Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! We got to celebrate our first official Holiday in the Byland house, which we were very grateful for. Because it was a lovely space to celebrate, but also because it has meant a more regular and healthy routine for the last six weeks. We have really come to value and appreciate the impact of routine underpinning the unavoidably unpredictable circumstances of artist and entrepreneur. When we shared our Thankful For's that was on both Aaron and my list.

After a nerdy amount of planning (and equally and proportionally nerdy amount of fun had doing it), plus three days of preparation, decoration and procurement, we sat down around the dining room table AP made me, with good friends. And, despite this being the first Thanksgiving post allergy diagnosis, I think we came up with a pretty tasty spread. Everything was sans dairy, wheat, almond, potato (sweet or regular), black pepper, mushroom, rice or celery and most everything was without eggs. (There's more on the allergy list, but those most directly affect a Thanksgiving meal)

A few of our family traditions are; going around the table to share what we're thankful for and playing a game after dinner. I added a few things this year; notes at each place sharing thoughts about things I've been grateful for over the last year, specific to each person, and a Thanksgiving mad-lib which was a bigger hit than I thought it would be. We also had the playing of the first Christmas song of the year, after dinner.

You can't see it very well, because he's so camera shy, but Wally is wearing a bright red bow tie, in honor of the occasion. These fellas have my heart.

Here was the master plan and the card I made for AP. I've been seeing that phrase "you are my happy place" on things in stores lately, but for us, that sentiment is a decade old. From way back when we used to follow a local band around Indy. They sang a song Wanna go to my happy place, my happy place with you. One day, I came to my piano to find a note from AP on the music stand. It said You are my happy place. It was true for both of us then and still is, today.

I found end-of-season succulents on sale and decided to snag some as fun take homes for our guests.

Having cocktails, appetizers and filling out the mad lib sheets before dinner.

I managed to get a photo of Ashwin and Anna at the table, who we had the pleasure of spending the day with. Somehow I missed a photo of them and Aaron at the table. He was getting coffee for us, here. And I try not to have my camera in everyone's face all the time, although in my head I'm taking a million more pictures.

As to the menu, I thought I'd share.

Thanksgiving 2016


// Bacon Wrapped Dates //
//Meatballs in Apricot Chipotle Glaze //
// Crudités & Cheese //


// Maple Burbon Old Fashioned with Italian Maraschino Cherries //


// Smoked Paprika & Brown Sugar Dry Rub Turkey with Garlic Apple Gravy //
// Green Bean Casserole - Dairy Free //
// Mashed Rutabaga with Bacon & Crispy Shallots - Dairy Free //
// Chili, Cranberry & Pecan Roasted Butternut Squash //
// Sausage, Apple & Golden Raisin Cornbread Stuffing - Egg Free, Wheat & Gluten Free //


// Pecan Pie Bars - Grain, Egg & Dairy Free //
// Crustless Pumpkin Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream - Dairy Free //

The standouts were the bacon wrapped dates and the stuffing (which is always my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal, but since it's whole identity is basically an allergy violation, I was pretty pressed to find a recipe that met all the criteria and was still sufficiently stuffing-y. I ended up making my own recipe by parting ideas from a multitude of others, and to my relief it was unanimously voted a winner. Here's a picture of it before it went in the oven. I'm planning to post the recipe in an upcoming post, because this stuff might be a new winter treat to add to the repertoire.

Other things worth mentioning; I was really excited to get to make our old family recipe for the pumpkin pie. Our family recipe calls for sweetened, condensed milk, which I've found a non-dairy coconut based version of, and butter, for which I used the equivalent amount of Earth Balance non-dairy butter spread and it turned out just fine. I did end up including the egg called for in this recipe, intending that AP could at least have a taste, even if small.

Well, he had two slices. And then a third for breakfast.

But hey, sometimes it's worth the price. Sometimes you just celebrate and don't worry.

In the end, I think everyone left with a full stomach and a happy heart.

This shot precedes the others, from Thanksgiving morning, which we spend sequestered away in bed. No record of Thanksgiving is complete without mentioning it. As much as I love the afternoon, full of good smells and people laughing, there's something sacred about Thanksgiving morning. AP had run all over town late Wednesday night (two different trips to 6 different stores) trying to find the paper, since part of our Thanksgiving tradition includes looking through all the sale ads and reading the comics while we watch the parade. He got up at 7 and ran a 5K (The first annual 5kedaddle...aka Turkenducken Skedaddle and made a great video. This will, I think, become an annual tradition which I will participate in, going forward.) Then we had coffee and breakfast, watched the parade (on the TV and the ipad, since they broadcast the parade on youtube using 360 cameras this year, so you could move the ipad around and it was like looking in whatever direction you pointed the ipad. Pretty fun) Aaron edited a video and I worked on art for the cards, before browsing the paper.

All in all, it was a wonderful day, with many of the things I am most thankful for sitting beside me at the table.

And now, I'm off to enjoy thanksgiving's bounty all over again in the form of left-overs for dinner. Now that's a reason to celebrate.

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