Gratitude Bonus Round 22 – Thanksgiving 2012

I realize I didn’t quite finish my Gratitude posts. I had intended to end the series on Thanksgiving day, but I guess part of me just wanted to enjoy the day, and as a sort of gift to Husband, I did my best to avoid the computer (he detests fighting the computer or my phone for attention).
Although it is a more general “thing,” to me all of the people and objects and such I spent the last month being thankful for are part of the overall blessings that I have and continue to receive from God. To me, especially on Thanksgiving, to him be the glory. I realize that every thing, from the job itself to the energy, health, and intelligence to do that job, are all gifts from him. Without him not one aspect of my life would be possible. So for my belated and last Gratitude post, I just want to thank God for my life. Everything in it. I don’t deserve the endless blessings that He gives me, and I am continually humbled that He still finds me worthy of such a rich and wonderful experience here on earth.
Now onto the food 🙂
It’s a funny thing to have a holiday, but to not have a set plan for it. My entire life, every holiday has been filled to the brim with scheduled events and traditions. There is never any question what you will be doing or when you will be doing it. But on this Thanksgiving, Husband and I slept in till about 9:30, then started a very slow day of cooking. 
I’ve made these for all of my visiting family members, and they have to date been the biggest hit I think. And since they are possibly Husband’s favorite breakfast dish I make, I went with the baked egg cups. 
Fry some bacon (I usually do 1.5 slices per person/ramekin), divide it evenly into the ramekins, tear up fresh spinach and saute in bacon grease until just wilted, crack an egg or two over top, ladle a tablespoon of heavy cream over each egg, top with some salt and pepper, and bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until the yolks are runny but the whites are cooked.
I was proud of my table. I didn’t really decorate for Halloween or Fall in general this year, but I wanted Thanksgiving to be special, so I threw some things together at the last minute. The pumpkins and garland were keepsakes from our wedding, the napkins were gifts from Husband’s mother, the candles and holders were a quick dollar store purchase the day before, we had the vase, and I picked up the flowers at the grocery store while doing our Thanksgiving shopping.

Set for breakfast!

Once we were properly fueled we started on the big meal. Husband had placed our chicken into a brine of apple cider, herbs, and a lot of other things I didn’t pay attention to, the night before.
The brine alone smelled mouthwatering. 
Tying him up…

The wine we had with our meal was a bottle we purchased at Schweiger Vineyards in Napa Valley. Last year when we took a short trip to California, we decided on a whim to make the 1.5 hour drive to Napa while we were in San Francisco. We ran through the red woods at a lightening pace in order to make it to our 1:00 tasting, and we were alone with one other couple for the afternoon, a perk to visiting in the off season. Anyway, this is the bottle we picked up as a souvenir. 

I guess it’s because we cook at home a lot, but as we sat down to eat I told Husband I didn’t really see why people thought cooking Thanksgiving dinner was such a big deal. Granted if I had been cooking for 15+ people I’m sure it would have been a bit more time consuming, but in general we spent the morning at a slow easy pace, sipping on champagne, wishing loved ones back in NC a happy day, and chit chatting. It was actually very relaxing.
We ended up eating around 2:00 that afternoon. 

Roasted brussels sprouts with apples, bacon, and an apple cider vinegar dressing….

Mamaw Gaye’s macaroni and cheese…
Husband’s perfectly cooked chicken…

Truffled roasted garlic mashed potatoes…

and some gravy made from the chicken drippings and brine. 

We could barely move afterwards our bellies were so full. 
By the grace of God we are actually getting to go home for Christmas. As in flying the dogs and ourselves to North Carolina and spending two whole weeks with friends and family. We really couldn’t be more excited. But our original plan of a Christmas with just the two of us in South Dakota meant we would have to come up with a different time to celebrate with just each other. 
I feel it necessary to add in here that this is the first Christmas since the first year that we were together (dating) that Husband and I will be exchanging gifts. Money was tight and we decided early on that it didn’t make sense to spend money on unnecessary trinkets, when we didn’t really have it to spend. The whole process really changed my perspective on gift giving. Contrary to what one might assume, it actually turned me on to gift giving, but in a different way. I believe wholeheartedly that we focus way to much on “things” in life, and I feel it’s beyond important to pay forward our blessings as much as possible, but while we were on a hiatus from gift giving, I realized that I missed the shopping and buying for Husband more than the gifts I was missing. You never realize the fun behind thinking about someone who means so much to you, pondering what they might want, what will bring a big smile to their face, secretly searching, and waiting with bated breath while they tear off the wrapping paper. It’s exhilarating, and it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you know you’ve brought that person some happiness. 
Husband decided since Christmas was going to be at home in NC, I would receive my gift on Thanksgiving instead.
I was TOTALLY not expecting this as all!

A kindle! I am a big book advocate. There isn’t much I love more than holding a book in my hands, flipping the pages, and seeing them worn and enriched with the character of loving hands paging through each wonderful story. I had actually said at one point that I didn’t want a kindle. 
I will say now, after downloading a number of FREE books, and seeing the titles I’ve been waiting for just a click away, I’m more than a little happy to have this little jewel in my possession. A few nights later I was sitting on the couch, drink in hand, the light from the Christmas tree illuminating the room, Christmas music playing, and my kindle, and I was in absolute heaven. 
But back to the Thanksgiving festivities for now.
After lunch we needed a walk, and the dogs were dying to get outside. So we bundled up, Husband lit up a cigar he had been saving, and we strolled around the field behind our house. 

Later we Facetimed with my family who had gathered to watched Christmas Vacation, as they do every year. It was so funny, and admittedly saddening, to see each of their precious faces come up to the screen (my sister’s phone) as they munched on their snacks, and say hello, or crack a joke. It’s amazing what modern technology can do, especially when it involves closing the 1,500 mile gap between you and your family. Something else to be thankful for!
Husband wanted to bottle his beer so we did that before settling down on the couch and watching Christmas Vacation ourselves. 
The day felt really long, and although I missed my family more than words, it was still a perfect and wonderful day. I loved the food we cooked, the time we spent together, and the new experience. Life is always what you make of it, and I feel we did a pretty good job of turning a lonely South Dakota Thanksgiving into a great memory 

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