Four days of bliss. Never have I had such an enjoyable holiday weekend. This year’s Thanksgiving was four days of laid back family time and beautiful weather. We rode our bikes. Went Black Friday shopping. Painted bird houses. Ate two Thanksgiving dinners. Stayed up late baking pies and painting toes. Stained the porch. Slept in. Visited extended family. Watched Baby Einstein’s Baby Santa 20 times. And oh yes, ate lots and lots of pie.
In years past, we were too far from home to go somewhere so I would be busy all day cleaning and preparing every food item. By the end of the day I’d be exhausted and left staring at a huge clean up mess. For me, subconsciously, Thanksgiving was characterized by work.
But this was the year we moved back to my home town and we got to go to Thanksgiving. (Where Esther discovered the quintessential “grumpy cat” kitten and begged me to adopt it.) This year we were not hosting so my kitchen/cleaning time was minimal and I loved every extra minute with my family. I’m realizing only now how I craved this.
Obviously there are expectations for Thanksgiving. Like Turkey. And the fact that said turkey needs gravy. Pumpkin pie is another staple. Cranberry sauce. Delicious.
Yet – not worth stealing my joy. Had I realized this two years or more ago, I would have made a Turkey and a pie and ordered the rest from the grocery store. These years are so precious. Let’s not waste this gift of fleeting family time for the sake of expectations. Enjoy it. Embrace these years that go by like a blur. Cherish the snuggles and time with your family. We need downtime. That’s what holidays are for.
Pray for them
These last several months I have been seeking out God’s love and how it applies to our lives. How we express God’s love toward others, especially when it is a difficult person to love. I have seen that even in our sin, God is faithful. His love is steadfast. His promises are true. He is gracious and compassionate. Slow to anger and abounding in love.
Father, “Let your steadfast love come to [Name], O LORD, your salvation according to your promise; then shall [Name] have an answer for him who taunts [him/her], for [he/she] trust[s] in your Word.” In the name of Jesus I pray, amen. – Psalm 119:41-42
Maple Pecan Baked Brie
When it comes to Christmas recipes I largely pull from the wisdom of my other kitchen colleagues. Here is a favorite of mine that is always just so good during Christmas.
- 1 Large Sheet of Puff Pastry
- 1 8 oz Wheel of Brie (with rind)
- 1 Egg
- 1 Tbs Water
- 1/4 cup pumpkin
- 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
- 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Spice
- 2 Tbs Butter
- pinch of Salt
- 1/2 cup Chopped Pecans
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Shave the rind off the top of the brie so the pastry sticks to the cheese once it is baked. Roll out the thawed puff pastry on a lightly dusted surface until it is about a 10 inch square.
Prepare the maple sauce by combining pumpkin, maple syrup, spice, butter and salt in a saucepan and simmering until thickened (about 8 minutes).
Whisk egg and water until smooth. Place the brie wheel into the center of pastry and brush pastry edges with egg. Pour a third of the prepared maple sauce over the brie and sprinkle a pinch of the pecans on top. Pull edges of pastry up over the brie and pinch together until it sticks. Brush pastry sides with egg.
Set the brie pastry in a parchment lined baking dish with sides. Bake for 10 minutes. Top pastry with remaining chopped pecans and pour the rest of the maple sauce over the pastry. Bake for another 10 minutes until the pastry crust is golden brown. Serve hot with crackers and sliced apples.
Note: Don’t cover baked brie when it is hot or the puff pastry will become soggy.