Dancing outside my comfort zone

For nearly three decades, my daughters and I have been creating our own family traditions.

Some of those traditions, like teaching little girls to make Snickerdoodles or read favorite books came from previous generations, but most of the ones we enjoy every year started within our own nuclear family.

Thanksgiving time is the start of the bulk of our family traditions, beginning with an enormous turkey and a vat of mashed potatoes to ensure leftovers for everyone. Over the years, homemade cranberry sauce and a completely scratch cooked meal have topped our list of favorites, and my daughter and I look forward to the creating every year. But still, the meal evolves. This year, for instance, we added shredded carrots to the stuffing and Heather used fresh pumpkin for the pumpkin cheesecake. She also did a lot more of the chopping and we finished the stuffing in record time thanks to skills she’s acquired in her Culinary Arts classes. We also made a wonderful butternut squash side dish so as not to waste some of the bounty in my Harvest Box. It may just be a do over for next year, it was so good (garlic olive oil notwithstanding).

But my most favorite of all is the annual post-Thanksgiving turkey soup. Clearly, Heather agrees as last year she decided that my soup pot wasn’t big enough and got me a Tamale pot to use this year. To say I ended up with enough turkey stock to feed my son-in-law’s entire ship is only a slight exaggeration, but my freezer has plenty of space, so I’ll have stock for various purposes for a few months after the actual soup is gone! (that is assuming Heather doesn’t steal it for her own cooking extravaganzas!)Turkey Soup 2014

When all was said and done, I had this much stock to work with. I used the whole green bowl and part of the yellow bowl to make my huge pot of soup. Turkey Stock

Eventually, it all consolidated down into a big bowl for me to eat this week. Turkey soup for me 2014

And a freezer full of stock and soup to either share or save until I’ve used up what I left in the refrigerator. Turkey soup and stock to share and save  2014

Combined with all of the other cooking I’ve been doing, my freezer now looks like I’m ready for either a siege or a blizzard, neither of which is likely to occur. I sure won’t have any reason to complain that I’m lacking soup this winter, and as we have a week of rain scheduled (yes, Virginia, it does rain in Southern California) I have plenty of warm, hearty vittles to fill my belly!

I know, I know. The topic of this post was Traditions, and I really will get back there, I promise. But I’ve also gotten in the habit of sharing my mega cooking antics, so the annual turkey soup endeavor had to be included.

Tradition: whether passed down for generations or created anew, they are made with love and are the glue which binds us together.

Truth be told, this soup making has become almost as big a part of our family Thanksgiving as preparing and sharing the meal itself. Sometimes I think my daughter looks forward to the soup even more than the turkey (though I know better as that child really loves her turkey!). Even now that she lives a bit of a distance away, I’ve set aside a large container of soup and another of stock for her to retrieve when next she visits. I might as well earmark some for her as I know she won’t leave here empty handed anyway!

I’d love to hear about some of your Thanksgiving traditions. Did they come from your family or have you created them yourself? I’m limiting this one to Thanksgiving as I know we’ll have tons to talk about when we start talking Christmas and Chanukah.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for Traditions, both old and new.
2. I am grateful for a well-stocked freezer to get me through the chilly winter months.
3. I am grateful for family, both blood and adopted. Without them, nothing really matters.
4. I am grateful that the Great Turkey Soup Caper of 2014 has wound to a close with everything safely stowed away until needed.
5. I am grateful for abundance: Turkey Soup, friendship, traditions, love, camaraderie, blessings, hope, faith, joy, commitment, happiness, harmony, peace, health and prosperity.

Namaste

And now for some shameless self-promotion:
I’d love it if you’d visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel. I’ve created this page as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” it or leave a comment! Thank you!

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