Even though we were celebrating Thanksgiving far from home and our families again this year, we still hosted a small table filled with friends that have become like family here in Germany. That's one amazing thing about military life...at home and abroad. While you may not be able to share stuffing with your mom, dad, or crazy Aunt Phyllis, you do get to celebrate with your adoptive family, courtesy of the US Air Force. If I can't be with my real family during the holidays, I can't think of anyone else I'd rather be with. These friends are an extra special type of friend. Ones that have wiped tears through deployments & long TDYs, have rejoiced with you at homecomings, and have endured the same sacrifices as you've faced through the years. While they may not be blood, you create bonds that last a lifetime and move with you wherever the military sends you.
This was the first ever Thanksgiving dinner hosted at our place. After almost 7 years of marriage and homemaking, I'm almost ashamed to admit that! Needless to say, I'd been dying to host and cook a whole Thanksgiving feast all by myself, so this was the perfect opportunity to do just that. We have a small dining room (and tiny German oven!), so we could only invite a few of our dearest adoptive family members. I spent 2 weeks before the big feast planning the menu, shopping for fun tablescape decorations (I think I pulled off my rustic forest-inspired tablescape quite well--take that Sandra Lee!), and thinking up ways to make our guests feel special seeing as they were all celebrating far from home as well. D was a champ and helped wash dishes as I dirtied them up cooking and calmed my nerves when I started doubting my shaved brussels sprout salad. He made for an excellent sous chef...I think I'll keep him! :) From the second the turkey went in the oven until the moment it went into our bellies (well, not my belly, but you get the idea), everything went like clockwork. I've gotta give myself a major pat on the back for executing such a spread my first go-round! Here was what I cooked:
Cajun Roasted Turkey Breast w/Gravy
Honey Glazed Ham
Homemade Mac & Cheese
Sweet Potato Casserole
Fresh Cranberry Chutney
Homemade Dark & White Chocolate Caramel Apples
We also had Green Bean Casserole, Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, and an Apple Torte contributed by my sweet guests. To say were STUFFED would be a complete understatement! D and I munched on leftovers for 3 days after. Thanksgiving leftovers are the best kind of leftovers, I've decided. Turns out, this Thanksgiving feast thing isn't so hard. I can only imagine the feast I could put together with an American sized kitchen! Add that to the list of pros for moving back stateside next year! Suffice it to say, this Thanksgiving abroad was pretty darn wonderful. Our table, bellies, and hearts were full that day and I'm so thankful to have been able to host this year.
Next year, though, I'll leave the cooking to my mom and MIL. ;)
Tell me...how was your Turkey Day this year?