Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I was so thrilled to be able to make my first Thanksgiving dinner in our new house!  I want to kind of journal it, because the dinner worked out so perfectly.

The preparations started several days in advance.  I got the turkey out of the freezer (22 pounds!) and into the fridge on Friday prior to Thanksgiving.  On Tuesday, I made cornbread for the stuffing, roll dough and hung out with friends.  Wednesday, I prepped the stuffing vegetables, I made pineapple cheese jell-o, pomegranate and lime slush, and I went to my mom's house to make pies with my sister and mother.  We made 17 pies that day: Apple (using a few frozen pie fillings I'd made at the end of October), Pumpkin, pecan, rhubarb, blueberry, and mincemeat.  On Wednesday night we had "Pie Night" and cut into a few of those delicious pies.  It was nice to enjoy pie separately from the Thanksgiving dinner, although we had some Thursday as well. :)

Lastly on Wednesday, I put the turkey in the brine.  There was still slushy ice in the cavity of the turkey, but otherwise it was thawed and ready to go.  We used my pressure canner pot to hold the turkey and brine because the turkey was massive.  The brine had lemon and orange, and a bunch of fresh sage and thyme from my mom's garden--amazingly not destroyed by frost yet!  We took the insulation out of the vent of the cold storage room so that it would be plenty cool in there, and let the turkey soak down there for the night.  We monitored the temperature.  My sister Sara will be happy to hear that.

Thursday morning we spiffed up the house and kitchen, and then my mom and dad came over and we cooked.  I made a few snacks in the morning: coconut oil popcorn and a purchased shrimp tray, and my mom brought a vegetable tray with ranch dip.  I put cornbread sausage stuffing in the crock-pot, made Alton Brown's recipe for green bean casserole, orange glazed yams, mashed potatoes, and rolled out the rolls to rise.  The turkey actually didn't go into the oven until nearly 1 PM.  I didn't stuff it with stuffing, just the vegetation from the brine.  I rubbed it down with olive oil and then seared it at 500 convection roasting for 25 minutes.  Then I put in the probe thermometer into the deepest part of the turkey breast, covered just the breast with aluminum foil, and turned down the oven to 350, on the convect roast setting, and told it to hold temperature at 155.  While the turkey was roasting, my mom and I finished the cooking (already mentioned above) and Cody set the table, while my dad "napped" and the kids helped him "nap."  :) 

The Turkey was done at about 3:20, so we pulled it out, covered it, and let it rest while I baked the rolls and warmed up the green bean casserole.  My mom made the most fabulous gravy from the turkey drippings, using the extra long burner on the stove top.  The kids and Grandpa put slush and Sprite in the cups, and Cody carved the turkey after it had rested.  Everything was done amazingly on time, and we put it all on the table and sat down right at 4 PM.  The food was SO good!  The turkey was juicy and tender and flavorful.  The gravy was silky and delicious.  The mashed potatoes--to which I'd added some cream cheese and mom's homemade chicken stock--were divine.  My great-grandmother's recipe for yams turned out fantastic, as always.  The rolls were high and light and buttery.  I really liked the cornbread stuffing, but it wasn't as traditional as other types of stuffing, so yet again I'm on a quest for the perfect homemade stuffing recipe, that doesn't go in the bird or oven.  Hm... I'll have to ponder that one.  My dad made a very delicious whole cranberry sauce, and when we sat down we all held hands and prayed, each saying something we were grateful for.  Then we had a few toasts with our plastic cups full of slush--yum!--and dug in. 

After dinner, we put the turkey and food away, started the dishwasher, then went for a walk around the block as the sun was setting.  It felt good to stretch a bit after all that eating, but we were still too full for pie when we got back, so my parents left a few pies with us and they went home.  Then we watched a movie and ate pie just before bed, at about 7:30. 

On Friday, Cody worked a bit in the morning, and then we headed down for Thanksgiving part-two with Cody's family.  That was a lot of fun, and it was great to visit with family.  The kids loved playing outside in the gorgeous weather, and Cody's mom worked tirelessly to make the big Thanksgiving dinner--no small feat for 32 people!  We came back that same night and slept very well. 

I love Thanksgiving and the start of the Holiday season.  I hope you all had a great one!  We have much to be grateful for.  I know so many people without jobs or in poor health or other desperate situations, and I'm always reminded that no matter how bad things are, we still are blessed with much.  We have good friends and amazing family, God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, beautiful children who are happy with so little, and a wonderful world to live in.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

1 comment:

Nikki said...

You are so awesome! I wanted to sneak up there and see you guys-- but we have been crazy sick. And now I'm back home again in CA. Maybe next visit!