Monday, December 01, 2008
Giving Thanks for Family
This Thanksgiving we were reminded again of the biggest blessing in our life: family. We had the privilege of celebrating this holiday with Ericlee's parents, Chris and Larry, my parents, Maria and Doug, my brother and his wife, Paul and Michelle, and their baby, Cynthia. And we can't forget Buster the dog (aka Bumper). Our festivities always start Wednesday evening when we begin cooking our feast. Meilani helped Nama Chris stuff our bird.
She also took a turn tasting ingredients - just to make sure everything was up to par. Only the best for this family!
Our meal was a blend of classic Thanksgiving and new, healthy recipes. We had Nama Chris make her classic turkey with stuffing and Armenian pilaf. We added a Wild Rice & Italian Sausage Stuffing and Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Crusted Pecan Topping.
Nana Maria was in charge of the homemade crescent rolls and some new "healthier" pies. Meilani pitched in to make the whole wheat crust for Apple Nut Crunch Pie and Blueberry Pie.
Ericlee is always a great sous chef and help me chop up the veggies for our first course, the famous Butternut Squash Soup. We also tried out a Homemade Green Bean Casserole recipe this year. We ditched the traditional recipe with canned mushroom soup and made our own. Yum-o!
Thursday morning we continued our family tradition participating in the Fresno Turkey Trot. We met up with Ericlee's Cross Country team and cheered on the dads and daughters who staged their own little competition.
Mom, Ericlee (who had a nagging injury), Meilani and I walked the 3.1 hilly course through Woodward Park. Dad/Papa, the big stud, ran. (Not bad for a senior citizen!) We were so proud of him.
After the race, we trotted home to get our feast in the oven. Our friends, Mary and Antonio Andrade and their sweet little one, Olivia, joined us too. In Fresno, our close friends are always considered family. Tonio helped Uncle Paul with the deep-fried turkey - an alternative to the classic one Nama made. (Yes, we still have two turkeys at our feasts. It's all about the leftovers.)
Mary helped Michelle and I in the kitchen. The girls added the final touches to the menu, making deviled eggs, artichoke dip and a Gorgonzola and Pear Pizza appetizer.
Meilani provided the kitchen entertainment. She regailed us with her renditions of different showtunes in her questioning, "Is our turkey done."
Paul and Tonio's turkey was, indeed, the first bird onto the plate.
We all fought Mom for an extra crescent rolls. (Bye Bye Pillsbury. Homemade is what it's all about!)
Aside from stuffing ourselves, we also spent some time reflecting on the myriad blessings we have. We brought back a retro family tradition. When Paul and I were growing up, we would pass out paper and art supplies after dinner and make paper turkeys. Everyone made their own turkey and then we passed them around the table and wrote "thankful notes" to each other. We thought it would be fun to bring this tradition back now that we have little creative ones in our midst. We truly are thankful for circle of family we have so close by.