Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Thanks: Goodies for Do-Gooders

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've always had a soft spot in my heart (and stomach) for Thanksgiving. Stuck in between two majorly merchandised holidays, Thanksgiving is often overlooked and has become something of an underdog in the holiday season. Nonetheless, Thanksgiving is quite possibly my favorite holiday to celebrate. 

For me, it has always meant good times with family, sharing delicious homemade creations and catching up while hanging out in the aftermath of football and food comas. This year, my family had the opportunity to make our Thanksgiving something completely different, so we decided it was time to start some new traditions. 

'Tis the season for baking

What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than by giving thanks? And what says gratitude better than home-baked goodies?

To celebrate Thanksgiving 2014, we decided to make plates of baked goods and deliver them to various servicemen and women who, by the nature of their job, have to work on the holiday. With gratitude for the firefighters, police officers, doctors and nurses of our area, we got to baking.

The best cranberry bread ever.

My all time favorite holiday recipe and the first thing we made for the plates of goodies is my mom's amazing cranberry bread. The original recipe was my grandpa's sister Jean's, and it's since been published in two family cookbooks and Typesetting Tables on the Unix System (co-written by my aunt Mary). Clearly, we're a talented family on both sides of the tree.

The book sells for $337-$555, but you can have this page for free.

Between my mom, my brother and myself, we created quite the mountain of treats including apple cinnamon muffins, almond crescents, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin scones, cranberry scones, pecan date bars and, of course, cranberry bread. 

All your leftovers are belong to us.

Once all the baking was complete, it was time to set up the plates and write some thank you notes. Call me old-fashioned, but I think hand-written thank you notes are a wonderful, tangible way to show appreciation for a kind deed, gift or thought. Since Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks, it seemed like the perfect addition to the plates.

En route to tour the local fire/police departments!

With our plates wrapped, stacked and ready to go, we were on our way. Equipped with a map and my phone, we made our way to seven fire departments, one police department and a hospital in four surrounding cities. 

Is it silly that I get starstruck around firefighters?

In the course of our adventure, we got to meet more than a dozen kind and awesome firefighters, a dispatcher and quite a few nurses. As a special treat, one fire department invited us to take pictures with the fire engine... 

Such hospitable heroes!

...and another department invited us in to meet the crew and their families! For the record, their Thanksgiving feast smelled delicious.

At one of the Fair Oaks fire stations, there were chickens on top of the sign. Chickens. If you're at all familiar with the area, you know that is so awesomely Fair Oaks.

Chickens on a marquis = Fair Oaks in a nutshell.

This Thanksgiving, I have a lot to be grateful for. Between memories of Thanksgivings past and excitement for continuing our new tradition, I'm filled with happiness, gratitude and a whole lot of leftovers. 

A big thank you to all the civil servants and caregivers who work all year long and on holidays like these to keep our communities going. And of course, Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving thanks!