Growing up, Thanksgiving meant a whole weekend down at Papa’s ranch. Thirty or more relatives crowded together in the noisy ranch house for a huge feast of food and of family. I remember those weekends of getting dirty in the brush, jumping on the “trampoline” (an old rusty mattress) or swinging on the tire swing, shooting guns at the rusty cans down at the dump and exploring the caves and making forts with my sister and brother. Thanksgiving means a crowd and a lot of food, in my mind. So when I married Greg, I decided I’d start hosting Thanksgiving at our house, as the old ranch house tradition had died away. Now my family and Greg’s family gather here to celebrate our blessings. We cook together all day Thursday while the men watch football and pretend to watch the children. (To give them credit, they do clean up the after meal mess!) It just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a little chaos and lot of creative cooking.
This year I just have too many things I want to make. On top of that, my standards have become too high. Do you know that every single boxed stuffing mix I looked at had high fructose corn syrup in it? Can you believe it? Now, I wasn’t shopping at my good ole Trader Joe’s because their turkeys aren’t big enough, so I’m thinking maybe their stuffing would be healthier, but I don’t know. I just couldn’t bring myself to buy the corn syrup kind. What have I become? Instead I bought some whole wheat bread, hawaiian bread, and will make cornbread tonight and I plan on merging these two recipes to make a stuffing for Thanksgiving. Shockingly, Paula Deen’s recipe has some horrible reviews! Say it ain’t so, Paula! I do love her (butter filled) recipes, as well as Tyler Florence’s, so I’ll merge the two and see how it goes. Does anyone have a wonderful stuffing recipe to share?
Of course, pumpkin pie is my favorite Thanksgiving food. It tastes best the morning after…cold pumpkin pie with whipped cream for breakfast can’t be beat. This year I’m making this recipe that my friend Holly brought to our church fellowship group. It was SO good! Even Greg (a non-pumpkin kind of guy) loved it. Holly said she uses half as much powdered sugar as Paula recommends. Like I said, Greg’s not a pumpkin fan, so his mom will bring apple pie, and I also have a pear cake recipe I like and some farmer’s market pears to use up. And with my sister and her husband spending the night, I’m contemplating making the famous lemon blueberry scones…we’ll see about that.
So I managed to fight the crowds today at the store to snag a 22 pounder (hope that’s enough!) and potatoes for mashing. (Another place my standards have risen…I just can’t handle frozen or flaked mashed potatoes anymore…sigh.) Oh, and some cranberries to make a chutney or sauce to go alongside the canned version. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Fair warning: I am sure that at least one or two of these ideas will never come to fruition, but I do so love thinking about delicious recipes! Thank goodness we’re having all the cousins over the next day to help eat the leftovers! Can’t wait to catch up with cousins from New York and Oregon who won’t be able to come out for Christmas. I love November!