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Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving in a Nutshell

I don't know about you all, but my Thanksgiving was busy, wonderful, and filled with delicious food and friends/family.  Last year, when my mom had to unexpectedly fly out to Montana over Thanksgiving to be with my Grandmother, my dad sister were left in the lurch so they decided to join me and Ben at Ben's family Thanksgiving.  Everyone had such a great time that we decided to repeat the whole thing this year (including my mom this time)!  Yes, my inlaws are awesome and our families get along great.  It's amazing.

We joined Ben's parents and brother Simon, his aut Joan and uncle Dan, and grandparents Bud and Loey at Joan and Dan's home for food and drinks, and general merriment.  Ben and I took dessert duty again, and as usual I just had to make things way more complicated than they needed to be.  Instead of making three pies like a normal person, I decided to make a layer cake, a chocolate tart, and a crumble.  The crumble was gluten free for Ben's grandmother who suffers from celiacs.  I know.

On Wednesday night, I prepped the tart crust and made the cake part of the cake.  On Thanksgiving morning, I got up early and went for a 6-mile run and a hot vinyasa class to prepare the way for all of the food, and then got back in the kitchen around 10:30 to finish off the icing, tart filling, and crumble.

Pumpkin cake with salted caramel frosting and chocolate ganace - before the final frosting

Gluten free gingersnap cookies for Smitten Kitchen's pear, cranberry and gingersnap crumble

Dorie Greenspan's chocolate banana tart, with a secret Nutella layer at the bottom ;)

Once we were through with our baking extravaganza, we loaded all of the desserts and the dog into the car and took off.  What had been a very mild morning (perfect for a long-ish run) turned into a windy afternoon spattered with freezing rain.  We were glad to arrive at a warm, cozy house, lots of delicious appetizers, and drinks already poured!


Festive table decor
When it came time to load up on the main meal, I did not hold back.  This is plate 1 of 2, btw.  Joan made peas with cranberries and orange zest, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, squash with spiced apples, and of course turkey - and my dad brought his famous stuffing. 

We made the mistake of giving Sid a bite of turkey - which went over fine last year, but this year did not seem to sit too well in his digestive system :/  Let's just say Ben was up a couple of times during the night...

 Turkey plz??!?? I will not puke, I promise...

Men's mom and grandmother

Julianna and SIDNEY, with the two dads engrossed in some riveting dialog in the background

Brothers on the phone with out-of-town relatives

All the siblings!

The day after Thanksgiving was...the day after Thanksgiving.  Meaning, it is now socially acceptable to begin bombarding your home with holiday decor.  I put up the tree, and Ben put up some lights in the dining room and the hallway, and by mid-afternoon our home was looking downright festive!

In one of the great mysteries of life, the same exact number of light strings that covered the tree perfectly last year, fell woefully short this time around.  Luckily the CVS across the street came through in a pinch. 
Our tree topper is Hedwig.  It's pretty much the greatest thing ever.

Mini tried to help...or her version of helping, which mostly includes breaking things and hiding in boxes

Ben at work in the dining room

Ta da!

Hallway lights

On Friday night, Ben and I, along with several of my girlfriends, met up with our friend Katie and her boyfriend Jake at Marvel bar in Minneapolis!  Katie and Jake live in Chicago and were in town for a limited Thanksgiving engagement so we were excited to see them.

Emily, Katie, me and Amanda
While the drinks at Marvel Bar all looked delicious, someone was clearly reading my mind when they created The Islay Old Fashioned - an old fashioned made with Laphroig.  What manner of sorcery is this?!  I'm not sure, but I think I want more of it.
Plus a classy giant ice cube for good measure

The gents - Ben and Jake

The ladies again, plus Tessa and minus Emily

This last photo is from brunch with my parents at Keys in White Bear Lake - only included because a) Ben is adorable and b) the bejazzled red curtains in the background.  These are apparently up year-round...excellent.

Finally it's Friday!  Today my team had a 4.5 hour working was productive but long, and we were digging into some complex issues so there were times when all our heads were ready to explode.  Shots of (rum-free) egg nog may or may not have been taken.  Hotel California may or may not have played on repeat for the better part of an hour.  I can neither confirm nor deny these occurances.  The truth is out there.

Good thing it's Friday because my mind is clearly gone :)  Have a great weekend!


  1. What a lovely weekend! I love that both sets of families get along so well. That's how my family is, and we frequently had holidays with both sets of grandparents. I hope my future in-laws (wherever in the universe they may be) are like that :)

    1. I know, I feel so fortunate that all of our families get along - and that they both live nearby! No traveling for the holidays, ever :)

  2. dang girl 6 min and a yoga class! i'd be pooped! how did i not know that GF ginger snaps existed?! i must acquire these immediately! your place looks so festive! we don't have a tree in our place...getting rid of it is difficult since we live in a super high pedestrian traffic area. oh city living :)

    old fashioneds are one of my fave drinks! i have been wanting to try Laphroig as well! one of my fave restaurant cocktails is called the manhattan project: art in the age 'snap', + bulleit bourbon, vermouth soaked dry tart cherries & a dash of bitters. in fact, i might just go that i have sufficiently teased myself. happy weekend!

    1. Haha oh, don't worry I was completely wiped out after the run and hot yoga! Just for good measure the yoga studio was super hot, the class was really hard, and I ended up right by the window so that whenever I was in any sort of twisted, rotated pose the sun was glaring right in my face. Still so glad I went though :)

      We have a fake tree, which means we don't have to get rid of it - I would love to have a real tree but our cat is pretty mischievous and I'm not sure how we would prevent her from eating it and making herself we went with a fake tree just to be safe.

      The Manhattan Project sounds amaaaazing, and you should totally try Laphroig. Peaty Islay scotches are my fave.

  3. Mmmm I want that pumpkin cake!


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