I am a little surprised to report that my very first allergen free Thanksgiving was my easiest, and laid back. It was a near perfect day, with the exception of a few moments of miscommunication paired with tiredness, it was glorious.
Thanksgiving is a day to celebrate the harvest and the feast, and in MN there is usually snow on the ground which was always weird to me. Thanksgiving is still a fall holiday, but it rarely feels that way, with the exception of yesterday where we celebrated Thanksgiving with 62 degrees. It was glorious!
I want to start this blog by saying my parents are irreplaceable to making Thanksgiving happen in this house. My amazing mother puts up with me making everything from scratch and using every dish in the kitchen and she just faithfully and cheerfully washes all the dishes and gets me all my ingredients and allows to me to just create and cook and bake. It's this incredible gift that I get every year and it really is the ONLY way I can pull off the meal. My dad, cleans and moves tables and watches and plays with the kids. He takes out garbage and runs errands, they are just really the most incredible people. Thank you mom and dad, I couldn't do life without you! I love you!
So Wednesday evening, my mom and I head to the kitchen after we spent the afternoon and dinnertime downtown with Paul, and make five pie crusts, (two regular and three GF). We mix up three pumpkin pies, make GF waffles for the bread crumbs for the Mac and Cheese. After the waffles are done and drying out, I grate up the zucchini and make zucchini bread for lunch the next day. While the bread is baking, I mix up all the dry ingredients and mix up all the wet ingredients for pumpkin scones for breakfast. I put those away to be made fresh in the morning. I had found a recipe for coconut milk whipped topping and we tried it, but to no success. While I made my mom stand there whisking it for 15 minutes, Big came out of bed and came and gave me a big hug and said, "Thank you mommy for thinking of me and cooking all the things I can eat." Ahh... it melts my heart and makes it all worth it. At about 1130pm, we called it quits and got some rest.
Thanksgiving morning, the kids are up early with excitement for the day they have been waiting for. They got up and finished up their place mats for their friends coming over that day. I made a fresh pot of coffee and mixed up the scones. While they were still warm, we drizzled maple syrup over top and they were delicious!
After breakfast, we turned on the TV to watch all the prep for the big Thanksgiving day parade until it was time to leave for church.
I love going to church on Thanksgiving. It is a great reminder in the middle of all the prep to take a step back and remember the one who is responsible for all the blessings in our life. The music, the readings and the message pointed our hearts back toward our creator who I am most thankful for.
After church, we came home to a crazing lunch of zucchini bread, nuts, carrots, apple slices, carrots and snap peas, pickles and olives, chips and salsa while my dad cheered for the Lions and Big cheered for the packers. (not sure when or how that happened, but we all think its a little weird in this house.)
Probably the best part of the day for me came when Paul took the boys outside to play catch during the second half of the game. If you have followed our story at all, then you know a tornado hit our neighborhood back in May. About a week ago they just tore down our neighbor's house, and they won't rebuild for four years. So now we sit as the corner house on our block with this big empty lot next door. It's amazing and crazy weird at the same time. We aren't used to having space, having room to breath and run and play. We have a really small yard, but now there is all this space to play! They had space to play right at the house instead of needing to go down to the park! The window's were open, the game was on, my dad was resting on the couch, mom and I were cooking in the kitchen with great music playing and we were listening to the boys play outside. It was one of those perfect wonderful moments that I want to take with me for years to come.
We had friends join us in the afternoon and we gathered around the table to eat at 530pm.
Here are the kids at thier table.
Here is Little in her seat saying cheese!
Here is almost everyone gathered around our Thanksgiving feast.
We had two turkeys, stuffing and creamy mashed potatoes for my hubby and guests, a creek quinoa made by my lovely friend Inga, GF Vegan mac and cheese, green been casserole in a homemade cream of mushroom soup with pecans, sweet potato's and carrots baked in a drizzle of maple syrup, cinnamon and pecans, herb infused popovers, strawberries, apple slices and spirits.
It was so lovely and delicious. We ate our meal on the family plates my husband grew up with, on place mats that my kids made, with napkins I had made earlier this year. While we cooked we listened to music that my friend gave me to brighten my day. Our centerpiece was pumpkins my kids made with me earlier and we were surrounded by dear friends and family. I looked around and was so thankful for the depth of meaning that everything has here. It all has a story, it all has history and life and memories. The people, the surroundings, the food. Everything about this Thanksgiving was very rich and overflowing with blessings and thanksgiving. (I even pulled off an old carpet skirt that I wore in college that I haven't been able to fit into for years. That was a huge bonus!)
The kids were done in record time and went off to play which allowed the adults to sit and savor the meal and each others company. It may sound rehearsed and scripted, but I love going around the table and finding out what everyone is thankful for. It adds depth and allows for greater conversation and makes the meal special.
Afterwards, the furry of activity was miraculous! Everyone pitched in and cleaned until every dish was washed and dry, the table cleaned, garbage taken out, extra tables and chairs put away and we could rest. We turned on the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special for the kids and ate pumpkin and upside down apple pecan pie.
It was soon time for the kids to head off to bed, friends to head home and to turn on our traditional White Christmas movie. This is the way we say good buy to Thanksgiving and bring on the Christmas cheer! One of my dearest friends from college surprised me by stopping by, we make hot chocolate and ate a pumpkin scone and snuggled with the movie on while we chatted away. We didn't make it through the whole movie, but it was wonderful all the same.
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. If you were with family or friends, or if you were volunteering somewhere, or on vacation. If you were surrounded by tradition or feeling out of sorts in a new place. Whether you were surrounded by people and feeling alone, or literally spent the day on your own, my hope is that you know you are loved by the one who created you, and that you can see, even in hard moments, days, or years, we can still search and find there is much to be thankful for.
I am sure others took better pictures, but I was busy, so here is what I snagged to share with you. Mostly so my sister who join us could see and our other Nana and Papa down in TX. Enjoy!
***All recipes were gotten from Gluten Free Goddess, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free and Living Without websites. Enjoy!***