Tag Archives: family holiday

Giving Thanks

Here in the US, our annual mid-fall feast of Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November. Things are a bit weird here in good old USA right now, as most of the world knows. Nevertheless, I have many blessings to be thankful for, and being able to provide a wonderful meal for my family is certainly not the least of them.

I am cooking for the family this year. I cook a turkey, even though I am vegan. But I also prepare a Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry en Croute holiday roast. It’s plant-based protein, delicious, smells amazing while it cooks, and is divine with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Regardless of the protein we choose, I always feel like the side dishes are the best part of the meal. I always go a little wild on the vegan cheese tray. Miyoko’s Kitchen makes the most amazing spreadable cheese, and it’s all plant-based. It’s quite expensive, but for a special occasion, it is so worth it.

I don’t even bother to make the icky green bean casserole that no one eats, but everyone makes anyway. Other than that, I am making all the usual sides and have included the links to the recipes below:

Roasted Ruby Sweet Potatoes

Maple and Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Cranberry sauce

Vegan Cranberry Pecan Stuffing

Vegan Pumpkin Pie recipe

Vegan Gluten Free Gravy recipe

Vegan Mashed Potatoes recipe

Miyoko’s Kitchen|Artisan Cultured Vegan Cheese

Fruit Salad

Green Salad

We will have plenty of pies and sweets and lots of savory finger foods. So, today I am doing the prep, getting a lot of the cooking out of the way. I have bread to bake, and even though I have a feast to prepare, I will get my daily wordcount by using the small increments of downtime while things are cooking.

That is how I cook any big holiday dinner for my extended family—I start prepping food two days ahead, and by writing whenever I have a ten or fifteen minute pause in the preparations, I don’t fall behind.

This also allows me to enjoy my family on Thanksgiving Day because most of the work is already done.

After all, it may be a national holiday here in the US, but it’s still NaNoWriMo, and while I have officially “won” as of the 20th, getting that badge for updating every day is my next goal, and doesn’t happen until the last day of the month. Besides, I haven’t written all the stories on my list of prompts yet, although I have made good headway in creating my backlog of short stories.

On Friday, my husband and I will rest up, enjoy leftovers, and think about decorating the outside of the house for Christmas.

This world can be a hard place for some people to live. I am fortunate to be safe and well-fed, luxuries I thank God for every day. Where ever you are in this big world, I hope you have plenty to give thanks for.

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Filed under Food, Vegan

Under the Oregon Stars, a State of Being

Moonless Meteors and the Milky Way Image Credit & Copyright: Petr Horálek courtesy NASA

Moonless Meteors and the Milky Way
Image Credit & Copyright: Petr Horálek courtesy NASA

In fragile folding chairs we sit watching the fire, listening to the music of the surf. We form a circle of people bound by blood somewhat, but in reality bound by that strongest of cements—love. Some are children of my body, given to me as gifts from the universe. Others are the children of my heart, given to me when I married their father.

All are my children—mine, do you hear me? Each one is my precious, my dearest earthly treasure, and I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love them with all the meddling, coddling love a Cancerian brings to motherhood.

I think about how it hurt to see these people grow to adulthood and leave the nest, but over and above the sense of loss at their fledging I was proud that I was a part of their lives.  They are who they are, separate from me, better, and unique.

As it should be.

We are blessed to have a family where love is thicker than blood, and if you cut one of us, we all bleed red. It is the friendship, the camaraderie, the need to be with each other that forges this blended family.

Our genetics may differ but we are the unit of us—a family united widely by marriage, closely by adoption, yes, some by birth. We are a melange of “inlaws and outlaws,” and that is okay. New spouses enter the group under duress and with trepidation, but soon  find themselves at ease, and we all make new memories.

There are many passports into this family, and blood is only a small part of it. Sometimes we go a while apart but memories of lazy summer vacations and stressed-out Christmases, and the challenge of making Thanksgiving menus work for everyone (even the vegan) draw us back together. Dietary dramas fade when unconditional love is applied to the injury.

That connection, these traditions, this path that leads us to each other is the core of a state of being that is hard to define, a concept we call family.

We are not all around this fire tonight. In low voices we talk about how we miss those who couldn’t make the journey this year. We laugh about their youthful antics and how we miss them. We understand well how being an adult means you can’t get time off when you want it, even for a traditional week of family rest and renewal.

Beneath the Oregon stars, my grandchildren run wild and the dunes echo with their laughter. Tonight I am contented, blessed in a way everyone should be.

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Filed under Humor, Publishing, writer, writing