As much as I love having leftover food, by day 3 of Thanksgiving dinner, I was ready to taste something different. So, I re-purposed the food into new dishes~ some more successful than others, but all edible anyways.
Sweet Potatoes were mixed with curry and attempted to be fried as patties (these looked terrible, but tasted pretty good)
Scalloped potatoes were boiled in milk, broth and garlic and blended into amazing soup.
Turkey was shredded and cooked with onions, garlic and taco seasoning for both turkey tacos and nachos.
And more sweet potatoes were combined with black beans and salsa verde for enchiladas.
(Disclaimer~ I didn’t actually follow any of those recipes. I just got inspired by them, and the food turned out pretty good. But I know a lotta people like to follow recipes, so I included some here)
Anyhoo, aside from the food, I went into this holiday with a bit of uncertainty and a twinge of sadness. I came out of it feeling at peace and at home.
In many ways, this Thanksgiving was a first for us. It’s our first in our new house, the first I actually get to spend the day with my Dear Partner (the last 2 years, we have seen each other in the days before and after, but this year, we got to be in the same place at the same time, to make and share the big meal together)
Those were both things to be very thankful for, but it was also the first year in a long time that my offspring and I have not made the trek to San Diego to celebrate with my loud and crazy, big extended Colombian family.
We all had a bit of grief over the fact that we would not be having the large and uber fun gathering that has been our tradition for probably 6 years or so. There would be no aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews nor all the other kinds of assorted relatives that we don’t really know what to call because we don’t actually know how we’re related, but we love them all the same.
This year, my Girl Child has been working a couple of jobs to fund her upcoming young adult adventures, and she was not going to be able to get the time off of work to make the trip to So Cal and back. I couldn’t exactly take the Boy Child and ditch her on the holidays to head to sunny beaches because that would be mean and wrong, and also, we only have one car and she needs rides to and from work.
So, we accepted that we would stay home, which really never was a bad option considering we have this awesome new house and all. But it wasn’t so much the location I was grieving, but the family, the loud and rambunctious laughter. (OK, the beach is nice too….)
Adding to the complication, was some additional sadness for me because we would not be seeing any of Dear Partner’s 4 kids, as they were all with their mama 6 hours away, and mostly busy the rest of the holiday break.
And our wee bit of local family doesn’t have much in the way of kids and no little ones at all.
So, I had this sort of empty spot and wondered if Thanksgiving would just be some small and quiet dinner which wasn’t feeling very holiday like at all. And honestly, roasting a bird seemed like an awful lotta work for something like that..
But then, I came around and started remembering that holidays aren’t just for the family you’re actually related to~ there’s also the people you choose. So, we invited some friends~ one small family and one very large one were able to come, and suddenly, there were almost 20 of us, all ages, lots of giggles and silliness and volume galore.
The Boy Child helped me prepare the raw bird to be cooked, which he, for the first time in his life, realized is quite a disgusting task. Dear Partner provided me with exam gloves, and while I initially laughed at the idea, by the time I needed to pull the inners out, and fondle the whole thing with butter, I realized it was actually a rather genius one. I continued to rely on his good ideas and kitchen wizardry for much of the rest of the meal, and we only set off the smoke detector once.
Friends came, we played games, laughed, and even the dogs ate way too much. Children ran amok deliriously. It was exactly what Thanksgiving felt like it needed to be for me.
Now with two holidays under out belt in the less than 2 months we’ve been here, they all seem to be unfolding in just the ways that they should. For that and so much more, I am so very grateful.