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Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving’ Category

The Thanksgiving holiday brings about many opportunities for epic proportions of everything.

First comes the Thanksgiving feast. Massive turkey combined with plates and plates of carb-laden potatoes, stuffing and other side dishes followed by a row of pies in nearly every flavor, results in even a Jack Sprat-like family feeling obese at the end of the day.

Black Friday provides shoppers with the “biggest shopping day of the year.” Consumers camp out overnight at their local Best Buy store so they can trample employees in a mad rush to buy the specially-marked-down Bette Midler Christmas CD…errrrr…something like that.

On Friday night, more crowds to elbow in order to snap up tickets for an epic movie. This year’s offering, “Australia,” with Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman. With at least three movies within the movie, the two hour, 45-minute production included far too many slo-mo shots of a shirtless Jackman. But the sell-out audience didn’t mind the cliches and obviousity of the epic film complete with happy ending. What would you expect?!

The gynormous weekend activities continue. Twelve-foot-tall Christmas trees lashed to the tops of Toyota Priuses; massive front-yard light displays; and miles and miles of gift wrap in order to make those purchases from Black Friday look presentable under the tree.

It’s appropriate, then, we get Thursday through Sunday to eat, shop, sleep, eat, queue in check-out and ticket lines, eat, sleep and decorate for the next major holiday. What better way to start celebrating the Holiday Season?

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Giving Thanks

Today at the dinner table, I’ll sit with my two kids for a brief dinner that I worked all morning to prepare. And that’s OK, because that’s how life is and while I’m separated by 700 miles from the rest of my immediate family, I’ll give quiet thanks for:

My two kids. They mean the world to me and I’d do anything for them…anything. They’re in their teens already and soon one will be in college. In a matter of just a few years they’ll both be “just visiting” on Thanksgiving, engaged in life full-on.

A good job. After 15 years in journalism and PR, I’ve spent the last two years with the company I feel I’m destined to be serving. This company does more good for people than I can possibly explain. In fact, every five seconds, someone’s life is saved or improved through the technologies my company provides. It’s a pleasure to have a career with Medtronic.

Health. I’m 42, and my doc tells me I’m in good shape. I completed a sprint triathlon earlier this year and plan to do it again in 2008.

Friends. You know who you are. From co-workers to those “in the city,” to friends I’ve met through this blog, I’m grateful to all of you and hope I’ve brought a few smiles to your faces.

Seasons. Living in the ‘burbs of Minneapolis means all four seasons strike at the appropriate times of the year. While summer and fall are my faves, the first snowfall (which is happening as I write this) makes me all warm and tingly inside.

Words. Writing is my life. Thanks to all the words that flood my noggin and exit my fingertips.

Freedom. Many will argue that our rights in the U.S. are slipping away. Well folks, we still live in a country founded on freedom and while the definition of the term may shift and change because of world events, how we embrace freedom is up to us…not the government. Have faith in our history and our foundation.

Music. Egads! Imagine life without your favorite musician. Artists like David Gray, Bonnie Raitt, the Dave Matthews Band, and a plethora of emerging indie artists make life so very much better.

Cycling. I think because of the Minnesota winters that last and last, I’ve come to appreciate my cycling habit all the more. Each March/April when the bike comes of the trainer and hits hard pavement again, is just like riding for the first time all over again – except I have the balance thing figured out already.

Coffee. A guilty pleasure, try as I have in the past to decaffeinate myself. But I’m through with those silly notions.  My occasional skim vanilla latte and low-fat scone is not gonna kill me. On other days a nice dark roast (Xs two or three) does much more than get me through a busy morning.

Movies.  Last night “Van Helsing,” at the request of my son, and today I’m watching “Bullitt” with Steve McQueen. In fact the famous car chase through San Francisco is just getting started. What better way to entertain ourselves on a holiday weekend?

There are many other things I’m thankful for in life. I’ve had conversations with a very wise woman about the simple pleasures that make life better. Quiet weekend mornings, a nap, a good book, security in the fact that you’re in charge of the day. These are things I’m grateful for – and not just today, but every day.

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Happy Thanksgiving Day

To my readers:

Happy Thanksgiving Day, everyone (a wee bit early)!

I know most of you don’t leave comments and I’m cool with that. I’m just happy to have the regs stopping by and enjoying the posts that bring life to “Views from Minnesota.” The past couple days have been some of the “most visited” days recorded on this little blog, and for that I’m very grateful. Seems the interest in the Cities 97 Sampler and the “Hallelujah” tune from Ms. Carlile are quite popular.  In just a few months of blogging this Interweb site is well into the five figures for visitors.

Many more posts to come.

Thanks again for the support and occasional comments.

Enjoy the extra doses of tryptophan on Thursday (they say you’ll eat 5,000 calories when you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner – that’s a whole pound-and-a-half of food!). Kinda makes you want to go for a brisk walk, doesn’t it.

Cheers!

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In my bank of childhood memories, the Thanksgiving holiday stands out big time. My very-middle-class roots found me living in a five-bedroom house – we had a formal dining room, a front entry that seemed gynormous, and lots of space to entertain. With grandparents living just three houses away and a Dad who owned a popular business in the little community, our home saw a lot of visitor traffic throughout the year.

Thanksgiving was no different. Mom worked the kitchen all week making pies and dinner rolls, prepping the big bird so it would be just right for roasting on Thursday morning. She did it with the my Grandma’s help, and between the two of them they could make shit on a breadcrumb seem like a five-star restaurant’s main course.

That was 30 years ago.

This year, on Thursday, I’ll prepare turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and some kind of green veggie. Heck, I’ll even make pie for the kids and myself. But thanks to the miracle of food science, the job has become a lot easier than when my mom and Grandma made it all from scratch.

Let’s take gravy as one example. While I can make a mean batch of mashed potatoes, I suck at making gravy – probably because I only attempt it once or BM Gravytwice a year. But now I never have to make gravy the old-fashioned way again, because the gravy gods have learned they can become zillionaires by bottling their own recipe.

Get over yourself thinking it’s just WRONG to buy gravy in a bottle. The trick is finding the one that doesn’t taste too salty, won’t spoon gloppy and looks appetizing in your fancy gravy bowl. Boston Market’s Roasted Turkey Gravy is the answer. It tastes like the gravy Grandma made – from real turkey drippings – plus it has a nice oniony flavor that goes great over both the spuds and the carved turkey.Dinner rolls

The Pillsbury Doughboy ain’t got nuttin’ on mom’s homemade dinner rolls. But if mom no longer fusses in the kitchen, or lives 700 miles away, you can still enjoy great tasting rolls. Alexia French Rolls taste just like a bakery’s — crusty on the outside, doughy on the inside. Add a little REAL butter and you’ll think Mom was hiding out in the kitchen.

Many good-intentioned people get caught up in how to fry the turkey on the stove or use the toaster to melt marshmallows for the candied yams. My best advice to you (and you know who you are) is to call your local specialty grocer and inquire about a complete Thanksgiving dinner delivered right to your door.

Here in Minneapolis, Lunds/Byerlys, Kowalskis, and heck, even Cub Foods, offer complete meals to serve up to 12 people for between $59 and $99. It’s cheaper than taking your clan out to Old Country Buffett and the only think you’ll have to do is set the table and wash the dishes.

Sounds like a way to enjoy the holiday and really be thankful!

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