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Tackling Thanksgiving

Yep.....I got my big girl panties on and I am doing Thanksgiving dinner this year. For the past 18 years, we have always gone to Josh's mom house for this day. She loves Thanksgiving and her Martha Stewart spread clearly proves it. She makes everything from scratch including the cranberry nut bread, Buka (polish bread, I am sure I botched the spelling), the stuffing and her cranberry sauce. She has a buffet table with five different pies, again....all made by her, even the pie crust. The dining table is straight out of a Pottery Barn catalog with hand sewn linens.
Now that I think about it......how DARE she make other plans this year and dump this immense responsibility on me!?!

OK......deep breath......I can do this, I can do this, I can do this. It might sound ridiculous to most, but taking on a Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixins (my husband hates that term so I am hoping he is reading this and cringing).....is very overwhelming to me. Martha Stewart has more talent/creativity in her baby toe than I do in my whole body.
I have tried.....trust me. I have picked up many Family Circle/Better Home and Garden magazines in hopes that one article might inspire me or spark some hidden gift. I have watched Rachel Ray and other Food Network gurus hoping that one little tip might set me free from my lack of domestic talent.

I get nothing. *insert cricket sounds*

So in the spirit of giving thanks.....one thing I am very thankful for is that my husband and children do not expect a dinner of the same magnitude and quality from me.

Sooooooooooo, N and I are going to attempt to pull off our own little "feast" as she calls it. We have the turkey brining in the vegetable crisper bin of my fridge. (I do not own any proper "brining" containers, nor do I know if they even exist as I never even heard of brining) I am praying that no-one decides to move it as it is filled to the rim with what appears to be disgusting salty lemon water as of this morning. I actually poured the second half of the water while it was already in place in the bottom of the refrigerator so Lord knows how I am going to get it out without a flood. I was told I needed to change it today. You see, my best friend Lili is coaching me on how to make this turkey. Cooking and baking come second nature to her.....I am sure feeding a family of nine on a tight budget forces you to be a creative chef to begin with.....I have seen her make a casserole out of leftover spaghetti and eggs. I will admit that I didn't have the courage to sample it, but all 11 kids, including my own......loved it. So in my eyes.....she has a gift.

So this morning, I will make my daily call to Lili to find out what I am supposed to do today to continue the prep of Tom the turkey as well as a detailed step by step plan of attack for tomorrow's task. I know this will mean that I have to go back to the grocery store for fancy smanshy ingredients that I do not normally have on hand like she does, such as spices. I know he has to cook for some insane amount of time (which means I have to get up early and I will admit I am a little resentful to Josh's mom for that fact) Oh, and he does have that little popper thing, so I don't have to worry about the wrath of serving undercooked poultry.

So yes, I have Tom soaking as if he is at a spa, in the bottom of the fridge......and N and I are going to do our best making the side dishes. I am pretty good at making "smashed" potatoes, and I can open a mean can of green beans. I also will be making my "Funyon surprise" which is the nickname of an easy casserole I make with those french fried onions, frozen veggies and a can of cream of mushroom soup. I have a couple cans of Pillsbury rolls and we are good to go.

We will be making homemade butter, which is so insanely simple, but I feel so Little House on the Prairie when I announce it to guests. (I do not dare tell them that it is only heavy cream shaken in a round jar until it is in a solid state with a dash of salt). Another not so homemade hit in my home is a veggie dip made from Knorrs mix, sour cream, mayo and chopped spinach. It is G's favorite, in fact......I make a separate batch just for him and his box of Wheat Thins.

We also will be making "dirt" another ridiculously easy recipe that looks impressive (chocolate pudding, Cool Whip and crushed Oreos layered in a trifle bowl....it's all about presentation!) but a child over the age of three could make it. The fact that I own a trifle bowl is indicating that I might be getting a teeny bit more domesticated, now that I think about it.

Josh and E's favorite dessert is pumpkin pie......and thanks to the friendly people who make the canned pumpkin......I have the simple recipe readily available on the can. I feel like a seasoned baker when I put tin foil on the edge of the crust to prevent burning....(I won't mention that I learned that from one of my preschool students last fall when we were making pies)

N is excited to make a Pilgrim Punch that she read about in The Dragon Thanksgiving Feast....orange juice, cranberry juice, ginger ale and sherbet. This punch will be served in a margarita pitcher (after I scrub the inch of dust collecting inside it) as I do not own a punch bowl either.

Our table will not look like a Pier One display.....but I think we do have six matching plates and six Mason jars in the same size. Before you think I am cheesy.....I have invested in "nice" glasses so many times over the past 15 years. The average life span of a drinking glass in this house of kids and tile floors......is about 4.5 weeks. Mason jars/spaghetti sauce jars are sturdy and plentiful. Function over fashion, I always say. :)

N will be printing out some nice placecards from this site and I scored a pretty ceramic pumpkin last year on clearance at Pier One that will be in the center of our table.

I think we are as ready as we can be to tackle Thanksgiving this year! And although it won't be as "professional" as Josh's moms events......it will definitely be something to remember. Not only the meal itself.....but spending more time in the kitchen with my little girl, preparing the dinner and making the kids' favorite desserts. I might even wear an apron to give it the full effect (*note to self.....buy an apron today)

I wanted the house to look festive so we did some extra decorating too. As part of a project/lesson.....N and I made a "tree of Thanksgiving" this year....it was a little bare with just our leaves.......so I had everyone in the family (yes, even the older kids who think I've flipped my lid with my corny ideas) write down things that they are thankful for. I was impressed to see that God and family made the top three.......along with food, video/film equipment, and toys.

Maybe hosting Thanksgiving will be a new tradition for N and I. I'll let you know after tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you and your family~


Summer said...

Wow, that all just sounds so YUMMY!!! Can you PLEASE post your recipes for the frozen veggie casserole thingy, and the pudding desert! Those would be very loved here! :)

Summer said...

Oh oh, and also the dip please! YUM!

~*Michelle*~ said...

Oh sure Summer!

OK, so I am horrible at measuring...but for the "Funyon Surprise" I take a couple packages of frozen veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots) and put it in a casserole dish. Then I mix a can of cream of mushroom soup(or broccoli, whatever I have in my cupboard), about 3/4 cup of milk, and half of the container of Durkins French Fried Onions and mix it into the veggies. Then I sprinkle the rest of the onions on the top....bake at 375 for about 30-40 minutes (I usually take it out when the liquid is bubbling)


For the veggie dip.....it's on the back of the Knorrs Vegetable recipe mix package...it's the Recipe mix, one package of chopped spinach, one container (16 oz) of sour cream, 1 cup of mayo combined together and chilled for about an hour or so. You can add water chestnuts and/or green onions too. When I want to get really fancy, I cut out one of those round breads and serve it in that.


Summer said...

Thanks Michelle!


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