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Sweetlife Blog

Thanksgiving: the meal that keeps on giving/Or: Preserving Gustatory Glow



Thanksgiving occurs at a really inconvenient time for us. At the end of September we put the tipi to rest for the winter, and finish harvesting and preserving the garden's bounty. In October, the task is to keep up with the annual dump of leaves, annuals and perennials that succumb to the cool nights and windy days. Between the end of October and Christmas we also celebrate three family birthdays and our anniversary (our 40th this year!!!). During all this, our business work schedule becomes a rigorous sprint for the holiday finish line, as we work to have products ready to present to our customers for their holiday gift giving.

Perhaps because of the inopportune timing of fitting one more celebration into a packed schedule, Thanksgiving truly becomes a day to take a deep breath, look up, and reconfirm the many small and large reasons we feel happy and fulfilled, living the sweet life in a manner we got to choose for ourselves.

We were eleven around the table this year, a lovely combo of dear friends and family. One in our party is a gifted florist, who came over Wednesday afternoon to transform two pushed-together picnic tables into a grand feasting table with a voluptuous combo of on-hand linens and candles, charming paper placemats, and a cornucopia of baby gourds, mosses, copper spheres and multiple small vases filled with flowers, turkey feathers and even vegetables. 

The cherished turkey platter was hauled out to form the centerpiece.

The bird was big-26 lbs-I stuffed the cavity with onions and apples, and rubbed the outside with an entire jar of Dr. Bob's Wild Juniper Rub on Wednesday and left it to chill in the fridge while awaiting its fate. On Thursday we popped that beautiful big boy into the oven around 10, added a bottle of white wine to the pan around 11, and left it to roast while we put the finishing touches on the rest of the meal. 

Our meal was the ultimate potluck, and guests brought the appetizer, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, stuffing and three kinds of pie. I had made the cranberry orange relish earlier in the week, and Bob had his famous brioche rolls ready to bake off by 1PM. All we had to do at the last minute was finish the mashed potatoes, make the gravy and carve the turkey while everything else was warming up in the oven. The only casualty occured when I knocked my glass of champagne off the counter while lifting the roasting pan filled with gravy off the stove. The shards and bits were swept off the floor and no one missed a beat...

My favorite way to be with people I love is to enjoy long, conversation filled meals around the table, and that's just what we did. We sat down to dinner aroung 4:30, stuffed ourselves beyond what should be possible, and lingered at the table, enjoying every delicious mouthful as we talked about everything under the sun. After dinner nobody moved; while the meal settled my mother and her friend Barb led us through a few improv games like the ones they play every Friday with their friends at the senior center. After almost an hour of this, we felt ready to tackle the fresh apple, maple pecan and coconut cream pumpkin pies. After more lingering and talking, we finally heaved our expanded girths up from the table around 7:30 and portioned out leftovers for everyone to take home.

We woke up Friday morning still feeling full, but by lunchtime my mouth was watering for one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving dinner: turkey sandwiches. I make them with Bob's oatmeal bread, mayo slathered on one side and Dr. Bob's Cranberry Jalapeno Jam on the other. In between goes sliced turkey, fresh greens (I used baby spinach), salt and pepper, and--wait for it--potato chips. It's THE. BEST. THING.

By Monday, I realized that we had eaten turkey in one form or another for every lunch and dinner since Thanksgiving, so we switched gears Monday night, but have been back on a turkey diet since then. There are almost as many suggestions for what to do with leftover turkey as Black Friday ads. I'm about to pop the rest of mine into the freezer for future enchiladas and pot pies.

One of the things I am most thankful for: delicious leftovers fueling us to the finish line of this busy week, and the memory of the joyful gathering that nourished our stomachs and filled our souls while we made the final push towards our biggest sales event of the year that starts today. Thank you, friends, family, and Ma Nature, for your gifts that sustain us.


Sweetlife for the Holidays

Sweetlife is going “solo” this year! Our studio will be open as usual during the first weekend in December, and Saturdays until Christmas. Since we will not be hosting other artists this year, we will not be part of the Christmas in the Country Tour. 
As usual, we will have friendly attendants you to [...]

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Summer at Sweetlife Farm

We are enjoying a warm, record breaking rain-free summer after an unusually cool record breaking rainy spring. Keeping up with the garden is a pretty constant effort around here, and it feels really nice to saturate the senses with the intoxicating scents and visual pleasure of flowers and layers of green, combined with the zen orchestra of [...]

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Pullets vs. Cockerals

After finding a loving home for our 3 year old mixed flock, we borrowed the neighbors' incubator and ordered hatching eggs from two breeders listed on Ebay. Past flocks have been started with day old pullets, and my focus has always been on having a variety of breeds who lay different colored eggs. This time, [...]

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Crispy Cheddar Bites with Smoked Poblano Pepper Jelly

Combining sweet, salty and savory components creates a tasty treat that pairs equally well with a pre-dinner cocktail or an afternoon tea break. These miniature jam tarts with a cheese crust are be a big hit in my house, and can be prepared through step 7 and frozen to bake off when you need a [...]

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Hot Shot Salmon Chowder

My friend Elliott loves his annual fishing trips to Alaska, and returns home with a rich bounty every year. We are frequently the lucky beneficiaries of his efforts. His wife and my dear friend Lynn had the idea to incorporate Dr. Bob's Hot Shot Grilling Rub into her favorite salmon chowder recipe. Here's my creamy, [...]

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I'm an inveterate saver of recipes, and the type of cook who riffs off an idea or ingredient or the contents of the refrigerator and pantry to dream up dinner. Cookbooks abound in our house, to the point where we are forced to periodically purge and donate a bunch to the library. I find that [...]

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Christmas in the Country 2016

Christmas in the Country at Sweetlife FarmThe antidote to Black Friday and Cyber Monday: personalized shopping for unique gifts made by local artisansDecember 2-4, 2016Friday-Saturday, 10AM-5PM; Sunday 11-5Follow the signs to head up to the farm for one stop holiday shopping!The main house, gazebo and covered area outside the garage will be filled with guest artists, [...]

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Apple Crisp Cookie Cups with Sweetlife Farm Burnt Caramel Sauce

My friend Mary Lynn found this recipe, and made it to rave reviews. It's definitely a keeper!*Apple Crisp Cookie Cups with Sweetlife Farm Burnt Caramel SauceINGREDIENTS 1 1/4 c. brown sugar (divided)3/4 c. granulated sugar (divided)2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (plus more for cooking apples)2 eggs1 tsp. vanilla1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour1 3/4 c. rolled oats1 [...]

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