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Soooooo … this year, for the first time, I was in charge of the majority of the Thanksgiving menu.  I love to cook.  I love a good challenge.  It was exhausting…

Eric and I left Wednesday afternoon to spend Thanksgiving with my Mom and Step dad, Michael, in Little Rock. It is a beautiful drive.

those are cows

Gotta love an Oklahoma sunset.

big sky country

Knowing we’d get there fairly late Wednesday evening, I’d planned the menu with the idea that I would cook all day Thursday and serve Friday lunch.  It was a fairly daunting menu, seeing as how I wanted to make everything with fresh ingredients and had never made most of the dishes.  And yes, it was just for four of us, but I wanted to make enough food for plenty of leftovers (spoiler alert: mission accomplished – we are still eating leftovers).

just call me Martha Stewart

However, Thursday morning I decided I wanted to serve that evening – again, big goal because I didn’t get started until almost noon (what? it’s my holiday, too!).  Plus, as much as I enjoyed her nice kitchen, it really slowed me down not knowing where everything was.  Luckily, my Mom cooked the turkey the day before and offered to help me with the others.  It took eight hours and many curse words, but we were able to put it all together for (a late) dinner!

best part of cooking

The food was delicious, and I’m not afraid to say it!  🙂   I decide to skip the homemade dinner rolls to save time, and adjusted a few of the recipes (discussed here) to suit our taste.  Overall, I loved all of the recipes, and will use them again in the future.  The standouts were definitely the Green Bean Casserole, Mushroom Gravy, Cornbread Stuffing, Cranberry Salad, and Pumpkin Pies (yes, plural).  I will make some more adjustments in the future – like make the Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie more chocolatey and less peanut buttery.  And the Rosemary and Sage Mashed Potatoes, while good, were too much with all the other flavors, so next time I think they should be more of a main event rather than part of a big spread.

only some of the food

some more

I have to say, I had fun, but I will never try to do such a big meal in such a short amount of time!  Whew!

We had a great visit, and I’m glad I went ahead and pushed to serve that night so we could just chill the rest of the time.  And it was nice just to get away.  We decided to take the scenic route back through the Ozarks last night.  It took us several hours longer, but it was well worth it.

Even Ella thought so (well, at first – she was DONE by hour 7).

"holy shit, you guys! do you see all these trees?!"

We had a great Thanksgiving, but it’s good to be home.  And as much as I love leftovers, I don’t think my stomach (or thighs) can handle any more.  I’m thinking stir fry veggies and rice for dinner tonight!

Day 27: Today, I am grateful for long weekends, time away from the daily grind, and holidays spent with loved ones. 

How about you?  Did you travel or have Thanksgiving at home?  Are you still eating stuffing and pie?  Did anyone else take on a big cooking challenge?

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