Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My First Thanksgiving

This is the first year I'll host Thanksgiving at my home. I'm excited to start some new food and non-food-related traditions with my family. The menu will be fairly traditional, but the green bean casserole will not have canned cream of mushroom soup and instead of pumpkin pie, I am making pumpkin cheese cake with a homemade gingersnap crust, because I have two pints of cream cheese leftover from the cheese making class I taught last Friday. As I review the recipes, I'm feeling quite pleased that most everything we'll need is already in the house (or on order, in the case of the turkey). Here's my menu plan:
With our pantry, fridges and freezers stocked, I don't have much shopping to do. I pick up the turkey from the Decks Tuesday afternoon at the Moreland Farmers Market, as well as some cranberries. Wednesday morning. I'll make the cranberry sauce, bake the sweet potatoes, steam wild rice for the dressing, and make the gingersnaps. That evening, I'll take the turkey out of the brine, then air dry it in the refrigerator over night. This makes for a very crispy skin.

On Thursday morning, I'll start with the cheesecake, so that can bake before the turkey and then cool while the turkey roasts. That will leave me with the sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, Brussels sprouts, and dressing to assemble while the turkey roasts. They'll go into the oven while the turkey rests, then it'll be time for our first Thanksgiving feast in our own home and for me to collapse in a heap!

Since this is supposed to be a holiday for expression our gratitude, I would like to start some new traditions. Something simple, like going around the table and naming something that we for which we are grateful. While dinner is cooking, I want the kids to work on cards for our neighbors, thanking them for all they've done for us and our neighborhood this year, as well as family and friends. As difficult as things are right now with Mike unemployed, we have felt so fortunate to be surrounded by such supportive, encouraging people.

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