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Had a great weekend with my guys, my brother-in-law and nephews. I was the only girl in the house (missing my sister who had to work this weekend and couldn’t make it). I did a lot of cooking and baking for the men and we did a lot of eating.

Lots of homemade bread.

 

Chocolate cake…….

 

And more bread….Challah this time for morning french toast.

I think that it was a nice holiday weekend, despite my lone girl status…….kinda used to that by now, living in a houseful of men.

 

 

Today is the the day…the big eating day.  I am very blessed to share it with my family. I am thankful for:

  • a husband who loves me and can always, always make me smile.
  • boys who are growing into wonderful young men and who make me very proud.
  • our health which no one should take for granted.
  • the ability to cook a meal for those who will share it with us today.
  • family and friends– both near and far, they are a source of strength, laughs and love.

As you celebrate today, remember to be thankful, not just today but always.

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” — Henri Frederic Amiel

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.  No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.  ~H.U. Westermayer

So many of us will be running around today with last minute errands, cleaning and preparing our homes for the friends and family that will come to share Thanksgiving with us. We will be peeling potatoes, baking bread, rolls and pies. We will be setting tables and making beds. While we are busy, take time to remember how fortunate we are.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast. A house into a home. A stranger into a friend. ~ Melody Beattie

Enjoy your pre-Thanksgiving preparations and the company of family and friends.

So yesterday there was no post because I was very lucky to have lunch with my mom. I don’t get to see her quite often enough, so it was a real treat. Reminded me how much I have to be thankful for, because there are a lot of people that aren’t so lucky.

Continuing on with trying to remember how fortunate we are in this week of turkey craziness……

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John F. Kennedy

Be nice to someone today.

English: Saying grace before carving the turke...

English: Saying grace before carving the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner in the home of Earle Landis in Neffsville, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today is the day, back in 1863 when President Lincoln declared the first official Thanksgiving celebration by the nation would take place on November 26, 1863. The fourth Thursday of November was officially recognized by the United States as a national day of thanks. This came on the heels of the victory at Gettysburg.

Thanksgiving was officially celebrated on the fourth Thursday until Franklin D. Roosevelt changed it to the third Thursday of November in 1939 to help an ailing country get those extra shopping days in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Congress didn’t much like that and it was moved back to the fourth Thursday of the month.

We enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving with my sister and her family. We were honored to include recipes from those who are no longer with us. We are reminded of them with each forkful of a recipe that has been passed down. There is no Black Friday craziness in our house — I am not a shopper and definitely not a shopper that needs or wants to get up at some ungodly hour to stand on line to get some shopping done. While I don’t understand what motivates those that get up (or never go to bed) in order to secure a bargain, I know that I won’t be among them…ever. The closest I may get is doing some Black Friday shopping online (hey folks who were out in the middle of the night — you do know that you can shop online for usually the exact same deals, right? In your pjs and the comfort of your nice warm house).

I hope that everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving and enjoyed the company of those we see often and those we see not too often.

 

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antipastoAntipasto. We used to have it at every holiday meal. A large (or maybe two) tray of a variety of meats, cheeses, peppers, lettuce and tomatoes that, as its name translates was served “before the meal”. Its origins are Italian but my dad, who enjoyed antipasto probably more than the meal itself, wasn’t. Irish as the inside of the Blarney Stone, although he had a smattering of mutt thrown in for good measure. I think he married into antipasto since my mom’s parents were both Italian and the holidays were clearly excuses to eat…a lot…especially of the things you only had but once or twice a year.

I can clearly remember the large glass trays that we used and the preparation. I bet every family has their own version. First, the layer of lettuce, then the layer of sliced tomato, then the layers of cheeses, provolone, some prosciutto, cappicola, some genoa salami, a sprinkling of pepperoncini, some cherry peppers, olives. There were additions but usually no deletions. The tray was piled high and hardly any of it was left over when the first course was through.We wouldn’t think of a holiday without it — I think my dad would have cried. I personally think it was his favorite part.

This afternoon, I was making up a shopping list for our Thanksgiving dinner. Nothing big — just our family and my sister and her family – as low stress and casual as Thanksgiving can get. I asked Tom who was sitting nearby if I was forgetting anything from the list and threw out an appetizer before dinner and then “antipasto?” It was like a blast from the past. I have not made an antipasto since my dad passed away. Why? I don’t really know, I’m sure that my boys would probably love it and enjoy it, but somehow it just wouldn’t be the same. Dad was the one that lived for the antipasto and I don’t know if it would be the same without him at the table to join us. Perhaps it’s nothing more than a subconscious sign of respect to recognize the fact that he no longer sits at the holiday table with us. I can’t seem to put my heart into it when he’s not here to enjoy it, considering it really was because of my dad that it was included with every holiday meal regardless of the occasion.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts.  We are ready for take-off. That’s right. We are officially one week away from Thanksgiving and the  start of the “official” holiday season. Note, that the commercial holiday season started sometime during the end of summer I think judging by the fact that Christmas music was blaring before Halloween in some places and winter clothes are pretty much going on clearance and it’s not even winter yet. If you don’t get to the store soon, you won’t be able to get this summer’s bathing suits because I am sure that they are going to coming full circle to next fall’s outfits fairly shortly.

The past week or so around here has been crazed to say the least. More crazed than normal, which for those of you that know me, says a lot.  Let’s just say upfront that I haven’t been at my best. Too much to do and quite honestly I am feeling run down and exhausted. A sore throat at the beginning of last week kicked things off on a wonderful note and it has not been fun since then and I still don’t feel back to normal. Throw in the mix the week before the high school play with two kids involved in that process and my head is just spinning. Add some teenage attitude and two kids with colds and well….you get the picture.

Tomorrow, company is a-coming. The MRU play is tomorrow and Saturday evenings — Tim’s high school theater premiere (Ta-da).

Company will be fun to catch up with and relaxing even though I am cooking the Thanksgiving dinner here in a week.

Full speed ahead…….

I love to bake. It’s sweet – usually quite literally. I love the holidays. It is however hard to believe that my inbox has been accumulating “cookie of the day” recipes since before Halloween. I really dislike this push to get us through the holidays — at this rate I’m sure that we will be finding Valentine’s Day hearts and candy crowding the shelves well before we’re ringing in the new year. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, it has always been a big part of my life and my family’s lives. But, really, can we just slow it down and actually enjoy them? My sister commented that it was difficult for my youngest nephew who is autistic to understand why Christmas trees were crowding the aisles of the stores already when they were still shopping for his Halloween costume. It’s difficult for me to understand as well. Thanksgiving is coming up, yet we are bombarded by Christmas all over the place. I realize that the stores are anxiously looking to increase sales in an economy that is less than desirable for any of us, but can we also enjoy the holidays without having to cut ourselves off completely from civilization.

Christmas tree

Image via Wikipedia

I know that there are those folks out there that bake or prebake or make and freeze their cookies well in advance of the holidays. To me, that’s a couple weeks, not a couple months. I can’t even think of holiday cookie baking before Thanksgiving rolls around and I’d like to think that I am not the weird one in this equation.

Try to relax, divest yourself of the commercialism and enjoy the holidays, one at a time instead of all at once, pretty soon we’ll just be celebrating Hallothankschristmasyear Day because it would be more time-saving — and then they can start putting out those Easter bunnies in December.

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Here are some pictures from Thanksgiving of bread (heavens I made a LOT)

I also tried a hand at pumpernickel for a spinach dip, since when I went food shopping, not a whole loaf (unsliced) was to be found.

Photo: Tyler Heffernan

Then there was, of course, dessert. TJ made an Oreo Cookie pie that looked delicious.

Photo: Tyler Heffernan

My contribution to the dessert table was a Pumpkin Mousse with Flour-less cake

And speaking of the dessert table, we were invited over to our friends and neighbors’ house for dessert. Here’s a picture of the dessert table…looks good enough to eat, doesn’t it?

Well, folks officially less than a week until Thanksgiving. We are headed toward the start of the “holiday season” fast and furiously. For me, let’s see – our house is torn apart, everything’s a disaster around here and I don’t think I have one single Thanksgiving dinner ingredient in my house yet. Full steam ahead! Bring it on. I’ve had a headache pretty much for the last week or so and nerves are frazzled. I can’t wait to have things back in order – or at least our normal sense of order.

Putting all that aside, we were reminiscing tonight about the holidays and memories. I asked our youngest son what he would like to have with turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, which sparked a conversation of holidays gone by. While some things endure through many generations, some traditions or foods slowly slip away from our table as the people with whom they are associated leave us. Why this happens I am not sure. I think that we sometimes take for granted certain aspects of our holidays because we take for granted the people behind them. We assume that the food, like the person will always be around.

For example, in my memories, my great Aunt Mary always showed up on holidays with literally a back seat full of pies – chocolate cream pie, lemon meringue pie, apple  pie and pumpkin pie. Pies that would make any baker shrink back in defeat. While we still make pie for dessert on certain holidays, none of our pies can hold a candle to Aunt Mary’s. The same thing with her stuffing – a mix of sausage, apple, onion  and seasonings – a combination that I, my sister and my brother have desperately attempted year after year to recreate and somehow always fall just short of Aunt Mary’s stuffing.

I realize that we have not had antipasto since my Dad passed away. We had antipasto for the appetizer for every major holiday for as far back as I can remember  and mostly since it was one of his favorites – huge platters piled high with Italian meats, cheese, olives, tomatoes, lettuce, hot cherry peppers, pepperocini and such. They are conspicuously absent from my holiday meals – intentionally or not – I couldn’t tell you, it just doesn’t seem right to have one of his favorite foods without him.

Tom reminisced about his grandmother’s dinners for holidays which always started with a homemade fruit salad. Pretty much the same thing – even if we tried to recreate it, it just wouldn’t be the same.

I know that the holidays are a natural time to remember. I hope that your reminiscing brings back as many good memories as ours did this evening.

I submitted a menu to the Localvore Thanksgiving challenge and was notified by Glenn Fay of LoveEarthAlways.com that I was one of the winners! It was pretty neat to try to put together a menu that consists of local items. Our garden celery, onions, garlic, hubbard squash, tomatillos and of course our honey were the base of the menu with the turkey coming from Stonewood Farms in Orwell, VT and cranberries from the Vermont Cranberry Company in Fairfield, VT. Most of the rest came from other local farms courtesy of the Rutland Co-op.

Evilwife on the move

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