Monday, December 3, 2007


Thanksgiving is a time to gather and eat foods you would not normally think to prepare on dishes that are too fancy to eat standard fare upon. But its also a time to reflect and enumerate your good fortune. This year, I am grateful to have a wonderful husband and an incredibly child. I'm grateful to have been able to travel with them 2300 miles to visit our families and introduce Jackson to his kin. He was able to meet most of his family including all of his grandparents, most of his uncles, many of his cousins, 2 of his great aunts, and 5 great grandparents. Next visit, we'll be seeking out the rest of you--I want my son to know the people who were influential in my own life. I am also fortunate to have wonderful friends, a good job, and a peaceful country existence in the woods and with our animals. The day before Thanksgiving I even felt some gratitude for my beagle. Her love of food came to my aid when I needed help with a kitchen mess.
We had a lovely Thanksgiving at home in Connecticut. I spent the evening before and all day Thanksgiving cooking. There's a lot to cook when you're doing it yourself and you have unreasonable requirements that everything be made from scratch. This year, we ordered a free range turkey, and so we had to do our own brining. I heard about a maple brine recipe from "Fine Cooking Magazine" , so I found a copy of it and tried it out. You're supposed to start with a thawed turkey, but since we were in Utah the week before, my brine had to multi-task. Once brined, the turkey went outside to the smoker (Jason took care of most of this task). We had the turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, stuffing with nuts and cranberries (This is a placeholder for the link to the recipe), carrots and parsnips (from our neglected garden!), cranberry sauce, and apple and pumpkin pie. I think it was the most delicious Thanksgiving ever. [This is really blowing my own horn since my family makes a wonderfully delicious Thanksgiving. Mine was also simplified, so I missed out on Grandma's rolls, sweet potatoes, squash soup, salads, jello, and more pie].
I wanted Jackson to be a part of it, so I made some things with Olive oil instead of butter and made him his own individual mashed potatoes. The only thing he liked were the cranberries. Yes--really. I was shocked. I had to mash the berries out of the skins for him. Then I tried to mix in the turkey in disguise. He ate it, but I think he knew I was trying to pull a fast one over on him.

Friday, we had a great visit from our friends Nicole and Ben and Jamie and Andy with their three little boys, Harrison, Zane, and Ewan. Nik and Ben really need no introduction. Jamie is probably my oldest friend. We grew up on the same street and with the exception of the 6th grade, we've been friends since we were 4. It was wonderful to have a full house. It's normally VERY quiet here. Jamie's boys are rambunctious, and I think Jason enjoyed running around as much as they did.

Having company is also an excuse for Jason (and Ben) to bring out the explosives. For a while we were getting a call from next door everytime Nicole and Ben came up to make sure everyone was safe. Now, we make the call proactively. This time, Jason brought out the guns. The big and little boys all had a good time with them. Fortunately, there were no accidents. I understand that Zane (4) is now asking for a gun for Christmas. Sorry Zane. You'll shoot your eye out. I was pleased to see how helpful and patient Jason was showing the boys how to shoot.
Jamie cooked some Thai curry for us--skills she picked up during her 1.5 year stay there. The recipe was surprisingly easy, so we'll be trying it ourselves someday.


  1. What a wonderful day! I hope to see you all soon. I'm checking into coming out for Nicole's wedding. . .

  2. I love that picture of Nicole. :D Thanks again for having us and for letting my boys take over your house for the weekend! We seriously had so much fun. The boys step outside in our backyard and are completely bored now. We finally were able to talk Zane out of a gun, so they are asking Santa for a nice set of walkie talkies. ha ha
    You forgot to mention the secret ingredient in Jackson's mashed potatoes. . . j/k

  3. What a fun New England Thanksgiving. Hope you have a Merry Christmas as well.