Sorry for those of you who don’t celebrate Thanksgiving – but it’s one of my favorite holidays so excuse me while I celebrate :P I promise to return to regularly scheduled programming after the turkey and pumpkin coma has worn off!
As you may know by now…I love cheesecake. So I like to make it for pretty much every special occasion ever. Of course, not every occasion calls for just plain ol’ cheesecake, so for the holidays, I like to spice it up a little. That means, Thanksgiving = Pumpkin Cheesecake! My favorite recipe is one I cobbled together based off of a few other cheesecake recipes, for a final in a baking class in college (I got an A!).
No shots of this year’s cheesecake yet – it’s in the oven! But here’s last years. It wasn’t as pretty as usual because the top cracked on this one once it cooled :(
And, because I love you all, and I just know you’ll love this cheesecake like I do, I’ve decided to share the recipe with you! I even made a fun little recipe card for it last night, so all you have to do is: click the link below to download it, and then print it out on a blank 4×6 index card, and it’ll fit right into your recipe box at home.
Traditionally, everyone in my family gets together every year for Thanksgiving. Back when I was younger there was always a wave of aunts and uncles, great-aunts and great-uncles, cousins, sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents, and even friends arriving at the door – the house was always full of the sound of laugher and the delicious aroma of food in the oven.
These days, not much has changed, although our get togethers are a bit smaller than they used to be. My cousins live in California now, and both of my older brothers live in other states and have kids, which means it’s harder for them to travel and we don’t always get to see each other as much as we’d like. And unfortunately, this year my aunt on my mom’s side has to work on Black Friday, so she and my Uncle won’t be coming down to visit until Saturday. However, my little brother is finally done with college this year, so he gets to come home for Thanksgiving for the first time in three years! Also, my stepdad’s sister – my aunt Trish – who lives on the east coast is coming for the week! So although we’ll be missing a few familiar faces at our table this year, the house will still be filled with love and family.
A cornucopia and a buddha statue my brother brought back from Singapore
One thing I love to do on every Thanksgiving morning is curl up on the couch in my pjs to watch the Macy’s Day Parade. This is a new tradition for me, because it was never something that we did in my house growing up for some reason. But now I love to watch the floats and huge balloons sail by. If I have time, I also like to watch “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” but sometimes I save that for in the evening when I come home. By then it’s usually time to start getting ready – holidays are always special occasions in my family, so for as long as I can remember finding the right Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter outfit was important.
My family always gathers at my parent’s house, because my mom is the one who cooks the meal. Well, we all pitch in and help, of course! I’m in charge of the baking most years. Because I’m not feeling very well this year, I only made the pumpkin cheesecake (and the Jell-O), but other years I’ve made pumpkin pie and pecan pie as well! I LOVE to bake, although I tend to burn myself, and last year I sliced my hand open by grabbing a food processor blade that was hidden by pie dough…
We always have “appetizers” like veggies and dip, crackers, slices of pickle – and my favorite when I was younger – black olives! My cousin and I used to stick them on our fingers to eat and run around the house when we were little. The main meal is the same every year – the classics. Roast turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, rolls, and some sort of extra vegetable like salad. We also have our traditional Jell-O salad: orange Jell-O with mandarin oranges. My grandma made it every year when I was little, and now that she isn’t well enough to, I took over the duty. It just isn’t Thanksgiving (or Christmas) without Jell-O salad!
Our dinners are usually long, and we often sit around the table talking for hours. Eventually the first set of dishes gets cleared away and we bring out the pies…and continue talking. I feel very lucky that we all get along so well, and everyone enjoys each other’s company. You’ll never see a “traditional” Thanksgiving day fight between any of the relatives at our house!
Finally we all head home, full but happy, and I usually curl up in my pjs with a movie again until bedtime – when I go to sleep happily dreaming of eating that leftover piece of pumpkin pie for breakfast the next morning!
Care to share your favorite Thanksgiving dinner recipe? What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?