I know I have mentioned this earlier on my blog about how this year will be the first time in 27 years that my kids and I have had Thanksgiving dinner here at our (my) house - due to the recent change of residence for my Dad's baby sister (age 89) and her daughter. In case you missed that piece of mine, they were removed on August 31st from the family homestead and placed in a rehab/nursing home care facility and there will be no return to the old homestead for them either.
Tonight, a fellow member of the Writer's Life group I belong to placed a little poll thing on the message boards there - asking us to tell what we will be having on our menu for the big, upcoming Thanksgiving Day Feast. That got me to thinking a bit about my plans for that meal that day and I just thought I'd share them here.
Definitely, the meat of the day - main course - will be TURKEY! Since the son-in-law brought home a 20-pound bird on Wednesday and my daughter informed me earlier that we will also be receiving a turkey, compliments of our church and Lutheran Brotherhood/Thrivent, if I were to cook both these birds for the day's meal, we would/could be enjoying turkey in some form or other from next Thursday on thru Christmas Day with no problem! But, that's what freezers are for isn't it - so I will freeze one of these two birds for a family feast later during the winter - some Sunday when all my kids and grandkids can be here to enjoy it!
Next week, it will just be my son, Clate, the younger daughter, Mandy, her husband (Bill - or Wally as he sometimes gets called too) and of course the two little grandkids for sure. Of course, at seven months of age, I don't think Kurtis will be chowing yet on Turkey and the fixings. Carrie, my oldest, informed me earlier this week that she and Robert - her fiance - and her son, Alex, will not be here on Thanksgiving to partake of our big family dinner. I don't know as yet if Bill's older daughter, Katie, (age 14, almost 15 now) will be here or if she will be at her Mom's place and don't know yet either if Bill's two middle children, Shane and Sierra (who live with their maternal grandmother) will be here either. Then there's also the possibility that Bill's dad and maybe his sister will have dinner with us too but no one has given me any type of a head count to work with there as yet!
Ok, so we've already determined I'll be cooking a turkey. And yes, for this occasion, I will break down and peel a bunch of white potatoes and make sure we have a huge batch of "for real" mashed potatoes and also lots of turkey gravy for them too. But the veggies and salad stuff - I hadn't yet given that much thought yet. Mandy, Clate and I all love acorn squash and I tend to think of it as being a really appropriate vegetable for Thanksgiving Day dinner too, so maybe, if I can get to the store and find a couple nice looking ones, we might have baked acorn squash with the meal. Green bean casserole is something lots of folks have as a traditional entre too and that has potential - especially since the son-in-law likes it. If not acorn squash, maybe some dilled carrots or else candied carrots - yams might make the scene too but if I fix the yams, they always tend to mush up for me so that one is iffy there! Now if Carrie would give me her recipe for the baked mashed yam casserole she made two years ago and brought to dinner at our aunt's house that year, it might change my mind about fixing yams as I really enjoyed that dish that year!
Stuffing - to stuff the bird or not or to make a pan of stuffing and bake it on the side, not inside - that is the question. Mandy hates onions but I can't fathom fixing stuffing without onions as well as chopped celery in it. She prefers stuffing (without those items) and also likes it better if it is fxed outside the bird. OK, I can handle the latter aspect there with no problem.
THe sald thing though - that is going to be tricky since I'm not supposed to have any of the good raw veggies that comprise good salads - no lettuce, no raw cabbage, no raw broccoli or cauliflower either for that matter due to the recent abdominal surgery and colostomy I had almost 4 weeks ago now. Boo hiss! I'd love to have either a really good coleslaw or even a salad made with broccoli and cauliflower and bacon pieces! YUMMY! I wonder if I should risk that in my diet?
I have to get a can of cranberry sauce - just thought of that - has to be the jellied kind though and that's fine with me but no turkey dinner at all is complete without lots of cranberry sauce as an accompaniment, is it?
And finally - desserts! If I don't make some pumpkin pie, my daughter (Mandy) will surely pack my bags and kick me out to the curb in very short order! Pumpkin pie is an absolute must there. I'd like to have a mincemeat pie too - maybe some apple pie or cherry as well! I'd much rather give my tastebuds a treat with any kind of pie any day of the week as opposed to cake though - unless of course the cake happens to be Cheesecake. Now that's a horse of a different color there. LOVE CHEESECAKE and I have even recently been able to find at least one recipe for cheesecake that I have been able to make and which turned out really good for me too. Not as good as the cheesecake my daughter Carrie makes with the Bailey's Irish Cream in it though! But we can forget my trying to make that since I won't go buy a bottle of booze with the specific intent to use it in cooking ANYTHING. Just not something I feel my budget can withstand there! I did get a recipe the other day in my e-mail - from one of the recipe things I subscribe to - for Swirled chocolate cheesecake bites which sounds really, really good and doesn't look to challenging to make and maybe I will break down and make some of them for the big event. If not for Thanksgiving, then will definitely try them out for Christmas Dinner dessert!
I might also get ultra ambitious too and bake some fresh Swedish Limpa Rye bread which I love as do all those who will be dining here next Thursday too! If you've never heard of this, never tasted it and if you like Rye breads at all, give it a shot sometime. It's a sweeter lightly flavored rye bread and I think it is just the best rye bread ever! Only problem there is that all the grocery stores near me have stopped carrying rye flour now! Can you imagine that? Why the very nerve of these folks to take that off the shelves! Gonna have to wage a small war I guess to try to get them to restock this item again!
So there you have it - my ideas at this point in time for our Thanksgiving feast! We won't have any big floral type centerpiece or special decor for the day, also no alcoholic beverages either. (Those things are still on the tabu list of my diet for a while longer - drats!) But, we will have a big - very big - meal, for sure and we certainly will share our thanks for being able to have such amounts of food on the table in one sitting as well as being very thankful too for the opportunity to be together as a family for the day! And, for me, I am even more thankful than I have been over the past three years because this time, the day will also be relatively pain free for me! Wish I could invite my surgeon down in Pittsburgh to come join us for the day as I am truly thankful to him for the latter thing I do have to celebrate this year!
What's your plans for the day - big meal at home, eating out, football games on tv, the parades in the early morning hours? Share your plans here please - I'd love to hear what others are going to do and also, things you feel particularly thankful for too!
Oh - and something I left out there in the "thankful for" department - living in what is one of the few really free countries in the world today and being able to even criticize our government too when I feel little bits of dissatisfaction here and there with the way it is being run but don't have to fear being thrown in jail for my thoughts! We really do take that aspect of our lifestyle forgranted all too often don't we?