It’s the most wonderful time, of the yearrrrrrrrrr.No seriously. It is. I’m the kind of person that will not TOUCH a single speck of Christmas until turkey is digesting in my belly. I’m all about the food, the togetherness and the lack of presents. It’s a holiday that brings people together before the craziness that December brings and gives you an opportunity to just be with family and friends (and enjoy good food, of course). 😉
I LOVE Thanksgiving!
I knew there would be major milestones to overcome the first year without my mother. I survived Mother’s day, my birthday, my kid brother’s birthday, Halloween and her birthday. I considered all of those events to be practice ones for the major upcoming holidays.
I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to celebrate and remember my mother over the next couple of months. At one point, I almost told myself I would just skip it all, but I knew that wasn’t the right decision. My mom LOVED the holidays; especially Thanksgiving. She had a tried and true favorite turkey recipe and we would get up in the wee hours of the morning to prep and get the birds in the ovens (yes, we usually made two and filled her double ovens with all that gobble-y goodness. When my grandmother passed away in 2005, we knew we’d keep her spirit bright by continuing to make her delicious sausage and sage stuffing. I knew my mother would not want me to skip Thanksgiving. I know she would want me to cook in her honor. Mr. KKM’s family is cooking this year, so we would be going over there to celebrate with them. I had decided that I would go through the motions and prepare a small bird and a dish of Abuelamom’s stuffing for the two of us and my brother and dad at our house, just as a way of keeping my mom’s favorite recipes alive.
Friday morning I got a phone call from my cousin Glenn telling us that he wanted to get as much family together for a Thanksgiving dinner. He purchased a lake house a while back, making it a great location for any kind of get together. He said that his girlfriend and I could divide the cooking and that anyone else that wants to come could bring a covered dish. I didn’t hesitate. I knew that this was important to him, and that it was his attempt at bringing us all together. My mom was always so good at that, and although I try, I’m nowhere near as good at it. Of course, I told Glenn that I would cook the turkey and stuffing, using those same traditional recipes from Thanksgivings past. Suddenly, I had real Thanksgiving plans.
So today I decided to go do some shopping and figure out what I needed for Thursday. I dropped Mr. KKM off at his brother’s house for a day of football (yes, I’m totally an NFL widow), and swung by the new Whole Foods Carrollwood for a quick jaunt. I saw this friendly face as soon as I walked through the door…
It’s Anna! She has been SO busy these past few weeks with the grand opening of the store, and Thanksgiving orders. She’s been a trooper though, and has done SUCH an awesome job making the new store feel welcoming and a fun place to be! We chatted a while, then she got some customers so I decided to peruse around and see what was on sale. I wasn’t planning on buying a turkey that day, but at $2.09/lb for a free range, antibiotic free turkey, with a $10 off coupon, I couldn’t resist!
I also purchased the ingredients to go with the turkey recipe I mentioned above. My mother was a big Barefoot Contessa fan and swore by her perfect roast turkey recipe. It’s DELICIOUS. Moist, flavorful and amazingly simple to prepare. If you’re looking for a new go-to turkey recipe, you have got to give Ina’s a shot!
Walking around the market collecting all of the Thanksgiving necessities wasn’t easy. In fact, I felt very alone knowing that I was the one that was in charge of making my mom’s turkey this year. She wouldn’t be around to clean it and prep it. We wouldn’t be going to the local party store to but pans and supplies. She wouldn’t be up basting it. We wouldn’t have Cuban coffee and crackers in the morning while we watched it brown. I felt very overwhelmed with the whole thing as it would be the first time doing this all on my own. However, I know my mom would be in my own kitchen with me in spirit.
I have so much to be thankful for this year. I have 32 years of memories of my mother. I have the most amazing boyfriend who loves me for me. I have a great network of family, friends, bloggers and co-workers who are supportive and positive influences in my life. I have a job that I look forward to doing each and every day. I have a beautiful home that I share with the man I love (and a pup and two cats) and I have my health. I’m strong, and working on becoming stronger. Although I miss my mom terribly, I can’t forget and overlook all the good that is going on in my life, and if she can see me, I know that she would be thankful for that.
What family Thanksgiving traditions do you hold dear to your heart?