Thanksgiving Favorites

In our family, every Thanksgiving brings with it a fresh, undoubtedly scrumptious, batch of memories. Even though the children's lives have grown busier and busier with each new season, we always make sure to come together to give everyone's favorite yearly feast even more flavor than the last. And as we reflect on thirty-six Thanksgivings around dinner plates full of mashed potato "mountains," as we affectionately call them, the focus always turns to the man sitting at the head of the table. Either he's telling the stories, already planning his midnight snack, or feeding Eli, the big dog, under the table. One thing is for certain; the man loves turkey. I can still see him on our first Thanksgiving proudly standing by his turkey masterpiece, potholders held proudly above his head as if he had just scored a touchdown. He's the turkey chef and he loves to hunt down the biggest he can find in the bustling grocery aisles. One of the birds of years past took quite a few hours longer to cook, no mystery since the oven door barely closed. Not only that, he had to stand guard all night, using his baster to capture any escaping turkey juices. Without Dad up until the crack of dawn, we would have had a major disaster on our hands. In the end, it was one of the tastiest turkeys, and we definitely had plenty of leftovers to enjoy... for days.  

Now to give you a taste of the usual Thanksgiving routine.... We start off with a batch of Thanksgiving pancakes, pumpkin being the preferred flavor, getting everyone in the mood and hopefully holding them over until the big meal. We change it up a bit each year, trying new cranberry concoctions, green beans to replace the standard glazed carrots, or flaky popovers in place of heavy dinner rolls.  We are always on the hunt for the best pumpkin pie recipe, as that is everyone's favorite dessert. The stuffing has not changed much over the years... It is a traditional recipe using sausage, much like my mother made. The other big issue of the day is how to prepare the mashed potatoes.  Do we use a ricer or a hand masher?  Should we warm the milk or not warm the milk?  Does the butter go first or is it the milk? In the end, it's always a deliciously fun meal, and I am sure we have never cooked or celebrated it the same way twice.  The best part of all is walking into the living room, smiling as I take an inventory of who's napping and who's actually watching the game. Even if some are watching, it's not for long.... Let's just say a full stomach and a heaping dose of tryptophan is enough to knock the whole family out. 

Once again, we're searching for ways to change up this year's Thanksgiving bash. Here are a few delectable recipes for you to consider, just in case you're looking to start new traditions, too. Bon appetite! 

Twice Baked Acorn Squash from A Cozy Kitchen