Friday, November 25, 2011

Missing Our Guests, and What I Learned This Thanksgiving

The house is quiet. There's always something bittersweet to the calm that follows entertaining good company. I wait until the car pulls away, then I close the front door, and my home is still and completely my own again. Yet I know it won't be more than a week before my dining room and I start to get antsy again for more visitors. We're so glad the Culattas live near by and hope we'll eventually convince the Lazars to move to D.C.

Thanksgiving was a fantastic success. Between our three families we had six adults and five little ones. The two eldest had their own kids' table, and we had one baby in a highchair, one taking a nap (lucky parents!), and one getting over a cold snuggling with mom (which I didn't mind at all since she spent most of the day with Shawn while I cooked, so I really missed her.) Check out our table and yummy eats!
Thank you, Alex for a perfect carving job. That bird was CLEAN.

One of Shauni's contributions to the meal. Her first homemade cranberry sauce and it came out perfect!

Ina Garten's classic "Homemade Gravy" recipe,

Garlic and thyme roasted sweet potatoes.

Roasted brussels sprouts. So simple and soooo good.

Another Shauni contribution. She made this yummy apple pie and a frozen raspberry pie.

Some of these foods will work beautifully for Christmas dinner or other Winter dinner parties you may be planning to host. Watch for the recipes in upcoming posts!

Here's what I learned this Thanksgiving:
1) To delegate. I admit that I can be a little white-knuckly when it comes to what gets served at my table. But if Ina Garten delegates at Thanksgiving, then, dang it, so will I. Since the Culattas are such great cooks, it really didn't take much twisting of my arm to give them assignments. And, man, am I glad I did! It saved me and my oven a lot of work, and I must say the collaboration really added to the spirit of Thanksgiving. Plus, it allowed me to try some yummy recipes that I don't already have in my repertoire!
2) Prepping the night before makes for a much more successful and much less stressful Thanksgiving Day. Before going to sleep I set the table, washed and put away all the dishes, did some light cleaning, washed, dried, and cut up my vegetables, made the chicken broth, and got the appetizers ready to serve. Yes, I lost some sleep. But it was worth it to not have "Stay away from the crazy lady with the knife and heavy cookware" written across my forehead the next day. Also, it meant that once the turkey was in the oven, I literally had nothing to do for a couple of hours and I got to enjoy my guests! Seriously!
3) The Lazars' baby is an extrovert and ours... isn't.

Happy Holidays!

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