I have never done the Black Friday shopping thing nor do I ever want to. I prefer to spend my day after Thanksgiving converting our fall house into a Christmas house.
Our favorite tradition has always been to go to the mountains to cut down a fresh tree but we gave that one up when we moved to Colorado and couldn’t find any pretty trees. We bought a fake one on our way home from our first unproductive Colorado tree-hunting expedition in 2007 and have used it ever since.
In 2009 in preparation for our move to Germany I shipped that tree as well as our favorite decorations in an early shipment so it’d be here waiting for us when we arrived. We got our house and then one week later our unaccompanied baggage, including our Christmas things. It was bare but it was just fine.
Today is the first day-after-Thanksgiving we haven’t had a tree to decorate so I think I may have to find a small one to set up to at least give us the feeling of Christmas. At our house, instead of it being Black Friday, it’s a blue one.
Rather than focusing on what I am sad about, I’m going to focus on the fun I had yesterday. It was a different sort of Thanksgiving… much smaller than the previous two, but it was lovely, leaving me with treasured memories.
I started my Thanksgiving by getting up earlier than the family and getting the potatoes in the crock pot. I had peeled and cut them the night before, leaving them submerged in water with a tablespoon of lemon juice to keep them from browning. (Thank you, google!)
The recipes I found for crock-pot mashed potatoes all raved about the delicious taste and ease of this method and since I was also making a few other dishes, I thought sticking this one in a crock-pot to do it’s own thing would be great. Turns out I didn’t like the potatoes cooked this way, so I’ll go back to boiling them next time I make them.
This was also my first attempt at a whole turkey. Turkey is not my favorite dish on Thanksgiving so I have never been overly concerned about making it, always willing to let someone else take that task. This year, however, I was excited about trying something I’ve always been intimidated by. I was extremely proud of the results and I really think it tasted good. However, when it actually came to making my plate, the side-dishes once again ruled. I did put a little on my plate but didn’t even eat it. I was too enamored by the other things in front of me. Here are a few pictures of my turkey.
I used this recipe and followed these instructions, fully entertained by her graphic descriptions of what the parts of the bird were. For the butter-under-the-skin part I used salt, pepper, and Lowery’s. Next time I’ll just use pepper and Lowery’s… that should cut down on the saltiness of my gravy. (I mention that in an upcoming paragraph.)Another intimidating part of Thanksgiving meal has always been gravy. I’ve heard horror stories and even tasted gravy that didn’t deserve to be on the table, so I didn’t want to risk it. I bought several cans of Campbell’s Turkey Gravy in cans so this was one less thing I had to worry about. However, as good as my turkey tasted I hated to cover it with canned gravy so I decided to give it a try, thinking that if it busted, the cans were a good back-up.
As it turned out, Pioneer Woman has a great gravy recipe with step-by-step instructions. I followed them and, even though mine turned out a bit salty, I was very pleased. (I used my own homemade, frozen broth which wasn’t salty at all, so I believe the extra salt-flavor came from the turkey that I had seasoned heavily.)
Food. FOOD. AND MORE FOOD!
What I’m excited about was that, while we had enough of everything to split up between the three families, no one was stuck with a month’s worth of anything. Good planning!
In the bottom left image you can see Carson and Connor breaking the wishbone. Fun! (Connor won.)
I have a nice friend. Do you see the sweet potato casserole on the left-hand side of the larger image? Half has nuts, the other half just has marshmallows! (I don’t really like nuts on my food.)
We had: turkey, gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, mac and cheese, shrimp, bread (German and American), mashed potatoes, and for dessert, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, apple pie with vanilla ice cream, homemade sandwich cookies, heath topped goodness, and coffee.
The three chefs of the day: