Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009 - In the Poconos.

This year, we were lucky to celebrate Thanksgiving with Grandma H hosting in the Poconos.

What a great way to celebrate!


Isn't that what the holiday is about?

Not really. It's about family, of course. This year, with family scattered all over, our group was smaller.

Family's what you got through the good times ...

.... and the bad .

And through family pic gone awry too.

Of course, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a little bit excited about the food. I brought along some spicy jalapeno cornbread, courtesy of Suvir Saran. I just love this recipe. But any recipe that begins with a stick of butter and a cast iron skillet should probably be saved for special occasions.

In our case however, I made it twice. That's because my better half forgot to bring it with us when we packed up for Grandma's house. It's so simple to make though I could do it from memory. But thanks to the internet, I didn't have to! Click here for the recipe.

I also made plain (yawn) cornbread for the kids.

Grandma's Cooking Light turkey with herbs. This thing smelled so good roasting away all morning.

I also tried something new this year - "Joan's pear tart," courtesy of Recipezaar. Click here for details. This came out pretty good, but since I'm not a huge cream cheese fan, I only had a little piece. I modified the recipe by using fresh pears to garnish - since that was my whole reason for making this thing. I needed to get rid of a bunch of pears before we left the house. The thought of coming home to rotting pears just skeeved me out. I could just picture me trying to pic them up and throw them out after their pear flesh got all overripe and mushy. ((shudder))

Worrying about using all the fresh produce in the house before a long weekend is the kind of obsessive-compulsiveness that gets me into trouble. Worrying about this kind of crap is the reason why I lose sight of the big picture and allowed Monkey Sr. the all important task of making sure the food was properly packed. Hence, the second batch of cornbread.

Now, dear Joan calls this thing a tart, but I think it's supposed to be a torte. Any real bakers out there can correct me on this one. The recipe itself even calls for a torte pan, which of course I don't own. I just used a pie pan and made a little extra dough. I did like the dough. It has crushed, carmelized pecans in it.

Voila! My dinner plate. The green stuff is another tried and true recipe - spinach with parsnips, courtesy of Food & Wine magazine. I could eat a whole plate of these. They are that good. And Grandma also made a delicious and very traditional sweet potato casserole with marshmallows. One guess as to who was all over that. The marshmallows, that is.


Done guessing? Yep, there he is. Jordan -marshmallow connoisseur.

First comes turkey. Then comes ...........zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.


No rest for the weary.

The kids were remarkably well behaved. I wish I could say the same for the wildlife. Grandma's house seems to be a hub for all things furry and horned. No, not my kids.

Right outside, we witnessed two young deer testing out their antlers.

While inside, Grandma kept our young 'uns occupied with other things.

Like preparing cookies.

Their creations.

She practices this cuteness pose at every opportunity. Don't encourage her.

Now, we get to the good part. This Thanksgiving weekend was also the first time we decided to let the kids have an overnight visit without us. With Grandma's blessing, we left them to her care, while Jeff and I spent the night at a nearby hotel. En route, we did a little Black Friday Outlet Shopping at the Crossings.

Where did we stay that night? Take a look at the flag. Now think back dear readers of a certain generation. Do you remember the jingle like I do? Are you humming it right now? "Beautiful..Mount Airy Lodge..."

A refresher...

Jeff and I stayed one night, treated ourselves to a nice dinner, some video gambling, and some R&R. Since Oscar also stayed at Grandma's house, we had one full night without anyone snoring, waking up and demanding an escort to the bathroom, or other such baby nonsense. That, my friend, is worth any price. We had blackout shades, people. Can you get any more luxurious than that? Waking up in the morning to silence and darkness at any hour your body just naturally felt like awakening? I'm salivating just thinking about it.

The next day, we returned - refreshed and rejuvenated. We all took a trip over to a nearby town, called Jim Thorpe. Nestled within its picturesque little boutiques, we enjoyed a miniature train display.

It's true what they say...

the devil's in the details. Look at the miniature photographer in this one.

Lit up, it was breathtaking.

And some window shopping afterwards got the kids all excited.

They had fun. We had fun. What more could you ask for? Sounds like the perfect holiday weekend to me!

Is it about the turkey then? I'll let you decide.

No, you fool! It's about the turkey cookies! Geesh.... come on, people.
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