I figured I’d spare you my usual cheesy post title and get straight to the point 😉
This holiday weekend was much needed, don’t you agree? I’ve been catching up on all of the blogosphere celebrations and it seems as though most people had another successful feast and enjoyed some time off. I felt so lucky to be able to go home and see my family. I must admit that it is really hard to live so far away from them and miss all of those day-to-day “moments,” especially watching my brother grow up. I like to take advantage of every opportunity to see them — and it helps that Arizona is warm and sunny most of the year, too!
The Bender Family Thanksgiving was a success. Papa Bender went all out, as usual, and I contributed where I could with putting things in the oven and making cornbread with mix + water
There was the turkey, which P.B. brined the day before to make it extra moist and flavorful.
There was the stuffing, which followed the same Apple-Sausage recipe as last year.
There was also a new addition in the form of Green Bean Casserole. My dad decided to make it instead of the Broccoli-Cheez Casserole from last year.
This recipe was easy. Combine all ingredients into a dish and bake at 350* for 35-45 minutes.
- 1 bag string green beans
- 1 can cream of chicken soup
- 1 container mushrooms, chopped
- Topping: French’s French Fried Onions
Here’s the final casserole with the onions on top. It was delicious!
Next up on the list was the potatoes. Some of you may cringe but my mom happened upon scalloped potatoes and sweet potatoes at Costco and felt they were too good to pass up. So instead of making our own, we baked the Costco creations in the oven Nothing like a little Lazy Chef action on Thanksgiving, no? The cool thing about these was their ingredient lists. The box said they were “all natural,” which I am usually wary of, but they truly did stick to the basics.
Here we have the scalloped potatoes, which were essentially potatoes, cheese and seasoning:
We also had sweet potato casserole, which was made with sweet potatoes, maple syrup, pecans and brown sugar. Really, we could have made this ourselves, but the price was right and it saved us some time to spend on other areas of the cooking! Bake both at 375* for roughly 30 minutes and you’re set.
Papa Bender also made me a nice spinach salad topped with mushrooms, red peppers, bacon and hard-boiled eggs. It made a nice cool complement to the otherwise hot dishes.
Last but not least, we have my contribution: cornbread! Just like last year, I used a Marie Callendar’s cornbread mix, which combined with water and baked at 375* for roughly 30 minutes.
Cornbread makes everything better I had one or two (or four) pieces throughout the evening.
We served dinner with a bottle of white wine served in these cool glasses my mom found. They have rings on the bottom that are supposed to help the wine breathe and enhance the flavor.
Here’s my first plate with a little bit of everything. I also helped myself to seconds!
We had a very nice meal and discussed what we are most thankful for this year. There has been so much goodness and I feel very lucky in many ways. Even though I have my bad days and the “little things” that I wish I could change, I do recognize that life is good and we need to cherish every moment. I thought a lot about my grandma and knew she would have wanted us to make the most of our few days together.
After our big meal, we felt so stuffed that I decided to forgo the cherry pie until Christmas. Instead, we brought out our other option that was equally delicious:
Hello, Pumpkin! A small slice was very nice…with whipped cream on top!
Perfect end to a perfect holiday.
The rest of the weekend was spent golfing and wedding planning! My wedding dress came in while I was in town and I was able to go and try on the real thing I haven’t gotten it fitted yet, but I absolutely love it. I also finalized the bridesmaid dress — we decided to go with a strapless option. It looks blue in the picture below, but it’s actually a very deep purple. I tried it on to show my lovely ladies what it looked like. It has pockets!
It was a lot of fun to shop around with my mom. We also picked out our photographer and narrowed down a few other details, so it was a very productive weekend! Speaking of weddings, go wish Mara and Adam a big congratulations because they got MARRIED over the weekend! Mara looked stunning!
Last but not least, I had to show you Mama Bender’s Peppermint-Eggnog Punch!!!
If you’ve been reading my blog since this time last year, you know that it’s not the holidays until Mama Bender makes her delicious punch. Click this link for the recipe — you won’t be disappointed!
I. Love. Home.
What do you most look forward to during the holiday season?
I love the food, the time off and the overall cheer, but I look forward to family time most of all!
Happy Monday! Back to work!