We May Now Celebrate the Holidays

So many people decorate their houses for Christmas even before the Thanksgiving turkey is even cold. But we are of the firm belief that Christmas should be celebrated in December, after the Thanksgiving holiday, after elastic pants and extensive Black Friday discounts are experienced.

The main reason to wait to celebrate the Christmas season is my Dad’s birthday, which he celebrated on November 30. After that I felt we had wrapped up fall and could stare winter square in the face.

Therefore it is our pleasure to celebrate his special day today. Three years ago we started a tradition of picking out the most fragrant winter wreath to decorate his space. The whole family trudges out, some years in rain, other years in heavy snow. Today we are remembering my Dad with weather in the mid 50s. We love our Mitten State.

We are remembering him for the adventurer he was.
The story teller.
The world traveler.
The navigator.

But most importantly, the dziadek he would have been.
The wonderful dad he was.The amazing husband he was.

We remember his hilarious stories and adventures, we remember him for the kind-hearted, at times mischievous, person he was and will remain in our hearts.

Sto lat, Tatus!

Happy Birthday, DAD!

Thanksgiving Feast Steeped in Tradition

Okay, I will be honest with you. I didn’t always celebrate Thanksgiving. And before you “clutch the pearls” “gasp in surprise” and question my very existence, I’ll explain… I wasn’t born here. I joined the ranks of the U.S. population back in 1987. And the first Thanksgiving for these European Pilgrims was pretty magical.

Mr. Michael (our next-door neighbor/grandfather figure) ordered a feast from our local Kroger store. It’s the first time I saw a real roasted turkey with all the fixings. I marveled at the size of this bird (chickens were the largest fowl I had encountered thus far.) It was also the first time I tried pumpkin pie – which I didn’t like. It’s an acquired taste, still. In small doses it’s fine, if you give me a hefty portion I’d eat mostly the whipped cream (most pie is really a pilaf for the toppings, right?) Anyway, bring on the apple, then I am a happy girl.

This post isn’t just about the fuzzy wuzzy feeling of yesterday, it’s about how our family adopted this holiday (along with Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day along with a slew of holidays that don’t earn me time off from work.) My Dad found a recipe in a U.S. newspaper that instructed the roasting expert to water the bird with a mixture of  orange juice, olive oil and crushed garlic, and so started a tradition. We’ve since enhanced the recipe with slivers of garlic under the bird’s skin and rosemary in the roaster to increase aroma. Here is a similar recipe for you to try – I would omit the broth and use more oil and wine ;).1479358_10152157777083949_2118968788_n

383978_2247805439429_599695108_nWe’ve also experimented with side dishes, corn, carrots, twice-baked potato, and sour cream mashed potato. We also add Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese), we’ve adopted the green bean casserole and even tried it with cauliflower, we’ve baked cream cheese stuffed mushrooms similar to this recipe (yep my mouth is watering now,) and we’ve always left enough room in our bellies for desserts, which we’ve varied through the years, pumpkin cheese cake, pumpkin pie with orange juice base, applesauce apple pie (some sort of concoction of my own, but you can try this similar recipe and don’t forget some allspice, cinnamon and nut meg,) and so many more.

My mom "thawing" the bird. A violent experience.

It’s a happy time that I recall very fondly and one where I can take my family’s traditions (especially those of my Dad) and share them with Henry as well as the other guests who are always welcome at our family Thanksgiving table.

Wishing you a festive Thanksgiving celebrated with loved ones and full bellies.