Well, my Thanksgiving post is a little delayed. But that's okay. We had a wonderful time with both sides of the family last weekend, and managed to cook a moist turkey! :) A few items of praise (in no particular order), and some recipes for you...

- I praise God this year for our new home. It is lots of work, but it gives me such joy to be able to settle here, and to share our home with friends and family! We were so blessed to have the ability to buy our home, and to find it after searching for so long!

- I praise God for my sweet husband and my healthy baby. They make my life so meaningful and fun! My husband is so patient, so helpful, and such a good daddy! And little J brings so much laughter to my life. God has also used them to sanctify me - showing me where my priorities or motives are missing the mark, and lovingly drawing me back to Himself.

- I praise God for my wonderful extended family and friends. You all are such a support to me and my family in so many ways. From moving to childcare to prayer to celebrations... you've got us covered! :) Thank you.

- I praise God for our jobs, especially in such a challenging economy. I praise God for His creation; the more I have learned about nutrition and cooking and babies, the more I am in awe of God's provision and creative power! I praise God for our dear church, and the great encouragement they are to us. I praise Him for good health.

- Above all, I praise God this Thanksgiving for His unfailing love. That a Father would sacrifice his only beloved Son in order to pay for my failures... is unfathomable. He is so kind, so full of grace and mercy toward me, although I have fallen so short of His glory. Thank you, Lord.

And some recipes...

Butternut Squash Soup (modified from this Food Network recipe)

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
One medium-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 7 to 8 cups)
6 cups chicken stock
Dash of ground sage
Dash of nutmeg
Dash of ground cloves
3 tbsp cream cheese (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large stockpot, add the butter and oil and melt together over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add the squash and the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and add sage, nutmeg, and cloves. Continue to boil until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add cream cheese. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep the soup warm over low heat.

I think this would also work well in a crockpot, if you added the cream cheese at the very end. :)

This soup was a great first-course for Thanksgiving! Even my husband, who doesn't like squash, admitted that the soup was good! It's nice and creamy - great for a cold fall or winter day. I'm sure it would freeze up well too, so you could make a big batch and save half for later!

Turkey Breast and Gravy
I mainly used this recipe from Food Network. I didn't really follow the gravy recipe, though. For gravy, I used the dripping from the pan, mixed with half of the gravy packet that came with the turkey (the other half spilled into the sink... oops!), added some salt and pepper, and thickened with a water/flour mixture. It turned out great! The turkey was nice and moist, and didn't take as long to cook as a whole turkey. We did a 9-lb bird for 6 people, and had plenty of leftovers to make turkey-barley soup!

I would share the turkey-barley soup recipe. But I just made it up. Basically I simmered the turkey carcass overnight to make the broth, then removed the bones, and added the leftover turkey and some extra chicken broth. I put in some chopped carrots, celery, and garlic (onion would be good, but we were out), onion powder, thyme, pepper, wild rice and seasoning packet, and barley. Cooked in the crockpot for 8 hours and had lots of good soup! :)

Happy cooking... and Happy belated Thanksgiving! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!