There are two kinds of people in America. Those who stay home this week and have to clean house, host guests and cook a feast…and those who have to travel, but don’t have to clean or cook!
I’m not sure which is worse. I’d say it depends on which day you travel and how far you’re going! Of course, both are good problems to have…
While my husband is deployed on a humanitarian mission this holiday season (aboard the USNS Comfort hospital ship in South America and Central America), it’s never been more evident to our family that we have too many blessings to count! However, being able to travel to my mom’s this week is definitely one of them.
We have lived overseas many years (seven) and we haven’t always been able to spend holidays with family. But for the 4th year in a row we are close enough to drive to my mom’s and that is a gift! Mostly because she’s family and we love her. But also because she makes an awesome Thanksgiving meal! And even though my trip likely will take longer than the usual 4 1/2 hours on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving…I’m super thankful I don’t have to clean my house or cook; it’s definitely a mini vacation for me!
Our Thanksgiving Food Traditions
My mom makes the full spread:
- a roasted turkey,
- from-scratch gravy from the drippings,
- traditional stuffing,
- mashed potatoes,
- candied sweet potato halves,
- mashed rutabaga (but we always call it turnip for some reason),
- steamed green beans (for something green), and
- creamed onions. (I remember being surprised when I learned my husband’s family also had this tradition, but I believe it is a New England thing.)
- And then we always have the choice of whole berry OR jellied cranberry sauce (but only from the cans! Are you “team Ocean Spray” or “team homemade”? LOL)
Since we’ve been married, my husband started a new tradition for our family making a delicious spiced pumpkin pie and a heaping apple crumb pie. (I’m not a pie person, but the apple pie is especially amazing…not that you need help finding amazing desserts!) He’s not a baker, but the nostalgia of his grandmother’s holiday pies were his inspiration. (And conveniently enough after he perfected the recipes, somehow I’m the one who makes them most years…)
But my favorite of his creations is his After-Thanksgiving Creamy Turkey and Rice Soup. He loves using up “the rest of the turkey” and creating another hearty meal so much that he doesn’t mind spending Friday afternoon cooking while my sister and I usually visit an annual holiday craft fair. Several more blessings in all of that! (This year, I will be enlisting my girls’ help!)
Pre-Thanksgiving Meals: K.I.S.S.
Did you know that the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) acronym originated in the Navy in 1960? Not sure if that explains a lot or begets more questions…but gotta love the Navy! And I am a fan of keeping things simple.
Back to my point:
For those of you cooking and even for those of us traveling, usually Monday through Wednesday before Thanksgiving needs to be E-A-S-Y! Pace yourself. Think minimal thoughts. Don’t be an overachiever on the pre-game meals! But as always, you don’t have to cut corners with processed foods to have convenient meals either. As inspiration, I usually try to use up things I have in the fridge before a big holiday and in this case, branch out from poultry!
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you slow down to enjoy your family, your food and your good fortune. I’m grateful for your support and honored that I’m able to encourage you in your healthy lifestyle efforts!
Meal Planning This Week
Monday (a busy night): Cauliflower Fried Rice with Chicken
Tuesday (a busy night): Shepherd’s Pie (working on a recipe with ground beef, mushrooms, beef broth, veggies and garlic mashed potatoes)
Wednesday (traveling): Dinner at Mom’s when we arrive (or I would plan on leftovers from Shepherd’s Pie)
Thursday: MOM’S THANKSGIVING FEAST!
Friday: After-Thanksgiving Creamy Turkey and Rice Soup (no photo yet, but here’s the recipe. “What can I say, except you’re welcome?!”)