Saturday, November 28, 2015

Thanksgiving Dinner Cellar Style

Disclaimer:  None of the photographs in this blog post were taken by me.  When I tried taking pictures a few days before Thanksgiving, I realized no matter how many times I pressed the ON button it was not going to cooperate.  Consequently, I had to wait for my sister to arrive with her i-Phone.  I added a few shots taken by Jodie as well as a few from my niece, Stephanie.  These are my lifesaving photographers.

My daughter, Jodie
My niece, Stephanie
and my sister, Margaret.

If you follow this blog you know that my dining room table that seats twelve was replaced by one that barely seats six. I made a few attempts to sell the large table and chairs but it still remains in my basement.

Somewhere in late October I started thinking "family Thanksgiving" and decided it was probably going to be at my house this year.  Although having guests balance their loaded plates on their laps might have been a good you tube video, I decided my rugs might not recover.

The idea came to me to create some atmosphere in the basement where I could use the large table and easily fit in a couple smaller tables and even have a short one with child chairs for the kids.

I hung a candlelier from the rafters over the big table.

I scrounged up six extra chairs to make seating for twelve.

With this table and...

a round table for four, I could accommodate 16 adults.

 I scattered many more candles of various sizes around the area and added pine cones,

fall leaves and dried hydrangeas.

I knew preparing the food in my new kitchen would be a dream.  Guess I blocked out the fact that most of my seldom used pans and serving bowls are now stored in the basement.  So there were more than a few trips up and down the stairs.
 The pumpkin cheesecake pie went into the oven at 9 o'clock the night before.  Needless to say both Marg and I were pretty tired and incapable of converting ounces to cups by that time, so a little more pumpkin went into the mix than should have. We caught ourselves before we had to call it a total loss.

The cranberry part of the cranberry upside down cake.

Baked, covered and waiting for the ginger whipped cream topping.

You know the cook's worst fear:  running out of food.  Turns out one turkey would have been enough  but we avoided the other biggest fear:  NO LEFTOVERS!

The island from the old kitchen made a nice buffet table. Stephanie mixed up a great salad that contained sweet potatoes.  It's quite delicious so if you want the recipe  you will find it here.

The dessert table without the pie that was upstairs waiting for the meringue.

Jodie prepared our traditional cranberry salad as well as the gravy.

Therese made her great raisin stuffing, and Marg whipped up the corn casserole which had been tested and approved long ago.

Once all the food was carried down the stairs, the guests were led to the feast.

Gabriel brought his own straw just in case Grandma didn't have one.

The boys seemed to think eating in the cellar was a fine idea.  They had the run of the place and they took advantage of that.

Somewhere during dinner they both ended up at the big table.

Scott and Andy were content to have their own table.

The appetizers of goat cheese and roasted cranberries were pretty but they won't be a repeat recipe.

Since my red toile dishes didn't sell at my last garage sale, I decided to use them one more time before I put them on Craig's list.  Margaret was helping by making sure the table looked just so.  She noticed the price stickers on the bottom of the cups and thought I would be happy to have those removed.  Before she got too far removing stickers she mentioned it to me at which point I explained that I had researched each plate, cup and saucer to get the going price and those stickers were my only reference.
That got a good laugh when we retold the story during dinner.

PS: Somehow everyone missed getting a picture of John carving the turkey.  And by the end of the evening when he was lugging piles of dishes up the stairs, everyone had put their cameras aside for the night.  Thanks for your help, John.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Color Galore

I could not resist going for a walk through the neighborhood during the intermittent rain yesterday.

The colors were so beautiful in spite of two days of rainy weather.

It was such a joy to see the neighborhood dressed for the ball.

Because many leaves had fallen to the ground, the dark wet branches added definition and contrast to yellows,...

reds, ...

and oranges on display.

Even the more subtle brown and maroon shades were more vibrant.

Interesting architecture definitely provides another layer to an already picture perfect setting.

All of these pictures were taken within the fourteen blocks of Tower Grove Heights Neighborhood...

except for this one.  I shot this while standing within TGH but pointing the camera towards the next block.  I couldn't resist the orange porch.

I also could not resist showing the vines on my own residence.

I think a rain drop on the lens blurred this shot slightly.

Many of the trees are close to being bare but the dappling of color superimposed on the homes still dazzles.

 Seeing these pictures makes me want to go back out today looking for more.

Even the alleys provided some fantastic bursts of color.

I took too many pictures for one post, but I can't resist adding a few more.

Not the most artfully composed, but I actually took this shot because I loved seeing the contrast between the truck and the tree.

 The same tree taken from the other side of the truck.

This shot was taken while standing in my front doorway.

The same shot editing out the vehicles.

Of course, all those leaves will eventually end up on the ground and...

We all know what that means.  So when your back is aching from all that raking, look back at these pictures and remember the beauty.