Friday, November 29, 2013

Florida Thanksgiving and Southern Hospitality

My friends and expert horse women
We celebrated Thanksgiving with our close friends at their ranch in Florida.  This spectacular ranch has a small mountain, several lakes and magnificent aged trees draped in Spanish moss.
View as we rode along
The menu, luau style (fire deep in ground covered with sand) 2 turkeys, wrapped in burlap, then encased in tinfoil, wrapped in green leaves, buried in the sand and  slowly baked for eight hours.  Our host spent 24 sleepless hours caring for the fire and ensuring accurate temperatures, for this gourmet feast.
Treasures included 2 turkeys and a roast
We saddled up some horses and rode and talked and visited.
Riding and visiting

Cydney on Star

Our  hosts decorated this table themselves


Burlap tablecloth,notie the fresh flowers hanging from the rafters

Two pals and their dogs out jaunting around
Alexander, Chris, Matt and Tyler catching up
Uncle Tyler and Coner


Someone called that dinner was being unearthed

Mithell, Mark E.  John Jn entertain m3

Turkeys and a roast ready for carving
Notice the burlap pattern on turkey. 


My dear friends
Dwight Holmes and Artist Mary Rose Holmes enjoying family and friends at Thanksgiving
Each guest brought their favourite vegetable or dessert dish  and believe me when I say Martha Steward would have been envious of the skills of our cooks.
Mark E, Helen Tilston, and little Mary Rose

Friends linger over coffee following dinner

I am truly thankful to my family, my friends and all who make life worth living each day.

71 comments:

  1. So happy reunion, so lucky you, dear Helen to have such wonderful people around you!Nothing better than sharing and celebrate together these great moments with people we love.You look so happy!Enjoy!

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    1. Dear Olympia
      Forgive for delay in responding to you. Life does get in the way sometimes! Ha Ha
      It was a very special Thanksgiving for us and so beautiful to be outdoors too.

      Helen xx

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  2. Looks like a grand time was had by all!!! Happy weekend!!!

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    1. Hello Cathy

      Thank you for stopping by and for your good wishes

      Helenxx

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  3. Oh my, Helen! This is all so astonishing! Lovely setting...nothing like a ranch with horses for entertaining a crowd...so many marvelous spaces around...love the long table...magazine worthy :)

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    1. Hello Becky

      It was indeed magazine worthy and to think our hostess is but 22 yrs of age and her husband 26. They were confident, poised and also had fun too. Wish I could have been so mature at that age.
      xx

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  4. Oh WOW Helen ….. you must have had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that turkey looks perfectly cooked and oh so delicious. The table and surroundings look fantastic.
    ….. and, regarding your comment on my last post about the lady on the horse …. .. I WISH !!!!!!!! XXXX

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    1. Hello Jacqueline
      I would love to have had you present and I know you would have mounted one of the mountain horses that live on the ranch.
      It was most memorable.

      Helenxx

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  5. Wow, I have heard of large roasts being done underground but have never seen the results. It looks delicious! What a gorgeous setting and everyone looks so happy. Hope you have a wonderful weekend and Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Hello Louise

      Like you, I had not seen this type of cooking before. It was delicious and seemed easy. Matt did spend 24 hrs taking care of the fire and ensuring the cooking time. It is never as simple as it look!
      Helen xx

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  6. Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that you are having a wonderful time with your friends.

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    1. Hello Elizabeth
      A wonderful time was had and now we are looking forward to next year

      Helen xx

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  7. Looks like you had a great time together. Happy Thanksgiving, Helen!

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    1. Thank you for visiting. Wishing you the joys of the Christmas season

      Helen xx

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  8. Hello Helen,

    How considerate that your host sacrificed precious sleep time to guarantee a delicious feast for his lucky guests! The countryside looks absolutely beautiful, refreshingly breezy and one that would certainly work up an appetite!

    Thanks so much for sharing your lovely photos of your Thanksgiving day gathering.

    xo
    Poppy

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    1. Dear Poppy,
      Yes Matt is a kind a thoughtful Host. The interior of Florida contains some marvelous secrets. It has a beauty vastly different from the oceanside communities.

      Helen xx

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  9. Fabulous way to enjoy Thanksgiving with family and friends. I am very impressed with the burlap wrapped turkeys and the lovely table set in the barn. Yes, Martha Stewart would and should be impressed. Happy belated Thanksgiving Helen.
    Sam

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    1. Hello Sam

      It is always refreshing when hosts create their own decorations and put their heart into the project. It will be fondly remembered by us.
      Helen xx

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  10. Goodness, this is just so southern, Helen. Cooking food like this. And, you must have been in central Florida with the terrain as you described. I would have loved every single moment. My daughter & I are horse-people X10. So wonderful to see your pics and YOU look fabulous. xx's

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    1. Hello Marsha

      Yes you know your geography, it was indeed Central Florida. Cowboy boots and horses and wide open country, it resembles Texas in this respect. Thanks for visiting

      Helen xx

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  11. Helen, that is the most wonderful Thanksgiving celebration that I have ever heard of (and yes, Martha Stewart would be envious of the setting and the menu). Glad you had such a wonderful day. Hope it is just the start of a wonderful holiday season for you!

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    1. Hello Jackie and Joel

      Thanks for visiting. it is my turn to wish you a very Happy Christmas

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  12. It looks like it has been a magic day, Helen! I will show your pics to Paul - it will inspire him when going on his next trip into the wilderness! Cooking turkeys like this is just great! I love how the table was set... many people a long table as it is in Italy! And you... you are just very, very beautiful! Go on and enjoy life! Christa

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    1. Hello Christa

      Thank you for your kind words. It was a magical day and so much creativity, though and love was put into the day. As they say in Hollywood "the party happened"

      Helen xx

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  13. YUMMILISH! Oh, everything about this celebration I LOVE! The horseback riding, the wonderful way the turkey was cooked and being outdoors! Helen, what a lovely time you must have had! I love unconventional as well as "traditional" celebrations, and this year, I have been focusing more on nature. What a great way to really feel close to the earth by being at a ranch.

    We had a lovely Thanksgiving here at home, but I look forward to traveling for Christmas back to my native California. Wishing you a fabulous preparation for Christmas! Thank you for visiting me tonight! Anita

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    1. Dearest Anita

      I knew you would love the horses and would have been up and away in no time galloping through the woods. It was a most memorable day and the foot was truly delicious.

      Hope you have a wonderful Christmas

      Helen xx

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  14. My dearest Helen,

    Happy thanksgiving to you and your family. The scenery in Florida is absolutely stunning. The table setting is so very artistic and flamboyant - what a large crowd to feed...two turkeys slowly cooked for eight hours must be most impressive undertaking. One year, I tried to cook goose in my modest oven in the kitchen and in the middle of the cooking, the gas had run out and it was the most chaotic Christmas lunch I'd ever prepared as I had to run with the goose on a baking tray to Gordon's house in a taxi and cooked it in his oven and then ran back to my house before the guests arrived. My organisation skills in the kitchen had improved a little bit since then.

    I sincerely hope that your Christmas and New Year celebration would be as festive, joyful and successful as your thanksgiving. I'm very thankful for your friendship and above all, thank you for being you. You brighten up my day.

    With best wishes, ASD xxx

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    1. Dearest ASD

      I am amused reading about your taxi trip with the partially cooked goose (which I love and is difficult to find here). Your quick thinking brought a solution to an otherwise disastrous occasion.
      We had a lovely Christmas with friends and I hope you did too.
      I have been unable to keep up with my favourite bloggers and hope to remedy that soon.
      My very best wishes for 2014 and I am so happy to have you as my friend.
      Helen xx

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  15. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Helen!
    An amazing celebration. I understand that Thanksgiving is a bigger occasion than Xmas and New Year for most Americans. It certainly was for you and your friends in Florida.
    Best wishes to you all.
    Cheers Gillian

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    1. Hello Gillian
      Yes Thanksgiving is more celebrated in the USA than Christmas. Many of our friends were having Prime Rib for Christmas dinner.
      Wishing you the joys of 2014.
      Helen xx

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  16. I've never heard of turkey cooked this way. I am sure it tasted awesome.

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    1. Hello Loree

      Yes dinner was delicious and most unusual.

      Wishing you the very best for 2014

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  17. Hi Helen - Looks like you all had a fabulous and fun Thanksgiving! And I thought popping a turkey into the oven was a lot of work! My goodness! Hope it was yummy and juicy :) Happy December.
    Loi

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    1. Dear Loi

      Thanksgiving was wonderful and Christmas was also very special.
      Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year filled with goodness.

      Helen xx

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  18. What a fabulous place to spend Thanksgiving. And it was cool enough to really give us a taste of the holidays, wasn't it? Enjoy your week my friend! Sweet hugs!

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    1. Hello Diane

      You know the beautiful weather we are having. The cooler evenings are wonderful
      Wishing you a very Happy New Year.
      Helenxx

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  19. Such a special and unusual celebration. Great post!

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    1. Hello Jen

      It was also unusual for us to have such a celebration.
      Happy New Year

      Helen xx

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  20. Interesting review I very much liked the references to other blogs as I havent found a lot of info on this topic. Thanks!You could certainly see your expertise in the work you write. The world hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who arent afraid to mention how they believe. Always go after your heart.

    Cardsharing Server

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  21. Oh Helen, what a beautiful way to celebrate Giving of Thanks here!
    It all reminds me of the wonderful magazine Kinfolk where every get together is an event.
    Love the long table and the setting is perfect for the day.
    As for underground Turkeys, my brother in law does just that with there turkeys, and my brother has been to a get together where it takes place ...he lives in Hawaii. I myself have never but, I am sure it taste fabulous.

    I am looking forward to what's next for you Christmas and what your plans are?
    What a beautiful share.

    Xoxo
    Thank you for your grace and beauty over at my place and a comment that joys my heart.

    Doré

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    1. Dear Dore
      Thank you for your friendship and wishing you and family continued happiness over the Christmas season and good health and happiness in 2014.
      I understand Hawaii chefs cook in a similar was, is it called a luau?
      So delicious and succulent.
      Fondly,
      Helen xx

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  22. What a wonderful celebration you had! I love hearing about all the different ways the day is celebrated. You had wonderful hosts! Just a beautiful setting too! So nice to have a few words from you!

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    1. Hello Jacqueline
      I would be quite happy to celebrate each Thanksgiving in this way.
      It was joyful and lots of activity. This type of environment is inclusive of all age groups.

      Heres to wishing you a very Happy New Year filled with goodness.

      Helenxx

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  23. My goodness. A really *cool* Thanksgiving, if you ask me, Helen. Can't believe the sheer SCALE of everything, from the beautifully decorated table, to the amazing landscapes; and the buried turkeys! Now THAT is what I call a celebration. Great to see you (a nice bonus!) on one of the pictures! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

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    1. Dear Veronique
      Our young hosts certainly know how to entertain and decorate and all performed without fuss or confusion.
      Thank you for stopping in and wishing you a very Happy New Year full of joy and goodness.

      Helen xx

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  24. Looks like delicious fun for all Helen!

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    1. Thanks for visiting. It was indeed delicious and fun
      Wishing you a very Happy New Year

      Helenxx

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  25. Wow Helen, what a wonderful Thanksgiving. Best I've seen you lucky girl.
    Hope you are well, you look happy :-)
    Di
    xoxo

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    1. Dear Di

      It was indeed a happy and festive occasion. All were welcome including the dogs and children. I feel they are my family as I have known the children since they were babies.
      A very Happy New year to you and your beautiful family
      Helen xx

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  26. Helen this looks and sounds like it was a fantastic Thanksgiving :)

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    1. Thanks for visiting
      Wishing you the joy of the season and a very Happy New Year
      Helen xx

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  27. What a fabulous way to spend Thanksgiving Helen, just so wonderful and obviously, very memorable!
    I've posted about our new guest...I've been 'thumbless' for the past week as I decided to take Miss, Ginger's ball from her as she was chewing on it...not very smart and I've had the most lovely puncture wound to deal with. I can finally use my left had now...that'll teach me to get in the way of a girl and her ball (I was trying to put a treat in it...it's one of those treat-balls they have to work at to get the treat out, and she didn't realize it wasn't there).
    Happy December...
    xo J~

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    1. Hello Jessica
      I hope your finger has healed by now. How quickly these accidents happen. Poor Ginger probably felt bad too. They somehow know when they err.
      Thanksgiving was excellent and also Christmas and now we look forward to New Year. We have a Blue Grass Band playing for us then.
      My best to you and your family and blessings and joy in 2014
      Helen xx

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  28. Helen,
    Thanks for always leaving me with a smile from your comments. You had a wonderful Thanksgiving and it keeps giving too.

    If we'd just keep in mind that "everyday IS a holiday and every meal IS a feast" with each breath we celebrate the moment we had before. Life is Good, Thankful, and Giving.

    xo Bette

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    1. Hello Bette
      It is always a joy to visit your blog ...Your words are so true "each day is a holiday and each meal a feast" We must remember that
      A very Happy New Year to you and family Bette

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  29. Wow, Helen. What a uniquely fabulous Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing it with all of us. There is so much to be thankful for, every day. XO

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    1. Hello Jeanne

      WE have much to be grateful for and Thanksgiving was most memorable.
      Wishing you and your family a very Happy and joyful New Year
      Helen xx

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  30. What a good time you must have had Helen - friends and family and a wonderful feast! The turkey looked so good, and what a fascinating way of cooking them!
    Thanks for sharing your day with us.
    Gill xx

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    1. Hello Gill

      This was a wonderful way to celebrate and being outdoors made it very special.

      Wishing you a very Happy and healthy New Year

      Helenxx

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  31. Ah, everything about this post looks so delightful. When I picture Florida, it's always the sapphire beaches and the keys that come to my mind. The Spanish moss and the horses make it so much more idyllic.
    Hope you are doing well, dear Helen. Have a great week.

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    1. Hello Suman

      So true when you speak of the sapphire seas being symbolic of Florida.
      Before living here, I had no idea of the beauty of the interior of the state.
      There is a lot of cattle grazing in the State.
      Wishing you and your family good health, peace, and success in 2014
      Helen xx

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  32. As always, this post made me feel happy because everything in it is lovely and looks delightful! I was particularly impressed with the turkey. It must have been something!! Thank you so much for sharing those photos with us, Helen!



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    1. Hello Sapphire

      My thanks to you for visiting and commenting. This was certainly a first time for me to see a dinner cooked in such a fashion. It keeps the kitchen clean and free.
      Wishing you a Happy and special New Year, filled with joy and goodness.

      Helen xx

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  33. It's taking me a long time to catch up, but I'm glad I have taken the time. Your Thanksgiving looks wonderful. All the best ingredients - family, friends, food and....it looks like you had great weather down there!

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    1. Thank you for visiting and I take this opportunity to wish you a very Happy New Year with only goodness.
      Helen xx

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  34. It looks like a wonderful day! I 'm sorry I missed this post when it first came out but I am catching up now! and now it is Christmas - have a wonderful one, Helen!

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    1. Hello Jenny

      Lovely of your to comment. I fully understand how life is much more important and blogging sometimes must take a back seat.

      Wishing you the joys of the season and goodness and blessings in 2014
      Helen xx

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  35. How amazing, the table looks wonderful and I have never seen that form of cooking before, I love horses too, what a perfect day.

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    1. Dear Tabitha
      How lovely to see you here. I remember you liking horses and I think you would have fitted right in with us at Thanksgiving.
      There were even some burbon drinkers!

      Happy New Year

      Helen xx

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