Monday, November 21, 2011

preparing for a

Well, would you look at that.  
Thanksgiving is *this* week.  Just like that.  Bam!  
This year, a phrase keeps coming to mind that I want to describe our holiday. Less is more. 
Less is more:
.The notion that simplicity and clarity lead to good design. 

The less the day is designed around preparing food, the more I can savor time with loved ones.  The less mama is in the kitchen, the more mama is with them.  The less stress about the details, the more joy in the moment.  Less focus on the food, more attention on the now.  

The phrase comes from a poem Robert Browning wrote in 1855, but the idea reminds me of a story of 2 ladies... As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”  But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details!  There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”  Luke 10.38-42 {NLT}

So, what am I making?  Here’s the list: 
Appetizer Tray: crackers, cheese, olives, carrots, grapes
Roasted Turkey {I'm attempting a brine this year!}
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy 
Broccoli Casserole {recipe below}
Bread and Homemade Rhubarb-Cherry Jam
Spinach Salad with Cranberries, Walnuts, Celery and Blue Cheese
Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Whipped Cream

Our guests can bring a side or a dessert of their choosing.  It's certainly not anywhere close to Annie's thanksgiving and her 12 side dishes!  But, I can prepare all but the turkey and potatoes ahead of time.  So that the less I have to do that day, the more time we can spend together.
Pinned Image
photo: source
This is one of our family's favorite, easiest side dishes to prepare.  It can be made ahead of time, then baked on the day.  Our kids barely know they're eating all those veggies under the cheese and buttery crumbs.  
Broccoli Casserole
1 large head {or 2 small heads} of broccoli
1/2 head of cauliflower
2-3 carrots, peeled and sliced into chunks
sliced american or shredded cheddar cheese {american melts better}
1 cup crushed Ritz cracker crumbs {I use GF bread crumbs}
1/4 cup melted butter {if using Ritz crackers. 1/2 cup if using GF crumbs}
Break the broccoli and cauliflower into small florets.  Steam the vegetables until tender.  Place vegetables in a 9x13 baking dish.  Cover the veggies with cheese slices.  Mix the melted butter and cracker crumbs together, and spread on top of the cheese slices.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crumbs look golden.  
broc cass Fresh Broccoli Casserole
photo: source  (I don't have a pic of this recipe, but will be sure to take lots of our thanksgiving to share with you :)

Oh yes...and our 3rd annual "Thankful Tree" is getting decked out with leaves this week.  
The food may not turn out as planned, not all the interactions may be as positive as you had hoped {hopefully it's not like this: "I'm not thankful for. I'm thankful five, which is just a little more thankful than everyone else, so..."}, your 4 year old may be running around the house yelling "it smells like poop in here!"  (not like that has ever happened to us ;), or you may have the flu (not like that has ever happened to us either ;)  
I love Ann's thoughts on this:
Keep calm and count on...
A sacrifice of thanks lays down our perspective and 
raises our hands in praise anyways - always.  
We give thanks to God not because of how we feel - 
but because of Who He is. 

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