No matter what time we would arrive, Jeff's parents would quietly welcome us into their home. Being an ever growing family we would break the stillness with lots of love, hugs and chatter! My heart is full of happiness and love thinking about these special memories. A few tears too!
Jeff's Mom is a wonderful cook. She would always have something delish waiting to fill bellies after the long drive to get there. It was only 3 hours but the last 30 minutes makes it seem like hours more due to the anticipation. Her cooking is always with beauty to the eyes as well to the belly. She never makes crazy over the top meals or dishes. Instead they are simple and yummy: Baked apples, pasta salad, fruit salad made with real whipping creme, bread pudding, beef stew and list goes on. I loved being a fly on the wall while she cooked.
Her Thanksgiving dinners were always beautiful. She would awake at dawn at start the turkey baking next the potatoes peeled resting in water, and cranberries simmering on the stove, all before anyone was awake. My Mother in law would spoil us by purchasing baked goods from ladies of the library bake sale the previous week, There would be pumpkin, cranberry, blueberry breads and muffins to name a few. If the weather was remotely warm, the children would be out the door exploring the farm for the next few hours. We never needed to worry about them but we always made sure they wore something bright just in case because it was hunting season in West Virginia.
Meanwhile, the table was set and the remainder of dishes prepared. We always ate early about 3pm. That way we could enjoy the meal, sleep of the carbs in a heavenly nap only to eat again about 7pm. Following dinner we would drive into Lewisburg watch the latest family movie and call it a night.
I love my sister in law Sherry. Her Thanksgiving day after breakfast is two slivers of pie, pumpkin and peacan respectfully, and a diet coke! To this day I can see her having a love fest! After breakfast we would pile in our cars and head to the Mennonite Bakery and the Cheese and More Store. We would select goodies to be given as gifts and for ourselves. Oh my golly I can taste the Farmer Cheese: milky, light and full of goodness!
Next it would be off to shop at the stores of Lewisburg. The town would be completely decked out to the nine with Christmas decorations. Certainly put you in the spirit if it was lacking! We would finally head back to the farm starving and cold. We were never disappointed with the amount of warmth, love, and food as we arrived back. On Sunday afternoon we would begrudgingly pack our cars and head back to reality. Our spirits renewed, our bellies on over load, and memories to last more than a life time.
I am wishing for you this holiday season the spirit of the holidays to bring you joy, the gathering of friends to bring you happiness and the love of God to surround you bringing you peace,
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
4 C sweet potatoes, cubed
1/2 C white sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 C milk, I use almond milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C brown Sugar
1/3 C brown rice flour
3 Tbsp Earth Balance. softened
1 C chopped pecans