Monday, November 28, 2011

Thankful for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving this year was great. Thursday we went to my sister-in-law's house
and enjoyed good family, good food, and sugared-up kids and cousins (thanks 
to her super tasty desserts). Unfortunately the fun was cut short for me since it 
was my scheduled holiday to work. 2:00 came too quickly, and off I went to the 

The next day was to be my side of the family's day to gather for a day of 
feasting and fellowship. I had volunteered to bake the turkey, dressing/stuffing 
(depending on your family), mashed potatoes and gravy. Just a bit much?
MaybeI had thought, but I'd give it my best try. Not only was I to make the 
majority of the menu, but I wanted to do it all from scratch. Crazy? Pretty much. 
I had researched recipes for a week. I ended up taking advice from Paula Deen 
on baking the turkey and used her recipes for apple cranberry stuffing and giblet 
gravy. I even planned on toasting the bread for stuffing myself. On top of all 
this, I had never baked a turkey or made stuffing and gravy. I'm usually in 
charge of the mashed potatoes, which I will add is an art form. Making sure they 
are creamy but not wimpy is a fine line.

I had shopped on Wed. for all the required ingredients, which in and of itself 
could be a post. I spent about an hour and a half tracking down my list within 
my local recently reorganized grocery store. My two children were securely 
strapped in a cart with a double space up top for child confinement, and it didn't 
take long for them to start with the hair pulling and play hitting. I must have 
spent a half hour in the baking/seasoning section.

I had a good first four hours of my shift and was thrilled to be cancelled at 7, not
that I didn't want to stay and take care of my patients (who were all super sweet),
but I needed to get to bed a decent hour to prepare for the next day. I also 
needed to clean my kitchen, which I did. 

My phone alarm chimed it's wake up song at 6:15, and I was up (this was a 
miracle since I'm not a morning person). I stumbled into my sparkling kitchen
and started chopping apples, onions, and celery to stuff in the bird. Next was 
only part I dreaded. I kinda have an issue with raw poultry. I'm a little OCD 
when it comes to cleanliness and prevention of food-borne illness. I blame 
the microbiology class I was required to take as an undergrad for this. I made
sure everything was ready. I cut the lifeless bird free from its packaging, 
pulled out the neck, but couldn't find the giblets. Where were they?! I couldn't
make giblet gravy without giblets. After a thorough search, I gave up and 
decided to boil the neck and tail to make the gravy.

Next I rinsed my unfortunate friend, placed it in the pan, patted it dry with a 
disposable paper towel, and seasoned it inside with pre-measured sea salt, 
pepper and thyme. I attempted to slather the outside with softened butter, but 
butter doesn't spread on a cold turkey. Live and learn. Paula Deen knows 
what she's talking about. Melted butter it was. Then I sprinkled sea salt and 
pepper all over. Last I stuffed the celery, apples and onion inside (that was 
my idea). Finally, the main course was ready for the oven and only 9 minutes 
behind schedule. I followed directions and baked the 10 pound turkey for 2 
and a half hours at 325, covered with foil. Once the time was complete I 
noticed there weren't tons of "drippings" like I had expected. I added turkey
stock to the pan and turned up the heat (according to the directions) to 
425 for 45 minutes. After just 15 minutes, the bird was plenty brown, so 
I covered it with foil, basting every so often. 

The result was mouth watering goodness. The turkey was wonderfully moist
and delightfully tasty. My husband was quite impressed and bragged on me
for days. The side dishes were yummy as well and by some miracle were 
all done the same time as the turkey. Everything was transported safely 
to my younger sister's house (thanks a bunch for hosting lil' sis). My mom 
made her traditional green bean casserole and my little sister made her
famous butternut squash. Everything was wonderful. As usual, we took
turns saying what each of us was thankful for, although we all missed 
my older sister and her family. They were all down in sunny Florida for
an overdue visit with my brother-in-law's family. 

I love Thanksgiving. It's a wonderful opportunity to reflect on what we too
often take for granted everyday. I'm so thankful for a wonderful husband,
adorable children, great family, a home, a rewarding job, food on the
table, and a Savior who loves provides for and loves us. I hope you had
a wonderful Thanksgiving, but even if you didn't, think about all the good
things in your life. It's too easy to focus on the negative, when it's the
positive in our lives that is so precious. Oh, did I mention that my husband 
found the bag of giblets when he carved the turkey? I could only laugh.


  1. love this post! and LOVE that the giblets were found, I've done that before!!

  2. Thanks, Meg. :) I hope you had a wonderful week
    with your lil' lovelies. I'm glad I'm not the only one
    who has missed the giblets!