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Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Day After Thanksgiving ~

No, this is not about Black Friday. I don’t ‘do’ Black Friday.

Today is a quiet day to wind down from yesterday. Time to put away the Pilgrim canape knives, box up the leaf-shaped dishes and remember yesterday.

The food was traditional and delicious. Place setting name tags adorable!

Family fun abounded. From the surprise of a nephew coming in from Hawaii – only his mom and dad knew! – to the shared giggles.
 This year we walked the beach…
And we watched the sunset…
Thanksgiving was a delicious, magical day.

Today – the day after – is for remembering.


Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Wishing you a healthy and happy Thanksgiving day.

Thanksgiving Traditions

My family celebrates Thanksgiving with a feast that has a traditional New England flavor. The menu includes root vegetables and thick skinned ‘winter’ squash that, in days of old, would have been stored in a cool root cellar.

Turkey with gravy
Bread stuffing
Mashed potato
Butternut squash
Creamed onions
Turnip
Cranberry sauce
Pickles
Rolls and butter

With family members marrying, moving away or returning home, the mix of people may not be the same every year. Occasionally the venue changes, and appetizers are now served before hand. But the main meal menu remains the same. It’s traditional. This is the holiday my family gathers for fellowship and feasting.

After the turkey, we feel like this:

A nice long walk is the cure.


If someone wants to gather greens for Christmas wreaths, we’ll walk in the forest crisscrossed with old stone walls and a tumbling stream.

Other years we’ll walk on the beach. The waves boom as they come ashore and the blustery wind tugs at our clothes. We’ll come home with bits of sea glass, pretty rocks, and sand in our pockets.

All the walking helps settle that large noontime dinner. So once we’re back indoors, it’s time for a turkey sandwich and pie. Actually, I just go for the pie! Half slices of several different kinds, because they are all favorites and I love homemade pie.

I love Thanksgiving.
Family, Fellowship and Food.
I have so much for which to be thankful.

Recipe: Bacon-Cheddar Cheese Ball

Though our Thanksgiving meal is the same traditional menu served when I was a child  celebrating at Grandma’s house, we’ve added appetizers to the celebration. The spread of cold finger-foods keeps the men and kids out from underfoot in the kitchen. Shrimp and cocktail sauce. Corn chips and salsa. Mixed nuts. Cheese ball and crackers. I know, Cholesterol Central. I try to undo a little of the damage with a hefty bowl of grapes.

Bacon-Cheddar Cheese Ball

2 packages (8 oz.) cream cheese – softened
1/2 pound cheddar cheese – shredded
1/2 cup green onions – chopped
6 slices of bacon – cooked and crumbled
1 clove garlic – minced
3 tablespoons pimento (roasted red pepper) – diced
3 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley – minced

Blend all ingredients. Form into a ball. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to blend. Serve with crackers.

Okay, so that’s the basics. Here’s a few other notes about the recipe:
1. The pre-bagged shredded cheese doesn’t mix in as well as block cheese shredded on a grater.
2. I use turkey bacon. I know. Why bother? For the same reason I serve the grapes.
3. The ball can be rolled in chopped pecans to make it look pretty. I don’t, because there are family members who can’t eat nuts.
4. If there are any leftovers, the flavor only gets better the day after Thanksgiving. I could prepare this earlier, but for some reason I resist the idea. I want it freshly made for THE day.

Easy and tasty. Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel…

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.  E. P. Powell

Holiday Perfection Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

This is the time of year that I feel like a little kid all over again. I have so many sweet memories of Thanksgiving at Gramma Dinwoodie’s with all the aunts, uncles and cousins – the dining/living room so crowded with people and the extended table, you couldn’t move an inch. The family was loud, the food smelled wonderful and as a child, all I had to do was show up to the feast.

Several of us kids would have to duck beneath the table to get to the sofa on the other side in order to take our place. No one cared that we knocked elbows or could barely hear each other over the din. In the small house Grampa built using the lumber from another house he’d torn down, we celebrated our very own Norman Rockwell and Currier and Ives moments.

No, our table wasn’t beautifully set with matching crystal, silver or candles. An open flame in the middle of this crowd could spell disaster. And the turkey never made it to the table beautifully browned and decorated with parsley and kumquats. It was sliced in the kitchen, loaded on platters and set on the table for passing and fast self-service.

After the feast, when the table had been cleared, we would sit around the fruit bowl, each of us swathed in a turkey torpor, cracking mixed nuts or slicing through the tough skin of a pomegranate to suck on the juicy membrane around the seeds. We didn’t have an internet to tell us how to slice and eat a pomegranate without making a mess, but we had fun – mostly because it was the only day of the year we had a pomegranate at our disposal.

My Thanksgivings are still celebrated with family, but it’s not the huge gathering it once was. Now I’m one of the aunts and there aren’t as many little ones underfoot. But the love and the fun and the fellowship is still part of the celebration. There’s still no expensive crystal and the turkey continues to be carved in the kitchen, but I don’t have to climb beneath the table to find my place and there are lovely place cards at each setting and appetizers to enjoy.

So many happy memories, and all of them have melded with, and some how become attached to, the happiness depicted in Norman Rockwell’s painting and modern media’s idea of a perfect Thanksgiving. I see beautiful holiday pictures in home decorating magazines and immediately feel that warm rush of recognition. My real-life experience jumbles with the ideal depicted on the page to create a fantasy Thanksgiving that, though I may never fully live it, serves to enhance the homey, down-to-earth imperfect perfection of my real-life holiday which is truly a time of thanksgiving.

If you want to see bits of a  fantasy Thanksgiving mingled with the reality , hop over to my board at Pinterest and take a peek.

A Joyful Holiday Tradition

This time of year the weekly trek to the supermarket is anything but mundane for me. Walking through the automatic doors to see the season’s first display of Clementine oranges is a sure sign that the Holiday Season has begun. Yes, I’ve already seen artificial Christmas trees, inflated Santas and gift items stacked high in other stores. But in the supermarket, where the shelf life for items is shorter, there is a special thrill when the meat section is rearranged to accommodate turkeys, the butter is on sale and the canned pumpkin is stacked on the end cap.

The Holidays truly are here. Preparations must begin in earnest.

I’m so thankful to have the means to buy what I need to make a bright holiday for my family. Not every one is so fortunate. So a part of my holiday tradition is to take some extra cash on this last shopping trip before the holiday so I can put a few extra items in my cart.

What do I do with those items?

For several years now, the local NBC station – Channel 10 – and Shaw’s Supermarkets have teamed up for a ‘A 10 Thanksgiving’. Shaw’s donates the turkeys and Channel 10 puts the word out that collection boxes are set up in the front of every store ready and waiting to receive donations for Thanksgiving dinner fixin’s. The Salvation Army distributes the food to those less fortunate.

Choosing stuffing, cranberry sauce, canned vegetables and biscuit mix from the bountiful display on the store shelves, gives me that special joy that comes from knowing I’ve made a difference for another family. How thankful I am that God has given me the privilege of blessing others out of the abundance He has so graciously showered upon me.

What holiday tradition do you observe that has special meaning to you?

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