Thanksgiving 2016 Recap and Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup
Growing up I LOVED Thanksgiving. It was my favorite holiday. As a child, we would travel to my Grannie’s house and once there we were surrounded by extended family. There was football played in the yard and cooking in the tiny kitchen. When it came time to eat, there was an adult table and card tables set out for the kid tables. It was a tradition.
As an adult, the nostalgia for my childhood Thanksgiving has always been at the forefront of my mind. However, times change, people change, and this year I finally let go of that nostalgia. I accepted my feelings. I have let them be present. I have decided to move on. I will not dwell on former ideas of what Thanksgiving is supposed to be as an adult. Instead I will be present, let go of superficial happiness, and find joy in my reality.
I am beyond thankful for the family I have, especially my four sons and adoring husband. This is my reality. This is my Thanksgiving. I decided I wanted to share my love of cooking with my family. I assigned each boy a traditional Thanksgiving side dish to prepare and cook, giving each boy one-on-one time with me in the kitchen cooking. Sounds great, right?
Have you ever cooked with kids in the kitchen? I have, a lot. My boys have taught me when you cook with kids: be VERY patient, have zero expectations, and lots and lots of time. I figured if all else fails and the Thanksgiving food was a bust, we would just eat pizza instead.
All the boys and I had Wednesday off from work/school, so I figured we would start prepping pies Tuesday night and roll right into Wednesday with food preparation. I started with the youngest boy, since I was fresh and full of patience. We prepared the pie dough. The process only took an hour longer with a three-year old by my side, but his enthusiasm for cooking was so great that time was not of the essence. I taught him how to separate an egg, my way, not the “correct” way. His first attempt he crushed the egg and was so disappointed. He takes cooking seriously. However, he was successful on the second try.
Wednesday I put on some Christmas music and started cooking while the boys were playing upstairs. I figured I would do the tedious preparation before I called down the next boy to cook with me. Haha . . . apparently I had a brief lapse in reality, because within ten minutes I had boys running in and out of the kitchen.
All four of the boys were eager to help. Each boy would come and go, begging to help. I had able hands wanting to help, but not enough adults to supervise. This was some hard core cooking, not a time to throw caution to the wind. I had to shoo the boys away from time to time. But one boy, Boy #1, was a tremendous help! I am continuously amazed at the person he is growing to be, and how helpful children can be as they age.
We made 3 pies–apple, pecan, and pumpkin. All the pies were delicious, but pumpkin was by far the winner at the Thanksgiving table this year. I used a new recipe for my mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and stuffing. Holy hell . . . these dishes were so delicious! Oh, and I made homemade gravy from the giblets and turkey pan drippings–so worth the extra effort. The majority of my recipes, including the mashed potatoes and stuffing, came from a cookbook I love, The New Family Cookbook by Americas Test Kitchen. The stuffing was AMAZING! Perhaps it was because I baked and dried out my simple homemade bread or that Boy #1 prepared this dish with a lot of love. I made homemade cream of mushroom soup, refrigerated the soup for one day, then in a 2 quart casserole dish combined the soup with overly blanched fresh green beans, topped with crispy onions, covered the dish, and heated the casserole in the oven. The result…the most amazing green bean casserole I have every tasted!
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped
- 2 tablespoons onions, chopped
- 2 teaspoons of canola or olive oil
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups chicken broth (warmed)
- 1 cup half and half or milk (at room temperature)
- 1?2 teaspoon salt
- 1?4 teaspoon nutmeg
Place your mushrooms, onions and oil in a large frying pan. Cook until onions are tender. Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan make a roux with your flour, butter, and broth. When the roux has thickened add the cooked onions and mushrooms followed by the seasonings and half in half.