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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Two Days of Thanksgiving

Gratitude Project (for as long as I can) I'm going to post at least three things I am grateful for. Join me!; 1)That I had a nice Thanksgiving Dinner with my family. 2) That even at nine and with a very short attention span my son still enjoys me reading to him every night (We are reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) 3)That I managed to get the one thing I wanted on Black Friday (a $80.00 wheeled crate, to lug all my substitute teaching supplies around in, for $20.00 with no shipping and handling) on line and didn't have to go out and face the insane crowds.

Usually for Thanksgiving we go to my in-laws house. I sit and chat with my Mother-In-Law and my Sister-In-Law and often feel ignored or am the butt end of passive aggressive comments. Often I suddenly am alone and have to find where everyone has settled. I guess I was used to it. If I stay at the table it ends up being all the men talking about sports and war. Not my favorite subject. I have tried to chip in and help do the dishes or clean up but there also never seems to be a spot for me to do this. I get subtly pushed out of the way and my help is often rejected or ignored. In fact still after 15 years I don't know where many things go in my Mother-In-Law's house. Oddly I have been told that they resent that I don't chip in and help clean up. I don't enjoy going there and I decided that I don't have to anymore.

So this year I didn't go. I bought myself some sushi and pot stickers and had a very nice dinner all alone. It sounds like it wasn't a good time, but I loved it. I got a lot of cleaning done. It turns out that when two children are not undoing all my cleaning the house actually can stay cleaner longer. I even got started on cooking for our second Thanksgiving Dinner to be hosted at my house on Friday.

What? Thanksgiving on Friday? That is unheard of! It actually was done to preserve our stomachs. Instead of trying to fit two Thanksgiving Dinners in on Thanksgiving when I was growing up we split them up. We went to my Nana's (my Dad's Mom) on Thanksgiving and then on Friday we went to my Grandparents (my Mom's parents) family Thanksgiving dinner. Sometimes it was at our cottage where we had the traditional Thanksgiving push my Uncle's motorhome out of the mud because he always pulled into the soft part of the grass and sink. Ah, memories!

Fun story about me baking my pies. I was making from mostly scratch (I used canned pumpkin instead of a whole pumpkin) my first Pumpkin Pie. I know that I bought all the ingredients. I had the recipe out and was mixing all the ingredients together. Luckily I tasted it before I cooked it, I thought it just wasn't right so I re read the recipe that I somehow was no longer following and discovered that I forgot the brown sugar. It was 11:30ish on Thanksgiving night and all the stores were closed. Yikes!!! Egads!!!

So I went on a brown sugar quest, I went to Walgreens, but they didn't have it. They had flour, granulated sugar and honey but no brown sugar. I finally found a store that I thought was open and I knew they had it at 11:58 pm. As I closed the car door the outside sign turned off and when I tried to open the door it was locked. The cashier was counting her drawer but still I tried. I knocked on the door and showed then that I had cashed. I pleaded and finally a manager came to the door. He politely explained that they were closed and they couldn't do any more transactions. Still I pleaded, I only needed brown sugar, could I leave the cash for it and then they can ring it in the morning. He agreed to my proposition. I didn't mind waiting outside and soon I had my brown sugar and back home I went.

I love to cook, there is something about starting with a recipe and tweaking it here or there to make it your own. Yes, I am a recipe tweaker. Usually I cook main dishes or side dishes. If I cook a dessert it is usually follow the directions on the box or better yet buy it pre-made. This year I saw a great recipe for a Pumpkin Pie that I decided to try.

Wickedly Yummy Pumpkin pie
By: The Good Witches Farm House Kitchen

1 small sugar pumpkin
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup real maple syrup
1 1/4 cups half-and-half cream
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
3 eggs
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C)

Cut up pumpkin, and remove seeds. Place in large baking pan, and cover with foil or lid. Bake for 1 hour, or until very tender. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Scrape pumpkin into a food processor; puree until smooth.

Measure 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and salt. Stir in maple syrup, half-and-half, and flour. Mix in eggs one at a time. Pour filling into unbaked pie shell.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour, or until center is set.

Okay I admit it I tweaked it a little, I thought I had more maple syrup and so I used 1/3 c maple syrup and 1/3 c apple cider. I also didn't have a pumpkin so I used 1 15 ounce can of pure pumpkin.

I poured it into the pie shell and it almost over flowed. I thought I pinched the edges down and I guess I didn't do a good job. In the oven they flopped backwards and drooped almost down to the oven grate. It also took almost 1 1/2 hours to cook. It may not have been the prettiest pie but it was the most delicious pumpkin pie that I ever had.

My parents were over on Friday for our second Thanksgiving Dinner. I told my traditional Thanksgiving joke to my mother. How many mice does it take to screw in a lightbulb? (Two but I don't know how they got in there.) I first told it maybe 15 years ago and my mother laughed so hard that she fell to the floor. In between gasps she tried to tell me that it was inappropriate to tell at Thanksgiving. I told her that it was hard to take her seriously when she was on the floor laughing.

The next year I remembered the joke and my mother's reaction so I asked if she remembered how she reacted the year before. She had no idea what I was talking about so I had to tell it again. She again was laughing so hard but didn't chastise me again. Since then I have told the same joke every year and every year my mom laughs so hard that she cries. The joke isn't why I tell it, it is my mother's reaction that makes it priceless.

This year was a wonderful year for Thanksgiving for me. It was low stress and because I used paper plates it also was a low dishwashing holiday. I am thankful for so much and I have to say I am thankful for all my readers. You help give me strength to stay on track. I love you all!

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