Country Living Series

Friday, November 25, 2011

Our Thanksgiving

As you can imagine, my Thanksgiving consisted of a lot of cooking, which I wisely elected to start on Wednesday.

Bread stuffing starts by making a fresh loaf of oatmeal-wheat bread:

Here Younger Daughter tears the bread into pieces. We left the pieces on a cookie sheet overnight to get a little stale, which makes for a less soggy bread stuffing.

For desserts, this year we elected for pistachio pudding pie and pumpkin pie. I just used graham crackers for the crusts.

Here's the loot by late Wednesday evening.

On Wednesday I also made wild rice stuffing, which is my own personal indulgence. No one else likes it but me (hee hee), which means I can add all the onions I want and no one objects. Hee hee.

Thanksgiving for us started out very early at our county animal shelter. Thursday is the usual day the girls do their volunteer work there; and the needs of the animals don't stop just because the shelter is closed to the public for the day. So in we went. There was a lot of work to do, so they were there for 2 1/2 hours.

(Here's a cat, playfully pulling on the cord of my camera -- hence the blurry photo.)

We made it home just after noon, and I had to rush to put the turkey in right away in order for it to be done by 5 pm.

Bread stuffing ready to cook in the back; potatoes ready to peel in the front.

The mashed potatoes became Older Daughter's project.

To keep the chaos in the kitchen under control, I had to stop periodically and wash some dishes.

Lydia hung around just "in case" anything happened to drop on the floor.

Dinner rolls are probably the most complicated and time-consuming thing I make. Here's the beginning.

Dough before kneading...

...and after.

First rising.

Older Daughter punches down the dough...

...and then while I cut out the rolls,

...she scores the rolls, brushes them with melted butter, and folds them over.

Then it's time for the second rising, on the shelf behind the stove where it's warm from the stove's heat.

Making whipped cream for the pies.

Don sharpens the knives. This has become an annual Thanksgiving tradition after the embarrassing time several years ago when our pastor joined us for dinner and generously offered to carve the turkey. All our knives were so dull we went through five or six before we found one marginally sharp enough for the poor fellow to hack through the turkey.

Making candied yams, a dish particularly favored by our young houseguest GG.

At the last minute we were able to welcome our dear friends Mike and Judy, whose original Thanksgiving plans fell through but they didn't let us know because they "didn't want to bother us" on Thanksgiving Day. Bother us...! We had a twenty-pound turkey for only five people and plenty of food. Thanksgiving is a day for family AND friends. We were thrilled to have them join us.

They brought a wonderful Chardonnay.

Since our kitchen table is small, we used it for the adults...

...and dressed up a card table for the girls, so they wouldn't have to subject themselves to our boring solve-the-world's-problems conversation.

The turkey turned out beautifully...

...and the feast of abundance was a blessing indeed.

There were far too many leftovers to fit into the fridge, so we used our (ahem) "outdoor refrigerator" to handle the overflow. (The temperature was closer to freezer temps than refrigerator temps, but that's okay.)

The nice part about Thanksgiving cooking is I go on strike for about three days afterward. Is anyone hungry? No problem! There are plenty of leftovers, help yourself!


  1. My favorite picture...Lydia waiting for a clumsy human to drop a tasty morsel! I had 3 dogs doing the same thing as I cooked, lol!

  2. That all looks wonderFULL.

    We had an unexpected guest Thanksgiving day. I was sitting in the chair catching a bit of football and look over to the open glass sliding door that opens onto the screened patio (wx was wonderful) to see a SNAKE coming in the house. Panic ensued. Dogs useless as usual.

    Managed to catch it and return it to the mangrove swamp out back. Everyone survived. Dogs nap barely interrupted.


  3. son and daughter in law came to help me and my dear husband celebrate thanksgiving had been almost a year or more since son had come home for a was wonderful. our two dogs stayed underfoot of course but they got their thanksgiving meal too. we all ate too much and then ate more. but even though there was plenty for all i will always treasure the most the simple pleasure of just having them home. daughter in law kept up with the dishwashing (what an angel!)and luckily the leftovers fit in the frig...too warm in the deep south still but i remember the back porch table in missouri being the catchall for holiday meals that would not fit into the frig. with the exception of the turkey breast and stuffing......everything on the menu was grown and prepared here on our little farm. :) a true harvest celebration!

  4. Thank you for your very detailed description of your Thanksgiving preparations! It was very interesting.

  5. Very nice. No outside frig for us, there are cats in our outside frig, lol.

  6. All your food looked wonderful! (As usual.) I've worked in several bakeries for over 40 years as a cake decorator and occasional baker. I've picked up many tips along the way. As for your stuffing, it's actually much better to break up the bread and then place it on a cookie sheet (or sheets, depending on how much you're making) then put it in a 300-degree oven for 8-10 minutes or so, rather than let it sit and "get stale." Your stuffing will turn out even better! Trust me on this. --Deb in AZ

  7. Your pictures are wonderful!

    We had a very relaxed day. None of the single soldiers we'd invited were able to join us, so it was just us.

    The kids wanted to do something a little different since Mike wasn't here with us. Fine with me! We had no stuffing, no sweet potatoes, and no green bean casserole. (I would've been the only one eating them.) Instead, Carmen made parsley biscuits; Willy made cranberry sauce & pumpkin bread; Sam made applesauce cupcakes and his usual serving of trouble :) The kids ate baked potatoes and corn on the cob.

    I missed our deep-fried turkey, but I really missed my husband, who is the turkey fryer!

    Still, we were very thankful that my husband is some place "safer than not" while deployed.

    Thanks for posting your pictures!