Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hodge Podge . . . Thanksgiving

Well hello again, friends! Can you believe TOMORROW is Thanksgiving?! I actually can't! I feel like yesterday I was just rolling down the windows of my car so I could feel the sprinklers because it was so hot! Now all of the sudden there's rolls of Christmas tree wrapping paper everywhere and we're making food for 18 people! I totally love it. Thanksgiving is a VERRRRYYY close second favorite holiday to Christmas for me. It's joy-filled, it's family oriented, and best of all, it's a really good excuse to go haywire and make a ton of food!

Being that our family is Lebanese, we like to go a little non-traditional for Thanksgiving and make all sorts of strange goodies... meat pies, hummus, grape leaves, etc. Today I'm going to give you a look into what it's like to make grape leaves.. if you're not too overwhelmed, check back tomorrow morning and I'll give you the full recipe. We're still in the process of making them as I'm posting this so I can't give you ALL the full effect photos until then. By the way, tomorrow, I'll be blogging over at my sweet friend Jessi's blog, Naptime Diaries , so you'll have to check it out and show her some love! :) Thanks, Jessi for allowing me the privilege of writing to YOUR readers on YOUR blog, such an honor!

Also before I start showing you the grape leaves photos, I have to just show you some fun, interesting, good, bad and disturbing/ disappointing things I discovered via The Fresh Market... in hopes that you will and won't get sucked in to them in time for your family Thanksgiving meal tomorrow!
 TURKDUCKEN? Are you JOKING? People, there's GOT to be laws against something so seemingly gross SOMEWHERE in the world.... how are you supposed to enjoy the taste or consistency of ANY of them, not to mention be proud of serving something that LOOKS like that? Think I just threw up.
 Turkey or Christmas tree shaped butter... WIN! Why not? It'll add something fun and unusual to your holiday table! Well done here, TFM!
 Not cool. You guys know my whole "thing" is that cooking is therapeutic. How are you supposed to feel any kind of real satisfaction or spend any real time relaxing in the kitchen if all the work is done for you? It doesn't have to be hard or fast to chop your own vegetables.... take your time! Enjoy it! Don't buy them pre-chopped.. at least not for Thanksgiving. :)
 This idea is a win! Actually, I have a few photos of my own to share with you in agreement with this appetizer plate page. Why not make a fancy little cheese plate for your family and guests before you chow down on the whole meal? Just because it's not typical Thanksgiving food doesn't mean people won't enjoy it! It'll just add something a little "special" and fancy to your countertops! Here's what we like to do and will do tomorrow.
Buttered Roasted Fig toast, Mediterranean Cheddar, Feta, Boursin Goat cheese spread sprinkled w/ fresh herbs, Vermont White Cheddar, black olives, sea salt & olive oil crackers and a few chunks of almond dark chocolate!
 That baked brie looks pretty delicious... oddly enough, that's something I would buy pre-done from them and proudly serve for our Thanksgiving appetizers tomorrow! Maybe a little overpriced but, it is brie after all.

The Fresh Market, thanks (and no thanks) for enlightening us with really great things for the holiday season! Now on to the grape leaves process! A special thanks to Mom, Dad, Austin, Cass, Abbey, Andrew and James for all their hard work in this crazy undertaking! (and for allowing me to photograph you every five seconds) ;) These are a LOT of work... but they are SO worth it in the end. I'm so thankful Tata always took the time to make these and show us how to do them just like she did. What an inspiration she was and still is to all of us.... Jesus, we are SO THANKFUL for Tata... THANK YOU!
 Prepping the ground beef! Add uncooked white rice, salt and pepper.
 Paper towels laid out for drying and prepping to roll.
 Rinsing the leaves of the brine they soak in.
 Hot husband and cousins helping.
 That's only half full!
 Salt and pepper each layer.
 Mom and James rolling away!
 Really, seriously... nothing's hotter than a man in the kitchen.

Doesn't this look so fun!? (i know right, some of you are thinking, "lady are you serious? no. not fun.") It really is! Especially if you can get the whole family in on it like we did! Why not try something totally different this year and give it a crack? If you only buy one jar of grape leaves it's not that daunting.... we just did SIX jars... because we're crazy! So don't see these photos and think it's a monster of a project. It's really great fun and the taste will actually blow your mind.... more to come tomorrow over at Naptime Diaries so if you need a little Thanksgiving inspiration, come on over! :)

Love you guys! ENJOY this time of preparation and good smelling treats wafting from your oven!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for posting - I thought all the Lebanese recipes passed with my Grandmother -I am so excited to try your family recipe!