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Happy Thanksgiving!

11/29/10 - Albuquerque, NM

Feeling extra thankful as we host our first Thanksgiving in Albuquerque (or anywhere, for that matter!)

This Thanksgiving, we had the honor and privilege of hosting Caroline’s entire immediate family for several days of eating and other fun activities over the long holiday weekend.  Caroline’s sister Jen, brother-in-law Ivan and our 4-year-old nephew Christopher flew in from Detroit on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and her mom and step-dad, also from Michigan, rolled in via Amtrak in time for a family meal the night before Thanksgiving.  This year was a very special Thanksgiving for us, not only because we were celebrating with family but also because it was our first time ever hosting and cooking a Thanksgiving feast.  Several busy weeks were spent in advance of the big day carefully planning and preparing for the festivities.  In the end, it proved to be time well spent and we declared the weekend a success on all counts!  Spearheaded by Chef Scott, our menu of brined turkey, red-wine gravy, apple and sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, ginger-glazed carrots and bourbon cranberry sauce was made almost entirely from scratch (excepting the green bean casserole, since the Campbell’s soup version is a tradition from Caroline’s childhood) and was definitely worth all the effort that went into it!  Kudos to the chef and to all of his many helpers – he couldn’t have done it without them!  And finally, Scott’s delightful homemade desserts of traditional pumpkin pie and a glazed chocolate tart rounded out the meal just perfectly.

When we were not busy eating Scott’s delicious cooking – our tireless chef also prepared meals of homemade spaghetti and turkey green chile stew during the holiday weekend – we spent lots of quality family time enjoying the warm southwestern sunshine in and around Albuquerque.  Although the temperatures were below normal (a high of 37 on Thanksgiving Day) and the air a bit chill, everyone enjoyed the sunshine so much that not a single complaint was uttered!   On Wednesday morning while Scott was still at the office, Caroline organized a fun-filled trip to a local playground for the super-energetic Christopher, with his parents in toe.  During a break in the cooking action, Thanksgiving Day brought a rather un-PC re-enactment of the so-called “2nd Thanksgiving” – a backyard gunfight; sadly the Indians were armed only with sticks…

Shortly before the long-anticipated dinner, Caroline led our active young nephew, along with Jen and Ivan, on a hike in the boulders of the Sandia Mountains near our home, where Christopher found just enough snow for a few snowballs to throw at his obliging Auntie C’Lo.   Then on Friday morning, there was just enough time before their departure for a final hike in the Sandias with Jen, Ivan and Christopher in an attempt to wear out a certain little boy before the flight.  It was an action-packed trail and the rock cave, climbing boulders, numerous prickly pears and chollas and sunshine were greatly enjoyed by all.

On Friday afternoon, after the Menjaks’ departure, Caroline’s mom Jane and step-dad Bill got a tour of Albuquerque, including a drive through the scenic North Valley, a stop to see the impressive, giant metal sculptures at Desert Blooms, a walk in the bosque and down to the river at the Rio Grande Nature Center and finally, a drive down Route 66 after dark to see all the cool, retro neon signs.  A highlight of their visit was a trip to Tent Rocks, located just over an hour from Albuquerque, where we enjoyed hiking the slot canyon and admiring the stone hoodoos and beautiful New Mexico vistas (not to mention the delicious turkey sandwich picnic) in the warm sunshine.  Although they’re not experienced hikers, Jane and Bill did a great job negotiating the narrow and at times strenuous trail and we truly enjoyed the opportunity to share such a beautiful piece – not to mention one of our favorites – of New Mexico with them.  On their final evening in town, Caroline’s parents treated us to a wonderful meal at Indigo Crow in nearby Corrales, NM (the grilled romaine salad and duck breast with parmesan risotto and a cherry reduction sauce were positively divine) in celebration of Scott’s birthday, which fell the day before Thanksgiving this year, and also of their 22nd wedding anniversary on November 26th.

We certainly had a lot to be thankful for this year, celebrating the season with a house full of family over a bountiful and scrumptious meal.  This will definitely be a Thanksgiving we’ll remember for years to come and we hope that everyone else had as much fun as we did, giving them lots of motivation to come back soon!


Christopher & his Auntie C'Lo go for a stroll on the path at the playground


Christopher explores natural New Mexico on Thanksgiving Day


The pilgrims talk strategy during the re-enactment of the "2nd Thanksgiving"


Despite being on the same side and waving his white feather of surrender, Scott gets shot by his nephew


Just enough snow for a snowball on a trail in the Sandias


Happy Thanksgiving!


Bill gets in on a little hot pilgrim hat action


The twins prepare to dig in!


Our Thanksgiving table


Mmmmm, Scott made a gourmet chocolate tart, along with his classic pumpkin pie


Hiking the Tramway Trail in the Sandias near our house with Jen, Ivan & Christopher


Enjoying some nephew time on the Tramway Trail near our house


Caroline, Bill, and Jane on the banks of the Rio Grande


Hiking the Canyon Trail at Tent Rocks with Caroline's parents


Hiking the Canyon Trail at Tent Rocks with Caroline's parents


Hiking the Canyon Trail at Tent Rocks with Caroline's parents


Pocahontas & Scott Pilgrim prepare to celebrate their bountiful year


Caroline demonstrates her rock-wall climbing skills while Christopher looks on in awe


Everybody loves climbing!


A pilgrim contemplates all he has to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day


A family portrait...missing a couple people, but the closest we're going to get this Thanksgiving


I think the pilgrims are winning!


Christopher checks his holsters


Jen & Ivan watch as Scott prepares his turkey


Hiking in the Sandias before Thanksgiving dinner


Christopher contemplates a cactus


Caroline pretends to be excited that the Lions actually scored


Ivan & Christopher sample the hors d'oeuvres before dinner


Hiking the Tramway Trail in the Sandias near our house


The Boys climb a giant boulder on the Tramway Trail


Caroline & her mom pose with the "jetty jacks" at the Rio Grande Nature Center


Jane, Caroline, and Bill stroll through the Rio Grande bosque


Hiking the Canyon Trail at Tent Rocks with Caroline's parents


Hiking the Canyon Trail at Tent Rocks with Caroline's parents


Hiking the Canyon Trail at Tent Rocks with Caroline's parents