So often the holidays, and the end of the year for that matter, bring anxieties about family togetherness, false starts and unrequited goals. It can be overwhelming and paralyzing at times. Thanksgiving seems to be the primer for how you handle the remaining 30-plus days of the year, good or bad.

My solution to this dilemma is to take a moment every day and give yourself the gift of thankfulness. This past holiday week had its drama and tension-filled moments, but, more importantly, it had laughs, connection and some really dynamite cooking and food. I am going to take a moment and savor the time… (WARNING: About to be real thankful for the next couple of paragraphs.)

First, there was my visit to Virginia to visit my cousins Quinn and Bob for their annual Friendsgiving celebration. The menu would begin with charcuterie and cheese, Quinn’s langoustine mac ‘n cheese (Bob topped it off with some andouille sausage) and, on request, my wings because I have become the “waaangs whisperer” with my weekly clients. Made 7 pounds of those suckers and only a few remained by the end of the evening.

The star of the meal would be Bob’s Cajun seafood gumbo. Baby, he was not playing. Shrimp, lump crab, langoustine, Dungeness crab, rockfish in gorgeous broth over some aromatic sticky rice. Bob is 6-foot-4 and was hunched over that stove for hours tending to this gumbo, and it paid off. He gilded the lily with some doctored-up Red Lobster cheddar biscuits ,too. Wishing I brought home some leftovers now.

Next up was my annual pre-Thanksgiving dinner with my high school crew and spouses at Carmine’s. As per usual, we over-ordered the family style plates, but the meatballs and lasagna were exceptional this year. Love those guys and our 20-plus yearly tradition.

And then there is ThanksgivinI put my foot, ankle, calf, knee and thigh—of both legs— in my collard greens this year. Thanks to the produce men of 132nd and Lenox Avenue for having all I needed, some gorgeous greens and that Harlem hospitality to boot. They were a thing of beauty.

Thank you to my family for awarding me the MVP this year for the rally and the cleanup, among other unmentionable things. My niece Courtney gets my MVP for the planning skills, holding her own and for her killer apple pie. Love you!

Remain thankful my friends…

Happy eating and thanks for reading!

Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for more than 15 years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc, and her blog, Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email AmNewsFOOD at Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!