giving thanks

Thanksgiving 2015 is in the books! My dad and sister flew out from Spokane, WA and Loveland, CO for the weekend. I brought Dad to school with me on Tuesday, where he had a great time hanging out with my students. He even messed around on xylophones without asking (just like the kids) and accompanied a 4th/5th grade class on harmonica as they created their own folk dance to “Over the River”.

We also had a guitar/harmonica jam session in our living room, spent some quality time with Walter, made homemade donuts from this great Chefsteps recipe, had an impromptu bourbon tasting (sorry Old Grandad, guess you’re not the hipster favorite I once thought you were), and drank a festive number of Urban Wheat Ales.


On Thursday, Rachel was an enormous help getting Thanksgiving dinner ready. Our menu was simple, with some “best of” repeats from previous years:

  • Thai red curry butternut squash soup with coconut milk
  • fennel and grapefruit salad
  • butterflied roast turkey
  • gravy
  • mashed potatoes
  • sausage & sage stuffing
  • cranberries two ways: classic and mustardy
  • roasted Brussels sprouts with fish sauce and fried shallots
  • roasted corn with jalapeno and red onion
  • glazed carrots with ginger
  • braised green beans with bacon and vinegar
  • cranberry-blueberry pie
  • pumpkin pie
  • homemade cajeta ice cream
  • turkey and sage cocktails (adapted from Serious Eats, recipe below)
  • homemade eggnog (recipe below)

In true Thanksgiving tradition, I didn’t take any good photos. Here’s a good one that Jenny snapped before dinner made it out onto the table, though:

IMG_4533We spent the rest of the weekend at the Garfield Park Conservatory, tooling around Millennium Park, and eating a few more delicious meals at Uncle Mike’sNando’s, and Nana.



At the end of the weekend we even came home to this wonderful little kitten hiding outside our apartment door. We couldn’t end up keeping her because (1) Walter hated her and (2) she apparently belongs to the neighbors. Nonetheless, the 10 minutes I spent thinking we may be adopting a cat were the perfect end to a fantastic weekend.


Nothing says holiday entertaining like bourbon. We made an adaptation of this great recipe from Serious Eats, but I replaced the pumpkin butter with cranberry-apple butter from Trader Joe’s and reduced the sage.


Turkey and Sage Cocktail

adapted from Serious Eats

  • 2 oz. Wild Turkey 101
  • 1/2 oz. lemon
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Trader Joe’s cranberry-apple butter (or other apple butter)
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 sage leaves

Combine all ingredients and 1 sage leaf in a shaker with lots of ice. Shake well. Strain over fresh ice and top with a fresh sage leaf.

As for other bourbon cocktails – here’s a sneak preview of what I’m hoping to post later this week!



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