Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thankful at Thanksgiving

Get ready this is a doozie (long)... but so was Thanksgiving day.

Thanksgiving is a time when most slow down and remember what they have in their lives to be thankful for. This year was no different for me, except for the "slowing down" part. It was a super busy week but I'm so happy I ended up spending it with almost everyone I care about the most.

We started a new tradition this Thanksgiving. Since we're now a [cough] running family [cough] we thought we'd do a 5K Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. We even convinced Jill to join in the fun. 

And you would think that since a 5K is the shortest distance race I've done so far that I would have come out unscathed - not hardly. I hurt worse after this race than I think I have any of the half marathons. Maybe I didn't stretch or maybe I ate too much just mere hours later. I'm not sure, but I was able to justify my "marathon eating" later that day with my 3.1 mile run. 

And so it began... here's the highlights from lunch at my Grandma Peggy's house. 

These are turnips for you folks not from around here.

And this is my grandmother's dressing. Yes, we know its not in a casserole dish or stuffed in a bird, but I swear its so much better. It's like individual mini-dressings that you can dip in gravy or put in your pocket for later. It's amazing and my most favorite. She used to call it dressing but since Kris married Amber its official name is now "Amber's Dressing". I think it's why she married him and why she likes my family. 

And this is her amazing cranberry salad. No sauce at this house. It's Jello based and has pineapples and nuts. I'll share her recipe one day. Until then, I'll continue to bring this with me to other dinners and impress people with my cooking skills.

The bird - not a turkey, but a chicken. My Papa always complained that turkey was too dry and not so good. He was right. Baked chicken is so much juicier than turkey and has the same coma-inducing effects. 

And these... well if you've seen the title to this blog and still don't know what these are then we've got a problem. I'm about to digress...

Deviled eggs originated in Rome. Click here for more than you ever cared to know about deviled eggs. 

The only thing you need to know is that it doesn't get much more southern than a deviled egg - no matter where they originated. They're the staple at every home cooked meal, every church pot-luck and at a lot of weddings I've been to recently. 

Never fear. I've been planning a post dedicated to these delicious necessities and will report back my research on one of my most favorite southern isms soon. 

This was John's attempt at making us health conscious. He's gotten on this running kick, lost 10 lbs and decided we all need fruit salad at Thanksgiving. It was good! 

Jill, on the other hand, is perfectly happy trying to put those 10 lbs. on all of us and brought her famous chocolate pie. (aka - heaven in tin foil)

You would think after a meal like that for lunch you would rush to the nearest bed and not get up until the next day. Not hardly. 

Soon after we finished it was time to head over to Mt. Olive (home of the pickles) and have dinner with my dad's side of the family. 

Again, more food, family and fun, but with a slightly different menu. I always swear I'm too full to eat another bite and yet, somehow I find a way. 

This side of the family fries a turkey. If you have to eat one, its the only way to do it in my humble opinion. It keeps its moisture. 

We also do a ham, which is my personal favorite of all of the meats. (Shout out to the NC Pork Council - "they bring alot to the table")

I made the Pioneer Woman's Nantucket Cranberry Pie. I have yet to be disappointed in any recipe of her's that I've tried. This was awesome, but tart. Don't make it if you don't like cranberries. It's pretty in a pie plate and looks like you had to work hard. Trust me, you don't. 

I thought I was really doing something with my Pioneer Woman Pie, but then my Grandma Hilda had to go and pull out the big guns. She made a homemade banana pudding. I'm not talking instant pudding... I'm talking about the kind you have to cook on the stove top. It was amazing. I don't know how they do it but Grandma's can totally show you who's smarter when it comes to the kitchen. Bobby Flay doesn't have anything on Hilda.

And there she is... The Princess of Pudding. My grandma and one of the few women I hope to be just like when I grow up.

I realized sitting there with all of my family after dinner was over on Thursday night that I'm the most thankful for the people in my life like my grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and all of the others that make me complete. I'm thankful for those who are no longer with me and for those who I am about to meet. I've been dealt a pretty great hand and for that, I'm thankful. 

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