Thursday, December 8, 2011

Disconnecting to Connect

Hi all!  I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving.  Are you getting ready for the upcoming holidays?  If you need some help, I'll have a few fun gift guides on here for you beginning on Monday.  
Our family has a pretty standard Thanksgiving tradition.  We generally spend the night at my parents' house with my sister and then we all wake up, have coffee and breakfast, start the sauerkraut and watch the parade.  Slowly but surely we start to cook and prepare things for dinner as we watch a local high school game that is always on thanksgiving.  By the time the NFL games start, our kitchen is in full swing (even if most of us are still in our pajamas) and it smells amazing.  Around 4, we set out snacks and cocktails and my aunt and uncle and their five kids show up and everyone relaxes in for the evening.  It is truly my favorite day of the year. 

This year however, two things happened to change up this routine.  1.  The Ravens had a thanksgiving night game and the people we tailgate with were planning to have thanksgiving on the lot.  2. A good friend offered to let my family use her rental cabin in Deep Creek Maryland for a long, relaxing weekend.  I was honestly upset that regular Thanksgiving would not be happening, even though I had these fun events to look forward to.  So on Thursday, we went off to our tailgate and my parents went up to my Aunt and Uncle's for a relaxing and delicious Thanksgiving dinner (my uncle is a chef and an amazing one at that.) 

On Friday we packed up a cooler full of ingredients for a traditional thanksgiving dinner, including a heritage turkey that was AMAZING, threw some clothes in a bag and headed up to Deep Creek with my parents, my sister and her friend, and two not-so-little pups. 

Friends, the weekend was fantastic.  If you are in need of relaxation and decompression, PLEASE rent this house out for a week or even a weekend and just enjoy.  There is limited cell reception and no real internet access to speak of.  If this sounds like your idea of Hell, dip a toe in and start with a weekend!  I think you'll find that you really enjoy it.  It makes it so much easier to relax.  If you're interested in renting the house, rental information can be found here.  The fireplace alone is enough to make the trek.

We cooked a full Thanksgiving dinner on Friday when we arrived and it was awesome.  We had our turkey, gluten free cranberry and sage sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, truffled creamed spinach, cranberry blueberry sauce, roasted root vegetables and homemade giblet gravy.



It was FANTASTIC.  So good, in fact, that we didn't even break into the other food that we brought, we just ate leftovers for the next three meals.  We also made a delicious onion and turkey soup using the turkey carcass for dinner on the last evening (I'll put the recipe of sorts at the bottom). 

We did do more than eat on the trip.  There were some outdoorsy type activities and a lot of relaxation and family bonding time.

We took the dogs out on runs, sat in the hot tub and took a small hike out to Swallow Falls State Park to see some rapids and do some yoga on the rocks. 

It was such a relaxing and fantastic weekend.  As type-A as I am, I could get used to this new tradition. 


Leftover Turkey & Onion Soup
(please don't judge me for my "recipe" writing skills)

Remove large pieces of leftover meat from the carcass and then put it in a large soup pot with a halved garlic bulb, a halved large onion (skin on), a few ribs of celery, a few carrots with the greens attached, a bundle of fresh thyme, two Parmesan rinds and a splash of vinegar.  Bring to a simmer and then turn it down a bit and let sit just below a simmer on the stove for a minimum of four hours.
About an hour before the stock is finished, chop 5-6 large onions into a large dice and begin to brown them in a pan over medium high heat with equal parts butter and oil (about 1 tbsp of each).  Be patient here, you want them to slowly come to a deep brown color - here's a great tutorial.  
When the stock is finished pull the carcass and strain the broth through a fine sieve and return it to the stove to warm.  Shred the meat that you pulled off the carcass as well as any remaining meat that was left and return it to the broth along with caramelized onions.  Add about a cup of red wine and let simmer for about 20 more minutes before salting to taste and serving.  Serve in a bowl with some croutons or a piece of crusty bread and gouda cheese on top if you like or throw a tbsp of fresh parsley in at the last minute.  


  1. i need instagram.

  2. it's hipstamatic but you can get it as soon as you get that phone that doesn't fold in half ;-)