I raced to the grocery store this morning with my two growing “guys” to stock the pantry for the holiday. For the first time in memory, I don’t have to work on Thanksgiving Day and we’re cooking together as a family! However, they don’t want turkey. Or stuffing.

So, we came up with another plan, combining their favorite foods with a few holiday traditions. The biggest change: we’re having Tri-tip instead of a bird. It’s become our new favorite entrée since we moved to California. When we lived in Michigan, we didn’t even know this flavorful, juicy and tender delicacy even existed!

Speaking of Michigan, we tried to start our own Thanksgiving Day tradition there. We’d invite friends to join us who had nowhere else to go, or had never experienced this American tradition. One year we even made a tofurkey for some Indian friends. Can’t say that I’d ever eat that again, but it’s good to know what one is, if only for the sake of conversation.

I loved that idea: opening our home to more than just family. It seemed to fit the spirit of the season. This year, though, it’s just us and I’m grateful for it. We don’t get much time together as it is, and holidays are hit or miss with my job (the news must go on). So, we’re reveling in our “Alternative Thanksgiving”.

Back to that: before the Tri-tip, I’m making baked brie as an appetizer. I’ll cut up baguettes and apple slices to go with it. As for side dishes, simple is the theme: buttered green beans, pureed cauliflower (healthier alternative to mashed potatoes), crescent rolls and whole berry cranberry sauce.

We plan to top it off with homemade pumpkin and apple/cherry pies. Well, almost homemade. I’m not wrestling with a pie crust tomorrow. I only have one day off, and I don’t want to spend it all in the kitchen!


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