Every year that The Guy and I have been together we always do a great big Thanksgiving Dinner for anyone who wants to join us. Mostly we invite service members who either don't have leave to go home or the time off to do so. When we were in Monterey we took plates up to the people on duty (hungry Marines are very grateful for piles of turkey at Midnight on watch). It is usually a large affair, w/ at least a dozen people. We usually have to do more than one turkey, which is how we discovered that my crock pot can hold a fairly large turkey. Last year we did three.
This year was a much smaller occasion, which was actually quite welcomed. We only had two guests in addition to just The Guy, The Kid and me. The Davids are both visiting family, so it has been a little quiet lately.
But dinner was kind of problematic.
See, I am not used to cooking for such a small crowd, especially not for something like Thanksgiving. It isn't enough that we went w/ just one turkey, and The Guy decided to deep fry that guy so that we weren't toiling over it all day (We like to keep the turkey out of the oven to free it up for all the other stuff we like to make). I was fretting over whether five pounds of potatoes would be enough...
But it came out just fine. This year included some of the classics, like green bean casserole w/ the crunchy onions, and of course smashed potatoes (w/ real lumps!). We didn't make The Guy's home made cranberries, and just did the canned stuff that I like instead.
But we did start off as usual, w/ our turkey taking a nice long bath! We have found that this is the best and least obtrusive way to thaw our turkey.
And, something that no one ever thinks of is Thanksgiving breakfast, so while the turkey was bathing I made another batch of pumpkin pancakes...
Right after breakfast I put The Kid to work w/ the prep work...
She loves helping, and she got to watch the parade too!
The Guy started working on the injection for the turkey.
There is always so much prep to be done that I can't believe I never think to do it the day before, but that is why we have kids, right?
I like to take a moment during all of that prep work to reveal the stars in the apples and say a blessing for the abundance of food we are able to have.
Apples hide w/ in their hearts a star, representative of the four physical elements, and the fifth spiritual element of the self. It has a lot to do w/ why apples are so popular in fall and harvest time food.
They are also key to my Apple and Onion Stuffin' Muffins, shamelessly stolen from Rachael Ray on the Food Network. These are easily the most popular thing I put on the Thanksgiving table, and are easily converted for vegetarians/vegans.
The Fuji Apples and Maui Sweet Onions that I use in place of what is in the Food Network recipe cooking w/ the poultry seasoning and bay leaves are easily my favorite smell on Thanksgiving. I never would have guessed that apples and onions would smell so amazing together.
I don't have a fancy ice cream scoop, so I just use a measuring cup, which works just fine.
I also super cheated this year, and opted out of pumpkin pie...sort of. I don't really like pumpkin pie, but The Guy does, and The Kid will eat a tiny bit of whatever is handy, and it isn't worth baking a whole pie for one or two people (plus, one of our guests promised to bring what he claimed were the best cookies ever...not sure if they compare to my Grammy's pumpkin cookies, to be made tomorrow, but I digress...), so I didn't. Instead, as we were picking up the other groceries, The Guy saw at the last second Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream, so I decided to make Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Ice Cream Pie (no, that is not a typo, due to the ingredients, it has to be redundant).
If it was just Pumpkin Ice Cream, then it could just be Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie...are you following? Anyhow, it also had a Nilla Wafer crust, instead of my normal graham cracker. You can use any ice cream, if you have never done this before, as long as you soften it and stir it a bit before trying to put it in the crust. Just fill the crust, and refreeze it for at least two hours.
I hate Cool Whip as a rule, but we don't have Jeff's cool mixer any more for home made whipped cream, so it was the best I could do. After the pie is frozen, top w/ softened whipped cream (if using Cool Whip and it is sold in the freezer case like it is here, thaw it first), then freeze again for another hour.
And don't forget the nutmeg.
We also had the crock pot free, so that meant room to mull lots of cider (and wine! Mulled wine FTW!)!
And I even made a little centerpiece...cuz I am all kinds of clever!
Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving. I know we did.
Much love to all!
PS, Miss you Dad!