Thanksgiving with dear friends

Oh man, we are in the thick of it over here. We are up to our eyeballs in class parties and Nutcracker rehearsals and stake choir and ward parties and swim practice and ward choir and POTTY TRAINING (it's never going to happen) and preschool choir and lessons and proposals and finals and ON AND ON AND ON.
Every day forward is another day away from our GLORIOUS Thanksgiving weekend with dear friends from Ohio and Florida. I can't let another day pass! 
Both families came Wednesday evening and brought friends for our children, food and/or recipes for our bellies, and wonderful conversation for our hearts and minds. I have always hoped to find like-minded, dear people like these to call friends. The fact that they continue to like and visit us just floors me. We are so thankful for both families.
This year's food schedule turned into quite an extravaganza. There was Thanksgiving lunch and dinner, of course. But then they stuck around and fed us delicious food for two more FULL days! And every meal was incredible. Seriously, I didn't have to think about cooking for three ENTIRE days and yet, food magically appeared on my plate from Wednesday night through Sunday morning. I swept, I washed an occasional dish, I made sure there was enough toilet paper in the bathrooms. NO COOKING. 
Here was the eating setup--two tables, 15 people. Not sure how well the kids over on that little table ate all weekend. At least they had fun together! 
 Thanksgiving Day menu:
For lunch we had Norwegian Fish Soup and bread brought from Uppercrust in Gainesville.
Um, best soup I've ever had in my entire LIFE. Chilean (maybe? could be making that up, I've lost my mind you know) Sea Bass. Shrimp, mussels. Leaks, carrots, heavy cream, butter. Enough said.
For dinner, we had four different kinds of grilled salmon (blackened, mustard, ginger, soy, olive oil/s&p), roasted sweet potatoes and cauliflower, homemade focaccia bread, and this ridiculously yummy salad with arugula, cucumbers, pomegranates, and a delicata squash cooked in some kind of brown sugar magic. Pears for the children (my addition) (I know, I was really clutch). Oh and cranberry apple pie, berry galette, and pumpkin bars. Just because we could!
 I believe it was later that evening that we took a neighborhood walk. The timing (twilight) was perfect for blurry, unfocused pictures, which I'm going to include here because I made the children stand and smile for them and I just don't want all that cajoling to have been in vain.

My best picture of the trip:
 Then, back to my normal everyday style:
Friday morning we woke up to homemade scones. Lunch boasted gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches (oo oo, I cut apples for that lunch, maybe carrots too, fancy), and for dinner: Moroccan Lamb something something (I'm pretty sure Quinn wouldn't want me to call it "stew"). Lamb, dried apricots, celery, tomatoes in their sauce, all over couscous that wasn't like any couscous I've ever tasted ie it was actually good! More like mini pearl pasta. I can't describe it, nor will I ever be able to recreate it. Like a food dream, this entire weekend was.
Oh, and marbled pumpkin gingersnap tart (recipe from Smitten Kitchen) in my pie pan. Again, because why not? I wasn't making it, it was just appearing!
Saturday brought homemade pizza (including focaccia pizza!) and games at lunchtime. And a hike! Post of that coming soon.
And for dinner? ROASTED DUCK. No, I'm not kidding.
 At the beginning of the trip, Z had challenged our two main cooks to a bit of a cooking challenge (he's been into all the cooking shows on Netflix lately). 5 points for appetizers, 10 for main dishes. Presentation counted. Taste mattered. Desserts were awarded extra. Zane was the accomplished judge. It was a hoot.
 If I remember right, both the duck and the butternut squash and caramelized onion galette (below) received high marks. Oh, that galette. I got to have leftovers after everyone had gone home and it was just as good a few days later. Squash, Cheese and butter will do that. ;)
Oh yeah, and Cami finished the night off by making her world-famous cinnamon rolls. Pretty sure she won the weekend's competition with that offering. After Zane gave a resounding thumbs up, he said, "Hey, you know what this cinnamon roll takes like? DIABETES." Whose son is he anyway? 
Have I mentioned how thankful I was for these kind ladies, their husbands and children? Family-like friends forever!
Here's a sleepy-eyed last moment together. Okay, only sleepy-eyed for those of us who sleep past 5:30 am. The true miracle of the trip shows itself here: every single child was looking forward at the same time. Miracle! It must have been all the magical food!
Inspiring, positive people. Cute kiddos.
Until next year! (Or actually, until the hike post, coming soon...)


walt or jean said…
Friends are so important!
ash said…
So amazing! The next time you need an official judge/taster I call "it!"