Damian carving the smoked turkey.
Damian’s dad, Frank, and Vanessa’s mom, Ada.
Dallas and Dylan played with the balloon.
Playing with Derek.
Dylan is 3 years old.
Playing pool and ping pong in the basement.
Damian and Vanessa moved from their condo in Chicago to a big, beautiful house in Mount Prospect about a month ago. For Thanksgiving they invited us over for a Thanksgiving celebration with a bunch of their family and friends. I’ve seen Dylan, their oldest son, a bit over the last year or so, but I was shocked at how big Derek is! Vanessa was pregnant with him at our wedding and I’d only met him once since then, when he was only a few months old. Dallas and I had fun playing with them and the other kids at the party.
For dinner we had smoked turkey. I never had Thanksgiving turkey this way and thought it was pretty good. They also had an oven turkey that they prepared. We had tons of sides and desserts. Damian also made two big pans of lasagna with homemade marinara. So good. We stuffed ourselves full!
After dinner some people went down to the basement where the previous homeowners left a pool table and ping pong table. Some of the guys got into quite a contest. And Dylan got his turns learning how to shoot too!
Thanks to Damian and Vanessa for their hospitality! We had a great Thanksgiving with their friends and family.
Oh, one more thing. Vanessa asked me to bring sweet potatoes. I wasn’t sure how to make them but when I was at Sara’s Thanksgiving party on Monday, Emily brought some delicious sweet potatoes and was nice enough to give me the recipe. Everyone at Thanksgiving loved the sweet potato casserole and I’d totally make them again. Here’s the recipe:
Sweet Potato Casserole
5-6 large sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Place a large pot about 3/4 full of water on stove to simmer. Peel and chop sweet potatoes into cubes. Cook over medium high heat until tender; drain and mash.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, white sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9×13 inch baking dish.
In medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly with little pea sized lumps. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potatoes. Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.
Emily noted that she added some cayenne and maple syrup to her potatoes and suggested you could also add some bourbon or orange juice. I added a bit of cayenne and some pumpkin pie spice. I could see how this recipe could be modified many different ways. Another good tip Emily had was to mix the eggs in at the end of the potato part so that you can taste and adjust seasonings without worrying about eating raw eggs.
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