So I gave up my weightloss goal, right? Perfectly timed RIGHT BEFORE THANKSGIVING, right??? Yeah. Exactly. Oh, and what did I volunteer to do? Yeah. Make dessert. Go ahead and guess what happened? Yup. I made two. Two delicious cheesecakes after I made cheesecake just LAST WEEK for the guy who's helping put back together my engine. (Oh, did I mention I blew up my car? No? Another post then, promise!) And not just ANY cheesecake. One Paula Deen recipe. You ever notice that all of her recipes (and The Barefoot Contessa's) usually include four sticks of butter? Yeah. But damn, it was delicious. But how could Apple Pie Cheesecake NOT be delicious? I mean, seriously, go ahead and read that again without drooling: APPLE PIE CHEESECAKE. See?
The second cheesecake? Pumpkin, also a tribute to the traditional desserts. I figured I couldn't get too out-of-the-box here, being a Traditional holiday, and all. Sometimes it's better not to mess around with a proven thing. Which is probably why we always have turkey... Dressing/stuffing directly from the bird? How could it be any better?
My mother-in-law did a great job as always, especially considering her normal partner-in-crime went to California this year to spend the holiday with her kids. But I think my favorite part is always the stuffing from the bird. I really wonder why it's called dressing in some areas. Especially since it's never really on the OUTSIDE of the bird. But it's still delicious, no matter what you call it. My family always have a HUGE get-together way out in the woods on the family property. Somewhere between forty and sixty people usually show up, which means it ends up like your wedding day: you see about five minutes of everyone, but never actually get to just hang out and spend quality time. My in-laws, on the other hand, spend the whole holiday (all four days, not just the three hours before and after the meal, together, and all in one house, so it's really nice and cozy.
The downside of Thanksgiving for me: it's in Iowa. And Iowa, if you have never been there, usually looks like how I imagine the tundra of Alaska: completely frozen solid and covered in white stuff. (Fact: when we returned to their house after visiting relatives in Missouri, the top of the Jeep's hood scraped along a wall of snow, and my father-in-law actually said, "WOW. We hardly got any snow at all!") Not that I have anything against snow. In fact, snow is pretty cool itself, especially since, being from the South, we don't get a lot. But it's still freezing, and the wind is pretty vicious. The few times I've been here in summer, it was like a wind tunnel, and it never let up.
However this year, my in-laws installed a hot tub. A FREAKING HOT TUB WITH MASSAGE JETS!!! It's the most wonderful thing ever. It even has massage jets for your feet. So the last few nights, I've spent outside in the thirty-degree night (fairly warm for Iowa at this time of year, honestly) sitting in the dark in the steamy hot water up to my nose, staring up at the stars while the steam billows up into these columns above my head, then disappears into the night sky. It's amazingly calming. The jets are so strong I have to wedge myself into the seat so I don't get shot out across the tub. And I don't have to badger anyone to rub my neck or shoulders or back or anything, and I even get that weird little place just above my tailbone massaged. Again: freaking fantastic. The really interesting part: the deck on the way to the hot tub was covered in ice from where we had gotten water on it, making the trip into the hot tub just a little thrilling.
But yeah, so Thanksgiving Dinner (turkey + stuffing + gravy + rolls + mashed potatoes + corn + sweet potatoes) plus Beer plus Wine plus Dessert (Cheesecake*2) plus HOT TUB = Three Day Coma. This year, Thanksgiving has been really stupendous. We can definitely make this a repeat experience.