Oh yes, I AM Thankful.
It really is a damn fine feeling to feel so grateful and thankful these last few days. Even though I’m pretty sure I should be feeling all the love and joy ALL year round, I’ll take what I can gather at the moment. The last four days were just rad sauce, and here’s a few reasons why:
1) This year, I was thankful for being thoughtful…no, not towards others, per se, but to the preparation of THE food. When you’re hosting for 22 people, it’s a much better plan to not have to do much the day of minus a little organizing, socializing, and drinking. I made all my dishes (except that beast of a turkey!) the night before, including mashed potatoes, the best ever spicy pumpkin soup, two pumpkin pies, stuffing, and appetizers. All I had to do when company came was to direct them to the proper areas of prep in our fabulous kitchen, supply them with a drink, and introduce them to others. Cake.
2) Spicy Pumpkin Soup. Seriously, this might have been the freaking high light of the whole holiday because it was a new dish, everyone loved it, and the leftovers have only gotten better and better. Because I was so chuffed with my excellent pureed discovery, I included it here for you to also enjoy.
Spicy Pumpkin Soup Recipe
• 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
• 2 medium yellow onions, chopped
• 2 teaspoons minced garlic
• 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
• 2 teaspoons curry powder
• 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
• Pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)
• 3 (15 oz) cans 100 percent pumpkin or 6 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin*
• 5 cups of chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)**
• 2 cups of milk
• 1/2 cup brown sugar
• 1/2 cup heavy cream
*To make pumpkin purée, cut a sugar pumpkin in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff, lie face down on a tin-foil lined baking pan. Bake at 350°F until soft, about 45 min to an hour. Cool, scoop out the flesh. Freeze whatever you don’t use for future use.
**If cooking gluten-free, use gluten-free broth.
1 Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more.
2 Add pumpkin and 5 cups of chicken broth; blend well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
3 Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan.
4 With the soup on low heat, add brown sugar and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add cream. Adjust seasonings to taste. If a little too spicy, add more cream to cool it down. You might want to add a teaspoon of salt.
Serve in individual bowls. Sprinkle the top of each with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Yield: Serves 8. www.simplyrecipes.com
3) My Mother in Law (almost). To say I feel blessed to know Roy is an understatement, and if you didn’t know already, I am quite attached to him. HOWEVER, it is his parents, specifically his Mother, who just makes the world a truly better place. Being a woman who has lived her life with two males, I wanted her to eventually become comfortable within my family of females to really get girlied out and bond with the ladies. Normally when I do something as a multi-family, she and Roy’s Pop stay together and socialize as a couple. This year, we found a great conversation mate for Daddy-O, and stole Momma Bear into our circle of women, where she had an amazing time and to see her so happy and relaxed was too cute to poop. She told stories of Roy growing up (stubborn little lamb chop, he was), being married for 47 years (oh.my.god), and proceeded to get tanked- A Definite Highlight.
4) Our OUT OF THIS WORLD new kitchen. I will not be able to thank Roy enough for bringing to ME the best gift a foodie could have- a highly functioning, organized, well lit kitchen. It was like directing a well scripted play with seasoned actors- everything was organized in the easiest place to find it, there was space for at least 5 people to be doing their own “stuff and things”(cocktail making took up a few of those stations- CUBA LIBRE!!), and there was space to put everything- FLAWLESS. I was so, so, so proud of our new room and felt like our house of parties and festivities has needed this update for…well, for forever.
5) Let’s spread the cheese here for a minute and just say a word (or two) about those that I love the most: Thanksgiving is my favorite of all the holidays because I adore family time, cooking, and winter, and this has all of it, without the complications of Christmas. Spending time with my peeps has been one of the perks of moving home and to get to see everyone interact, bicker, laugh, and love together actually makes my heart hum. I have a…(let’s see here, what’s a good PC term?)….”lively” family, and there is never a dull moment when we’re all together. And with friends in the mix to really allow the showmanship of each of our characters to come out, well folks, this entertainment CANNOT be bought.
I hope that each of you had a moment over the last few days where you silenced the world around you, and took a second to acknowledge those things in your life which make you thankful, grateful, happy, and fulfilled. I haven’t been doing too much of that this year, but I am so thankful to be getting more adjusted by the month, feeling closer to that which I am creating, and working on finding balance between everything and all things.
Oh yeah, I’m thankful for you. xxxxx
PS- I love you, 49ers.