unconventional holiday meal

This could have been a New Years meal. That’d be relevant on January 4th. Or it could’ve been Christmas. That’d be a little late to chronicle today, but not pathetically so. So yes. Let’s just say it was one of those holiday meals, and not the one in November. Cough.

It was a lovely drive up to the family *sarcasm sarcasm*


(I was driving slowly enough, near Quantico aka the place where briskly moving traffic goes to die, to take this picture safely. The rain had also gotten less torrential, which was nice.)

Anyway, upon returning home, I first spent $500 on my car (fun) and then got diagnosed with strep throat at what was supposed to be a routine doctor’s appointment (extra fun- I felt pretty okay before my diagnosis, but once I got the antibiotics they made my throat mad).

But it all was nuthin because we had The Most Low Key Thanksgiving Multipurpose Holiday Meal Ever.


In previous eras of Thanksgiving, we’d do a Whole Big Thing with one of our respective sets of grandparents. Or, after the grandparents were gone, with one of our parents’ siblings, where we’d show up with a side dish contribution. This year, however, the parents’ siblings were more divided than usual- my dad’s family had just attended my cousin’s lavish wedding weekend and were frankly a little family’d out. My mom’s family was split up, with many of them headed to my cousin’s in Texas. We had an offer to go to an aunt’s neighbor’s Thanksgiving but… uh… When my mom called me in NC and asked what I wanted to do, I said, “I want to stay in our house with the cat”. After a few threats from my mom to invite various of her friends’ children, “orphaned” (in her words) in the DC area without their families, my mom and sister and I ended up having the most wonderful, peaceful nuclear family Thanksgiving holiday meal.

And since there was no one to impress, no one making demands for traditional x, y, or z, we could make whatever we wanted. So we did!

Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese from Smitten Kitchen

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Roasted Cabbage Slaw with Hazelnuts and Lemon


Garlic Pumpkin Knots from Oh She Glows

(tip: rather than opening a can of pumpkin to use just a little bit of it to make this; I used a mix of mashed butternut and pumpkin butter. Worked great. Also, this dough was the easiest-to-work-with ever)

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Mushroom Bourguignon from Smitten Kitchen


And an ad libbed cranberry sauce (fresh cranberries, orange rind, maple syrup, etc.) and some wonderful horseradish-sour cream-parsley mashed potatoes from Cooking Light that my mom made which are apparently nowhere on the entire internet.

And for dessert, apple dumplings!


Did a simple golden raisin, cinnamon, and brown sugar filling from an Eating Well recipe, but in lieu of using phyllo dough for the wrapper, per their suggestion, I instead made my own dough. It involved white flour, oat flour, butter, and milk. Not too sweet. Simple and good.

This project made me think about my mom’s mom a lot.


I ended up using half-apples because I had big fat honeycrisps.

See how cute these look with the raisins on top? Yeah, don’t do that. They incinerate in the oven.


Per the Eating Well instruction, I reduced some apple cider on the stove to make a sauce. Dumped that on the dumpling pans, and left them in the oven while we ate dinner.

And so the table was laid…



Various family members took pictures on their iPhones. I don’t have an iPhone (x_x) so I did it old school with this old camera of mine.


My sister made the most scruuuuuuuuuumptious spinach and artichoke dip from Cooking Light.


And everything was, if I do say so myself, a hit.

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So much so that someone else wanted to participate in the meal.



Apple dumplings were exquisite. Both hot out of the oven and cold the next day. Mmm.



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