Friday, November 23, 2012


Well how was your Thanksgiving?  Ours was a lot of fun.   I laid in bed last night with my body aching from standing on a brick floor all day cooking, and all I could think of was my Mom.  She has us all over for large meals frequently.  It is a LOT of work to prepare big meals like this.   But even though I know that it will mean some achy bones at the end of the day, it is so worth it.  I feel so fortunate to have this family to cook for.   I didn't take too many pictures, but I took a few along the way of my cooking.  I got up at 6:00 and got busy straight away in the kitchen, coffee in hand.  First, the macaroni and cheese.  My Mom always makes this!!  The kids love it, and  it is my son Drew's favorite!!  You can't really tell what it is here.  Just looks like a huge pan of cheese!
Next up, brussel sprouts.  I usually roast mine in the oven with just a drizzle of olive oil and sea salt and cracked pepper.  But when I was talking to my Mom that morning, she was telling me about a recipe she was making for brussel sprouts that my sister in law Monica had found.   It sounded so good, so I did it too.  Although I didn't have all of the same herbs or the pine nuts, I used what I had.
Wash and prep veggies by removing the core ends.  Cut an x into root.  Place in large bag.  I poured 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of one lemon, one orange, fresh sage, fresh thyme, salt pepper,  and garlic.  Smoosh (is that a word?)  around so marinade goes to all pieces.   I put them in fridge til I roasted them.  I laid them in single layer on a cookie tray and sprinkled with parmesan cheese and sunflower seeds.  They were divine!
Now lets take a look at my kitchen.....

Next up....french cut green beans.
I cut up about 1/2 pound of bacon into pieces, and then when those were almost done, I added a diced onion.
Cook until onions are carmelized. Drain off the bacon grease.  Meanwhile I steamed the green beans in some chicken broth until just barely tender.  Drain beans, and add bacon and onions.  Toss, lightly season, and done.
 Oh my gosh, these beans are SO good!!!
Next up, prepping the bird.  I had an 18.5 pound turkey that I had defrosted in cold water the day before.  After washing and removing giblets and neck from cavities, pat dry with clean towels.   I rubbed butter all over outer surfaces and then squeezed the juices of several lemons and oranges over bird, and into cavities.   Liberally season with salt and pepper.  I stuff the cavity with citrus and garlic, and fresh herbs.  I pour a cup or so of chicken broth into the pan.
By now, my kitchen is a total disaster, and no one is even up but me!  Oh, Erika was up and at em'.  She went for a Turkey Trot with a friend.  A little 3.4 miler before the sun even came up!!
Time to make the stuffing.  I don't stuff the bird anymore.  I used a package of herbed stuffing mix.  I brown a pound of sausage, and saute an onion.   To the bread crumbs I add this mix of sausage.  I melted a cube of butter and add chicken broth to this.  And pour over bread crumbs.  Lots and lots of seasonings.  And then I add about 3 cups of chopped apples, plenty of fresh sage and salt and pepper.  Mix well.  It often needs a wee bit more broth added to mixture.  I pour into a greased baking dish and bake this off at the end.  I basted the bird about every hour.  By now the kitchen is smelling awfully good!
The kids started to arrive about 2.  I was done with all of my cooking and prep, with plenty of time for a shower.  It was a beautiful sunny California day.  High 70's, and perfect for an afternoon game of whiffle ball.
Christopher always makes his way over for a little visit.  He was pretty darned good with that bat!!  The kids had a ball playing outside and riding on their scooters. I love this picture of Claire with her smiling reflection also seen in the window.
I had to laugh because we cleaned off all of the patio spaces out back, knowing that it would be a nice sunny day to be outdoors, and they all congregated in the front!!!  Typical!
I wish my trash cans weren't out there!
I love this picture of my son Drew and his girlfriend Diana.  Drew had been growing a beard, and he shaved it off that morning!  I love to see his handsome face.  It is just like looking at my husband when he was that age!
 My daughter Gennifer had done a lot of cooking at her house.  She made a turkey, and a butternut squash puree that was TO DIE FOR!!  And she made a stuffing, and also the mashed potatoes!  All delicious!
We had to chuckle when Geeps went to carve the turkeys.  He had pulled up a video from his ipad and set it up in the kitchen to view as he sliced!
We sat down to a beautiful feast.  The food was delicious! 
Best of all though, were the people at our table.  Erika and Noah both said grace.  Oh how I wish we had taped it when Noah said his beautiful prayer!  Then we dug in!  And we went around the table, one by one, each person saying what they were particularly thankful for this year.  It was a perfect day!
After our meal, feeling stuffed to the gills, we decided to take a brisk walk around the block.  Which just so happens to be one mile. I know because I have tracked it when I jogged that route.  
The kiddos were excited to ride their scooters.
Darkness was just beginning to fall.  We gathered on the driveway. Eri stayed behind to tidy up a bit and get the coffee going for dessert.
After our walk, we were ready for pie.  Erika put a Christmas movie on for the kids in the den.
We relaxed and watched football, and movie trailers.  
It was truly a perfect day!!!
XO  Kris


Enjoy the Little Things said...

I love the candids of your kitchen. Everyone tries to post perfect pictures when a photo like this actually says it all - your love of caring for your family.

Mereknits said...

It sounds like a very fun, yummy day. Love your family celebrating together. Hope your tired, sore bones are feeling better today.
Hugs to you,

Debbiedoo's said...

Looks like some good eats Kris, and some fun family time as well. I love brussel sprouts!

moonstruckcreations said...

What a wonderful day you had! Such precious time spent with loved ones enjoying things together. Perfect!


Holly said...

So glad it was a perfect day for you all. Would love to have that mac and cheese recipe if it's not a secret!!

Bethany said...

Aw looks good!
Ours was delightful too - with the weather to match :)

by Teresa said...

Kris, I just loved having you share your day with us! Have you tried one of those rubber squishy floor mats on the floor where you work? It would help! I'm about to write my blog of yesterday.. I just love this day when all the kids are around.. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Hanne said...

Hello from Denmark. What a nice blog you have :)

Deb~in~Denver said...

Looks like you had a perfect day! Love all of those smiling faces. I have one of those throw rugs with the memory foam backing. I move it around the kitchen, depending on where I'm standing. I LOVE it! My knees thank me every time I do a lot of cooking! I think one of my favorite parts of T-Day is looking around the kitchen at all the dishes and pots & pans and seeing how blessed we are that we have food to fill them. Have a great, relaxing weekend!

Linda said...

Perfect meal...
Perfect weather...
Perfectly happy little family...

Linda :o)

ps...I LOVE brussel sprouts!!!!

Dawn said...

What a lovely day!! I cringed when I saw what you had to clean up in the kitchen. Can't wait to try the brussel sprouts in the bag. I sure can see why your feet were aching. But it was all worth it:)

Miriam said...

Looks like a wonderful meal and time with your family.
What a lovely home and family.

Pammy Sue said...

Yum, yum, yum...all of your food looks great! Have you posted that mac & cheese recipe before? I remember you talking about your mom's mac & cheese, but I don't think you ever gave us the recipe. Is it a SECRET?? Glad y'all had a nice day with the fam.

Grayseasailor said...

Such a great day, Kris:) Thank you for including us! I want to try all your recipes and I laughed too when I saw your hubby's assistant for carving:) ...Precious time with precious people and truly blessed. xx from Gracie

Genn said...

You got some good pics!
Thanks so much for having us all over. It was a really nice day. Everything was so delicious!!! Hope you are enjoying your leftovers in big bear!

Knitting Nix said...

Beautiful day with your beautiful family, I think you should capture some of the happiness that is portrayed in your photos and bottle it. You could sell it on and make the world a better place :)
Happy thanksgiving. xx

priscilla said...

Kris, Looks like a wonderful day with your family ! I know the exhausted feeling when its over ! I am going to pin the recipe for the brussell sprouts and green beans ! Hope your weekend is good !

~Niki~ said...

awwwwww. what lovely family pics!

Nicolle said...

Your feast looks beautiful and delicious!! Everything looks so pretty at your house. I love it, I want to come sit at your table and eat all of your yummy food. I'm so glad it was a perfect day. I felt that way about our Thanksgiving this year too. Happy Holidays dear friend! xoxo

NanaNor's said...

Kris, I'm so glad you took pics of all your prep and your family! My prep was very easy-just traditional sweet yams. I didn't think to take the camera to my Kim's but she fixed a wonderful meal to. I love how your family all hang out to gether and walk etc. Have a wonderful weekend at the mountains.
Hugs, Noreen

Savvy Seasons said...

Hi Kris,
Your dinner looked DELISH!! I copied you and Tom The Turkey turned out *so* good! SUPER MOIST, so thank you! I love all the family photos, y'all are too cute for words! xoxo ~Liz

Grammy Staffy said...

What a lovely day with family. I love all of the pictures. It is a lot of work but as you say it is well worth the effort. Hugs, Lura

Jill said...

Looks like a wonderful Thanksgiving!!
Many blessings to you and your family!


Tania @ Out Back said...

Thanksgiving is another event that is not celebrated in Australia. Sounds like a great tradition though :) That food looks soooo good!