As most of you know, it's all about the food at the Gilmore home - and Thanksgiving is no exception. Our official Thanksgiving begins Wednesday night when we begin prepping for our feast. This year was fun because we had some extra hands in the kitchen. Meilani is almost a year and a half now and one of her favorite past times is "help-help"ing in the kitchen. A common job she helps me with is adding spices to whatever I'm making.
Grandma Chris put her to work helping add stuff to the traditional stuffing on Wednesday night. She poured in the chicken broth, tasted the celery and even added a few secret ingredients that we had to remove later (like a whole red pepper). She was delighted to be included in the cooking crew.
Grandma Chris loves the traditional Thanksgiving fixin's and she's great at making them. We also added a few healthy recipes since we're on our healthy living journey this year. We swapped out the candied yams and made Coconut-pecan sweet potatoes, which are really yummy and use way less sugar. Nana Maria and Dorina also made whole wheat crescent rolls to go with our Butternut Squash first course, which was full of harvest vegetables.
We had an extra helper in the kitchen this year. Our friend Gerby from Haiti was the chopper extraordinaire. It made a huge difference on Thursday morning to have all those veggies chopped for the soup and our new stuffing - Wild Rice and Goat Cheese Stuffing made with Whole Wheat bread. (We snagged this recipe from Food Network's Bobby Flay - alongwith a Pomegranate Sauce for the turkey.)
Daddy worked on the tough job of chopping our butternut squash. He's also the resident comedian in the kitchen - singing, dancing, joking and telling stories to keep everyone entertained. Meilani likes to join Daddy in the act. No surprise there. Meanwhile, Dorina was the Iron Chef, coordinating all the recipes and overseeing the prep work. She also made a new cranberry sauce with cinnamon and persimmons. Delectable!
Nana Maria, who has lots of experience teaching kids to cook, recruited Meilani for rolling out the homemade pie crust. This year's desserts included Maria's blueberry and pumpkin pies. We convinced her to use all-organic ingredients and we even substituted in some whole wheat pastry flour. Surprisingly, these additions did not ruin the recipes but made them better. Meilani loved rolling the dough and insisted she could do it on her own.
Thursday morning we recruited Mom and Dad Lazo for our now 5-year tradition of running Fresno's Turkey Trot, a 5K through the beautiful Woodward Park. Dad and Dorina ran together. (Dad got 3rd in his age group - not bad for an old guy.) Ericlee ran with one of his cross country athletes, Doug Daniel. And Mom walked the 3.1-mile course. (Dorina met up with her for the final mile.) As Dad pointed out, we all earned our turkey.
We had 10 at our table this year, including Christene and Larry, Gerby and Walquis, Maria and Doug, and our friend (and Mom's old neighbor) Barbara from San Francisco. Meilani and Grandpa Larry were big fans of the soup. (Yes, this girl is a soup lover!)
Walquis, who conveniently avoided any prep work this year, was quite pleased with his turkey leg. Gerby claimed the other one. And the rest of us feasted and feasted and feasted on everything else. This was, indeed, a Thanksgiving to remember - with a healthy twist. (The best part is not feeling sick and bloated at the end.)
After all the dishes and a feisty Uno game, the family left and the Gilmores were left for an evening of relaxing. Meilani went to bed early (gasp!) and Ericlee & Dorina enjoyed watching the movie, "Amazing Grace." We were inspired and went to bed so thankful for a day full of God's blessings.