We just spent a lovely evening with some friends who were passing through town on their way to a Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow. We’ve known them for years (I met her when I was a sophomore in college), and always enjoy getting together with them. They had called and asked if we wanted to meet for dinner this evening, but I suggested that they come to our house instead, and offered to cook. I knew it would be less expensive and far easier with three small children (they have a 3 year old and a toddler). I made a great casserole out of beans (cooked in our solar oven earlier today), carrots, onions, mushrooms, a home-made sweet and sour sauce, and a topping of sliced potatoes. It turned out fantastic, and is nearly all gone (everyone went back for seconds, which is always a good sign). The ingredients were all inexpensive, and it was much healthier fare than we would have gotten at a restaurant. I also made a big salad using peppers and tomatoes and greens from our hydroponic garden. For dessert, I made raw german chocolate brownies. When our friends saw the dessert they were curious, and asked what was in it. Dates, raisins, nuts, cocoa, coconut… (as usual, I improvised, since I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand). They were a tad bit skeptical, and offered to split one between the two of them. That soon disappeared, and they both went back for more. So I was feeling very successful by the time the meal was finished. My salad was gone, the casserole was nearly gone, and half the pan of brownies disappeared in under five minutes. The whole meal was vegan, and half of it was raw, and everyone loved it.
The best part about having dinner at our house instead of going out to eat was how much easier it was on the kids (and the adults who take care of the kids!) The three year old finished her meal and asked to be excused, and went and read our son’s books. We fed our baby and their toddler at the table without worrying about messes or noise. The kids were able to play with toys and run around after dinner without being packed into cars. It was easy and convenient – and less expensive than going out. True, there was effort involved, but I love to cook (the cleaning that I had to do before they got here wasn’t as much fun, but now my house is sparkling, so it was worth it).
Our friends left a big bag full of little boy clothes that their son had outgrown – so I’m especially glad that we provided dinner for them. We got all sorts of great stuff, including a pair of adorable little Robeez shoes that he will be wearing to Thanksgiving tomorrow. My friend got most of the stuff as hand me downs when her son was born, but even third hand everything is still in great shape. Babies grow so fast that the clothes still look like new by the time they’re into the next size.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow. Take time to be thankful for what you have. And remind your loved ones that you love them.