Wednesday, December 7, 2011

our first thanksgiving.

"For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies."
...Our first Thanksgiving was wonderful. The loneliness that had begun to set in leading up to a holiday season without our families was slowly replaced by an excitement and gratefulness that we were able to spend it in someone's home, with people that we have begun to love.
We took a few pictures on our back porch around sunset, because it was such a beautiful day! (Wearing a long sleeved button-up shirt makes me do a double-take, cause I look WAY more like my mom! :))
The night before, we had apple cider floats. I decided I wanted some kind of tradition to create for "Thanksgiving Eve" -- although we swiftly decided that apple cider floats should be a general cold-weather tradition, because they were SO delicious.
(No recipe needed - hot apple cider packet + hot water + vanilla ice cream!)
On Thanksgiving morning, it felt great to not have to work. I was able to dedicate my day to cooking!
We had star fruit for breakfast, which goes way back for me. My dad used to surprise me and get it for me sometimes at the store -- Dusty had never heard of it! I freaked out when I saw it at Kroger, so I bought some :)
We also decided on a few more Thanksgiving day traditions. We put on Friends (our favorite show), and watched two of the Thanksgiving episodes while I got some cooking preparations done.
Dusty then set up the good ol' Nintendo 64 and put in Zelda: Ocarina of Time! It was an instant flashback to watching my older brothers play when we were younger, and I felt closer to home. I just kept smiling, I loved the scenes and sounds of that old game.
It was exciting and nerve-racking, taking on the stuffing portion of Thanksgiving day. I had decided on making two different kinds of stuffing to bring to our potluck style dinner. The law school had provided both a turkey and a honey-baked ham for us all (since we were the official "hosts" of the law school thanksgiving -- anyone who didn't have a place to go for thanksgiving was invited!), which was very generous of them! (And allowed us to have PLENTY of leftovers...which I'll get to later!)
Both of my recipes came from RealSimple magazine. Jalapeno Cheddar, and Apple Cranberry. They were both delicious!!
I felt like such a pro, buying alcohol just to cook with. The great thing about these recipes is that the base recipe is the same -- and the main flavor is what changes. It's worth it to check out all the different kinds on RealSimple's website! Check them out here.
They even have an oyster one -- no thanks! But some of the other ones sound great.
I also took on my mom's recipe for the BEST chocolate pecan pie. My mouth waters just thinking about it. It turned out good -- but you know how it is. Nothing is as good as your mom (or dad) makes it. Not sure why -- all I know is I'll be requesting one for Christmas. :) (okay, mom?)
Oh, and PS -- word of the wise? Don't eat pie crust dough. In the words of Dusty (as he spits it out, disgusted): "Nonono blehh, I thought because it said NOT to eat the dough, like cookie dough does, it'd be okay to eat it and taste good like cookie dough does -- gross!" :)
Our Thanksgiving dinner!
There ended up being 5 other couples there, as well as a single law school student from Dusty's class. It was great to see (some for the first time!) some of the husbands there, and interact with other families. The food was delicious (although I REALLY missed my grandma's green beans and mashed potatoes -- ya never know what you'll miss most when it's not available for your belly!)
We all gathered together and prayed over our food, and our lovely hosts had designated the basement for the festivities. :) they had a few tables set up and decorated!
We had also made little turkey and pilgrim shaped white chocolate candies to put on the tables :) they looked like butter (although no one tried smearing them on any rolls).
After everyone had their fill, we decided to play a game. You never know how games will turn out in a group setting -- particularly when not everyone is very well acquainted. But this was SO great. We had a blast, and everyone was so into it! We decided on Guesstures. We played girls vs. guys -- and while I will confess that the guys ended up winning, the girls were totally ahead the entire time. They sneak attacked us.
It was a wonderful evening. A lot of smiles, laughs, good food (and great dessert!) and many new friends.
Dusty and I were so grateful to have had somewhere to spend our Thanksgiving, and to be able to make such fun memories of our first one together :)
The following days (naturally) consisted of many leftovers. Which was fabulous. Here are a few of my favorite leftover recipes!!
Thanksgiving Leftover Pockets
Yes, that's right. A pilgrim version of hot pockets! (which, if you know Dusty...those pretty much made up his entire High School diet).
Using pizza crust, and our leftover stuffing, turkey, and some added spinach, we created these bad boys. Once rolled up, we spread butter and salt on them, then baked at 350 until golden brown!
We did discover a missing ingredient, however -- cranberry sauce, or a bowl of gravy for dipping, would make these puppies *muah!* perfecto.
Thanksgiving Leftover Tacos
Totally easy to make (as throw-together leftover recipes are) and really colorful!
I first sauteed onions and some little cubed sweet potatoes, then tossed in our leftover ham and some more stuffing.
I tossed it all together, put it in a tortilla, and topped with purple cabbage. (Talk about colorful!)
They were so delicious. The trouble (again) with this recipe is a lack of a moist maker. Salsa didn't quite taste right, so I think (again) cranberry sauce might actually be kind of yummy with this, too :)
This is what experimenting is all about!
Moving back briefly to present time, our countdown is now exactly two weeks until we will be boarding our plane for Arizona. :) and we cannot wait!
I'll be posting about our AMAZING trip to New York in a few days, and once or twice more before we come home. Our apartment has finally been decorated for Christmas (even though our tree probably won't last long, with a tiny grey streak of fur always bolting through it).
In love,


  1. I loooooooove this! What a wonderful time to get to share with the other Law School people who weren't able to get home for the holiday. We missed you guys a ton, and can't WAIT to see you guys!!!!!

  2. I ate this post up! Hahaha. You are taking after your grandma and father with the cooking bug. I am proud of you, but I cannot take a bit of the credit there. :o) So many sweet think you look more like me...your gratefulness for the law school and your friends...your anticipation of mom's pie. Love you and can't wait for you to board that plane.
    PS Only saw one grammatical error my dear English major. Their ended up being...should be there. But of course you know that. ; }

  3. This was so fun to read, Caitlin. I love all of the pictures that accompany the narrative. I can TOTALLY picture Dusty spitting out the pie dough! I have made so very few pies in my life that he never had a chance to discover that one. :) I, too, am counting the days to get my arms around you two. I love you and can't wait to see you.

  4. You could always go see Bill's mom! She would love it! :) Sounds like a fun first Thanksgiving! This time last year I was making plane reservations to go to AZ for your wedding! Time flies! Would love to see you guys again!

  5. I wish you would be making plans to come again, miss Gail! Maybe it wouldn't be so cold this time. Lol. Although, it has been quite chilly for the last week, I could order up some warmer AZ weather for ya!

  6. fun! you inspire me to make new dinner creations! :) so glad you had a good thanksgiving! hope to see you two soon! enjoy arizona!!! wish i was going too!!!! love you!

  7. I wish you were coming to Arizona, too, Sarah! After the new year, I'll be making some plans to come your way again....