How are you? I hope you’re hanging in there and figuring out ways to uncover some sort of joy in life. Honestly, I’ve had a rough time and I know I’m not alone. It doesn’t really help me much to hear words of encouragement so I’m not going to list a bunch of “it’ll get better” lines here. Instead, I’ll take a moment to share what’s helping me cope with the stress and loneliness of this time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for all I have and that my family and I have been physically healthy. However, there’s no denying that there’s stress and sadness associated with job stuff, worrying about my daughter being in school, worrying about everyone, not seeing family and friends and being in quarantine mode for the 9th month. I’m fortunate but I’m also human.
Looking forward to the holiday season is helping me cope. Thanksgiving is a week from today! It’s probably my favorite holiday. I have amazing memories of it growing up and I’ve tried hard over the years to give Thanksgiving all the attention I think it deserves. Of course, there’s all the wonderful food and something magical about sharing a meal that’s centered around family and friends and traditions. It’s the kick-off to the holidays and I get plain giddy this time of year. This year certainly feels different. There won’t be as many big family gatherings. I won’t see my mom, dad, oldest daughter or in-laws in person. I know many people who are empty nesters or don’t have family nearby and they won’t see a single family member in person. That’s hard.
Staying busy also helps me cope. There’s work but there’s also giving myself a chance to do things that make me feel good like baking. I don’t do it nearly as much as I like and last weekend I busted out all the stuff to make Pumpkin Rolls. I made a list of new recipes I want to try and share with you. I need to make time for baking because it makes me happy.
As I was planning out my Thanksgiving menu, I thought it would be a good chance to link some of my previous fall/Thanksgiving recipes to get all of us in the spirit! The pictures have links but there’s more info below.
If you like to hit the ground running (and I don’t mean a Turkey Trot), these Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls can be made a day ahead and baked up on Thanksgiving morning. Get after it! There’s also Apple Cider Donuts and Apple Fritters that can be made the morning of and will keep you plenty full until the big meal.
Sweet Potato Casserole is my daughter, Hannah’s favorite! She lives in another state and is making it this year. We made a deal to Facetime while eating it so we can enjoy it together. This is the first time in 25 years I’m not making it for her but it’s a nice feeling that she’s carrying on the tradition at her house!
Desserts are everything to me at Thanksgiving and I always make Pumpkin Rolls! These can be made ahead of time, frozen and sliced when you’re ready to set up your dessert display. If you make one, make a few because they’re great gifts!
If you’re looking for something a little different but super delicious, try Pumpkin Crème Brûlée. It’s silky and decadent and can be made in advance.
Another different and yummy dessert to add to your list is Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. Everyone loves these little pillows of goodness.
Pie! I love all the traditional ones like Pumpkin and Pecan but sometimes it’s just gotta be classic Apple Pie. Try tossing in a handful of fresh cranberries to bring it right into the holiday spirit! The link to that post includes my pie crust recipe.
If you’re finding there’s a short supply of spices, you can make your own Pumpkin Pie Spice. It’s easy and might save you multiple trips to the store.
How are you coping? What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions that you’ll stick with this year? I hope you’re able to enjoy Thanksgiving in a way that feels okay. I’ll bake, cook, eat and, hopefully, get outside for a hike. I’ll probably see family over Zoom and Facetime. I’ll likely shed a few tears but I’ll also smile, dance and hug Carrie tighter than usual. However I’m feeling, my heart (and stomach) will be full and for that I’m so thankful.
From the heart,