Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Happy Thanksgiving to All! Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday and it has always been a relaxing, fun, and comfortable hang-out day in my family. My Mom cooks a very classic meal that we steal bites of throughout the day and then we all sit down together for the FEAST. We have a tradition (as I'm sure many people do) where everyone at the table says what they are thankful for. This year my parents drove down from OKC and stayed with Adam and I Wednesday through Sunday. It was amazing to see them and we were very happy to host them in our new apartment. Here is a brief summary of what we were all thankful for:
  • Adam: Me (how sweet!) and the fact that we are celebrating our 1 1/2 year anniversary this month.
  • Me: Adam (I know, we are cheesy) and the fact that we have delicious, healthy, and wholesome food readily available to us.
  • Mom: That someone in her family decided to come to America and start a better life many years ago.
  • Dad: Us welcoming him and my Mom into our house.
When I was in college I made a small Thanksgiving meal with roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, dressing, green bean casserole, and apple pie but this year felt different. As our first year to HOST a Thanksgiving I wanted everything to be perfect. I decided to make a roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing (including stuffin muffins, more on this later...) applesauce, green beans bundles, and gravy. Besides a late start due to a persistently frozen turkey, everything went extremely well!

Stuffin Muffins! This a fairly recent food tradition my family now has. We put the remaining stuffing that does not fit in the bird into muffin tins! The outsides get crispy and brown while the inside stays moist and a little soft. I put too much chicken broth in the stuffing...but other than that, it was fabulous!

Putting the bird IN THE OVEN! I thought we would be eating a Thanksgiving lunch around noon. I did not get the bird into the oven until 12:30...oops!

My Dad and I took turns mincing the apples for applesauce. I love how Thanksgiving is a family affair bringing everyone into the kitchen, my favorite place!
Green bean bundles! This consists of fresh green beans wrapped in bacon and drizzled in a delicious combination of chicken stock, seasonings, and brown sugar. The greens beans get a rich, deep, roasted flavor and the bacon becomes crispy and slightly sweet from the brown sugar.
Mommy and me. She definitely passed her love of Thanksgiving down to me.
I absolutely LOVE making applesauce. It tastes amazing and makes the house smell great! I knew it was an odd choice for the Thanksgiving menu but it was nice to have a sweet side dish amongst all the salty/savory side dishes.
This is an action shot of me adding the "Turkey Hat". After cooking the bird for a few hours at low/moderate heat I crank up the heat to 475-500 degrees F and put a layer of aluminum foil over the breast meat to protect it from drying out too much while the other skin gets nice and crisp!
Adding butter to the mashed potatoes..REAL BUTTER. We usually eat Smart Balance only...but I thought that if there was ever an occasion to eat butter, Thanksgiving is it!
The majority of the spread! I am wearing an apron that Adam's sweet Grandmother made for me! It is reversible and says "Caroline's Kitchen" on the front. I LOVE IT and feel very domestic when I wear it.
The helpers! My Dad is carving the rest of the turkey and my Mom is washing the mountain of dishes. Thank you for coming down to see us and thank you for all the help! We love y'all!