THANKSGIVING IN THE EMPTY NEST

A Thanksgiving survivor

A Thanksgiving survivor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We bartered away Thanksgiving in our divorces so we would never have to share Christmas.  We are both Christmas crazy and we wanted the kids home all of Christmas Eve and Christmas day, so it wasn’t a difficult decision to make.  Truth be told, we are both ambivalent about Thanksgiving.  Lots of prep time, lots and lots of dirty dishes for a dinner where the only thing we really like is the stuffing.  It may sound strange for two women who are happy to spend 12 hours canning, to feel like Thanksgiving is too much work, but it’s probably the menu.  We both have pretty large families and our veto power over the traditional Thanksgiving menu is nil.  We will, undoubtedly, spend the same amount of time and wash the same amount of dirty dishes on Christmas day, but somehow that doesn’t seem like work-as Denise says “It’s a  joy”.

Denise will spend Thanksgiving with her beau and Sandy will make a pie and watch movies.  We might not spend Thanksgiving with our children or with our families, but we will fully participate in the spirit of the day.  We are thankful for many things:  our siblings, our parents, our health, a day in a beach chair, a trip to Charlottesville, the produce auction and all that brought to our lives this year, laughter, happy tears, good food, our friends and, our course, our friendship.  Most of all we are thankful for our children, for all they have been and for the extraordinary lives they are leading now.  We are especially thankful for the generosity that lives in their hearts.  We may have let them go, but they have never left us behind.   For all of this and more, we are deeply thankful.

English: Pumpkins.

THE MENU:  BAKED LEMON CHICKEN, BLEU CHEESE POTATO TART, CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING

Baked Lemon Chicken

  • 4 chicken breasts, bone in
  • 1 lemon, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or 1/4 cup white wine

Place cast iron skillet in oven and preheat to 500 degrees.  With a sharp knife,  gently separate skin from the breast and put a lemon slice under the skin.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place chicken breast in preheated skillet and cook for 20-25 minutes, until skin is crispy.  Reduce heat to 375 and cook until cooked through, about 15 minutes.  Remove breasts to serving platter.  Place skillet on stove top on medium high heat and bring to a boil.  Add two tablespoons butter and either wine or vinegar.  Cook until desired consistency.  Pour over chicken and serve.

Bleu Cheese Potato Bake – based the recipe from Smitten Kitchen

  • One pound new potatoes, slice in 1/4″ rounds
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 4 ounces bleu cheese

Place potato in medium sized saucepan, cover with water and simmer for 5-8 minutes until barely tender.  Drain and pat dry with paper towels.  Arrange in a circular pattern in 9″ pie plated.  Top with crumbled bleu cheese.  Whisk egg yolks and cream until blended. Pour over potatoes.  Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes, until browned.

Chocolate Whipped Cream Frosting:

  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutched)
  • 2/3 cup confectioners sugar

Place cocoa and confectioners sugar in a deep bowl.  Add heavy cream.  Beat until desired consistency and spread on top of your favorite homemade chocolate cake.

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14 Responses to THANKSGIVING IN THE EMPTY NEST

  1. Barbara says:

    Oh my! Where have you been all my life???! Glad to have found you and am going to poke around some more. Loved your post here recognizing that while Thanksgiving may not always be traditional, it can still be just right. And these 3 recipes? Fantastic!

  2. lillianccc says:

    Like the both of you, my family won’t be with me this Thanksgiving but nevertheless, I’m still celebrating the spirit of the holiday. Happy early Thanksgiving to you both and I’ll be eating some extra pie/dessert for sure. 🙂

  3. Thanksgiving is about the gratitude–I think you’ve got it right. The recipes sound so good and easy–have a wonderful Thanksgving celebrated the way you want it!

    • it is about the gratitude and bringing that gratitude to every day of the year. there is always something in every day to be grateful for and when you take a moment to feel that gratitude it somehow puts things in to perspective and makes a day better.

  4. I will have to make the blue cheese potatoes for company; no one in my family but me would eat it. Thanks for this reminder that holidays don’t have to happen on “the day” — when we do this we doom ourselves to resentment and hurt feelings with our families. Our family has happily celebrated Thanksmas on the Friday after Thanksgiving for years — it allows my brother to celebrate with his wife’s family on Thursday and we still get to see everyone. It’s a win-win. And we get to start our Christmas celebration together as a family as well.

  5. We spent over decade in Europe and so missed Thanksgiving for many years. One of the things I am grateful for is getting Thanksgiving back! Enjoy your holiday.

  6. Enjoy yours as well. we’re counting you in our blessing this year.

  7. TBM says:

    Thanksgiving was never my favorite holiday–and I don’t even do all of the cooking. I much prefer Christmas. That day is magical.

  8. We love Christmas best too. It is magical as are all the days that lead up to it and even after. Nothing like a quiet night in mid January with the tree lit and the memories to keep you company.

  9. Ginger Kay says:

    I have never been a fan of the Thanksgiving menu, either. I am pretty much there for the company and the pie.

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