Get Ready, Get Set… COOK!!

Hello from Connecticut! My name is Nicole, and I am thrilled to be your “new” Suburban Farmgirl! Many of you know me through the Farmgirl Connection chatroom. It’s a blessing to have gotten to know so many fine “sisters” through that wonderful avenue. It makes this great big world a little bit cozier!  As a busy wife and mother in a small suburban Connecticut town, I am also an active member of MaryJane’s Sisterhood, and love get-togethers with my chapter. The Sisterhood and MaryJanesFarm have truly enriched my life, and I look forward to sharing more with you all here.

What’s on my mind? Lately, it’s COOKING. I LOVE to cook. Everyday. For me, the daily meal making is not a chore but a treat, a hobby, and of course, an expression of love for those I get to feed. I would rather cook a great meal than go out to a restaurant.

Thanksgiving is coming up; the marathon of meal-planning, and the Olympics of dinners. Thanksgiving is a time of reflection, when no matter what is going on in our lives we remember our blessings, conjure up thoughts of holidays past, and eat until we burst, calories not being what’s on our minds at the time. Thanksgiving is a time to come together around the table, friends and family. A time when special memories are cultivated. I can’t wait…

My first Thanksgiving with my husband as a newlywed couple almost twenty years ago was spent just the two of us, alone in a new city, an entire coast away from any family. We had just gotten married and started new jobs, so traveling “home” was out of the question in November. There is a picture of me holding a giant turkey, my back straining as I try to hold the enormous bird I had just cooked to perfection. Obviously, I hadn’t yet learned the rule of “two pounds per person” when selecting a bird to cook.

Of course, not all my attempts at presenting a “perfect” Thanksgiving came to fruition. There was the first year my European in-laws came to visit from Denmark to experience the Great American Holiday Meal. I felt like the “Official Ambassador of Thanksgiving”, wanting nothing more than to make the Pilgrims proud! The dining table was set with fall colors, my menu was planned out and the shopping done; the house was sparkling clean. The fireplace was warm and glowing with comfort, and the appetizers were being devoured. As I went to baste the turkey (my turkey motto: baste, baste, baste!), I realized something wasn’t right. This was the day my oven decided to give up, and only one side of it was working. My turkey that was supposed to take three hours to cook took six. I had to keep spinning it from side to side! Despite the turkey dilemma, that was one of the happiest of Thanksgivings, spent with family, with the birth of a funny tale of the half-cooked turkey. (Although at the time, I was sweating bullets as everyone became hungrier and hungrier!)

Thanksgiving is also when we cultivate memories and comfort through family traditions. As for us, our family is certainly a blend of culture and tradition. My husband is from Denmark. I was raised in Texas. We live in Connecticut. Many years ago, my mother sent me some notebook pages with newspaper clippings glued to them, yellowed with age. These clippings were advice and recipes my mother had cut out of the Houston Chronicle in the sixties when she was a young bride. When I pull them out each year, I imagine her back then, excited at the chance to show off her wizardry in the kitchen. I will pass those pages on to my daughter, when she is an adult some day. Carrying on in Mom’s tradition, I make “LadyBird Johnson’s Southern Cornbread Dressing” alongside our turkey, and I never stray from Mom’s pumpkin pie! We also have Daddy’s green beans, and my husband makes “Danish Caramelized Potatoes”. Once when my daughter was a baby, we ate Thanksgiving at a neighbor’s home, and I adopted a guest’s wonderful “Carrot Souffle” recipe. It is light and sweet, and a nice alternative to candied yams. This year’s change? I have found our local grocery store carries organic Cranberry Sauce, and I will bake my own bread!

There’s a busy week ahead for me as the “head cook” of the household, but I am happy about the task at hand. Whether you are cooking, traveling, or staying home, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. Whatever you do, wherever you are, I hope you are warm, comfortable, and eat a meal that brings (and makes) you special memories.

  1. Karen says:

    I remember the first time I cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving. I was so proud of myself until my mom pointed out that I was to take the giblets out before I cooked the bird. Now it’s funny but back then I was mortified. Keep up the good work and I can’t wait to hear more stories.

  2. Heidi says:

    For me, the best part about hosting Thanksgiving is that once its done… its done. Then Christmas comes and I can focus on my family and what is important to us about that holiday. Of course, I say all this, and I am a bit of a cheat because half of my family doesn’t eat meat… but I rest assured the turkey space is filled with additional sides. Can’t wait for you to share more about your life with us all, especially us "city sisters".

  3. Tina says:

    Welcome, Nicole!

  4. Barb says:

    Thanksgiving is our special time where my family, my husband’s family, my nephew’s in-laws, my niece’s in-laws, our ex-wife’s family, along with, sometimes, our son-in-law’s family all get together. What a time for Giving Thanks.

  5. Welcome Nicole! I have the farm girl bloggers all on my blogs side bar and try not to miss a post. Love to read anything farm girlish. I always add something different each year to our spread at Thanksgiving but have been trying to farm a few things out to guests to bring in the last couple of years. It is hard for me to give up complete control but I have decided I would like to not feel so stressed bringing it all together especially since I now have 6 grand children and 2 younger niece and nephew that are apart of our celebrations now.

    Thanks so much!  It’s easy to get stressed at Thanksgiving when trying to pull it all  together, but it’s important we remember to enjoy it!  Sounds like you have a great one coming up with all of your family!  Enjoy! -Nicole

  6. Megan says:

    After 15 years of being the main cook for a typical turkey Thanksgiving, I am attempting to figure out a balanced, healthy vegan alternative… not the easiest thing ever!
    Nice to ‘meet’ you and looking forward to more great blogging!

  7. Reba says:

    Welcome, Nicole, from another suburban farmgirl. This year I will be cooking Thanksgiving in another kitchen other than my own. I am in Montana at my daughters’ home instead of in Georgia. The weather is perfect for Thanksgiving, I think (I like cold)!

    I look forward to hearing more about cooking…I would rather cook than go to a restaurant, too.

  8. Brenda says:

    Welcome Nicole! My husband and I always spend Thanksgiving with my daughters in-laws. We have a wonderful time visiting, having a wonderful crowd, and lots of goooood food. I love trying out all the new dishes we come up with. A couple of my fav’s are my cranberry salad and sweet potatoe casserole. Yum, making me hungry.  Happy Thanksgiving!!

  9. Peggy says:

    Welcome Nicole…I look forward to your future posts.
    It is good to hear from another "city" farmgirl…sometimes it’s hard to live the farmgirl life in the middle of a big city but I think it is important for us to try.
    About Thanksgiving…not long after we were married 20 yrs ago my husband claimed the turkey cooking as his job…I take care of all of the side dishes…we share the stuffing preperation…both of us prepping the night before and sharing the duties gives us some much needed time together.

  10. Cindy says:

    Great job Nicole! I enjoyed your thoughts on Thanksgiving. This holiday always reminds me of so many stories about family and friends! It is hard to believe that we all went to Thanksgiving dinner 16 years ago, the year we met. Keep up the good work!

  11. Debbie says:

    Welcome Nicole!
    Great to meet you and learn about your family thanksgiving traditions…My hubby and I are from opposite coasts.. Me the west, he the east and we now reside in the East as well!
    I’m a beach farmgirl now living in America’s hometown! We gather with friends and family each holiday here and the one thing we have on our table that I didn’t grow up with is FRESH cranberry relish!
    Welcome again and Happy Thanksgiving!
    Beach Blessings,

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