Sunday, November 30, 2008

GAG #9: Giving Thanks

We have just ventured into the season of thinking about our blessings. We come from so many different backgrounds that I thought it would be interesting to see and hear how different families mark the coming and passing of Thanksgiving. Maybe a picture of who was seated around your table...a memory from you childhood...or your favorite dish, including the recipe to share. The sky is the limit on this one.

Thanksgiving Memories

There was a time when we got up at 4AM and drove to KY to stand out in the cold and help people with the preparations for the Thanksgiving Day Race. We would work the race and then we were off to O' Charley's or TGIFriday's...somewhere where someone else cooked the meal and cleaned the mess up after. When I was a little girl we would drive all night to Indiana to my Great Uncle and Aunt's house. All the cousins would show up. We would sit down to dinner with about 25 relatives, so I knew and some I didn't. It was always warm in the house because there was a really big that you could almost stand up in. Uncle Paul had an old barn with donkeys and an indoor pool. The men would go out rabbit hunting and the rest of us would play games, sleep, watch TV or go outside to see what we could get into. Before those years we would go to my grandparents house with all our cousins and have dinner. I have always been surrounded by lots of family members at Thanksgiving. Except for those years we were in WI. This year we had to put only one leaf in the table (we have you all are invited next Thanksgiving). We had the traditional meal, a whole turkey that Emmy doctored up which turned out really speciality mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing requested by Bryce, Emmy's green bean casserole, my favorite sweet potato casserole, Miss Connie's cranberry salad (Mark's favorite), warms rolls, Michael's favorite, corn and carrots...Michael's special requests . Sarah's all time favorite, pretzel salad, and cranberry sauce in the can (yuck, but Em and Tini love it), an apple pie, a pumpkin pie and a new dessert made for all those that don't do well with sugar, a layered chocolate dessert and the all time favorite... sweet tea. I was going to post a picture of the pretzel salad but when I went to take the shot the dish was in the dishwasher. So I guess I'll jsut share the recipe without the picture...

Pretzel Salad
2 cups crushed pretzels
3/4 cup melted butter
4 tablespoons of sugar
Mix all of the bove and press into a 9X13. Bake at 400 degrees for 6 minutes. Cool completely.
Cream together 1 (8oz) cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 (10oz) cool whip
Spread over cppled pretzel crust.
Mix 1 large strawberry jello
2 cups boiling water
Add 2 (10 oz) bags of frozen strawberries to jello. Stir until slightly thickened and pour over cream cheese mixture.
Cover and place in fridge for 2 hours .
We missed having Cassie and her family with us...but they are going to get to come in January, so our table with be full to overflowing. Let the chatter and endless ribbing begin!


On my table were two favorite dishes that my family feels deprived if I don't serve them on both Thanksgiving and Christmas. The first is the jello salad that my Mom always made, served in the bowl she always used. The bowl is over 65 years old. It's one of those dishes that you know how to make by osmosis; orange jello with pineapple, carrots and celery. The second dish is Upside-Down Pumpkin Cake. This is a fairly new recipe for me, the last 5 or 6 years. I decided to serve my apple cake last Christmas and my grandson, Oden, was very disappointed; not that he didn't like the apple cake, but he REALLY wanted the Upside-Down Pumpkin Cake. This year I introduced a new recipe, Corn Casserole, I believe we have a new favorite. It was a real hit.

This year my table is pretty plain. We started with only 4 planned for dinner, Bob and I, and Sharon and her son, Oden; then my oldest daughter flew in from NC, for a surprise visit; then my Mom cancelled her plans so she could join us, too. She hadn't seen Carrie for 4 years! So we became 6; Jan, Bob, Carrie, Sharon, Oden

Jan, Oden, Carrie, my Mom, Bob

Jan, Carrie, my Mom, Bob, Sharon

My favorite memory of Thanksgiving is from the first Thanksgiving dinner I cooked after I was married, I was 21. I invited my sister and her husband, my parents, Bob's parents and sisters, and my sisters' in-laws. So there were 12 of us for dinner in our small one bedroom apartment. Every thing was going well; I made my pies, both pumpkin and apple the night before, and done most of the prep work. The turkey was roasting, about half-done, when the heating element on our electric oven stopped working; (and I'm having 12 for dinner). I knocked on a couple of neighbor's doors, until I found some one home, who would loan me their oven to finish cooking the turkey and cook the yams. Good neighbors are truly priceless.

I'm actually thankful for many things. If I had to pick one thing it would be my family, I'm very lucky, we're a unit. When my daughters grew-up and spread their wings, they never left us behind, we're still part of their lives and I'm very thankful for that.


Thanksgiving is usually at Mom's and Dad's. All of us bring food, but Dad smokes the turkey and Mom makes the cornbread dressing and sweet potatoes. This year half of the family wasn't going to be present for one reason or the other, so Dad smoked a turkey breast.

Dad has always been particular about how things are sliced...he likes it even and just the right he generally does the honors.

I've noticed over the years that their house has gotten smaller and smaller...the grandkids have gotten married and are now bringing great grands we got in the habit a few years ago of serving buffet style.
I love Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for and it's one of the few times that most of our family gets together in one place at the same time. As I mentioned, this year there were a few missing, and I always hate when everyone isn't present, but for those who were there, it sure makes it special. Here are 2 of my grandchildren.

This is my 3rd and newest grandchild...he is 4 1/2 months old and such a happy baby.

Here is my son. He usually goofs off when I'm trying to take his photo, but I was very pleased with this one. I may even frame it.

One of the main things I am most grateful for this year is my Mom. She has been sick a lot this past year and is finally feeling better and getting some strength back. I am so happy to have another Thanksgiving with her. Here she is pictured with one of my brothers.

We had a wonderful Holiday, and I hope all of you did as well. God Bless you all!!