Traveling Thanks

Thankful that after 9 hours of travel, I was 2,000 miles closer to The Presidents Cup. Unfortunately, I’m still 7,952 miles away before boarding the next flight!

I’m also thankful for good seat buddies, clean airport bathrooms and the sleeping aids that will help me pass the next 15 hours of flying.

Talk to you from down under!

PS, I will miss out on 11-11-11 (didn’t plan that very well), so Garrett may be chiming in with his thanks to help this keep going (we were thankful for quality time together this week, so the blog was neglected).

Traveling Thanks

Texas-sized Thanks

Hello from Lake Fork, Texas, where I’m spending the weekend with the Teague ladies, aka the in-laws, on the aptly named “Sisterhood of Shoppers” annual adventure. There are ten of us ladies taking part, and it’s my first time getting to join in. Also it is my first trip to Texas alone (without Garrett) and time to spend together with the matriarchs of my new family (no boys allowed!). One added benefit of flying for the trip is getting to see our nieces and nephews (five!) before and after the mini trip…little nieces give the greatest hugs!

I tell you all of this because it is my thankful theme for today. My own mom warned me to make sure I liked the family of the person I wanted to marry, because in her words, “you don’t just marry one person, you marry the whole family.” Thankfully, Garrett’s family IS wonderful and quickly made me feel like I belonged with them, even before I carried their last name. (Beating my future father-in-law on the golf course when I met him was, in hindsight, a smart (albeit unintentional) move!) I’ll be back in Texas in three weeks, en route from Australia, and will get to spend the day after Thanksgiving with the Teagues (another first!). I warned Garrett that I’ll probably be a zombie that first day back, but I know a few hugs from the little ones, and a rousing game of Mexican Train, will make me feel right at home!

BONUS
This was a text from me to Garrett, after the second flight of a three-legged cattle call Southwest Air flight about what I was thankful for yesterday…

Thankful that was just a 45 minute flight. Two drunk college kids next to me, cell phones on entire time, personal space invaders.

Texas-sized Thanks

One Day of Thanks

November is a really cool month. Fall is in full swing (as much as it does even here in Florida), the holidays are approaching (but not blaring Christmas music yet), and it’s a great time to reflect on the past year without much worry to new year resolutions or holiday stress. Also, it’s a month for community, as much as any other. Movember (mustaches for prostate cancer awareness) and NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month) are two challenges that growing out of groundswell. Another one in the blogosphere is 30 days of thanks, which I am going to attempt throughout the month. I’ll have to enlist Garrett’s help to complete, but it should be a good exercise for us together.

Without further adieu, here is my first declaration of thanks…

I’m thankful for Jacksonville, they city that I didn’t know where it was exactly, until my first interview with the PGA TOUR happened (though I had some affinity for the Jaguars NFL team long before). On a recent Twitter thread themed “ilovejax” I posted, “#ilovejax I found my dream job and husband here, plus an NFL team to cheer for, beaches to lay on, races to run, @smcjax & great friends!”

On the blog I get more than 140 characters, but I don’t necessarily need them to share my appreciation for a city of my dreams (for what I thought it held) that has become my home and launched a life with my husband that I never dreamed would be a reality. Thank you, Jax.

If you choose to post your days of thanks, or just want to chime in with mine, post in the comments to share!

One Day of Thanks

Our First Thanksgiving, part 1

Our November plans changed last week when Garrett was hurt in a soccer game. The injury, a deep contusion & large hemotoma to his right thigh, resulted in two nights in the hospital and prevented us from taking our Costa Rica honeymoon as scheduled. The bright side of this (we were both terribly disappointed) is that we’ll be in Jacksonville for Thanksgiving, with our friends.

Thanksgiving is the only holiday that G&I have celebrated together every year since we started dating. The past two years, we’ve done a “family” Thanksgiving dinner with his Navy friends and their girlfriends/wives. This year the families have expanded to include two new babies, so we offered to host the turkey dinner. Secretly I was hoping that one of the guys, who has made turkey the past two years, would do so again this year so I could focus on all the fun stuff (appetizers, sides, etc) instead…but no such luck. He’ll likely help me out if I need, but the entire Thanksgiving dinner will come out of my kitchen for the first time ever. Yikes!

On Sunday I broke out the Food & Wine and Real Simple magazines to start looking for recipes. Tuesday (yesterday), G&I chose the menu and made the shopping list. Today we braved the grocery store to fill the list, on the afternoon before Thanksgiving…novice mistake? I should note that our main supermarket is closed tomorrow, so I wanted to get all/most of my list crossed off a couple days early.

I should have kept better track of the many websites I’ve used this week to research how big of a turkey I need, how to cook a turkey, how to defrost a turkey, how to maximize my kitchen output with one small oven, four gas burners and a crock pot, and easy decorating tips for the house. Lets just say, there were a lot! A couple worth checking out are Butterball.com”s “How To” section, FoodNetwork.com’s Thanksgiving, and Real Simple’s Thanksgiving Prep List (amazing!).

I’m hoping that I’ll remember to take pictures and post updates while cooking, shopping and putting together our first turkey dinner to share…and that the effort will launch me as a semi-regular food & cooking blogger, since I have plenty to write about. I’d love to hear your Thanksgiving & entertaining tips, especially since I have an extra day to put them into action.

Here’s our proposed menu for Friday’s dinner, for 9-10 guests.

APPS:
Dressed Goat Cheese, served with crackers (from Real Simple, Dec 2010)
Hot Ricotta Dip (RS Dec 2010 recipe calls for endive accompaniment, but my guests are mostly guys so I think crackers here too)
Spinach Dip Bread Bowl  (saw this in a Publix ad, lol)

DINNER:  (set as a buffet, since my table won’t seat 10 people)
Easy Roasted Turkey (12 lbs) with Basic Gravy (adapted from RS Nov 2010)
Sausage & Sage Stuffing (RS Nov 2010)
Mashed Potatoes with Crispy Shallot (Food & Wine, Nov 2009)
Spiced Veggies with Pomegranate Seeds (F&W Nov 2009)
Nonna’s Peas (top secret family recipe is also a G&L tradition, we’ve made it every year)
Pomegranate Cranberry Relish (from Ashlee at Veggie by Season)
Rolls (something has to be store bought!)

DESSERT:
to be determined (I’m hoping our guests bring this part!)
**I have vanilla-cider panna cotta in the fridge, via Food & Wine Nov 2009, that I couldn’t resist trying to make, even though it won’t make it to the Thanksgiving menu. G&I will try it ourselves, or I may take it to our T-Day dinner with our fellow foodie couple tomorrow.

Did I miss anything in the menu planning? Next up, prep work and deciding how I want to decorate. Black Friday shopping for me will likely include table linens & decorations for the Friday dinner!

Our First Thanksgiving, part 1