Sunday, November 29, 2015

Family Thanksgiving...

  Thanksgiving 2015
Grandma's Caramel Brie
Harvest Popcorn
Papa's "Hooters"
Salt and Pepper Mesquite Grilled Turkey
Sausage, Squash and Kale Dressing
Cranberry Sauce with Vanilla and Rosemary
Pull Apart Butter Rolls
Mashed Potatoes with Panko and Parmesan Crust
Beets and Brussels Sprouts with Horseradish Cream and Dill
Roasted Carrots with Farro, Chickpeas and Mint
Bourbon Sweet Potato with Sweet n’ Savory Bacon Pecan Streusel
Green Beans with Lemon Butter
Roasted Cauliflower with Date Butter and Pine Nuts
Emma and Kate's Cranberry Swirl Cheese Cake
Sue's Pumpkin Pie
Emma's Whoopie Pies
 My parents and my brother's family joined in with an array of friends to celebrate Thanksgiving.  We enjoyed a fantastic feast and I just loved having a house full of incredible smells and great people. Emma stuggled to connect with friends while she was home becasue of our backwards holdidays, but her friend Ben was able to snag a seat at our table and Kate was able to spend the day with us, too!  We rounded out our crew with Jim and Sue and our new German friend Kevin.  I think we may have accidentally adopted him as he went home for a mere 12 hours between Leftover Day and our Saturday Thanksgiving celebration,

 I am here to say that my mesquite grilled turkey (sourced from Garden Gate Farms in Fairbury IL via Carnivore Oak Park) was hands down the best bird I've ever cooked.  It may not have been the prettiest bird in the end, but when my grill temp rose a little above the recommended levels near the end of the cooking process the salt and pepper crust married with some seriously crackling skin in the best way imaginable.  Slicing into this bad boy revealed a perfectly cooked bird...dark meat nearly falling off the bone and breast meat suitable for slicing without being dry.  Amazing. 

After we ate dessert we had to part ways with family and the older kids all went indoor golfing before heading home to take a Thanksgiving portrait at Kevin's suggestion; we put on the self-timer and took a photo of all the holiday stragglers.  I assure you we all had a marvelous time, but that's a wrap on our slightly endless Thanksgiving celebration!

Leftover Day in Reverse...

Our post Thanksgiving tradition known as Leftover Day continued this year!  It is one of my favorite days of the year and even though I had to host it sans legitimate leftovers (my family Thanksgiving was the following day) our table was laden with loads of delicious treats for our pajama clad crew on the Friday following Thanksgiving.  Amy brought major leftovers and I made a little ode to the Frigs since they could not be with us this year; Pen's broccoli, cheddar rice casserole totally hit the spot.  

 We sipped scotch and snuggled up with full bellies and watched our annual parade of films!  On the list this year?  The Swiss Family Robinson, Inside Out, Paper Towns, Sixteen Candles and Unbroken.  We ate pizza somewhere around Sixteen Candles and finally shut the TV off after midnight.  It is a day of total relaxation and so much better than discount shopping!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Love and Turkey: Round One...

Thanks to Brett Farve, our Thanksgiving holiday is a little askew.  My parents and brother are in Green Bay tonight to watch the game and honor the retirement of Farve's #4.  We decided to postpone our family Thanksgiving until Saturday and that left us totally freed up for Thanksgiving proper.  We are ever so grateful Team Tillotson invited us to be a part of their grand celebration.
"Boys in the Kitchen"
"Wine Sippin' and Tater Peelin'"
"Friends Reunited"
"Graham's Beauty of a Bird"
"Amy's Perfect Stuffing in Progress"
"Mel's Roasted Beet, Fingerling and Brussels Sprout Salad with Dill and Horseradish Cream"
"A Carving Character"
"Whisking Away"
"On a Roll in the Kitchen"
"A Gaggle of Girls"
"Perfect Poultry Presentation"
"Photo Worthy Bounty"
It was such a treat to dig into this beautiful meal and a joy to spend the evening among friends who feel like family.  We are ever so grateful to have you all in our lives.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Practice Makes Perfect...

Preparing for an early morning with a Thanksgiving liturgy dress code requirement.  
He sure is growing into a handsome young man.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

If you make a lovely beef stew...

 ...the person who loves it the most is sure to come home to eat it!
Welcome home Emma!  We are all thankful you are here with us for the holiday.
 Especially Fitz!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Washington Square Walk...

After resting up for the night we headed down to historic Philly to sneak a quick glimpse of the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and Washington Square.

After a lovely walk on a brisk morning we all needed our final Philadelphia fix. A cheesesteak fit the bill and filled our bellies before we parted ways with Emma and headed for the airport!
Having all four of us together for a week-end was just the infusion our family needed to propel us to Thanksgiving when Emma will be home for a whole week! We cannot wait to get our gobble on!

Fierce and Nerdy...

Emma and I were oh so happy to hang out in the hotel together.  This picture just seems to capture who we are in the best possible way...a little bit nerdy and a whole lot of fierce.  

A College Girl Needs Steak...

Emma loves beef stew, ribs and roast chicken as a special treat every so often, but  never really clamors for meat the way a true Midwestern girl should.  For the most part she subsists happily on things like Greek yogurt, chickpeas, avocados and pesto pasta.  College life, however, had her fantasizing about meat...particularly a big old steak dinner.  Well, who are we to deny such a specific and uncharacteristic craving?  We made a reservation at Butcher and Singer for an old Hollywood inspired meat heavy meal.  Emma got her steak and devoured almost all of the 18-ounce beast!  Don't worry, Finn wasn't left behind on this outing...he muddled through the meal with a duo of lobster-tails!  The Elsmo Four know how to go big, that's for sure!

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