Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Family Influence - Even When They Aren't Around

As I have been planning and preparing for our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow I have been thinking about all of our loved ones who will not be with us this year.  Max and I both come from large families and more than anything, we would love to be with all of them this week.  But I have several reminders to help us feel their love while we sit down to enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner this year.

One of the sweetest traditions I know of is my mother-in-law's beautiful tradition of handwriting a menu for special meals she is planning to prepare for family and friends who will be coming to her home to enjoy one of her delicious meals.  I am sure that she does not think of this as something that anyone else would even notice but for those of us who have frequented her home on those special occasions, we know!  She lists each menu item, usually on a scrap piece of paper, and tapes it to the side of the refrigerator.   As she prepares and then completes each dish, she places a check mark beside the name of the dish on the menu.  Those of us who know of this tradition always go right to the refrigerator to see what she has planned! 

Several of the dishes we will be preparing are family recipes that my kids could not enjoy a holiday without!  Grandma Meng's Sweet Potatoe Casserole is a must every year and isn't good unless you have the mini-marshamallows on top.  Her recipe also includes orange juice which gives it a nice zing!  Aunt Janie's Rice and Broccoli dish that has many healthy and delicious ingredients is always a favorite at our table.  It is full of yummy things like plump Uncle Ben's Rice (you have to use Uncle Bens because it is the fluffiest and best rice for this dish), delicious fresh broccoli, two cans of Cream of Mushroom Soup, 3/4 C Butter, a large jar of Chez Whiz and, oh wait.  Most of that isn't really healthy but boy is it delicious!  And this year for the first time we will be preparing our own sparkling cider to drink rather than buying that expensive stuff in the bottles.  My sister-in-law Kristen shared a recipe that uses only a 2 liter bottle of chilled Ginger Ale, 1/2 can of frozen white grape juice concentrate - thawed and 1 small basket of raspberries rinsed and drained.  Look at that, there is even fruit in Kristen's sparkling cider!  The best part about these delicious recipes is the warm and comforting feeling you get not as you eat them but as you prepare them.

As Max, Elizabeth and I spend our day in the kitchen preparing our Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, we will be thinking about the family members who are in other parts of the country enjoying the day with their families and giving thanks for the wonderful traditions and recipes that have been shared with us.  We love you all.

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. We loved reading about all the yummy food we missed this year since we weren't in Idaho! What memories the foods evoke. Thanks for sharing your insights into the holiday. It brings a warm spirit to our home tonight. Becky West :-)

  2. Thanks, Becky West, for your sweet comments. It's nice to know that even though we are miles apart, the recipes we make for our holiday meals bring us together!


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