Now that I've cooked few Thanksgiving dinner's myself, I've learned a few important things. For me, the very most important step in a complicated multi-dish dinner, is the backwards-planning-list. I write out all of the dishes to be made, and then determine the order that they need to be made through the day, so that there are no surprises when dinner time draws near. ("Oh no! I still need to get ___ in the oven, but ___ is still in there for another 45 minutes and needs to be baked at a completely different temperature! Agghh!!" etc.)
On Wednesday night I created that all important list, and also set up a crock pot with Irish oats (also known as steel-cut oats) so that the children would have something wholesome to start their day with (might not sound all that exciting, but they LOVE it).
I have made it a family tradition for Thanksgiving and Christmas to have something very special for a late breakfast/brunch, and we all eat it together. While the children ate their 1st breakfast, I took the pan of Brandy Vanilla Bread Pudding out of the refrigerator that had been soaking overnight, and got it in the oven. I also started a pan of sauteed caramel apple slices going on the stove.
While waiting for all of that to finish up, I put together the dough for a loaf of my Honey Whole Wheat bread, as well as a batch of Parker House Rolls. Since the oven was already on, I put some sweet potatoes in the oven to get that started, and made a pie crust so that it would have time to chill.
Once the bread pudding and apples were done, we all sat down together -- by then, the children were ready to eat again -- and had a leisurely break in the action.
I love eating breakfast with Greg. It only happens about twice a year (Thanksgiving and Christmas), so I don't take for granted that little bit of extra time spent together at the beginning of a day.
We gave Andrew the camera and set him loose in the kitchen; he is responsible for most of the following shots.
It was much more fun to work together on dinner throughout the day (and doing dishes as they happen), rather than trying to do it all myself, as I have some other years. Pre-planning pays off!
Making Cranberry Jalapeno Salsa.
My favorite part of this picture is Lavella's arms punching as she races by. It will be a sad day when she no longer punches when she runs.
"Twofer Pie" (pumpkin-pecan).
Clockwise from mid-left: canned cranberry sauce (I can't help it -- I just love it), Roast-Garlic Smashed Potatoes (Greg riffed off of this recipe), Broiled Quail with rosemary from the neighbor's hedge, Parker House Rolls (brushed with butter and sprinkled with Fleur de Sel), Aunt Nancy's Sausage Apple Stuffing, Cranberry Jalapeno Salsa (this was Greg's plate, and he didn't have any of the Twice Baked Chipotle Sweet Potatoes, but they were OHSOGOOD.) We had a Cesar Salad as well -- I followed this recipe with just a few changes -- I'll post it soon.
We had a new idea for our dinner this year. I consistently make rolls for Thanksgiving, so at the start of our meal, as each person took their roll, that person would say what they were thankful for. The children were excited about doing it, and it was a special family moment. A new idea + something our family already does = a tradition is born.
I hope this Thanksgiving -- whether spent with family, friends, or in solitude -- that you were able to take a moment to reflect on the things, great and small, that you have to be thankful for in your life.
As usual, we have way more pictures than belong in a blog post, so click through to the Flickr set here.