This Thanksgiving I decided to just cook at home. I have shied away from cooking at home for just my family in the past, because I have: one family member who likes only four Thanksgiving foods, one family member who likes nothing, one family member who only eats cat food, and me. Not a very gratifying crowd to cook for. And that one Thanksgiving where I stuffed the turkey with cat food did not go over well.
But I thought of how relaxing it would be to just stay home and not have to go anywhere. And fortunately Katie came down on the train to eat with us. She's not a picky eater at all, so I was able to justify making all the foods that nobody else in my family likes besides me. (Read: stuffing/cranberry sauce/sweet potatoes/apple pie/salad.)
It turned out to be an awesome Thanksgiving. I decided that since I wasn't cooking for a crowd, I would endeavor to do it all from scratch this year. Normally I have the jelly cranberry sauce shaped like the can, and gravy from a jar, and I always purchase Bill's beloved pecan pie from the grocery store. But this year I was like NO! I will do it myself. I even made the bread for the stuffing.
(And now the whole from scratch bug is out of my system, so I can go back to laziness next year.)
Here's the obligatory picture of the table before the meal, featuring the Toy Story alien:
Even though a turkey breast would have sufficed, it was cheaper to make a whole turkey. I got the turkey for $6 with a coupon, and, because I'm frugal like this, I got a second coupon and got a second turkey to freeze for later. I know, look at me!
I brined the turkey using this brine recipe. I really liked it for its simplicity. After the turkey brined overnight, I rinsed it and popped it into an oven bag. And then, as Ron Popeil says, I just set it and forget it. Four hours later, we had a turkey.
I went rogue and did the stuffing in the Crock Pot. I didn't use a special Crock Pot stuffing recipe, I just put the regular stuffing in the Crock Pot. Because I like to play fast and loose like that.
We also had: homemade rolls; cranberry sauce (pop, popped, popped by me in a pot the day before); mashed potatoes; homemade gravy that loosely resembled turkey-flavored pudding; the sweet potato casserole that I list as one of the foods I would eat exclusively if I found out I had a month to live; salad with gorgonzola and Craisins; and a compromise green bean recipe (compromise because I prefer the traditional green bean casserole and Bill prefers boring, plain steamed green beans).
Here's another photo of the table, this time with candles lit and alien removed:
It was the first Thanksgiving meal prep where I didn't feel like the last 30 minutes before dinner were ridiculously stressful. I felt calm. Katie helped me peel the potatoes, both sweet and regular, while Bill watched a professional wrestling match from 1987 and Nathan set up my cat figurines to create a village called Cat Town, which is not pictured here:
And finally! Time to eat! Here's a blurry picture that proves that I always put my napkin in my lap before eating. And also that I used cloth napkins:
Immediately Nathan found himself in a Thanksgiving time-out, not altogether different from his Easter time-out:
Upon returning to the table, he was appalled that we asked him to eat four green beans and four bites of turkey:
Yadda, yadda, yadda, eating, something something dishes, and then it was time for pie!
This year I made three pies, which I think is about right when you have three adults, plus a kid who decides he doesn't want to eat pie.
Now, as I said, Bill loves pecan pie. Apparently the price of pecans has gone up this year, so the bag of pecans needed to make this pie cost me $13. And that was with a coupon. Add in two kinds of corn syrup and some other ingredients, and I think the pie cost me about $20 to make. Recall that the turkey cost $6. But I didn't think of not having Bill's favorite pie. And that is love, people.
My favorite pie is apple, and I figured you have to have pumpkin, right?
Here are the pies:
Nathan preferred to play video games instead of eating pie:
Meanwhile, Leia ... did what she does every day:
And back at Pie Central:
Katie brought some sparkling peach dessert wine to go with the pies. It tasted like those gummi peach ring candies, but in booze form.
Here's me all, "Hey look, I'm eating pie!"
And here's Katie all, "Hellz yeah, you are!"
Also, note how Bill had to drink his sparkling wine out of a margarita glass, because even though all signs point to the fact that we are grown-ass adults, we only have a total of 3 wine glasses, and out of those only two match, and one of them is cracked.
But, in spite of our dire glassware situation, it proved to be a great Thanksgiving.