The Gobbler.

This time of year, multi-tasking is KEY.

That’s why the title of this post is so awesome. It describes three things! I’ll fill you in on them while I tell you about my fun weekend.

Despite loads of traveling and a crazy-busy life these days, John and I knew we’d be spending the majority of the holidays together at home, as newlyweds. So we packed up the family wagon and headed to Durango to spend Turkey Day with my folks.

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Yes, my 50-pound un-puppy rides in my lap most of the time. I’m a sucker.

I love the saying, “Home is where your Mom is.” It always feels the most true on a holiday. The food, the process, the traditions, the aromas wafting from the kitchen…nostalgia kicks in and suddenly, everyone is smiling.

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Maybe it’s the Bloody Maries.

Thanksgiving in our family means a lot of eating, drinking, and football. Every year, we’ll toss in a couple of new and interesting recipes, but we really don’t veer far from the same stuff every year. (It ain’t broke, people. DON’T MESS IT UP.) When it comes to snacking, we munch on a few favorites that probably grace the coffee tables of homes all across America on Thanksgiving: Mom’s homemade salsa and guacamole, Piggies in Blankies made with ‘Lil Smokies, and my addiction favorite, deviled eggs.

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Durango’s weather was glorious this weekend, and though some snow would have added to the holiday feel, Cholula had a ball in Grandma’s big yard! The humans alternated between feast-prep and chillaxing in front of the game.

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The anticipation of an epic meal like Thanksgiving dinner is intense. Every member of the family hovers around the oven, peering at The Bird. After hours of waiting, basting, prepping, suddenly it’s time for the big reveal, the moment of truth- the turkey is done.  Couch potatoes leap to their feet, suddenly freed from their appetizer comas, licking their lips like Pavlov’s dog and snapping photos like paparazzi stalking a celebrity. That dining room table better be set, because after some skillful work with the electric knife and some gravy-making magic, IT’S ON.

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During the Ooooooh-ing and Ahhhhhh-ing over the turkey, Cholula took one look at the coffee table’s appetizer selection, now unattended, and recognized a window of unparalleled opportunity. She took down all but one of the pastry-wrapped ‘Lil Smokies and was finishing up a large-ish bowl of Ranch dressing, her wide eyes looking ahead to a tempting bowl of Fritos, when we caught her.

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BUSTED. Look at her, ears back in shame but licking Ranch dressing off of her lips! New nickname: The Gobbler.

Too bad they don’t make Pepto Bismol for dogs.

The humans enjoyed quite a delectable feast, as well. My mom made homemade cranberry sauce this year (YUM), and John made one of his family favorites- a tasty wild rice dish with shitake mushrooms, fennel, apple, and Italian sausage.

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Turkey bird, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, peas, dilled cucumbers, dinner rolls…I think we counted NINE different dishes with which to fill our tummies. Overkill? Maybe. Fabulous? FOR SURE. Take a gander at my plate.

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All of that plus mini bourbon pecan tartlets and Mom’s pumpkin pie? Go ahead: call me The Gobbler.

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(Mom, why does my tummy hurt?)

Residual tryptophan effects made Friday morning pretty lazy. There may or may not have been mimosas involved. John and I decided to take advantage of the stellar weather and go play, so we took Cholula and headed to Hermosa Creek Trail.

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It felt more like September than almost-December, except for that distinct chill we felt in the shade of the pine trees. What a day! We attempted a family photo (fail) before heading back home in time to catch a matinee of Lincoln with my folks.

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After the movie, we pulled out the leftovers for dinner. My mom had been thinking we could make turkey pot pies- YUM– but the mashed potatoes made me think of a Shepherd’s Pie. Brilliant! We layered the goods in individual pie pans- gravy, chopped turkey, green beans, peas, wild rice, stuffing, another key layer of gravy, and topped it all with mashed potatoes. John opted for a generous helping of cheddar cheese, too.

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After a stint in the oven to melt the cheese and brown up the taters, we served the pies with cranberries and dilled cucumbers on the side.

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Best. Leftovers. Ever.

Turkey Shepherd’s Pie, I dub thee: The Gobbler. That’s three, folks!

We ended another great day in front of the fire, my lap full of furry beasts. Heaven.

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On Saturday, John and I spent time with friends who live in Durango. He hit the biking trails with Cordell and explored Twin Buttes while I had a brunch date with Sarah and Little Miss Macy.

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It’s hard to have a bad day when she’s your companion. We strolled the ‘hood with the dogs and enjoyed the sunshine. I may have mentioned that I love Durango once. Maybe twice.

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We started our last evening in Durango with more dear friends- happy hour at Liz and Roland’s home. Then John, Cordell, Sarah and I went out to a super-fun meal that started with lobster “corndogs” (true story) and ended with doughnuts. (Who cares what came in between?)

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We packed up the next morning with a cooler full of leftovers and one of Mom’s perfect egg sandwiches, to go. We talked about what a wonderful weekend it had been, filled with food and family and friends- all of the things one wants during the holidays. We reflected on how lucky we are to get to visit Durango so often, to have my family so close. As Cholula settled in for seven hours in my lap, we laughed at the events of the last few days and looked forward to not doing anything for a couple of months.

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We picked up a pizza on our way into town and pulled into the driveway just in time for Sunday Night Football. A glass of wine, slippers in front of the fire…

Home feels good. 

32 replies »

  1. The food… oh the food! It looks like you had quite the holiday down here in DURANGO! The weather has been so incredible this fall, we still can’t believe it’s nearly December. I love the new hair and hope you enjoy your time settling into home as newlyweds 🙂

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