Giving Thanks

North Texas Thanksgiving II

And so I’ve reached the penultimate day in my ‘Thirty Days of Thankfulness‘ series.  No, it’s not the final day, since this marks the twenty-fourth posting with six more to go, but it is the traditional holiday date to give thanks for all my countless blessings.

I’m extremely thankful that I didn’t actually have to roast a turkey.  Thanks to a friend of my daughter’s, we had an exquisitely smoked turkey as well as a marvelous spiral cut ham to go with our many traditional side dishes.  We did somehow manage to leave the cranberry sauce in Denton but no one is pointing fingers as to who rushed who out of the apartment.  He did make an excellent gravy.

We’ve just cracked into the pies.  The sticky buns batch I made this morning disappeared within a few minutes of coming out of the oven, so the pies are all that’s left to fill in whatever gaps might be left in our stomachs.

Rachelle and Terry seated at Derek's Transformer-like Table

We had some lively dinner discussion topics around my son’s interesting dining room table.  Their apartment’s kitchen is a vast improvement over the one they had at the other apartment.   The chairs are very comfortable and we enjoyed the food and the debates with equal relish.  Some of us have drifted off into a food coma, others watched a movie, or played video games or, in my case, snuck off to write this quick blog post to recap the highlight of my November for the last three years.  The long drive to North Texas from Northeastern Kansas is well worth the backaches and road hypnosis to spend a few precious days with my kids.  No matter how connected we may think we are thanks to the Internet, or technology, or cell phones, or tex messages, it just can’t beat the up-close and personal reach-out-and-hug-your-loved one kind of experience.

This may be our final North Texas Thanksgiving gathering with both kids attending.  It will all depend on Rachelle’s graduate school auditions and selection process.  Next year, I may have to decide between a Colorado or Chicago Thanksgiving with Rachelle or returning to North Texas to visit Derek and Royna.

But I won’t dwell on a situation that doesn’t yet exist and may not be an issue as I just remembered that we will be in Texas next November no matter what for the inaugural Formula One race to be held at the Circuit of the Americas scheduled to occur just four days after my husband’s birthday.

Today, I’m just thankful to be here with my kids, their significant others and my husband, all together under one roof.  If only Roxy and Apollo could be here as well, then my life would be complete.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family and friends. 

Sticky Buns

I am thankful to have made it safe and sound through two states to visit my children.  So, for my twenty-third installment of ‘Thirty Days of Thankfulness,’ I wish to share their (and mine) perennial favorite:  Sticky Buns (follow the link for the recipe and detailed instructions with photos).

Nearly the first thing I did upon arriving at my daughter’s apartment was to inventory her pantry and then head to the largest Kroger grocery store in the state of Texas.  As expected, since it was early evening on the day before Thanksgiving, the aisles were jam packed, especially the baking aisle.  We survived with most of our limbs intact and only forgetting one item, which we had forgotten to place on our grocery list.

Once back at the apartment, I installed my old bread machine and began mixing up a batch of the sticky buns, using the dough setting on the bread machine.  Since it was close to eight o’clock, I knew I would be up way past my bedtime.  While my husband and daughter’s boyfriend headed over to a friend’s house who had graciously agreed to smoke a turkey for us, Rach3elle and I streamed a couple of old Star Trek: Voyager episodes from the sixth season, ones I didn’t remember but were quite interesting none-the-less.

We decided to go ahead and bake the first batch of sticky buns last night, using my daughter’s large 9×13 inch glass baking dish.  I wasn’t completely satisfied with the way the dough mixed and rose, so I wanted to be able to test taste it in case I needed to re-do a batch early in the morning.  Another strange new experience for me: cooking with gas.  My daughter’s kitchen apartment includes a Hotpoint gas range.  I have only ever cooked using electric ovens.  Interesting.

The sticky buns came out of the over around 11:30 but when we flipped them over onto a large cookie sheet, several rolls around the edges stuck to the sides and came unraveled.  Prime targets for a taste test.  The results were superb but I would need to make another batch in the morning to fine-tune the recipe.  While I had purchased what I thought was non-fat dry milk at the grocery store, it was actually labelled ‘instant’ (I really should where my reading glasses while shopping), so I put an eighth to a quarter cup of half-and-half in the liquid portion of the recipe.  This morning, I decided to forgo any dairy aspect of the recipe and the dough does look like it is rising better.

I sometimes make this recipe up for friends and family, but I don’t bake it for them.  I send them a batch in a disposable aluminum foil pan with instructions on refrigeration, rising and baking so that they can enjoy this treat fresh out of the oven, sticky, gooey and hot, just like it’s meant to be enjoyed.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!