Is anyone else feeling the STRESS already this holiday season? It's been a long week, with an even longer one coming up. The kids are out of school, but the husband still has to work, so I get to work at home, fulfill my mom duties, plan and shop for Thanksgiving, clean the house, try to keep the kids from tearing it apart. Please promise you'll visit me in the loony bin!
In an attempt to kill two birds with one stone (no turkey pun intended there) and because I don't have anything else deep and insightful to tell you about this week, I thought I'd share some of my Turkey Day plans.
I've come to the decision this year that Thanksgiving isn't about trying to replicate what we did during my childhood (then failing at it and being grumpy that Thanksgiving just isn't what it used to be), but to make the best memories for my family today. To do that, I'm really trying to incorporate things that everyone likes.
First things first: Dessert
It's arguably the most important part of the Thanksgiving meal.
Most of the people coming to dinner aren't, well.....let's say....traditionalists. For example, my mother-in-law, who lives with us, came home from the store today with a bag of potato flakes and asked if we could "just have these for Thanksgiving dinner" instead of making real mashed potatoes. I tried to keep a straight face.
None of my husband's family likes pumpkin pie. Actually, they don't eat anything orange...or green. You see what I'm up against here. They'd much rather stop and get a chocolate pudding pie from Denny's. Gag.
On the other hand, it's just not Thanksgiving for my mom without pumpkin pie. I prefer pecan, but appreciate the tradition of pumpkin. A few weeks ago I made pumpkin puree from scratch and froze it so I'm planning to try either a pumpkin cream cheese pie, or pumpkin cheesecake a la Martha Stewart. (Photo from Martha's site.)
I've heard so much this year about brining a turkey that I had to see what it's all about. According to Martha (BTW - I totally had a dream the other night that she came to Thanksgiving dinner.), "Soaking a turkey overnight in a solution of salt and water ensures moist results. When you add aromatics to the brine, the resulting roast is also infused with a subtle character all its own. Follow our instructions to prepare a perfect brined turkey for your next feast."
In keeping with Jess' post last month about Saving the Brick & Morters, I decided to stop into this sweet little kitchen store in town yesterday. I had 15 minutes before I had to be at school for the kids Thanksgiving luncheon, so I thought I'd take a look around. When I saw the "Gourmet Gobbler Kit" I knew it was fate that my bird should be brined this year. And so it shall be with a spiced brine blend, then seasoned with smoky peppercorn and herb rub.
My MIL is vegetarian, but not an actual fan of veggies, so that leaves a lot of pasta and starches. Lucky for me she loves my great grandma's pineapple souffle, as do I, so I get to keep that tradition alive. Score! Here's the recipe. Keep in mind that there is nothing healthy, organic, or local about it, but you can switch some of grandma's ingredients for organic.
Great Grandma Boggs' Pineapple Souffle
Although I think my mom and I are the only ones who eat sweet potatoes, I'm planning to make some (in a small amount) anyway. There's just no way that I can resist Nikki's Sweet Potatoes from 101 Cookbooks made with coconut milk, toasted coconut, macadamias, and freshly grated ginger. Again, not a locavore's dish with the coconut and macadamias (am I losing my street cred here?).
- Preheat oven to 350
- Grease an 8" casserole
- Tear up 5 slices of white bread into small pieces and put it in the casserole dish
- Cream together 1 stick of butter and 1/2 cup sugar
- Beat 4 large eggs then mix thoroughly into the butter and sugar
- Add 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
- Pour this mixture onto the bread cubes, mix gently
- Bake uncovered for about 45 minutes
If you use organic sugar, butter and bread (and I'm thinking you can use wheat instead of white) it's not all that bad. But good luck finding local pineapple. Last time I checked that wasn't really a popular crop here in Colorado. But man is it gooooood!
We'll also have some local green beans that I canned a few months ago, bread, mashed potatoes, gravy...all that typical stuff.
I found a really pretty, fall-colored table runner at Goodwill last year that will go nicely with my second-hand china. I think I'll enlist the kids in some child labor next week and have them make beaded napkin rings. It should keep them occupied for about 3 minutes while I work. And I thought this was a cute idea from the Elmer's Glue Crew website.
They're made from holiday catalogs and we can alter it to be a place card, or glue a magnet on the back and let everyone take one home with pictures of the kids in them.
Wow, well I'm feeling much more organized now. Thanks! We might just have to change this to the Green Therapy Booth.
I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving filled with good company, laughter, love and some delicious food.