Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year, it celebrates one of my favorite activities: eating. This year I will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner on my own for the first time ever in my life. I’m not freaking out, I’m excited! This meal specifically conjures up memories of my Grandmas (growing up in a divorced family usually meant two stops for turkey day) buzzing around the kitchen prepping every delicious bite while the house filled up with family members who would offer help but were immediately shooed away from the kitchen (these women had a system and we were not allowed to mess with it). The Macy’s Day Parade or football was background noise, along with a crackling fire. The air was heavy with warm feelings, love and grumbling tummies,. I’m going to do my best to recreate this magic for the party of two in our house. Here is the menu for the big day:
Crock-Pot turkey breast: I seriously considered roasting a whole turkey, it’s tradition I know. Honestly though the only part of the turkey I like is the breast meat (husband is in the same camp) and this day is about being full and happy so I’m cooking five pounds of breast meat in a crock pot for 6 hours, so there.
Sourdough bread stuffing: Let’s get one thing straight – stuffing goes on the side and never in the bird. This recipe is pretty traditional with lots of butter so I’m sure it will be delicious.
Canned cranberry sauce: Yeah, as in the kind that comes out in the mold of the can. This has been a staple on the Thanksgiving dinner table since I was a wee child and I will continue the tradition proudly.
Sauteed brussels sprouts with bacon, toasted almonds and habanero jack cheese: I am not a fan of green bean casserole, I don’t get the mushy mess of flavors. This is my answer to greens on the table.
Hawaiian sweet rolls: perfect for thanksgiving sandwich sliders later!
Mini Saltie Caramel Apple Pies: Why not a whole pie? Because I don’t want to and you’re not the boss of me. Also I am giving a few away to our sweet neighbors that brought us a “welcome to the neighborhood” basket.
While throwing all rational calorie intake concerns out the window is fantastic, I also love this holiday because it brings people together. Families, friends, neighbors, or complete strangers it doesn’t seem to matter. So I also wanted to take a minute to talk about practicing gratefulness. I use the term practicing because I genuinely believe that it is a behavior that needs to be actively worked on every day. While this is the time of year for public proclamations of gratefulness I encourage you to keep the list going throughout the year. One easy way to start is keep a notebook by your bed and every night before the lights go off write down at least three things you were grateful for that happened throughout the day. This small act will start retraining your brain to see the good in even the most challenging situations. Part of this practice is learning to be gentle with yourself. Not every day is going to be the best day ever but there are always small victories, so celebrate them! While you are at it celebrate other people’s small victories, we all need a cheering section.
I’m thankful for my cheering section that includes my husband, family, friends, and all of you reading. I’m thankful for the opportunity to carve (pun intended) new holiday traditions of my own. I’m thankful for the magic that you bring to the world every day. I’m thankful that we get to spend one more Thanksgiving post talking about what makes us happy to be on the planet.
What is on your list?