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Thankful.

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Many of you who know me know my slightly ‘bah-humbug’ attitude towards Thanksgiving.  The reality?  Although I don’t see why we have turkey, I love the holiday.  I love the thought of spending the day in the kitchen, making special dishes with fresh ingredients, celebrating an amazing time of the year, then getting together with those we love the most, whether it’s just you and your hubby or a whole gaggle of family and friends to reflect on everything that’s good in this world.

This year, I’m thankful for:

My husband who has been so supportive of me this past year, when I have been pushed to my limit and stood by me as I transitioned from working mom to SAHM/crafter.  The day I met him (just over 11 years ago), I knew by the end of the evening that he was The One, and it’s been true.

My son, who makes me smile more than I knew was possible.  Even when he’s up to no good (and at almost two years old, that’s pretty much all the time), I have to smile at his sense of wonder at the world, his quest to learn about every single thing in front of him and the incredible amount of energy that keeps him going all day long.  I am thankful that he’s a mama’s boy, because I could never get enough of his hugs, kisses and cuddles.

The opportunity to start The Teal Magnolia and the great feedback I’ve received.  It has meant so much to me to be able to do what I do and have your support!  It’s an incredible ride that I’m on and look forward to seeing where it goes.  Thank you so much for cheering me on every step of the way.

I could keep going on and on and on about everything that makes my heart beat a little faster, but that would be incredibly boring.  So, even though for the time being I won’t be able to cook and plan Thanksgiving and set the big fancy table that all crafty people dream of doing, I am celebrating by remembering the reason for the holiday and being thankful for what I have.