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My First Turkey-Free Turkey Day.

Posted Nov 27 2009 12:00am

I got to Indianapolis Wednesday afternoon just as Casey’s plane landed – perfect timing!  Having spent almost an entire week apart, I was beyond excited to see him.  I picked him up and headed to Tina and Eddie’s (Casey’s parents) for Thanksgiving visits – round two!  We haven’t been back to Indy since Labor Day, so we were greeted with warm welcomes from Tina and Eddie, and of course Buggie and Ruthie…

November 490    November 492

It is such a change to go from my mom’s house of a million cats and little yappy Bosley, to Indianapolis, home of the 100+ pound German Shepherd and Rottweiler!  For anyone who says they are scared of big dogs, or thinks certain breeds of dogs (errr, such as these…) are dangerous or scary, I personally invite you to the Malone house.  You will never meet two bigger (literally) babies in your life – such sweeties!

Things to be grateful for – a week-long pass to Tina and Eddie’s gym in Indianapolis – THANK YOU!  I would have felt like such a lazy lump if I had been here for four days with no workouts.  In Cincinnati, I’ve run the Thanksgiving Day 10k every year (as evidenced by my festive shirt!), so since we were in Indy this year, we headed to the gym to create out own pre-feast workout. 

November 495

I felt soooo much better after a good long weight set and 45 minutes in the elliptical.  We were ready to head home and get our cook on!  After going over the menu the night before, I realized there was no cranberry dish, so I offered to make one (since cranberries are my favorite!).  I browsed the blog world for a few minutes, and decided that Meghann’s   cranberry sauce looked good, so I used the same recipe – Apple Orange Cranberry Sauce from Williams-Sonoma .  Thank you, Meghann – it turned out DELICIOUS!

November 496    November 544

Meanwhile, my mom and Sarah arrived to join the fun!  Next up was the Apple Cornbread Stuffing – yum!  I told Tina I would prep everything and get it ready for her, so I chopped and mixed while Casey  made yummy guacamole for lunchtime snacking. 

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Tina found these fabulous turkey molds that she used to make some of the best cornbread I have ever had – so so good! 

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Ruthie was excited by all the activity in the house.  She was literally smiling from ear to ear! 

November 508

I was smiling too – so grateful to have my most cherished loved ones around me for such a fun day.  I was totally spoiled this Thanksgiving, and got to have BOTH of my amazing families all together for the holiday.  My family is so small, and I am lucky enough that they will travel near and far so that we can all be together as much as possible. 

November 512

I’m sure a lot of people feel this way, but I truly feel like I am one of the luckiest people in the world.  I have a family of my own that couldn’t be closer (we missed you Rebecca!!).  A little sister who, despite being born almost exactly TEN years apart, we might as well be separated at birth.  A mom who would do anything for her daughters.  A wonderful new (ish) husband who I am thankful for each and every day. 

And as if that wasn’t enough – I married into a second family that I feel more connected to and part of than I ever thought possible.  Mom, dad, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins – they have all made me feel so at home and welcome in their family, and I cherish every minute we all get to be together.  Truly, the best of both worlds. 

Since we couldn’t all be together to give thanks, we sent lots of love and happy thoughts down to the big group in Atlanta, and to Kirt and Katie all the way down in Florida!

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Back to our eats – Casey and I made an experimental vegetarian gravy (which turned out great!), and Tina whipped homemade whipped cream for the pies.

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Sarah growled at me for taking so many pictures, and the turkey was finally done (and beautiful!) after being cooked on the grill all day long.  While I didn’t partake in any bird myself, it smelled amazing and smoky from the grill, and the group gave the grilled turkey two big thumbs up.

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Ruthie rolled around as if she was a tiny dog, trying to get her belly rubbed…

November 534

But we were all way to distracted with FOOD!  Here’s our dessert spread set out on the buffet – chocolate “tunnel of fudge” bundt cake, homemade apple pie, and classic pumpkin pie.  YUM!  The apple-cornbread stuffing turned out delicious too – definitely my favorite dish of the evening, and a recipe to be saved for years to come. 

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The vegetarian carved the turkey (!), and Jacque and Bob arrived for dinner! 

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It was funny how many people asked me “what are you going to eat this Thanksgiving now that you don’t eat meat?” – really??  Does anyone really look forward to the turkey most?  For me it’s always been about pie and mashed potatoes!  We were ready to eat…  So many delicious dishes, a table filled with friends and family, and a cornbread turkey centerpiece – what more do you need?

November 552

This year I am thankful for so many things.  Most of all, I am thankful for the opportunity to come home to my two favorite places and relax for an entire week, and be surrounded by the people I love most.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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