“Who’s gonna get the ‘Turkey Bowl MVP’ this year?”
My HUGE family had a special award for the best player at the annual football game on Thanksgiving day. Thanksgiving has always held a special place in my heart. While growing up, my family celebrated Thanksgiving in Oklahoma, usually at my aunt and uncle’s farm, with a big meal and our own ‘Turkey Bowl’ football game.
I had sixteen cousins just on my mother’s side (20 grandkids total when you added in my family), and there would be at least 40 people there for Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, that’s a lot of people to feed! There was always plenty of food made by my amazing grandmother, mother and my three aunts. Before the meal, we would all gather (as closely as we could) in the kitchen and dining rooms for the blessing. We would pray and then my Aunt Johnnie would sing ‘Bless This House’ before we ate, and my mother would accompany her on the piano. You can click here or on the above image to go get a FREE download of this ‘Bless This House’ 8 x 10 quote in black/white or purchase the color version to print for your family.
“Mexican food for Thanksgiving?”
In 1999, when we were fresh out of graduate school and had our first house (still renting), we had Thanksgiving dinner for my husband’s family at our home in Houston. But I wasn’t gonna serve traditional Turkey that year….too intimidating for me. We had a meal of Tex-Mex fajitas instead! Never be afraid to break tradition and serve the food your family really loves—you’ll be glad you did.
I dug up these pics from my archives that were taken by my father of the table setting from that Thanksgiving day celebration. Even though I served enchiladas, nachos and non-alchoholic margaritas, I still had the traditional table setting…well, almost traditional. My ‘table cloth’ was a new idea of mine. Oh my…that mauve carpet in our rental home was beautiful but it would not be my first color choice. (My youngest daughter always asks, “Why did you have pink carpet Mom?) I have great memories from that home and that holiday—not just the food. The Aggies beat the Longhorns that year!
BONUS TIP: WRAPPING PAPER as a ‘TABLE CLOTH’
Our budget was tight in those days and I didn’t want to spend a lot for my table setting. I borrowed my sister’s glass dishes and I got creative with the table decor. I used wrapping paper for a ‘table cloth’! I had this metallic bronze paper that I wrapped around a folding office table. I gathered leaves and brushed them with a light coat of paint and pressed them onto the paper for the design down the center of the table. I used a paint brush to draw whimsical vines through the leaf impressions. Very simple. Very easy. And basically free!
“Give me a simple recipe for Thanksgiving”
I’ve got my own family memories now, but every year has been different. We really don’t hold to one tradition except eating lots of great food and watching and/or playing football. My favorite meal was one that Rinne and I prepared together back in 2011. We cooked absolutely all day long…from Wednesday evening through to Thursday late afternoon. Whew! It was a big chore for just the two of us. We made some new recipes that year that have become favorites for turkey breast and gravy, and the tastiest, most delicious cornbread sage dressing you could ever imagine. I’ll make and eat that dressing any time of the year! Those recipes are from one of my favorite Food Network people, Claire Robinson, who is known for 5 ingredient recipes. On Thanksgiving, a simple recipe is definitely a blessing!
(If you like that fork, knife, spoon art on my kitchen wall, we sell canvas prints in our store—in color, of course)
Brussels Sprouts Gratin (personally not a fan of brussels sprouts), Baked Potato Casserole (a classic from my family), Strawberry Jello Salad (Rinne has to make this every year)….
and don’t forget Dessert: Ginger Pumpkin Tart and Raspberry White Chocolate Cookies (another fave of mine that I make year-round) YUMMY!
You can click on the names for links to the original recipes from Claire Robinson. (and if those links to her recipes ever break, you can just contact us and we’ll email you a copy) I’ll have to share my cookie, green bean and potato casserole recipes another day. The Jello Salad is one that Rinne loves to make every year and she got the recipe from her Great Nanny (my father-in-law’s mother.) That day I think we used strawberry-flavored Jello instead of the orange. I’ve eaten variations of this salad with my family over the years. It’s a sweet addition to the meal and almost eats like a dessert. We’re happy to share it with you today.
Don’t you just love an old typed and stained recipe card from your great-grandmother? I pray you are blessed with many family memories for this holiday. Share your memories and certainly your recipes with your children. If you are feeling ‘Beyond Blessed’ go check out this cornucopia design t-shirt.