Sunday, December 2, 2012

Giving Thanks, and Feasting.

I might just let the pictures do the talking.  I was inspired by Martha Stewart's magazine, and some from Sunset.  I changed many recipes to make sure they were gluten free.  All except when it came time to making pie crust.  Trader Joe's offered an easy out with ready made crust.  

The last three years have been my turn to make our Thanksgiving meal.  It is the one time of the year my family comes to my house and I get to cook a meal from scratch for everyone.  We keep telling ourselves we're not going to complicate it, but I cannot help but be excited and want to try out a new and different recipe each year.

I had placed a heritage turkey on hold from Whole Foods, but when I got there later in the evening on Wednesday, they had oversold and so I was offered an organic bird and half price.  Well, considering I was going to pay near $80 for a heritage bird, paying significantly less for an organic one sounded like a great deal.  I was disappointed but there's always next year.  

I don't have a picture of the stuffing, but switching bead to quinoa was healthy and tasted ok, but it really would have been much better with bread. 

 Prepping a selection of mushrooms and hazelnuts for our wild-mushroom-leek-and-filbert-dressing

 I used gluten free ladies fingers and amaretti cookies for a tiramisu trifle.

 Rubbing the bird with an herb butter
The cranberry-maple-jelly was amazing.  It didn't set too well in my fish mold.

 The creamed onion and sage was delicious but more of an adult taste.  I used a gluten free flour for both this and for the turkey gravy.  I learned a little goes a long way due to the tapioca starch in it. 

 Since I couldn't find delicata squash for this, I simply used acorn squash which was quite tasty.  I also used a combination of prosciutto and bacon.

Cooking such a feast leaves me exhausted since it's a two day job.  However, I'm always thankful to have my family and friends be a part of it.  The joys of making a meal and sharing it with others is something that I have always enjoyed.  Making it from scratch and with wholesome and healthy ingredients while also being mindful of where they come from and how they are grown and processed is making me appreciate everything that I buy and serve my family and friends.  I hope that sharing such an experience will not only enhance our relationships with each other, but also cultivate a better appreciation and gratitude for those who provide our food.  Making this year's thanksgiving a sustainable feast was a challenge that was worth taking on.  It was also a challenge to shop for most things before we left for a trip to Zion and came back with a few hours left on Wed to shop.

As it's been a tradition of ours for 8years now, we participate in a 5K on Thursday morning so that the homeless will have meals throughout the year.  This year there were over 7,000 participants.  Being mindful of what we have as a start to our Thanksgiving day has made the day even more enjoyable.

As I sat in mass today for the first day of Advent, I was reminded that even though Christmas is a season to welcome the new and look forward to the gifts of the new year, it is also a perfect opportunity to take a moment to look back and be grateful for all that the past year has provided for us.  Be it a small gesture, a new adventure, a large gift, or just the new people in our lives, taking the time to appreciate what we have and have had gives as much meaning as looking forward to the new.

It's been difficult to see the positives in my life in the last few weeks, but I took a day to myself yesterday, and simply having time to myself gave me the opportunity to reflect on all that has come to pass this year.  Of all the things I am thankful for, I am (even if I don't seem like it), I am deeply thankful for the time I have with my children at home.  I am thankful that I get to see their smiles, their first words, their joys at learning something new, their hearts being filled with excitement as they discover their abilities, the times we spend cooking and dancing, and even the more dreadful ones like potty training.  It is trying to give of yourself all the time, but I am grateful that these will be my memories of my children.  I struggle with not being fulfilled in my career that has been left on the back burner, but then I realize what greater personal development could I have than watching my own children grow.  Knowing the struggles of parenthood will only aid me once I step back into a classroom.

So, for the light, wisdom, and guidance my children bestow upon me day after day, and with each gray hair I grow and pound I don't shed, I am thankful for a year of love and happiness that I have been surrounded by.  There can be no greater sensation that little giggles and small hands that reach out tenderly, and to have that throughout most of my day- I am thankful.

Shared on:  smallfootprintfamily

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