I’m taking notes here for my future self to refer to for next Thanksgiving. Yes, I could keep these notes in a notebook or in a computer file, but I’m not known for keeping things to myself when I can blab them all over the world.
1 – Turkey This year’s turkey was my hands-down favorite I’ve ever made, and it was by far the simplest. After years of experimenting with wet brining and dry brining, I went very simple this year and followed Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Turkey recipe, and it was perfect indeed. So moist and flavorful. The last couple of years, I’ve roasted our turkey in an electric roaster, but this year I went back to the oven and was very pleased – I apparently haven’t gotten the hang of timing with the roaster.
2 – Gravy I sort of winged it a bit with the gravy this year, and I was super-pleased with the results, so I want to keep track here of what I did:
- pour drippings from turkey into saucepan
- add 3 cups turkey stock, bring to boil
- dissolve 4 tablespoons cornstarch into 1 cup turkey stock, whisk into boiling stock
- add 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- simmer 8-10 minutes, or until thick
3 – Sides If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I kept everything the same this year with one exception. I asked my stepson to bring a vegan green bean casserole, using this recipe , and it was outstanding. Everything else was as per usual:
- my mother-in-law’s AMAZING cornbread dressing
- Bourbon Cranberry Sauce – been making this for a few years and I LOVE it
- canned cranberry sauce, for the kiddos, and also in memory of my grandmother, who always insisted on canned
- sweet potato souffle – a family recipe, which I love more than words (it has pecans in it and marshmallows roasted on top)
- Pillsbury crescent rolls
4 – Vegan options After years of getting Tofurkey for my husband’s son, we got Trader Joe’s Turkey-less Roast this year. We tried it at TJ’s and really liked it. It comes with its own gravy. Note for next year: When you boil it, don’t cut it out of its plastic casing first.
- also served Trader Joe’s frozen sweet potatoes (cooked in the microwave) with TJ’s sweet+spicy pecans sprinkled on top, for a vegan alternative to the sweet potato souffle.
- the cranberry sauce, crescent rolls, and green bean casserole were already all vegan.
5 – Dessert The Oreo Cookie Butter Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie was a hit. I also made a Brown Sugar Pound Cake served with warm caramel sauce. I also had our standard vegan option – Magic Pie (tofu blended with melted chocolate chips and vanilla, additional chocolate chips stirred in, poured into an oreo crust and chilled). But my favorite was this Browned Butter Butterscotch Pie . HOLY YUM. I’ve had it on my Pinterest board for awhile; I’m so glad I finally made it.
Okay, that’s my Thanksgiving round-up, meal-wise. Other things I want to remember about this Thanksgiving:
- going on a morning run in what felt like a ghost town – heavy fog and almost no cars on the road
- time spent chatting with family while waiting for the turkey to be done
- listening to Tiny Dancer play Christmas songs on the piano
- watching Little Buddha build a “secret” fort in the living room
- listening to the kids play outside while my mother-in-law and I rested between the dinner and dessert
- family movie time after the meal – introducing our kids to The Karate Kid
I am grateful for so much and have had a great day remembering that. I hope you have too!