A Simply Wonderful Thanksgiving

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
Abraham Lincoln

This is Thanksgiving week, and one of my favorite weeks of the year. I love Thanksgiving for the food, family time, and most of all, the emphasis we we place on thanking God for our abundant blessings. The latter is what I believe is key to a truly wonderful Thanksgiving.
When I approach this holiday season with gratitude, not just for what I have but for what God has done, my attitude changes from worrying (should I try a paleo pie crust or the traditional, and I need to get those Christmas cards ordered!) to one of joy and simplicity.
So this year, we began the month with our Thanksgiving tree. The kids loved finding sticks and putting it together!
I have enjoyed this website for getting information on the history and traditions of Thanksgiving.

Betty Crocker has a guide for prepping the feast that we will follow loosely.

Rather than worrying about having a beautiful turkey centerpiece, I’ll roast it upside down in an oven bag  again because I love how that method guarantees tenderness without frequent basting, and carve it up before bringing it to the table.

We will use red potatoes from the garden, and skip peeling them; the peels add extra flavor and nutrition. A tsp of chicken base, half a package of cream cheese, 1 cup of yogurt, and a dash of onion powder to a pot of smashed potatoes is our traditional choice.

The night before, I’ll bake the sweet potatoes in the oven while dinner is cooking, then cool, mash, and top with marshmallows (kids choice) for the feast.  We’ll brown them right before serving.

I love whole-berry cranberry sauce, and am making that today. I’ll use some for a cranberry-balsamic vinegar reduction sauce for tonight’s venison, and save the rest for Thursday.

Green bean casserole has never been mandatory for me, but we do have a freezer full of green beans, so I’ll just steam them to a bright green right before the meal, add a dash of tarragon and olive oil, and serve alongside.

Corn and bread are usual staples for an all-out feast, and I foresee baking up our traditional zwiebak rolls with the kids that morning.

My dad does an awesome salad with fresh greens, oregano, vinegar, and an assortment of secret spices that always makes it good, but never quite the same.

My mom makes an amazing pecan pie that everyone loves, and there will be no changing that recipe! We may also have an apple crisp, and pumpkin pie of course. Rather than messing with the time-intensive pastry, I’ll do a press-in crust of equal parts almond flour, butter, and oats. Then I’ll follow the recipe on the can of pumpkin pie puree…except for cutting the sugar in half, adding 3 eggs instead of 2, and 1 cup of regular milk instead of the can of evaporated milk. Pumpkin pie is easy to tinker with, and a Pinterest search yields thousands of fun alternatives, whether you want to add pecan, chocolate, cheesecake, or even paleo-ize it.

We love to eat, but we also love to spend time outdoors, reading, and just laughing together. This should leave plenty of time to enjoy both. Thank you Lord for family, for abundant blessings, and for a nation with a heritage of Thanksgiving.


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