I haven’t written anything in over 2 weeks, so you know what time of year it is. Personally, this time of year is my favorite. And not just because I make a sizable portion of my income at Christmas time.
I love having company. I took over much of the baking and cooking for holidays at my mom’s house before I moved out. For the last few years, I have planned our family’s New Year’s Day party for 30-40 people. But most of my entertaining has been at my parents’ house.
My only other experience of having my own place was an apartment that I shared while I was in college. I especially enjoyed entertaining there. College entertainment is so simple. You need alcohol, maybe some chips or pizzas, and you don’t have to clean. I mean, you don’t have to clean much before people come—after they come it’s a different story.
But this Thanksgiving was the first holiday I have ever hosted at my house. And not only did I host the dinner, I also had company for the whole weekend!
I can’t travel at Thanksgiving, because I’m too busy, so last year we spent a quiet Thanksgiving at home. It was nice, but quiet. And as Caleb likes to say, “the more people, the more party!”
I gave an offhand invitation to my family for Thanksgiving, not expecting anyone to want to come, and, lo and behold, almost everyone did.
I had lists on top of lists of house projects I wanted to have done before they came, and things that I wanted to do the week before they were here, 3 days before, 2 days before, the day before… I didn’t end up doing half of them, but I made the house presentable, and prepared lots of delicious food. I never did get the office tidied, but I figure that’s an after Christmas project anyway.
Thanksgiving Day I was sitting in the kitchen, thinking, “I really should be rushing around frantically, but there’s nothing to do right now.” The dinner came off without a hitch.
The applesauce and apple butter was made well in advance.
I bought the turkey at Whole Foods when I went into Pittsburgh to take my saw to be fixed.
The mushroom and white bean casserole was cooked waiting for bread crumbs to be added on Thanksgiving to bake.
I made the cranberry sauce on Tuesday.
I made apple juice (in my food processor) the day before.
I cooked the pies (vegan pumpkin pie (Bryanna’s with the maple syrup subbed for the sugar), gingerbread apple pie, and classic apple (sweetened with xylitol)) the day before.
When I got up (without an alarm) at 6:30ish on Thanksgiving, I made coffee cake for breakfast, then the cranberry cornbread (Cosmic Cornbread with millet-sooo good), and then I peeled the potatoes (from my garden) and left them in water ready to be cooked.
Before dinner, all I had to do was make the stuffing balls and steam the vegetables (one of which was swiss chard from my garden). Oh there was also a butternut squash soup. I roasted the squash earlier in the week and assembled the soup to simmer all day on Thanksgiving.
We ate at 2 p.m. which was exactly what I had planned. My mother helped me putting everything out and setting the table, my dad carved the turkey (his traditional job, despite being a vegetarian for 25ish years), but other than that, I did everything. My mom was very appreciative. After almost 40 years of marriage and six kids, I think she burned out any cooking desire that she may have had. She sent me a little cartoon where this woman is saying, “I have a lot to be thankful for…..I’m not hosting Thanksgiving dinner!”
The next night we had burritos and used up some of the turkey and the leftover vegetables. I sort of burned the beans on the bottom of the pot, and I think it improved them-gave them a nice smoky flavor, something you might want to try some time.
I love this time of year. At Christmas, I go home to my mom’s and she said she wants exactly the same menu as at Thanksgiving. For New Year’s, I’m still working on the menu. Last year, I made curries, shish kabobs, homemade pitas, and homemade bread. This year, will have to be different……