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Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

This year we had family down for Thanksgiving. Since it was only a couple of days, we made the most of our time together. The fam (sister and her two daughters, plus my brother and his wife) arrived Saturday in time for Thanksgiving lunch. My sister-in-law, her husband and their two kids who live nearby also arrived for lunch. We were 11 in all: 7 adults and 4 kiddos. I had my first kiddy table (and none of the kids are mine lol).

I cooked everything the day before (except the turkey). I started the turkey at 5am so it would be ready for lunchtime. I changed up the menu this year:

  • Ciabatta buns, butter
  • Wild mushroom medley (cremini, button, shitake mushrooms with shallots, garlic, parsley, sherry vinegar, olive oil)
  • Roasted red onions (olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh thyme)
  • Red and yellow baby potatoes with butter, thyme, salt and pepper
  • Maple-glazed carrots and rutabaga (glaze: maple syrup, butter, brown sugar)
  • Green beans with gremolata (lemon zest, salt, pepper, shallots, garlic, pine nuts)
  • Turkey (stuffed with lemons, thyme, salt & pepper)
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Sweet gherkins
  • Pickled beets
  • Greek salad provided by sister-in-law/husband (thanks!)
  • Dessert: Lemon meringue pie, Apple pie, Cinnamon coffee cake
  • Wine: Thirty Bench 2010 Benchmark

Pics of the kiddy table and grown-up table:

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After lunch, we headed out to enjoy the fall colours and hiked from Webster Falls to Tews Falls and back in Hamilton (Ontario). The scenery was just beautiful. I was able to capture some great pics of fall foliage.

Gorgeous tree in the parking lot:

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Webster Falls:

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We got to enjoy all the colours of the fall rainbow including greens and yellows:

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Oranges:

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Reds:

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Even all of them together:

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Kiddos horsing around 🙂

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Lone red leaf

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The sun created a cool effect on this one at Tews Falls:

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Captured a couple at the top of the falls:

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Pretty trees:

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Surrounding area back at Websters Falls, reminds me of an English garden:

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Under a weeping willow:

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Sunday, we headed to Stonehaven Farm for farm goodies, picked our pumpkins and played in the hay maze. Uncle Mark and I played tag with the kids in the hay maze – fun! When we got home, we had leftover turkey and fixings for lunch then started decorating our pumpkins. We chose to do sugar skulls this year for a change – they turned out pretty good:

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Having fun at the pumpkin patch:

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We had the troops down to visit this weekend. My sister and her two girls as well as my brother and his wife all came down from Montreal for the weekend. We had a packed schedule of fall activities planned and thankfully the weather didn’t disappoint!

Saturday we headed out to Stonehaven Farm to visit the pumpkin patch, get lost in the corn maze (life list item crossed off!!) and pick up some farm fresh pies. Our next stop was Crawford Lake to visit the reconstructed Iroquois village (one of my nieces has a school project to build a longhouse so this was a perfect stop as she got to see one up close); we also hiked the trail around the lake (1.4km, easy boardwalk path). The views were really nice. Then we returned home to carve the pumpkins and enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner. 🙂

Sunday we walked around our neighborhood, stopped at some local parks, walked a local trail then back home for lunch. In the afternoon we went over to Springridge Farm for the Harvest Festival and the kids had fun on the Fun Farm. They played with the animals, ran around in the hay bales, slid down the slides, watched the puppet show, navigated the little corn path… A fun afternoon at the farm. 🙂 We picked up some kettle corn and other goodies at the market and headed back home for supper (and Maddie’s birthday cupcakes!) and to watch Harry Potter 2 (Chamber of Secrets). We couldn’t stay awake for the whole movie – we were all pooped – so we’ll watch the second half today. 🙂

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In the longhouse at Crawford Lake, listening to lore and watching a fire starting demonstration – which was pretty awesome!

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On the hike around the lake:

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Thanksgiving dinner!

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Animals at Springridge Farm:

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Maddie’s birthday ghoulie cupcakes:

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This was a side dish for my impromptu August Thanksgiving dinner. The recipe is from the Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook. The recipe for the potatoes can be found here – not sure why they don’t include the apple part on the Food Network. They’re basically sautĂ©ed apple wedges in a bit of butter and brown sugar, placed on top of the potatoes and bakes until heated through.

The dish is bursting with flavour and aromas – it’ll be a regular at our holidays meals to come!

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Here’s the feast I made for Thanksgiving today (I’m in Canada – our Thanksgiving is in October). 🙂

My plate! And yes, I ate it all. 🙂

Lots of leftovers too for yummy meals to come! I love Thanksgiving.

🙂

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I’ve already finalized this year’s Thanksgiving menu (Canadian Thanksgiving is next weekend). I’ll be doing a couple of different things this year (no mashed potatoes and no maple carrots this time). I wanted to liven things up a little. 🙂 And everyone knows my relationship with soggy bread and I typically don’t make stuffing.  That being said, here is the plan so far:

Appetizer:

Garlic ciabatta bread (Ina Garten)

Main:

Roast turkey and gravy (me)

Roasted sweet potatoes with honey butter (Tyler Florence)

Peas with shallots and pancetta (Bobby Flay)

Pan-roasted veggies (Ina Garten)

Sauteed apples (me)

Cranberry sauce (Ocean Spray lol)

Dessert:

Pumpkin spice bars (me, adapted from a recipe years ago)

Beverages:

Wine (to be determined)

Coffee

Gobble gobble!

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After surviving Saturday with the girls with a big sigh of relief, we were on to Sunday. The Plan was to prepare and eat Thanksgiving lunch, then we’d head over to the park to burn off some energy (well, the kids’ anyway).

The meal turned out yummy: Turkey, mashed potatoes, maple carrots, peas, the 2007 Ravine Merlot we picked up during our wine tour, and pumpkin spice bars for dessert. MmmMmm. I’m happy to report, the meal was really good.  Must have been the new fancy shmancy meat thermometer we got. 🙂

Meal cooking on the stove and the turkey's in the oven!

Meal cooking on the stove and the turkey's in the oven!

Pumpkin spice bars

Pumpkin spice bars

After lunch, we walked over to the park where the kids played on the slides and swings with seemingless tireless energy.

Sienna getting ready to go down the slide

Sienna getting ready to go down the slide

After the park, we swung by Walmart tp pick up some more snacks, then back home for play time, chocolate chip cookies, then kids to bed, I did some blogging and watched Big Bang Theory.

Sienna and Madison waiting for the cookies to be done. Longest 15 minutes of their lives.

Sienna and Madison waiting for the cookies to be done. Longest 15 minutes of their lives.

It was a nice weekend. 🙂 Just got back from dropping them off at the airport and already planning their next visit in December.

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So we volunteered to put our Dink lifestyle on hold for Thanksgiving weekend.Our quiet household will be disrupted. Our clean and tidy home will be somewhat in turmoil. THEY are coming to visit. THEY meaning my sister and her two little girls (almost 2, and almost 3 1/2) are staying with us for Thanksgiving weekend. They flew down from Montreal on Friday night and are staying til Monday. The plan for the weekend was (and still is) as follows: Saturday big breakfast then we’d go to the Metro Toronto Zoo for the day. Sunday is Thanksgiving lunch (we never do dinners, always lunch for turkey day), some arts and crafts with the girls and maybe a nature walk. Monday they plan on flying back to Montreal at around 1pm.

Prior to their arrival, my sister had given me a list of things I would need to buy (i.e. food items) so the kids would be comfortable during their stay. This list consisted of strangely non-childlike items (the suspicions start here): baby tomatoes, baby cucumbers, string cheese, whole milk, black pitted olives, whole wheat pita bread, cream cheese, apples, oranges, Nutrios (like Cheerios without sugar), diapers and wipes. I got everything except the wipes. Upon finding this out, my sister said she’d pick some up once they got here. I suggested she just pack them. She said she’d bring one box but said she goes through them like crazy. Somehow I don’t think she would go through a whole box of wipes in 2 days. That would mean buying 15 boxes of wipes a month… So obviously, her logic is flawed.

Today (Saturday) was spent at the Metro Toronto Zoo. It’s a really nice zoo, very nature-y with lots of flowers, trees and green space.

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Pathway at Zoo, leaves changing colours

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The animals were awesome. The girls loved the hippos, the kangaroos and the horses. I really liked the kangaroos too, the tigers (I now get to cross off “see an endangered animal” off my life list!) and the red panda (which actually looks like a fox and I’ll admit to thinking his tail would make a great scarf..gasp).

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Kangaroos at mealtime

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This tiger kept pacing back and forth. Maybe he was hungry!

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Here is the red panda - isn't he adorable?

We also lucked out when we discovered a large black and brown caterpillar crossing our path. It was like watching an animal in its natural habitat! I felt like Steve Irwin but without the life-threatening stunts and a lot less “Crikeys!!!”

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Crikey! It's a caterpillar!

We stopped by a burger place before leaving the zoo. My sister and I had hamburger combos. The girls had chicken fingers. Sienna (the 3 1/2 year old) asked me if she could have the tomato in my hamburger. My suspicions deepened – this healthy children stuff is really starting to freak me out.

We got home after the zoo and the kids want to brush their teeth. So my sister gets them ready for bed (yep, I helped too). And then I hear: “Mommy can I brush my teeth pleeeaase?” This is the last straw. I have come to the conclusion that these are not children at all. They’re alien spies from planet HealthBot living on Earth to try and teach us how to be healthy humans. Omg and they’re in my house riiight nooowwww!!! I’ll be keeping an eye out for further abnormal behaviour. In the meantime, I’ll be hiding the M&Ms!

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