Bring It On, Christmas!

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration, here at the Three Cats Ranch. The kids were here, and we had a family friend of many years...from when the kids were little...and so there's a lot of history there. Most of the heavy lifting in the cooking category had been done the day before, but there was still plenty to do on Thanksgiving day.

I made good on my threat to bake off the two remaining loaves of bread. Bread isn't generally a part of our traditional meal, but who knows? Many of the home bakers I've been watching on Facebook were making the yummiest looking dinner rolls. Perhaps over the coming year, as I make my way through the book, I'll learn to make them...and I'll probably keep a package of "Brown 'n Serve" handy, just in case. Anyway...bread. We ate one loaf, and Matthew took the second loaf home with him.

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[Please excuse this blog interruption.] Just now when I went to post that picture, I noticed that Blogger now has a "special characters" option. So, just to give you a taste for this new thing, I'll say this:

My 🐈 went outside this morning and caught a 🐁, which he proceeded to eat in plain view at the glass door. I won't post a picture. You're welcome. The 🐁made my cat look like this: 😸. On the other hand, it made me look like this: 😬. Don't worry. I really hate emoticons, and so don't expect to see them very often.

[We now return you to the blog post in progress.]

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Usually, I try one new recipe for Thanksgiving because my family insists that the old favorites return year after year. Frankly, its distracting to hear wailing and moaning at our Thanksgiving table. So if the bread wasn't enough, I also tried a new cranberry recipe that was billed thus: "It practically makes itself!" And on Thanksgiving, that's a big selling point, so I tried it. It was really good! I have a lot of good cranberry recipes, but this one wins the prize for being the easiest. You roast two bags of cranberries with a thinly sliced shallot. (I had a red cippolini onion from our last CSA share, and so I used that.) To that, you add some brown sugar, lemon and orange zest and some orange juice. Then roast them in the oven for about an hour. 

Roasting them in the oven probably caramelizes them a bit, and so I believe they use less sugar. When mine were close to finishing, I tasted them, and thought they needed just a little bit more sugar. Of course, that would depend on the berries you're using, and mine were just a little too bitterly tart. Just a little added sugar made a big difference. They were very easy, and took almost no hands-on time at all. If you'd like to try this simple recipe, you can find it right here.

Setting the table always hangs over me a bit, and so I did that early in the day. We're usually stoneware kind of people, but I have lots of china and silverware inherited from both sides of our families. The china is from Mike's grandmother. The silverware is from my great aunt. I didn't have enough wine glasses for seven, and so I mixed two different ones. One set was given to me by my mother. The other set was purchased from local wineries by Mike's mother when she visited many years ago. 

The water glasses came from my mother. She and I were walking the streets of Oceanside, California, one day (when I was a teenager) and came across a store-closing in progress. She bought a bunch of pretty glasses that day, and for whatever reason, the memory sticks with me. They didn't have a lot of money in those days, and so she was thrilled to find pretty tableware that she could afford. My mom passed away in March of 1997, nearly 20 years ago, and so any clear memories of her are precious.

There were plenty of vegetables from a few weeks of CSA shares to make a pretty roasted vegetable dish. The only thing I added from the grocery store were some shallots and parsnips. Otherwise, it was CSA all the way. There was delicata squash, rutabaga, red and gold beets, garlic, turnips, fresh thyme and rosemary. Yum.

This is my favorite pumpkin dessert: Bourbon Pumpkin Tart with Walnut Streusel. The topping makes this especially delicious with the walnuts and some crystallized ginger. I can't say how the topping pulls it off, but it's so light and crunchy, it practically melts in your mouth. 

Erik deep fried the turkey this year (and last year too). It's kind of a guy-bonding event. Here are the two fryers-in-chief.

Our weather was absolutely horrible yesterday. It rained hard the whole live-long day. They were able to set up just under the eaves of the patio on the lower level. It was pretty well sheltered from the wind and rain, and the two of them did a bang-up job on the turkey.

Before we parted for the evening, I asked our guest to take a picture of the family. It's pretty hard to get a picture of the six of us together unless we set up a tripod, so I was glad for this opportunity. Erik got it in his head to include Smitty in the picture, and Smitty was amazingly cooperative. (Sadie was hiding out in the farthest reaches of the basement. Too many feet for her little nerves.)

And there you go. Thanksgiving 2016 is history now.

Today there's still some clean-up to do...mainly taking the leaf out of the table and putting some stuff away. Now I'm motivated to put out some Christmas stuff this weekend...always kind of fun to do when Thanksgiving is officially over. If there's time, I'll finish quilting the last bit of the Sunflower Sampler, and maybe get the binding sewn on too.

I'm hopeful you all had a happy and safe Thanksgiving celebration.

14 comments from clever and witty friends:

beaquilter said...

everything looks yummy, especially that pie!! yum!!
Happy thanksgiving! we just finished putting up the tree

Quiltdivajulie said...

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to you and yours!

Quilting Babcia said...

Everything looked yummy - and those loaves of bread will be wonderful for turkey sandwiches.

WoolenSails said...

It looks like you had a wonderful day and your table looks wonderful. I go easy and get a paper cloth and paper plates, makes it fun and not as much clean up;) I know I am never going to get anything done for Christmas and I need to destress, so luckily I have a few things done and I will just do what I can and enjoy the season by making things for me and for fun now.


Wendy Tuma said...

Everything looks really tasty, and it was fun to see a pic of you and your family! If you have a cranberry recipe collection, I have a cranberry punch recipe I should send you. It's a family Christmas tradition for us. Wendy at piecefulthoughts@gmail.com

Dana Gaffney said...

Reading your emoticon story reminded of reading things like that when I was a kid although it was never a horror story of cat eating squirrel, I guess Smitty wanted his own Thanksgiving dinner LOL.

Michele said...

A few years ago I found the perfect cranberry recipe for us...Cranberry Pear Sauce and I've made it every year since. It's not as tart and the pear adds a nice texture and flavor. One of these years I really want to try fried turkey.

CathieJ said...

It looks like you had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. My family likes the old favorites too, but I made a new cranberry sauce this year also. Your breads look yummy. I hope you are enjoying your baking.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

The bread looks fabulous as well as your table setting. Wonderful family photo

SJSM said...

Two sides of a family came together; my youngest brother and his wife's family. There were 17 in total. It was a great time with really good food. We use a sign up website and people fill in what they will bring. There was a fried turkey (moist and delicious) and a smoked turkey (ditto). And even though I made 5 dishes it didn't seem so difficult. I guess that is because I used to make everything loved the mostly stress free day.

Thanks for the recipe links. I do makes a few new dishes each year. It keeps me on my toes culinary wise. We head home today and I will start my Christmas decorating. Enjoy!

quiltzyx said...

Everything looks delish! We had roasted turkey, and the regular Thanksgiving fare, very tasty. For dessert we had pumpkin pie, Funfetti cake and ice cream as we were also celebrating a birthday. We played games before dinner - Taboo and Catch Phrase. I hadn't played either of them before and they were lots of fun.
Let's hear it for tasty & successful Thanksgivings!

Brown Family said...

Your table was beautiful. The cranberry dish looks good. I tried a new recipe for Cream cheese Cranberry loaf. I was afraid it was going to be too sweet, but tue fresh cranberries made up for it. It called for a 9X5 loaf pan. Mine was smaller, so I used a mini (two person) one for the rest. That worked out great because I took the large one to my daughters and kept the small one for us. I did not get any pictured of it!

Angie in SoCal said...

We did have a very good Thanksgiving. It was so nice to read about yours. I'll try that cranberry recipe with the Christmas ham. Everything looked yummy.

Kate said...

Looks like a very fun and yummy Thanksgiving at your house. We do roasted vegetables for the holidays. It was a new recipe we did for My Guy's family last year and there were several calls for it to be on the menu this year. Your table setting was lovely.