A few years ago, Mike and I hosted our first Thanksgiving. There were about 20 of us or so, and we set up tables in our living room, collected chairs from all over the house, and made little packets of silverware wrapped in napkins since we didn't have enough real stuff to go around.
Luckily for us, my parents came to visit and were a huge help in the preparation of everything, from the food to the entire cleaning up process.
This year, however, was different. To start, Patrick is in our lives now. And anyone with a 13 month old knows how difficult it is to get anything accomplished with an almost walking toddler. Another thing: my parents didn't fly up to spend the holidays with us (they have just spent a few weeks with us, plus it's very cold and both my father and mother have been spending a lot of time visiting their various doctors for check ups and diagnosis and suck - not to worry, they are fine. They just seem to have a lot going on.). And so, most of the holiday preparations fell upon me. Mike was a great help, but since he works full-time and doesn't always know his way around the kitchen, I took charge of the planning, shopping, and executing of the day (hey - it's the event planner in me, okay?).
So... on the menu:
Appetizers: Bacon wrapped tenderloin, bacon wrapped scallops, chicken quesadilla trumpets, raw veggies with dip, cheese, pepperoni, crackers, etc. The usual appetizer starter stuff.
Turkey - duh. I marinated it with mustard, mojo, and onions. Yes, a mixture of the three things. Then I stuff the inside with apples, celery, onion, and carrots. The result: a nice, juicy, moist bird
Ham - one of those spiral numbers that only needs to be heated for a few hours. I put a spin on the glaze and used Coke instead of water. The result: a delicious, sweet ham with a thick gooey glaze over it.
Mashed potatoes - easy enough.
Roasted sweet potatoes - I left them in the oven for about three hours, which I heated the ham, cooked appetizers, stuffing, etc. The result: tender sweet potatoes.
Shrimp and andouille sausage served over Texas Toast: I stole this one from a dinner at my Aunt's house (she says she stole it from Reader's Digest). Cooked shrimp and sausage with little bits of onion. I added hot sauce, red pepper flakes, garlic. The result: best served piping hot - I burned some of the Texas Toast in my frenzy to get everything served. I'll have to tweak this one for next time.
Sauteed green bean with bits of bacon and shallot - Yummy!
Boiled carrots and parsnips - Delightfully sweet!
Sausage stuffing - Made by my MIL - she told me she is going to teach me how to make it. The result: delicious!
Gravy and cranberry sauce - Made by my MIL and Ocean Spray. Both tasty!
Then, for dessert:
Canolis - Shells and filling bought and then stuffed at home. I sprinkled them with powdered sugar for a pretty presentation.
White cupcakes with vanilla frosting and coconut - I presented them on a cupcake display thingee and toped them with a bride and groom since my BIL recently go married (Congrats, Tom and Rhonda!)
Apple and pear galette - Recipe taken from last months's Real Simple. Basically: a flat pie that can be baked ahead two or three days and then wrapped tightly and can be served at room temperature. Yummy, wholesome, and representative of Autumn. Very tasty.
Cookies - chocolate chip and peanut butter. Enough said.
Beer, soda, water, sangria made by me: email me for my secret!
Many thanks to my BIL and his new wife for staying late (and MIL too!) to help with dishes and clean up. They were excellent - the best dishwashers I've met!
In a very strange fashion, I didn't get a single shot of the day. Not of the family, not of Patrick, not of the table. I was busy from 7 in the morning until 8 last night. I know others took pictures, so as soon I get them, I will try to post them online.
I do, thought, that Patrick had a great day. He ate turkey and ham (for the first time!) and mashed and sweet potatoes. He had carrots and stuffing. He ate a third of a cupcake. He smiled, he charmed, and fed Cheerios to his family members. He played with his cousins.
And even though I have no pictures taken with my camera, I have Patrick. And, for that, I am truly grateful.
I hope everyone's holiday was as blessed and fun as mine was!