Friday, November 4, 2016

Enjoying Autumn and Anticipating Thanksgiving

Traditions are important to me.  I have struggled over the last year or so to accomplish the many things that we traditionally do that help us feel the rhythm of the year.  I am trying to get back in to a groove because I miss the traditions, they are important to me.  About a week and a half before Halloween I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and discouraged so I created the Halloween checklist as an attempt to get focused.  It was, in fact, instrumental in helping me have a delightful Halloween.  I am now going to give some thought to how I envision the fast approaching Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving is a holiday that is only second to Christmas as a favorite for several in my family.  It is a stay-at-home in front of the fireplace kind of day.  We fellowship, watch the parade and football and, quite importantly, eat to our hearts content.  It also signals for us that the end of Autumn is nigh.  So, Thanksgiving and the time between now and then are highly valued and I want to enjoy them to their fullest.   
1).  We did not get around to watching It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!  So we shall watch it soon with the requisite caramel apples and crackling fire.
2).  We will watch The Hobbit (you know, the animated version from my childhood.  We traditionally watch this before Halloween.  It just feels like an Autumn movie).  I want to make this caramel corn to munch on during the movie.  Yum!
3).  Celebrate Martinmas.
4).  Light Autumn candles.
5).  Remove Halloween decorations by the 8th of November and get out the Thanksgiving decorations.
6).  Reclaim my dining room in preparation of the Thanksgiving feast!
7).   Watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving possibly while snacking on these Pilgrims hats treats.
8).  Make pumpkin bread.
9).  Make a gratitude tree.  Here is one I made before but I also like this one.  I also like the idea of adding these cinnamon salt dough leaves to the tree.
10).  Take a walk crunching the Autumn leaves and collecting natural items to use in decorating.
11).  Every Thanksgiving I create a  brunch buffet of sorts.  We munch on this throughout the day as we wait for THE Thanksgiving dinner to be completed.  You can take a look at buffets from previous years here and here.  Last year I utilized Bishop's pottery as serving pieces and I intend on doing that again this year.  I typically serve a pumpkin dip with gingersnaps and intend on doing so again this year.  The most essential part of the buffet is the meat, cheese and crackers.  Of course, I will serve a variety of each again this year.  Additionally, Bishop and I have decided that we would like to do something with brie and try our hand at a couple of different canapes.  I am highly considering making cranberry, brie and prosciutto crostini, roasted red bell pepper and goat cheese bites, ricotta and prosciutto crackers, and baked brie in puff pastry with raspberry jam or with apple butter.   I think I will also try these pumpkin spice cream horns and, of course, I will serve a variety of fruits.  I will serve orange juice and set up a hot tea bar.
12).  I exercise my culinary creativity while preparing the buffet.  Thanksgiving dinner is the same - always the same.  I can be a little creative with the dessert (only a little) but I will have a revolt on my hands if I vary the main menu.  I will serve turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli and cheese, green bean casserole, cranberries, rolls, sparkling grape juice, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and, my one creative change, pumpkin creme brulee.
13).  Drink apple cider.
14). Vote.
15). Recognize Stir-up Sunday by stirring up some hot chocolate mix, spiced tea mix and cookie dough, at least sugar cookie dough.

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