The Reno Moms and I were chatting the other day about Thanksgiving traditions, either old or new, that makes Thanksgiving, well Thanksgiving for all of us. The mamas gave us a peek into the many traditions that make the day special. Feel free to share the special ways you and your families celebrate Thanksgiving Day in the comments.
Lynnette Bellin – I love Thanksgiving because it’s a day where I can focus on making one incredible meal, without the stress of Christmas (where there are presents and multiple meals to plan). That said, my husband hates turkey (eats it as lunch meat, but refuses to have it at our holiday table), so we usually do steak and scallops, with a pumpkin pie baked from fresh pumpkin. It has been our tradition to get in a few hours of skiing prior to dinner, and then we eat in our pjs. Nothing like eating off of the wedding China on a fancy tablecloth in our pjs!
Tracie Barnthouse – Mine is what’s lovingly referred to as “the pink stuff.” It’s made up of Cool Whip, a can of drained pineapple (not chunks), and a can of cherry pie filling. It’s not Thanksgiving without it on the table, and secretly (or maybe not so much now…), it’s my absolute favorite! Since we live out west and the rest of our family is in the midwest, you better believe I’ll be making it on my own this year!
Lindsey Sanford – We try one new recipe every year for Thanksgiving – some random recipe that we would never have thought to try before, just to keep it fresh. We also celebrate Thanksgiving on Friday instead of Thursday because my mum is a retired Emergency Room nurse and we never celebrated the holidays on the holidays.
Bethany Drysdale – I come from a family of bakers, so we always have a variety of pies at Thanksgiving. I think the pies are more important the turkey, actually. There’s always pumpkin, of course (with real whipped cream!), and apple, and pecan, and usually a wild card variety like mince or blackberry or banana cream. And there HAS to be leftover pumpkin pie for breakfast the next morning. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a slice of pumpkin pie for breakfast on Friday morning.
Mikalee Byerman – I don’t think we actually realized we had a traditional dish — until 2008, the year my mom decided to forgo her famous mashed potatoes for yams, and my children both burst into tears at the realization! So yeah, mashed potatoes are now on the table. Always. And we usually spend time decorating the house for Christmas, starting on Thanksgiving and lasting throughout the weekend. It’s a great family activity that we all enjoy, and considering my babies range in age from 3 to 17, it’s often hard to find a universally appealing activity!
Jessica Santina – I have cousins that live in Antelope Valley. On Thanksgiving every year, they do a big breakfast. No one ever really has breakfast plans on Thanksgiving, so it’s a way for all their friends and family to come out. They cook pancakes, eggs, and Butcher Boy bacon (to die for) on their big grill outside, they set up patio tables with butter and syrup, they serve hot cocoa, coffee, bloody marys…it’s awesome. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without it.
Jannine Wells – My mother in law and I are always Pinterestaholics (but who isn’t these days). Every year we pick a few new recipes to try with the entire family. Sometimes our recipes are delicious and sometimes just down right awful.
Shelle Murach – For many of us, Thanksgiving would not be Thanksgiving without a special dish on the table. In my husband’s family, it is an actual porcelain dish, that turkey-shaped gravy boat his mom hand painted back in the 80s has to be on the table next to a 1972-era electric bread warmer with a cord. She has been gone more many years, but she always still has a place at the Thanksgiving table. In my family, my brother insists on canned yams with mini marshmallows that he hand places, one by one, in a precise fashion so there are no gaps. And I should point out, my sister in law makes this amazing sweet potato soufflé with a praline topping that is so much better. But if that canned, syrupy sweet thing is not on the table, the muttering begins and increases in volume throughout the dinner into the next day. My favorite tradition is simple, it is eating leftover turkey with a little (or a lot of) Best Foods Mayonnaise over the sink with my husband at 11:30 pm Thanksgiving night as you quietly rejoice in the fact that we finished all the dishes.
Jamie Schnell – I think my favorite tradition is just that Thanksgiving has become the holiday we drag as many people together as possible. My mom, husband’s parents, my sister and any friends who don’t have a place to go 🙂 it’s a fairly traditional turkey dinner, but since my mom is an ER nurse sometimes it’s on Friday :). We always have pumpkin pie, my favorite, and I try to watch the parade and the original Miracle on 34th street. Sunday we decorate for Christmas and go to Polar Express.
Shontell Brewer – Every year, our entire family participates in a talent show. We spend the entire evening laughing and maybe even crying a little as we watch our kids grow up over the years. We all have some sort of talent. Our kids all find great ways to perform including singing or sweet dance moves that reminisce to better times of Napoleon Dynamite. Things like that. It’s a great way to celebrate them and show how thankful we are for one another.
Lauren Bradfield – When it comes to Thanksgiving, I am in charge of one main thing, the apple pie. Now, I don’t want to knock my savory cooking skills, but I really love baking my apple pie. I have been working on this recipe for 11 years now and I tinker with it a bit every year. The key is to forgo the traditional granny smith apples and use the sweeter apple like honeycrisp or pink ladies and sprinkle a tablespoon of lemon juice in your apple mixture, along with 1/4 tsp nutmeg. I also highly recommend peeling and cutting the apples in thin spirals, not usual slices, as the apples seem to cook more evenly this way. For the crust, I love a beautiful lattice. Make sure the water you use to combine with the flour is ice cold. It will not flake properly if it’s room temp (this is because the cold water prevents the fats from melting too soon). And if you’re brave, switch out the water for 80-proof alcohol like vodka. The alcohol limits the gluten production (this makes the dough tough) and the booze bakes off in the cooking, leaving you with a flaky, amazing crust!
Katie Coombs – In 1996, we started hosting Thanksgiving at our house finally giving my mom a break from a major holiday. My son, the first grandchild, was 6 months old. Today, the whole family has grown significantly and there are 11 grandchildren. Many years ago these cousins started weighing themselves before they ate and then after to see who could handle the most food. Even though the oldest is 20 and so many of them are teenagers, they all get excited about the contest and look forward to it every year. As an adult, it’s very entertaining to listen to the laughter and cheers coming from the bathroom as they declare a winner each year.
Now it is your turn, do you have a family tradition or are you starting one this year? Share it in the comments below.