Thanksgiving menu

I am only a few pattern repeats away from completing the main body of the wrap/throw I am knitting for myself. It has become my private prayer shawl project. I suppose you could infer from how quickly (quick for me) it has grown to near full-length just how much I have prayed lately.

Prayed. Contemplated. Reflected. Cried.

Reflected more; prayed more.

It is okay, I know.

I am knitting this into a square in this misty fog sort of color; a cotton yarn. I had saved two cones of this color from back when I was selling cotton yarn because I wanted to knit myself a throw. I decided to make the throw square so I could use it as a large and cuddly wrap by folding the square into a triangle.

It is a comforting piece of knitting, and I do believe that when I wrap myself in the warm and cuddly cotton fibers I will feel my father holding me, hugging me. And it will not make me sad. Instead I will smile and feel the comfort of years of knowing and having him in my life and in our lives. It will large and generous, just as he was.

Oh Dad … we do miss you so.

As for the throw, after I finish knitting the square (about sixty-four inches square) with this color, I plan to make some kind of a border in a pale cream cotton yarn that I have yet to locate and purchase. Just enough of a border to make it pretty, with a touch of femininity. Once the wrap is finished I will prepare a pattern to share with you.

Now, for the Thanksgiving Menu …

At our place, we are doing what we can to maintain the yummy, traditional flavors of Thanksgiving while getting rid of as much of the fat content as possible.

There will only be four of us at our feast, so we also need to keep the quantities in a manageable range.

Coming from a large family with plenty of spouses and grandchildren (to my parents) in the picture, I was accustomed to very large potluck gatherings. Whatever dishes we prepared for holiday meals needed to be large enough for everyone to have some.

My husband, on the other hand, comes from a small family and, being 3,000 miles away from my family we don’t need to prepare for a large gathering. The other thing is, as life has progressed I have come to appreciate a smaller Thanksgiving than I used to. I am very grateful for the memories of the large family feasts but there was quite a lot of stress and bustle involved in getting ready, getting kids ready, preparing food, travelling to someone else’s house, enjoying a great big boisterous meal, cleaning up afterwards, etc. ¬†Additionally, we always had to eat early in the afternoon so that people could leave to get to other in-law’s homes for second round meals.

I may have written about this before, on the I Live on a Farm blog but will mention it again for newer readers:

The last year my son and daughter and I lived in California together, after my parents had moved to Colorado (and my two older brothers were already there with their families) the kids and I decided to try a Thanksgiving dinner at home, just the three of us. They both wanted to have dinner later in the day, so that it seemed more like “dinner”. They also thought it would be great to have plenty of leftovers of everything from the meal, so we could all munch and snack on the fixings over the course of the holiday weekend.

That year I cooked a turkey breast rather than an entire turkey. I don’t eat meat, so I did not try any but my kids said it was very awesome. I had the butcher at Whole Foods cut and wrap with string one turkey breast. Then I cooked some bacon in a large cast iron skillet, and then I seared the turkey breast in the bacon drippings. Then I put the browned turkey breast in a turkey cooking bag (Reynolds), and tossed in a couple of washed and peeled carrots, a couple of stalks of celery cut into large chunks, a peeled onion peeled and quartered, a potato washed and quartered, and fresh savory herbs (sage, thyme, rosemary). Then I closed it up and cooked for however long you cook turkey, calculated by the pound.

The kids told me the turkey was very moist, tender, and tasty … so I reckon that method worked quite well.

We prepared all of the usual side dished usually prepared by an entire family for a potluck, so I was cooking off and on all day long. It was a completely relaxing way to spend the day. We didn’t have an exact set time to eat, we just aimed loosely for 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and once everything was ready we gathered together at a candlelit table and had our meal.

What I experienced was a relaxing, fun day at home with my children … a day in which I had plenty of time to actually think about and reflect over the many things I had to be thankful for. That was when Thanksgiving took on for me the experience, throughout myself, of what the holiday is supposed to be a celebration of.

That doesn’t mean that I regret the hustling, bustling Thanksgivings of earlier years. In fact, having those memories is something I am very, very grateful for. So much love, so much laughter, such great camaraderie among family members of three generations.

I am, however, also grateful for the change.

So, here at our farm we keep a very small and quiet Thanksgiving just the four of us. The first couple of years after we married, we spent the holiday with his sister and her family but now we just stay at home and have a relaxing time of it.

My husband roasts the turkey (following his own father’s tradition, passed down to him), I make the side dishes. We cook together, hang out in the kitchen, laugh, hug, wait.

This year, rather than mashed potatoes I will be making roasted potato chunks, tossed lightly in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, rosemary, and a little coarse ground black pepper.

Rather than candied yams with marshmallows on top, I will roast chunks of sweet potatoes along with the roasted white potatoes. The sweet potatoes will be lightly tossed in canola oil and get a light sprinkling of ginger and raw sugar.

I am making homemade southern style cornbread, which we will crumble up and use to make a stuffing with celery, onions, mushrooms, fresh savory herbs, and canned water chestnuts … mixed with only a small amount of olive oil and chicken broth. Some will go in the turkey, some will be baked in a casserole in the oven.

There will be green sweet peas, carrots, homemade wheat dinner rolls, and of course cranberry sauce.

Oh, and for dessert I will make pumpkin pie using one of the Sincere Pumpkins we grew ourselves; it will taste all the better for that fact. I made a couple of those pies this past weekend for our church potluck, and my oh my they were tasty good! I did use non-fat evaporated milk for the pies and they had very thin, light crusts. For our Thanksgiving meal, I am going to use a small amount of baking mix in the pumpkin pie mixture in lieu of using crusts.

Why all of the low or no fat? Not so much because of weight issues, but because I am tired of any of us getting upset stomachs from food that is too rich. The way I cook, things taste very delicious and wonderful without using a lot of fat.

Thank you, by the way, for reading my blog today and other times. I count my many readers among my friends, and I do sincerely appreciate every one of you. Your kindness, caring messages, and comfort over the past few months has been very dear to me.

I wish you and yours well. May you have a warm and cozy, tasty feast on Thanksgiving whether you are alone, with a small party, or with many family and friends.

Warmest wishes to all,

P.S. I am doing a Black Friday event thing at my Etsy shop, if you have any interest. It is going on all week, not just on Friday. I’m not sure what my son is doing in his Etsy shop, but I know he does intend to hold a Black Friday event as well (Flying Junction: vintage inspired subway roll signs and bus scrolls).

6 thoughts on “Thanksgiving menu”

  1. Oh, I know the heartache of losing a dad. It will always be hard but it will get better. Honest! Your prayer blanket is lovely! I just finished up two of your stockings to gift to my son and daugther-in-law for their first Christmas as a married couple. I will give it to them tomorrow! Come take a peek at my blog on Friday to see them (I should have them pictured then!). I have so many of your beautiful patterns and enjoy knitting every one of them! I’m still working on the Summer Blanket but see the end in site… and it’s a keeper! Love the Bisquit Blanket, too, and look forward to the same type pattern in your Comfort Blanket!

  2. I adore your website and look forward to every one! My son is visiting me (he’s in the Navy stationed in Spain) and wants me to knit him an Irish Aryan (sp) sweater. I can do that! Talk about wrapping someone in love I think this sweater would do that for him…Now to find a good pattern and a beautiful yarn. Any ideas for me? Your throw is absolutely beautiful. I made your biscuit warmers and love them…

  3. Your blanket looks sooo cuddly and cotton is just a wonderful fiber in anything! Sounds fun and relaxing. I’ve finished cleaning and will make the desserts this afternoon. Since there are only 4 of us I too will make a turkey breast and traditional sides. Your low fat options sound wonderful and I think I will try them later. Maybe I can healthy up the Thanksgiving table next year. I’m pretty sure they would all revolt on me if I tried it tomorrow ;) Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

  4. Hi dear cousin–thanks for this lovely entry in your blog. Have been thinking about all of you recently, as I know how difficult the first holiday after Dad passed away was for me. Much love and prayers coming your way:). I pray that you will have a blessed day tomorrow. Keep writing–I love it!