The First Born

This is my firstborn. He's nearly 10. That means I have nearly a decade of parenting under my belt. Which really means nothing because I still feel like I need parented most days. But this handsome fellow....yes, quite handsome right? Well he pretty much knocks our socks off most days. His brothers do too, each in their own way.
Last week he had a large monologue in the school play. He knocked it out of the park. He wasn't even nervous. He hit each line with patience and pause and enthusiasm. A very proud moment for all of us. ~~ Oh...and that coat? His amazing nan sewed that for him just 2 days before his stage appearance.

Recently we also received a letter in the mail stating that this handsome fellow hit the ceiling in all 4 categories of the Duke TIP test. He couldn't have done any all four categories. Incredible.
He's in the midst of busy season with his company and has learned the fine art of delegation to the up and coming ranks. I think he quite likes managing employees. 

I could go on for quite a while about this kid. I'm beyond blessed to have spent the past decade with him.
And if you're craving the best marshmallows in the country~ I know where to find them.

A Farmhouse Thanksgiving 2012

Photos by Vrai Photography

Farmhouse Thanksgiving 2012

Photos by Vrai Photography

A Farmhouse Thanksgiving 2012

Photos by Vrai Photography

Thanksgiving Day Menu 2012

Every year I share our Thanksgiving Day Menu. Its become a go-to source for people around the globe~ ranking in the #1 spot in a Google search in fact. Wowzers! What an honor!

So without further ado....this years menu~ (click each item for a link to the recipe)

Roasted Pear Salad
Sweet Potato Casserole (recipe below)

Sweet Potato Casserole
(The Bluebird, Kentucky)

The filling:
5 pounds small local sweet potatoes (about 10 potatoes)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup local honey
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract + 4 teaspoons kentucky bourbon whiskey (bourbon vanilla)
2 3/4 cups milk, heated
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

The topping:
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 cup chopped pecans + 1/2 cup chopped local walnuts

To make:
Wash the sweet potatoes, bake in a preheated 350* F oven for 1 – 1 1/2
hours until they are very tender. Allow to cool briefly before peeling.

Mix the hot sweet potatoes on low speed in a mixer to begin mashing them.
Add the butter and mix until it is absorbed . Add the salt, nutmeg, honey,
and both sugars and mix until they are thoroughly blended. Add the lightly beaten eggs and vanilla bourbon and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add in the heated milk. When the milk
is incorporated, taste carefully for seasoning. (add more salt, nutmeg, or
sugar as desired)

Butter a 9x13x2 baking dish with the softened butter and pour the sweet
potato mixture into it.

The topping:

Put the brown sugar, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt into
a mixing bowl and mix well. Use your fingers to work the chilled butter
into the mixture until it resembles oatmeal with some large pea size pieces
of butter in it. Stir in the pecan and walnut pieces and mix well.

Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the sweet potatoes and bake in
a preheated 375* F. oven for 30 to 45 minutes until the topping is golden
brown and crisp and the sweet potatoes are set but still slightly loose in
the center. Serve hot.

(*photos thanks to Vrai Photography and Kentucky Monthly)

A Farmhouse Thanksgiving 2012

Photos by Vrai Photography

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving is nearly here. My how this year has flown. Thankfully, I have the incredible fortune of a job that lets me write about holidays long before they actually arrive. This year, I was able to create Thanksgiving for many of my friends at the tail end of summer for a Kentucky Monthly magazine photo shoot and article. The day couldn't have been more perfect. You can visit the magazine site here too see additional pictures and grab a recipe or two.
My dear friend and photographer extraordinaire, Tina Carter, of Vrai Photography took all of these shots I'll share over the next few days leading up to Thanksgiving Day~