‘Twas a spectacular Thanksgiving weekend in the Bender house.
Mama and Papa B. went all out this year, and I am so grateful for all of the time and effort they put into making not only Thanksgiving special, but also every day that followed this holiday weekend. We woke up on Thursday morning to a beautiful table setting, complete with a pumpkin centerpiece.
We did some prep work in the early morning hours, then headed out to play a round of golf with my aunt- and uncle-in-law, Lisa and Bob. I found a cactus that was as excited as I was about Thanksgiving football. Touchdown!
We had a nice day out on the course, and were definitely ready to feast once we got back to the house. Papa Bender took the turkeys out of the oven and over to the grill for the rest of their cook time to make room for our side dishes. He had to tackle two turkeys this year, and they both turned out amazing. One was basted in an apple mixture, and the other was an orange-citrus.
It was an unseasonably warm day in Arizona (which means it was very warm!), so I was extra impressed by his ability to lift and maneuver two turkeys and grill them to perfection. Thanks, PB!
While Papa Bender worked over the hot grill, Mama Bender, Aunt Lisa and I finished up our side dishes. I took a break from my jalapeño-cheddar cornbread to help MB with dishing out the cheesy mashed potatoes with gouda and crispy pancetta, and this is what happened:
Hey, whatever works to get those potatoes in the pan correctly. And then it was time to feast! In addition to the turkey, we had Papa Bender’s Apple-Sausage Stuffing, which is always a big hit…
…Mama Bender’s Green Beans Almondine…
…along with her Cheesy Mashed Potatoes with Gouda and Crispy Pancetta…
…plus another Mama Bender dish: Spinach and Gruyère Gratin…
…and finally, we also had the result of my Jalapeño-Cheddar Cornbread experiment. I left the ingredients in the oven for a little longer than what’s recommended, so unfortunately the edges were a little crispy. But after cutting them off, I think this was a winner. The tiny bits of jalapeño added a nice kick and the cheddar cheese gave it more than your average cornbread flavor. The only change I made to the recipe was to double the cheese. I will definitely be making it again!
Of course I had to have some of everything. The entire spread looked so good together!
Especially when paired with some delicious red wine.
After everyone had grabbed their plates of food, we sat down and talked about what we’re thankful for. I have a long list, but topping it is no question my incredible family. It has been a year of change and transition, but I am excited for what’s ahead for me and Bobby and feel very lucky to have the support of such amazing people behind us.
Oh, and did I mention? All of the food was incredible! Kudos to Mama and Papa Bender for putting together such a feast, and to Lisa and Bob for all of their help in the kitchen. After we had gone back for second helpings, we took a break and relaxed with some football before dessert. A few of the boys also immersed themselves in an intense Scrabble match.
But we couldn’t end the night without the dessert course. The Bender Family Cherry Pie turned out a little less visually appealing this year, but as is the case with anything, it’s the inside that counts. The recipe was as delicious as ever, even though my lattice helper was preoccupied with Scrabble!
Aunt Lisa’s pecan pie was also a huge hit – and very pretty.
The Costco pumpkin pie was gigantic! It wasn’t as spicy as I remembered, but still pretty tasty.
With our bellies extra full and happy, we snapped a group shot of the Thanksgiving gang. From left to right, we have my father- and mother-in-law, John and Barb, me, Bobby, Eric (Baby B.), Mama Bender, Papa Bender, Lisa and Bob.
It was a fantastic Thanksgiving! But the weekend wasn’t over yet – there was more to come in the form of two adorable nieces pieces. More on that in my next post.
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are back in the swing of things today!
What was your favorite Thanksgiving memory?