Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thanksgiving in September: A Fall Cooking Club Adventure

*Gorgonzola-Pear Pizza with Caramelized onions
*Honey-jalapeno Cornbread muffins
*Butternut Squash soup
*Orange-coconut sweet potatoes
*Herb Roasted Turkey with
*Apple Cider Pan Gravy
*Chicken-Apple Sausage Stuffing
*Green Bean Casserole
*Hot Spiced Pomegranate-Apple Cider
*Pumpkin tiramisu
*Banana-chocolate chip pumpkin bread

Who ever heard of Thanksgiving in September? Our Cooking Club decided this was the perfect time to learn some new recipes for the holidays long before we would be sick of turkey. The meal was, indeed, fabulous.

The house was flooded with new babies - Baby Niana (pictured here) with her proud Mama Susan, Baby Corban with his parents Jeremy and Marcy Pusey, and Baby Caleb with his parents Chris and Christine Johnson. As Jeremy said, "Our Cooking Club is multiplying - literally." Must be all the good food.

Dorina prepped the turkey at noon and tried out a spice rub a la Sunset Magazine, including curry, fresh rosemary, oregano, basil, salt and more. It was definitely different from your traditional turkey taste. The house smelled like an Indian restaurant. Ericlee was our resident turkey carver - his usual Thanksgiving special assignment. And the end result was a savory turkey that everyone enjoyed.
Marcy prepared our traditional green bean casserole for the event. She also helped with a chicken sausage and fennel stuffing recipe. She enjoyed a little break from Corban while his daddy Jeremy took over.

One benefit of enjoying Thanksgiving in September is the wonderful weather on the patio. We were able to all (12 of us) eat at the same table. (A special thank you to Dorina's brother, Paul, who helped Ericlee build the table earlier this year. Perfect for dinner parties like this one.) We set the table with warm fall colors.

Meilani poses in her new favorite position - standing in her high chair - something we are diligently working on. (Yes, it gets old saying, "Sit down!" myriad times a day.) Meilani was a big fan of a new recipe we tried from our friend Jen VanderMeulen - Orange-Coconut Sweet Potatoes. These were a unique dish and a definite crowd-pleaser. Meilani also couldn't get enough of the spice-rubbed turkey. She's looking forward to November.

We asked our friends to join us in a Gilmore family tradition - sharing one thing you are thankful for or blessing you had this year. Mary and Antonio shared their joy in getting married and now pregnant (baby coming in April). Dorina shared her thankfulness for a community of friends to journey through life alongside. (Eight years ago this week, I moved to Fresno and didn't know a soul. What a contrast to my life today full of friends at every turn.)
Mama Christine burps Baby Caleb Rodney after his "Thanksgiving meal" of Mama's milk. He seems quite satisfied with his taste of turkey and all the best fixings. Or, maybe he's just happy because of all the girls oohing and ahhing over him! After a difficult pregnancy, Christine and Chris said Caleb was definitely their *blessing* this year. Christine added, "I'm just so glad I'm not pregnant anymore."

We also had a new addition to the Cooking Club crew - our friend Jana, who just returned from two years on the mission field in Thailand. Jana was part of our first mission team to Haiti in 2001 where many of us met. We all commented on how far God has brought each of us in these past seven years.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Anonymous said...

What a delicious way to share special memories with your close friends! Dad and I definitely reaped the benefits of tasting the left overs for a meal after church this afternoon! We were also greatly blessed to read about all the fun and see the photos, besides picking up some new recipes. With joy,
Mom and Dad
(Nana and Papa)

The Growing VM Family said...

(further elaboration unnecessary)

Love, Jen

Cori said...

That looks like the yummiest Thanksgiving feast ever! Darrel and I are both sad we missed it. :)