I am thankful for many things

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We Three Amigos had a wonderful Thanksgiving day yesterday.  We got up early and went for a hike first thing–Hubby even postponed his coffee until after the hike.  Miracles do happen!  We got 6 inches of snow the day before, so we were all looking forward to hiking in a winter wonderland.  It was cold at the house when we left, but as we gained a little elevation, it suddenly became very warm.  We had been under an inversion and we broke out of it a few hundred feet above our house.  Having lived in the Intermountain West for a good part of my adult life, I’m used to inversions.  Usually they are associated with poor air quality in the valleys, as warm air sits atop and traps the colder air…and all the wood smoke and other pollution associated with urban areas.  And when under an inversion in the valley, if you gain a little elevation (like heading to the ski hill), you can watch the temperature climb on your car dashboard thermometer with each mile traveled.  But yesterday it was like hitting a wall of warm air.  I’ve never experienced that before, and it was pretty impressive.  The trail conditions changed from packed snow to slush, snow had already melted off the tree branches and what was left was continuing to fall as heavy, wet clumps that, when they hit you in the head, can be quite a wake up call!  The Stinker ran along scooping up snow to eat as she ran down the trail, happy as she could possibly be.  She loves the snow.  Despite some slush on the trail, we had a beautiful hike and it set the mood for the rest of our relaxed day at home–content and happy.  Every time we are out on a hike (daily) Hubby and I comment to each other how lucky we are to live so close to the trails and how grateful we are to live in such a beautiful place.  Having this trail system so close to town has made such a huge positive impact on all of our lives.

When we got home, I had plenty of work to do in the kitchen, but since it was just the 3 of us this year, there was no hurry or rush to accomplish food prep.  So lovely!  Hubby was in charge of the Dutch oven chicken–we decided to do chicken instead of turkey because I bought 5 locally raised chickens from the CSA a few weeks ago and, along with all the pork from the locally raised hog, we didn’t see the need to buy a turkey when a chicken would do just fine for our small party on Thanksgiving.  Hubby found a rub recipe for the chicken, so I mixed the herbs and spices together and he rubbed it under the skin.  I chopped an apple into quarters, peeled a few cloves of garlic, and we stuffed those, along with some whole sage leaves, into the cavity.  The rub was a dandy!  Here’s the recipe:

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 teaspoon rubbed sage

1 teaspoon rosemary

1 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

After rubbing down the bird and stuffing the cavity, Hubby combined 2 tablespoons melted butter, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 1/4 cup vegetable broth, which he poured in the bottom of the Dutch oven and brushed a little on top of the chicken.  Then he took it outside and put the charcoal briquettes on it to cook it.  Not everyone cooks their Thanksgiving meal on their front stoop!  It was very windy yesterday, so Hubby improvised a wind shield out of the snow shovel:

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We let it cook for about 2 hours, and he changed out the briquettes 3 times.  And oh, what a delicious-looking bird emerged 2 hours later!  In addition to Dutch oven chicken, we had a dried cherry-cranberry sauce (probably the best I’ve ever eaten), sweet potato casserole with praline topping, mashed potatoes with gravy made from the chicken drippings, apple sausage stuffing (which was really more like a bread pudding), Thanksgiving herb rolls (these taste like stuffing), and skillet corn.  Everything went so well together except the corn.  I should have just cooked it in the skillet with salt and butter, but instead I used chipotle cilantro butter.  It just didn’t fit well with everything else.  Duh.  I knew better, but I did it anyway.  I guess I can’t always win them all.  Oh well, it was still good and I’ll use the leftover corn to make a southwestern-style soup, fajitas, or corn pancakes.

Here’s a peek at some of our food fare (clockwise from top left): Dutch oven chicken, dried cherry-cranberry sauce, sweet potato casserole with praline topping, and apple sausage stuffing.

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We ate enough, but didn’t over do it.  When Hubby and I were first dating, many years ago, we had Thanksgiving with his family.  After eating, we went for a walk in a nearby park.  Hubby ate so much food that he had to lay down under a tree, he was so miserable.  So I was surprised (and proud) when Hubby ate a modest amount of food yesterday.

I am so thankful for so many things in my life: Hubby and Stinker top my list.  Hubby because he is my best friend–we laugh so much and support each other’s hopes and dreams.  Stinker because she has brought so much joy and laughter to our lives, and she also keeps us active and young at heart.  I’m thankful for my supportive family (though I’m also incredibly grateful they live nearly 2,000 miles away.  Is that too mean?  Well, I’m sure some of you know what it’s like to have family that drives you crazy.  Anyway, it’s said now and this is my unabashed take on life, after all.).  I’m thankful that I have space for a garden because I’m so passionate about growing plants.  I’m also thankful (as is Hubby) that I love to cook.  I’m grateful that I have access to delicious, locally grown organic foods.  I’m thankful for the job I have that affords me the money for all that I have.  And I’m thankful that I have the freedom to do many of the things I have done in my life: receive an education, drive a car, travel alone, read any book I choose, have (spare time and spare income for) hobbies.  The list goes on and on.  I hope you are as fortunate as I am to live a content and comfortable life.

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