Happy Thanksgiving 2016

I hope everyone had a blessed day yesterday.  I probably should have posted this “before” Thanksgiving, but it didn’t happen.  I will at least have a record of our Thanksgiving and what we ate for the following years:)

This year for Thanksgiving we had everyone home.  That meant it was time for a family photo.  I don’t know about anyone else, but this is NOT something I look forward too.  I had to warn everyone beforehand and I told them that we would take the photo and THEN we could eat.  It was the only way I was going to get a photo.    Even after taking 30 plus shots, this is the ONLY one that was decent.  The ones I really liked  every picture had a little boy picking his nose, or making weird faces.

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This one is going to have to make the “cut” for the Christmas card photo.  It works:)

img_20161124_124212We are having a great time this weekend.  We had Austin and Molly  come from the Atlanta Dream School to spend the holiday weekend with us because a drive back to Michigan would have taken up too much time.  It was nice to have everyone home and it felt good.

img_20161124_131836The children pulled out the chess board and games.  It has been a few years since we have done that regularly.  We have had so many years of little children and it was just one big mess of game pieces everyone, easier to just not play.  But this year, everyone is more grown up and was able to play without destroying the pieces.

img_20161124_133409I wish I would have taken more photos but during this time I was busy making all of the food.  I love doing that and to watch everyone have a good time, I didn’t mind.  I had always thought it would be better if everyone did something, but that was during my little children phase.  Making a large dinner then was not fun because I had to take care of babies at the same time.  Now everyone is pretty self sufficient and can play without too many distractions.  img_20161124_191601Alice came over to visit this weekend too.  We watched Finding Dory with the children.  It was just a nice time to relax and enjoy everyone.

img_20161124_132246Jentzen had made himself a Optimus Prime costume out of a box.  Such an imaginative and creative boy.

Now for the food prep:

img_20161123_070238I had baked all of my pie crusts two days before Thanksgiving.  I made it easy on myself and used tin foil pans for everything.  I made simple pie crusts in the food processor.  I didn’t roll anything out—I despise that part:)  I followed the crust in this link.

Which pies did we make?  I poured over pinterest weeks before and had this big list of different kinds.  Then I realized….I had done that before and every year they vote on their favorite pies.  Guess what?  The traditional regular pies are the ones they like, so I stuck with those this year.

We did Dad’s favorite………chocolate pie.  Plain and simple.  Pie crust with chocolate pudding in it.  No complaints from him. He grew up on it and wants it every year.

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The children usually dive into his pie.  So I decided to make a spin on his favorite and one of their favorite desserts.  I did a dirt cup pie.  Basically it is pie crust with chocolate pudding and cool whip mixed.  I topped it with Oreo cookie crumbs.  Easy again

img_20161123_172842Then I decided to make one that I grew up with.  Only to think that it would probably be a bad idea because I would want to eat much of it myself?!?!?!  Coconut cream pie.  Not everyone in the house likes coconut so this will probably be only made if we have guests. It was delicious but not enough to make it and not waste it.

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Pumpkin pie is of course traditional.  We made 2 pans of this.  http://i2.wp.com/plainandnotsoplain.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Image00028.jpgI made apple crisp a few weeks ago and it was a favorite of everyone.  I usually make apple pie squares for our alternative to apple pie—but I DO NOT like rolling out the crust.  I knew I would be busy because I had to pick up Ashlyn from the airport and we had other things to make so I did  a compromise to our apple pie this year.  I made maple apple pie.  It was delicious and simple.  Served with vanilla ice cream.

img_20161123_172903 I then found a salted caramel cheesecake that I picked up in the freezer section.  If we don’t eat it, we can always keep it in the freezer.  It was yummy.

Now for the main dinner:

We did a turkey and a ham. I have zero pictures of that–sorry.  The turkey I put in the night before right in the roaster.  I sprinkled it was chicken bouillon and cooked it on low.  I am even bad and did not let it thaw completely so the bag of stuff was still frozen inside of it.  I let it cook for a couple of hours and then I was able to pull it out and discard:) I cooked it on low all night and part of the morning.  This results in a soft meat.  When it is finished I take all of the meat off the bone while its hot.  This helps so that you are able to get all of the meat.  I don’t do a perfectly carved turkey on the table.  It is such a waste of meat that sticks to the bones later on.  Plus it saves on after dinner clean up because it is already done:)

The ham I put in my crockpot and cooked on warm all night.  In the morning I made the sugar glaze and poured that over top.  I took that off the bone while hot as well.

We did mashed potatoes and gravy.  (no pictures)  I cut up a full pot of potatoes and cooked them.  When soft, I drained them and mixed them with the hand mixer.  I add one container of sour cream and enough milk to make them smooth.

For the gravy, I strain out the turkey juices.  Then I put a couple of tablespoons of chicken bouillon for flavor and heat till boiling.  I add cornstarch and water to make it thicken.

We also had macaroni salad. 

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Strawberry pear Jello salad is another favorite.  I am not big on jello so we don’t make it often but we have made this every year for dinner.img_20161123_184303    Green bean casserole, is a standard dish as well.  I bought a large can of green beans verses opening up 10 smaller ones.  img_20161124_132803  Then I made a Kale salad because I like it.  For this mixture I did kale, coleslaw, feta cheese, cranberries and topped with a southwestern salad topper.  Served with Asain dressing.img_20161124_133931

Since I only used half of my bag of coleslaw, I made regular coleslaw too.img_20161124_133937

We also had corn–which we just poured out of the can.

I made sweet potato casserole too.  My friend Kayleigh told me how she made it and that is what we did–minus the marshmallows.

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I made two kinds of stuffing.  Some of my children like the Stove top boxed kind and others like homemade.  For the homemade I followed the packaged directions—sautee onions and celery.  I guess its not totally homemade–probably would have been good with real bread–next year.  We went for easy.img_20161124_161842

We did baked beans too. I just got the big can at sams club of the plainer ones and added brown sugar and onions to it.  img_20161124_161952For our bread, we bought those $1 loaves at Walmart of the garlic and sesame seed ones.  Cut them up and called it good.  We also did deviled eggs.  I was a failure and they stuck to the shells?!?!?!  So they did not look very pretty.  We just mix the yolks with miracle whip and little bit of mustard.

Here is our spread.  We used aluminum pans for everything and then afterwards put stuff in gallon bags.  That way everything fit in the refrigerator.  We had record temps of 75 degrees so there was no option of keeping things outside to stay cool.

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As I cooked I just covered everything with foil and kept it by the stove.  It stayed warm.img_20161124_133358

Here we were sitting around the table.  I also made it easier by using divider foam plates.  This helped up on much cleanup.  No one’s food touched and it was good.  For the next days leftovers I bought heavy duty paper plates to be able to microwave food.      img_20161124_162816

We went around and Dad asked us what we were all thankful for this year.  It ranged from new house, to new jobs, to friends and family.  One of our favorite things to do every year.  img_20161124_162824

The rest of the weekend is full of together time, shopping, and making more memories.  Have a blessed rest of your weekend!

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