Thanksgiving Leftovers, Grandma’s Gravy, and a Road Trip (7 Quick Takes)



I had thought it would be the first Thanksgiving we’d spent with the extended family since 2019. Wednesday afternoon, however, I could see that wasn’t going to happen, thanks to a few illnesses running through the family.

My mom told me she would be happy to share the food she planned to serve us with our household and my sister’s. But I ran to the store to buy a few items so I could cook some of the meal for us. I had never roasted a turkey, but I figured if I could find one that was thawed, I might give it a try. And I found a fresh turkey. We were ready.


All our youngest son really wanted for Thanksgiving was “grandma’s gravy”. I felt confident that I could pull through.

How hard could it be to make sauce?

I called my mother to ask for directions. The turkey came out and smelled wonderful. And all the other sides came together, especially the stuffing and the rutabaga that I picked up from my parents.

Thanksgiving Leftovers, Grandma's Gravy, and a Road Trip (7 Quick Takes)

But the sauce I made from the drippings was terrible. It was the consistency of cement – and no one dared to know if it tasted better.

Luckily I had bought a jar of sauce, just in case, and that got us through dinner. My mother had made enough of her exquisite sauce for me to run after dinner to my sister and brother-in-law to pick up their surplus.

So my son enjoyed Grandma’s sauce and we’ll have a late Thanksgiving dinner with our family when everyone is healthy again.


Thanksgiving Leftovers, Grandma's Gravy, and a Road Trip (7 Quick Takes)

In Baltimore, it’s not Thanksgiving without sauerkraut, and sauerkraut is something I can make. I picked up some bratwurst from Ostrowski, sautéed it, put it in a slow cooker with some fresh sauerkraut, added caraway seeds, a little brown sugar and cider vinegar from apple, and I let it cook all day over low heat.

The roast turkey aroma is delicious, but the sauerkraut always gets me excited for the meal.


Thanksgiving Leftovers, Grandma's Gravy, and a Road Trip (7 Quick Takes)

I made a little vegetable platter for our family in the shape of a turkey, like I usually do. It’s rare for someone to notice that vegetables have a particular shape, but this year they spotted it without seeing my Instagram post.

It was a special Thanksgiving. I would have liked to be with the extended family, but Thanksgiving is only one day. We have so much to be grateful for and we will find ways to be together. And my mom sent us some of her pumpkin pie.

Life is happiness.


Thanksgiving Leftovers, Grandma's Gravy, and a Road Trip (7 Quick Takes)

Last weekend our sons and I traveled to New York to spend the weekend with my sister Maureen and her children.

My nephew, who is a senior in high school, was doing a play – his last high school play – and I thought it would be fun to go on a trip.

We had the most wonderful time. The boys had a blast with their cousins, and I got to hang out with Maureen. And the game was exceptional.


I don’t mind a road trip, but I wasn’t sure I liked the idea of ​​rush hour driving on Fridays. Both boys insisted on going to school all day that day, so we pulled out of our driveway around 4:20 p.m. Still, we arrived at the cousins ​​around 9 – not bad at all.

I might miss my days of parenting toddlers and preschoolers, but there’s something wonderful about traveling with teenagers. We each packed our bags with little guidance from me. Nobody forgot anything essential, and we arrived in New York with two trumpets and a saxophone in the back of the car. Even with the traffic, the ride was smooth and easy. No one needed to stop and no one complained. We just drove, and every once in a while I would say things like, “Looks like we’re about an hour away.”


Thanksgiving Leftovers, Grandma's Gravy, and a Road Trip (7 Quick Takes)

On the way back we stopped at a rest area to refuel. I thought we were going to get some food, but no one really wanted to add travel time, so I fueled up and we drove on.

While I was refueling, I saw a little bird eating a bun on the ground. He didn’t care that I was nearby. With cars and trucks whizzing by, I was the quietest thing.

Especially as bird owners, we notice birds everywhere. This morning I looked outside and saw a mechanical crane working on the house under construction in our neighborhood.

I called our boys to see the crane.

“Is it a real crane?” we asked.

“Yes!” I said. “And it’s big enough!”

He looked and I saw his face fall. “Oh,” he said. “I thought you were talking about the bird.”

Life is full of disappointments and there are never enough birds in the world.

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