Helloooo December and good riddance November.  November was as November typically is for me, ugly and cold, but hey! at least it’s over now and we’re fast approaching the Christmas holidays.  Break out those advent calendars folks because December is going to be a roller coaster ride.

In the beginning of the month, Ryon had his much-anticipated joint procedure, which went really well.  He sported a bright blue bandage around his leg for a week and got a well-deserved break.  If anyone would like to give me a week off where the only thing I need to do is eat and sleep, I’ll take it.  We’ve started him back into full training and he isn’t showing any signs of discomfort so far - fingers crossed!  Thank you for all the well-wishes and for thinking about the big lug.
Siri and Misha were in town for the Thanksgiving holidays.  My dad put my sister’s burgeoning photographer skills to work with a side project of his, and the family got in some major R&R and movie watching.  Unlike years past, we didn’t overdo it with the table decorations, nor did we stress out too much about the food and oven scheduling, a first since my dad and I have been doing Thanksgiving together.  Perhaps a future in catering is what 2016 will bring (no, no it won’t)?

For the actual meal, I had pie success (finally!) with the two recipes below.  My pie crusts could still use a bit of refinement, but they turned out lovelier than expected.  I ambitiously set out to bake four pies for the evening, but we had more than enough desserts.  JR’s sister (a pastry chef) brought over a lovely homemade pear tart, and my cousins sent us two fruit pies via post.

Pumpkin spice ice box pie - http://www.scoopadventures.com/pumpkin-spice-ice-box-pie/

Maple bourbon pecan pie - http://bakingthegoods.com/2014/11/20/maple-bourbon-pecan-pie/

I also highly recommend that anyone considering making a turkey in the future try this recipe involving spatchcocking the turkey.  There is no other way that my family or I will ever cook a turkey; it’s too easy and quick and saves the oven for all the other important things, like mac & cheese (people loved this butternut squash one here).

It’s gotten cold very quickly here in North Texas, and I had to dig all my winter clothes out of storage (there are never enough).  We’ve been getting rain for days now, and I’m quite ready for the short bright days of winter.  Here’s to a holiday season filled with twinkling lights and warm hearths.