Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I'm just . . . well, a little late.  I just can't seem to keep up with myself this semester.  I no longer have papers to blame -- this time it was an exam.  But it's over.  I've escaped exam-land till finals.  In a week and a half.  But that's ok, I can still tell myself I'm done.  The project, article, papers and such can wait till tomorrow.  Or later.  When I eat my leftover turkey mixed into mac and cheese.

But anyway, Thanksgiving.  Somehow the day before Thanksgiving always turns me into a "domestic diva" (at least according to DG!).  And this year, it was even more so, because there was cleaning to be done that had been ignored for a week . . . or more.  But I had tea.  I was ready to go.

Besides the cleaning, though, there was plenty of cooking and baking to be done!  I actually didn't do too much of the actual cooking for Thanksgiving on Wednesday, because "real" Thanksgiving (well, they were both real, but I was assigned much more food for one than the other!) was on Saturday, so I did a lot of it on Friday. But I did all the prep on Wednesday, thanks to NES doing my shopping for me while I was at school on Tuesday proctoring exams!

First, I made my first real crockpot meal!  I've had a crockpot for a while thanks to PM and MS, but now that I have it in our apartment, and I'm cooking for two rather than one, it's just so much easier to be inspired to use it.  And, well, pinterest helped too!

I made cilantro-lime tacos!  It was so easy.  You literally just put the ingredients in, let it cook all day, and then shred the chicken to put in tacos.  They came out a little dry, because I was thinking we'd be eating at 5, but we ended up not eating till almost 7 because NES and I went to a movie.  It was worth it.

Then came cutting and scooping out the sugar pumpkin.  It was an adventure, but having the appropriate knives finally makes things like that so much easier!  No more cutting squashes with bread knives!

Then, I roasted the pumpkin at 350 for an hour and a half (cut side down on foil!).  I think I should have roasted it a little longer, but I thought it was soft enough.  I pureed it more for the second pie, and it came out much, much better.  One large pumpkin gave me just about the perfect amount of pumpkin for two pies.  Perfect.

Then, I made a crustless pumpkin pie.  I, personally, miss the crust, but it is healthier, and when you'll probably be eating two pieces anyway, it evens out.  I didn't puree the pumpkin for this pie, and I wish I had.  It was a little . . . not smooth.  Lesson learned.

And then, finally, after the pumpkin, the pie, starting dinner, cleaning and laundry, I finally got to roast the pumpkin seeds.  And I didn't burn them this time!  Huzzah!

And then, without doing any work ( . . . ok, I read about a paragraph), I called it a day.

Oh yeah, I also made a pie crust.  For the pie I made on Friday.

NES and I spent a lovely Thanksgiving with his family a couple weeks ago, and then two lovely Thanksgivings with family this past week.

And there were even Thanksgiving crackers that supplied us with crowns, and much amusement in the form of tops and yoyos.  Even if the yoyos were best for spinning the tops on.

 It was so lovely to all be together.
And this year, I feel like I have so much to be thankful for. I have my new husband, my family, my new family, a new apartment, grad school (even if it's hard to be thankful at the end of the semester), friends both new and old and so, so much more.  I am so thankful.

And after eating like crazy, I made another pumpkin pie on Friday!

I used this recipe, but with a homemade crust.  So, who knows if it really ended up "light" or not, but it is definitely one of my favorite pumpkin pies!  I actually added ginger and allspice to the recipe too.  Nutmeg and cinnamon just didn't seem like they'd cut it by themselves.

And taking the time to puree the pumpkin was such a good idea.  It made the filling sooo smooth!

I also made NM's favorite cranberry relish on Friday.  It's amazingly easy -- it's a recipe that came from my cousin.

Cranberry Relish
from MP

1 15-oz bag of cranberries
1 orange, cut into 1/8ths (unpeeled!)
1 cup sugar

Using a food processor, chop the cranberries and orange into small pieces (well, until it's a relish-like consistency) and pour into a bowl.  This may be easier in two batches.  Add the sugar and stir well.

Phew.  And that was all the Thanksgiving baking.  Woah.  Except maybe, if you count tonight's revelation of boxed mac and cheese, peas and leftover turkey.  But that doesn't really count.


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