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Thanksgiving 2011, Diary of a Feast

It all began with my shopping trip on Monday. Well, actually, for those who know me well, making lists is not something I do too often. Monday however, I made an exception after poring over a couple of cookbooks and magazines. As well I made a list of the guests, giving me some sort of idea about just how much food I'd need. Only 12 this year. First stop Clemons for produce, followed by Publix for the turkey and dry goods.

One of the first things I made was the cranberry sauce. Although I don't eat much of it myself, I always like to have it on the table for those who do. Bon Appetit had a recipe with two types of Dijon mustard which seemed like a winner with both my sister Maureen and brother Pat very big mustard fans. Don't cranberries coated with sugar look lovely?
The recipe could not have been simpler--cranberries and sugar cooked until the berries popped, cool, followed by the addition of 4T of regular Dijon and 1T of whole grain Dijon. On Thursday afternoon I heard it was tasty. Another super simple recipe came next. Believe it or not, you mix a box of spice cake mix with a can of pumpkin, plop it in the muffin tins and bake. That's it folks. Two ingredients with bonus points for being vegan! Apologies for the sub par photograph. :-)
I mostly cleaned house on Tuesday morning, waiting, waiting for Matt's arrival at 5:00. Totally worth the wait. After dropping off his stuff we made our way to Ross, mostly to mosey and help him stay awake to get into EST. Shopping with Matthew is never dull and for some odd reason I always seem to find the best stuff when he's around including this trip. An awesome apple corer and some cool adjustable pie crust covers were two of our finds.

Wednesday morning, while Matthew enjoyed a bit of our warm Florida weather on the front porch
I began toasting the Israeli couscous for a taboulleh style salad. I oogled and awed over the cute little pearls of pasta:
I've included the recipe for those interested--I did as I was told. Pie crust followed with the pumpkin pie going in the oven next.
Meanwhile, the apple corer came out and worked beautifully! After rolling out the bottom crust Matt filled it with my pretty apple mixture,
Always up for a challenge, once I said I'd never done a lattice top before, Matt jumped all over the idea, taking it upon himself to fashion the first such crust in the Peck home. Miraculously he did just that.
Lattice top, sugar sprinkes, and new handy pie savers!

Once the pies were done, a trip was made by yours truly and her eldest son to buy an iPhone. I've finally caved. This is not something I would have tried to accomplish without one of the boys; the whole process befuddles me! More to come in another post regarding my entry into the world of smart phones!

Up early Thursday morning, more cooking ensued, followed by setting the tables. Our dear brother in law Danny sent flowers the night before to grace the table:
Because the pumpkin muffins were so tasty we decided to expand upon the idea after I found some mini loaf pans in the cupboard. Actually Matt made them with a few additions--banana and chopped pecans. Didn't they turn out cute?
They were delicious! I kicked my vegan son out of the kitchen for the turkey and dressing preparations. A fresh turkey was on the menu this year for the first time in my life. No wondering this year if the turkey had thawed! Basting, basting, and more basting gave the turkey this beautiful brown color:
After letting the turkey rest, he did all the carving. The counter was cleared of the remnants of carving with the feast taking it's place.  So here's what we had:
Roast Turkey
Sausage Dressing
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Sweet Potatoes (Matt mostly)
Grilled Asparagus
Green Beans with lemon zest
Sauteed corn with Peri-peri and lime zest
Green Salad
Couscous Salad
Pumpkin loaves with apple butter
Apple and Pumpkin Pie
And here's who joined us:
Maureen, Richard and Jennifer Condon.

Bruce, Matt and Danny.

The kitchen crew:
Bill, Dave, Burch (friend of the boys) and with her back to us, Michelle.

If you can believe it, David ate this entire plate full!!! Originally he said it would be no problem, however, after finishing it all, he admitted that about half way through, it became a source of pride. Silly, silly boy.

While Bruce was up to his elbows in soapy water, the rest of the gang lounged around admiring darling Spencer and watching football.
Lisa (on her knees) could not get enough of the darling boy! This picture makes me laugh a bit--the television is clearly not enough:
Michelle left early to spend a little time with her family but before she left I convinced her to pose with her brother in law:
So, pretty much aside from the food, Spencer stole the show--you would be hard pressed to find a more good-natured baby! Matt got a hold of him and seriously did not want to let him go:
Amazing how he and Matt seem to be concentrating on the same thing! We all went to bed still stuffed, but happy and thankful for a wonderful day. It didn't take me long to put all the clean dishes away, finish up the leftover ones, and have the kitchen pretty much back in order. Matt and Bruce finished off the apple pie this morning, turkey leftovers for lunch, and football for the afternoon. It's all good.
Until we meet again,
Gail
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