a friend filled thanksgiving

Like most people, I am writing a Thanksgiving post…a day late.  But it’s about Thanksgiving, and that’s all that matters, right?  Away we go.

I am fortunate to be off from work for Thanksgiving this year, although I only found out a couple days before the holiday weekend that I was going to have Thursday-Sunday off…at which point plane tickets to Chicago were an outrageous price, so an NYC Thanksgiving it would be.  A couple weeks ago, Carla had mentioned a Turkey Trot in Prospect Park…and Turkey Trots are near and dear to my heart, so I signed up for a Thanksgiving morning trek to Brooklyn.

Back in the day, my older brother Ryan and I would run the local Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning.  We usually did the two mile run (Ryan was more of a sprinter than my distance loving self…), and being in Chicago…it’s usually freezing.  This Thanksgiving morning, I thought to myself, “I miss snow on Thanksgiving.”  (Clearly a sign I’m not right in the head…oddly enough, Chicago had the warmest Thanksgiving in over forty years…oops.)  Anyway.  Being so cold, we’d stay dressed in multiple layers until it was nearly time to run, at which point I’d take my pants off, leaving me in tights.  My brother would keep his warm pants on.  The gun would go off and THEN he’d decide it was time to take off all the warm clothes and start running.  Needless to say, we weren’t ever going to win the thing, but it was a little run on Thanksgiving morning.  We trotted around Harper Community College (for all you Chicago suburbanites…) and got tshirts that looked exactly the same but had different colors each year.

I’m not sure how many years we did this for, but I remember my freshman year of college when it was time for Turkey Trot registration to roll around.  Ryan was deployed to Iraq, so we wouldn’t be able to run the race together.  One of my best friends (hi Katie!) has an older brother named Ryan (who also runs…and at one point ran with my brother), so I asked if he would be my “replacement Ryan” on Thanksgiving morning.  He was all game for it…then I came down with mono and couldn’t run at all.  (That whole “spleen may burst” thing.)  This wasn’t the end the Turkey Trots…I ended up running another one later, but needless to stay, the Turkey Trot hasn’t been around for a bit even though it still brings back memories for me.

So Thanksgiving morning, I woke up early and headed to Brooklyn for the race.  I met up with Carla and we agreed to run about 8 minute miles…my legs are always tired after four shifts at work so I wasn’t racing, and it would be a PR for her.  Deal.  We took off and chatted a bit, and I was thankful just to be running.  It’s been a long year of injury for me, and to be running pain-free, to be able to set goals for future races, and to just be enjoying running without tiptoeing and wondering if any little twinge will stop me in my tracks is amazing. 

The miles clicked by, and we finished the five mile race in 40:51, a PR for Carla, hooray!  We got a nice turkey medal (not sure how I feel about a medal for a five mile race, but the ribbon is really nice!) and walked to get some coffee at the Tea Lounge in Park Slope…specifically, Salted Caramel Lattes, served up by a barista wearing a Chicago Bears hat.  I like your style, Tea Lounge.

photo (7) Medal!

I sipped my coffee on the subway ride back to the Upper East Side, where I headed directly to the grocery store to pick up some supplies to make my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner.  I headed to Kelly’s for my second annual Thanksgiving with her and her sister, Melissa.  Dinner was a winner last year, and it’s fun to spend time with friends if you can’t spend it with your family.

I whipped up some cornbread and got started on a pie.  One of my favorite pies in the entire world is French Silk Pie from Baker’s Square…so good.  I replicated it a couple Thanksgivings ago, and it was a major hit.  I searched for another recipe and went with this one, which included a graham cracker crust!  I’d never made a graham cracker crust before, and after crumbling a million graham crackers (note:  Just bite the bullet and buy the crumbs next time…), it was really easy and tasted great!  The pie set up quite well and I topped it with homemade whipped cream…so much better than any sort of Cool Whip, you have to make the homemade stuff.  Easy and so worth it.  And the pie was deeeeelicious!

Kelly and (mostly…) her sister cooked, and it was just as tasty as I remember.  Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and a kale salad with butternut squash.  Can’t beat that…

photo (8) A feast with friends!

I hadn’t seen Kelly in awhile…pre-Africa, I think!  We caught up on life and talked about her PR at Philadelphia…and plans for future marathons!  I’m so thankful to have awesome friends in the city who open their homes apartments to me on holidays.  On Wednesday, I admittedly was very sad about not going home for Thanksgiving, but having amazing friends in the city make it a little easier to be away from family.

In traditional fashion, dinner was followed by a showing of Love Actually, which is a fabulous Thanksgiving evening moving, as it’s all lovey-dovey and Hugh Grant dances in it.  (Best scene…ever.  I hope Obama does that around the White House.)  We broke for pie about an hour in…I was nervous since I’d never made the pie before, and not to pat myself on the back, but it was great!  The crust was awesome and the filling was chocolate-y goodness.  High fives for solid pie and for giving some more credentials to my baking resume.

photo (9)


Kelly had to go to work today (welcome to hospital life…), so she set off for an early bedtime and I headed home.  After offering leftover pie to a guy in the elevator (he didn’t take it, he doesn’t know what he’s missing!), I ended up heading to Times Square (I know, I know…) to meet up with my long lost friend, Jonathan, who is in the city doing clean up work on Staten Island.  He was downtown with co-cleaner-uppers and said he was headed to Times Square, apparently just for the reason that it was the only place he knew where to go.  Follow the lights…

We grabbed drinks at Valhalla, one of my favorite beer bars in NYC…mostly because of the selection and the fact that I like to sit at the benches.  I think it’s been about five years since I’ve seen him, so it was fun to catch up…he’s a bit of a country boy (as in, the definition of…), so seeing him in the big city was unexpected!  No worries, he’s back to cutting down trees today.  We took a walk through Times Square (still crazy busy on Thanksgiving night)…

photo (10) Bright lights…

And ended up near Bryant Park for the subway, with a little Empire State Building action, in full Thanksgiving colors…

photo (11) 

I do love this city.  We said our goodbyes and I headed home…I was originally sad about not being able to be home for Thanksgiving, but a fun filled day with friends doing the things that I love (running, baking, eating, hanging out with friends) made me very thankful for everything that I have.  I’m lucky to be able to run, to have food on the table, to have friends to spend the holidays with.

Thanksgiving 2012?  A success.

Now…I know you’re all thankful too, but I want to know what kind of pie you had…priorities, friends.

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  1. says

    Glad you and Carla had fun! I PR’d at my Turkey Trot 10K last year (also 8:00 pace, #twinsies) and was bummed to be sitting it out this year since I’m battling a stubborn injury.

    Yesterday I had pecan pie from this pecan farm that’s kind of famous around the state of TX (I ordered one for the friends that would have hosted me for NYCM and I don’t think the pie made it thanks to Sandy :( ). The pie did not fail to impress! Today I had some apple pecan pie for breakfast.

  2. says

    I made caramel pumpkin gingersnap cheesecake… twice. Once for my own Thanksgiving, and once for Thanksgiving at BF’s. I have extra in NYC if you want to try any, but BF is DEVOURING it (he had two pieces for breakfast this morning) so it may not last long. That said, I’ve promised to keep making it even not at Thanksgiving, so you’re always welcome :)

    It involved a gingersnap crust, made in the same style as graham cracker. BF’s family didn’t have a food processor, so I used a plastic bag and then kept pouring it through a mesh colander in order to only get the fine bits. Definitely took longer than just using a food processor (only takes 2 minutes if I do it that way), but it wasn’t TOO bad. Maybe try that next time?

    So glad you had a great Thanksgiving and run!

  3. says

    I had apple AND pumpkin. Delicious. I haven’t spent Thanksgiving with my family in seven years so I was REALLY looking forward to my dad’s pies (and, you know, my family, of course).

  4. says

    That pie looks delicious! I think everyone that came to the potluck Thanksgiving I attended decided to bring a pie for good measure. Not complaining. So to answer your question, I had every kind.

    Thanks again for running with me! I must go watch Love Actually now.

  5. says

    that pie <3 so good – I still have two pieces left that I don't want to eat because then it'll be gone. Loved our T-day together! I am already excited for next year…

    My great-grandma used to make the best lemon cream pie in the world… maybe I'll try her recipe next year? yum

  6. says

    randomly, no pie this year. a pumpkin roll, a pumpkin delight (my aunt made it-whatever it was, it was amazing), and coconut pound cake. just a little sliver of each! your thanksgiving sounds really nice!

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