Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving Comes First & It Looks Like I Got My Wish

It’s definitely time for a new blog post since Thanksgiving is practically upon us and my last post is entitled “Happy Halloween”.  I’m not even going to try to figure out where all of the time has gone.  I’ve been meaning to share my Thanksgiving post for a while, and it just so happens to tie in (with only a little bit of stretch) Carrie’s awesome vacation giveaway.  Excellent!  Two posts in one! 

First, this week’s question from Carrie: 

I love the holidays.  I didn’t get to celebrate them as child, so I have totally embraced them now.  In some ways I’m like a child when it comes to the holidays.  Granted, a child with a bank account and the ability to make Christmas goodies, but I think I have that level of enthusiasm.  I get truly excited over planning Thanksgiving Dinner, sending Christmas cards, shopping for gifts, and making goodies for everyone.  But for me Thanksgiving does come first.  I don’t get especially upset to see Christmas decorations out early, and I can never resist running to look at shiny ornaments in stores.  But I do think it’s sad that Thanksgiving is almost skipped over, or treated as an afterthought. 

I love Thanksgiving.  It’s possibly my favorite holiday.  I love cooking, and I love spending time at home with the people I love.  Thanksgiving gives me both of those things. 

I also see Thanksgiving as the beginning of the holiday season; not the beginning in the sense that it needs to be rushed through, but the beginning like in a great book you don’t want to put down.  It’s the first of the holiday gatherings, sometimes the first day you see some friends or family since last year.  It’s a time to look for the good things in your life that maybe you forget about sometimes.

Now, on to this year’s Thanksgiving and how I got my wish.  I have always wanted to cook Thanksgiving Dinner for a big crowd.  I truly love cooking, and I love having people over for meals.  It has never worked out for me to cook for much of a crowd on Thanksgiving before, largely because schedules conflict and people have so many different places to be on one day. 

Have you ever seen the movie Under The Tuscan Sun, with Diane Lane?  It is a truly wonderful movie, it’s happy, sweet, and has beautiful scenery.  Watch it, you won’t be sorry.  In the movie, she moves to Tuscany and buys a villa on a whim.  She later laments the fact that she bought a house for a life she doesn’t have, and goes on to say how she wants there to be family and a wedding in the house, and she wants people to cook for.  At the end she manages to get all of these things, though not in the way she meant/hoped/expected, and therefore doesn’t even realize she has gotten her wish, until one of the other characters says that it looks like she got her wish.

This year my husband ended up moving to a different work schedule, which includes working nights the week of Thanksgiving.  We’ve always been able to work around his work schedule on Thanksgiving when he has worked days because he gets a long lunch break.  I just got up really early and made sure everything was ready when he came home for lunch.  With the  fairly long lunch break it worked.  It wasn’t ideal, but it worked.  Nights are a totally different story.  Trying to have Thanksgiving Dinner before he goes into work would be the equivalent of trying to have it for breakfast for most of us.  We can’t really have it during the day because that’s pretty much the middle of the night for him. 

I will admit I was really upset.  Like I said, I love Thanksgiving, and the thought of missing out on it didn’t make me very happy.  Then we decided that instead of complaining about it, we’d just have Thanksgiving Dinner another day.  It’s not so much the day as it is spending time with loved ones, and the food of course. 

So we chose November 3rd as the day for our Thanksgiving celebration.  I know it was really early, but it’s what worked out with scheduling.  We decided to have all of the usual Thanksgiving foods, invite lots of people, and hope for the best. 

We ended up with a total of 15 people at our house.  It was, by far, the biggest holiday turnout we have ever had.  Most people seemed to like the idea of an early Thanksgiving, and a lot of people who will be out of town on Thanksgiving were able to come.  I finally got my wish, even if it wasn’t how I expected, and had a crowd to cook Thanksgiving Dinner for.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures.  I was so caught up in everything that was going on that I totally forgot about taking any pictures. 

Here’s our menu (in case you’re still looking for ideas):

Turkey (stuffed w/ chopped onions, slathered with butter, sprinkled with salt, pepper, and parsley and cooked in white wine and cognac)

Gravy (I’m from the South; it’s it own separate dish!)

Meatloaf (the traditional beef kind) I know it’s a little odd, but my husband doesn’t love turkey.  It’s a surprisingly big hit with everyone.

Mashed Potatoes

Sweet Potato Casserole



Cranberry Sauce

Green Beans

Rice (cooked with some of the juice/onions from the turkey in place of part of the water and a packet of vegetable soup mix)

Corn Casserole (brought by Grandmother-In-Law; I have no idea how to make it)

Apple Cake w/ Browned Butter Frosting (You don’t need quite as many apples as the recipe says.)

Pumpkin Pie

Banana Pound Cake

Hershey’s Chocolate Cake (Do NOT use a standing mixer for this one.  I have no idea why, but if you do, you will end up with a chocolate volcano in your oven.  It’s not fun or pretty.  I have made this cake for years, and only ended up with the chocolate volcano twice; both times I used the standing mixer.  That’s enough proof for me not to try it again.)

Obviously, we had tons of food.  We tried to make sure that everyone had at least one favorite dish and/or dessert.  We also had a great time, and got to see almost everyone we had hoped to.  It was very informal, which is mostly how we do things.  We had the food buffet style, we borrowed folding chairs from a friend, and we all perched around the living room talking and eating off of paper plates (because we don’t have dishes for 15 people). 

We had a lot of leftovers to send home with everyone.  It’s easier to get people to take leftovers when you have Thanksgiving early, since they don’t have their own leftovers or anyone else’s.

There was also talk of passing the torch to the next generation.  Most of our friends are older than us.  Some are older than our parents, so some of them are beginning to slow down just a little bit.  My family doesn’t celebrate the holidays, my husband’s grandparents (who live locally) are no longer doing big holiday dinners, and many of our close friends aren’t as up for hosting a crowd as they used to be.  I am fine with picking it up. 

We will have to wait and see what next year holds, but so far we are liking the idea of picking a weekend and hosting an early Thanksgiving.  I do know that we’re not skipping over it in favor of Christmas!


  1. Great post, and how fun to actually have it early!

    I've cooked quite a few Thanksgiving dinners - it is my favorite meal to prepare...This year we will have around 16 people! I so look forward to it - it is my favorite holiday.

    And you are SO right! The gravy IS dish! :)

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Sounds like a great celebration! How wonderful that you got your wish. :)

  3. I think it is neat how you came up with a solution to have the holiday celebration you wanted to have on day that would work better for people's schedules and that you weren't so rigid thinking it a holiday could only be celebrated on the actual day. I agree with you; whenever friends are together celebrating, that is what really matters.

    Sounds like a great array of food too! I'm sure it all tasted so very good!

    It is neat too that you are willing to pick up the torch and do holiday dinners in coming years too!

    It is neat to read of your enthusiasm about the holidays. I tend to dread them, so it is refreshing to read a different perspective!


  4. wow that's a lot of great food---i love how you changed it up and made it work so beautifully:)

  5. A good strategy - get a whole day instead of half.

    Recipe is inviting.

  6. We had Thanksgiving in Feb. once! Just because we were all together and would not be in Nov. I love thanksgiving's my favorite holiday. My husband has had odd hours over the years and we've had to eat at odd times as well. But, it's wonderful to be flexible and celebrate any time! So glad you had a perfect time.


Thank you for taking the time to comment! Please leave your link so I can visit you as well.