Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap

Overall, our first hosted Thanksgiving went well.

1. We didn't have to travel

2. ShankRabbit had the day before Thanksgiving off, so he could help me clean the house and prep the food.

3. Each dish we made turned out fantastic (recipes below).

4. We ordered an all natural turkey from our local health food store. Fantastic flavor, wasn't frozen, and only cost us about $2.69/lb.

5. I deligated the desserts to my mother-in-law, who showed up with 8 (!) pies and a tray of pumpkin bars. We only had 9 adults and one child.

6. We're still eating pie.

7. A wet kitchen sponge was thrown at my head. That's how you know your kitchen is the fun place to be.

8. On Friday, we packed up our Thanksgiving leftovers and went to my brother-in-law's house. Another fantastic meal followed by some Kinect playing, where my sister-in-law tried to pull one over on my husband. Little did she know that he is super-competitive and knows how to drop it like it's hot.

The not-so-positives
1. The turkey took over 4.5 hours to cook, as opposed to the 2.5 our recipe claimed. My entire food timetable was thrown off. Boo! But hey, it was a darn tasty turkey.

2. We ran out of clean - and dry - dish towels, so by the end of the night we had to just leave the dirty dishes on the counter. We don't have a dishwasher (or a dryer), so we resorted to doing a drying-rack full of dishes and waiting for them to air dry.

And here is who made our Thanksgiving possible...the recipes (all gluten-free):

Roast Turkey
We mostly used Alton's brine, with some added tweaks from Gluten Free Girl's brine recipe. Also, we used butter to coat the bird instead of canola oil. BIG MISTAKE. The butter sizzled and smoked through the whole 500 degree portion of cooking (we had to make some temp and time adjustments...which may have been the reason why our turkey took so long to cook).

Udi's Gluten Free Stuffing
We stayed true to the recipe and it came out beautifully. Because our turkey was taking so long in the oven, our stuffing did dry out a bit waiting for a final warm up in the oven. I think next year we'll add a bit more moisture.

Gluten Free Dinner Rolls
I can't begin to describe the amazing flavor these rolls have. Yes, they are a little dense in the middle, but not at all like the hockey pucks most GF folks are used to. These were a big hit with everyone!

Biggy's Sweet Potato Casserole
The only change we made was to cook it in the CrockPot. About 20 minutes in, we added the mini marshmallows so they could melt. Yum.

Honey Glazed Carrots
We used regular carrots and cut them up into circles. A simple, yet flavorful dish.

Green Beans Almondine
Perfect as is.

Mashed potatoes were made by my sister-in-law. I don't know what she did or how she did it, but they rocked!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Random Thoughts: November Edition

1. When I was a kid, I remember learning proper letter writing in school. I was taught when it was OK to have a more casual correspondence and when a more formal letter was required.
Now that email is part of our daily lives, do they teach proper email etiquette? Are future employers going to receive an email like this from their employee:

so i was all lolz cuz i thought OMG i forgot the deadline! but DOOD...totes dun!

I think the intricacies of forwarding and cc/bcc should be covered as well.

2. I saw some brand new (in the bag) halloween costumes at Goodwill today for 75% off. I wanted to grab all the cute baby ones - ladybug, bumblebee, football - but my 2.5 year old is no longer a baby. And she's a 4T. Maybe I can put the bumblebee one on her leg and dress her up as a beekeeper next year? Though a giant bee attacking the leg of a beekeeper might be more of a beekeeper FAIL.

It's a good thing Peanut tells me exactly what she wants to be for Halloween.

3. ShankRabbit brought up the baby topic last week. I think we're rounding the corner from "ohgawdnowaynobabiesanytimesoon!" to " wouldn't hurt to revisit the 6 months..." It's all about progress, right?

4. My grandmother had a funny quirk. Whenever we'd sit down for a family meal, our forks would mysteriously disappear. Turns out she would grab the nearest fork to serve dishes, cut meat, etc. and not notice which one she grabbed. We'd all laugh when she'd say, "goodness, how did I get 3 forks?"

Why do I bring this up? Because I have developed a similar flatware-related quirk. I use so many knives during the day that I can easily use every single one we own in a day. Putting butter on toast, making sandwiches, the time we sit down for dinner they are all gone.

I've secretly started using disposable plastic knives on occasion. Shh...don't tell ShankRabbit. He thinks I've gotten better with my knife usage.

5. I had a very introspective September/October. Mostly, I was thinking about family (probably a post for another day). Blah blah blah...I decided somewhere in there that we should host our own Thanksgiving.


Did you catch that? I am hosting one of my all-time favorite holidays. I will be cooking. For other people than the husband and the daughter.

If you've never cooked a full turkey before, do you make a practice one a couple weeks before or do you just hope for the best the day of Thanksgiving? I did find helpful tips from a couple of "never let me down" sources - Alton Brown and The Gluten-Free Girl.

6. I'm so happy November 2nd is over. I don't mind the political ads (yes, annoying...but whatever). You know what bothered me? The "AAAARGH! GET OUT THERE AND VOTE!"

Did I vote? Yes. But I didn't make a big deal out of it.

7. Medical update: still broken. The doctors have no idea what's wrong...still. I think I'm done trying to figure this out. I've been on a gluten-free diet since August and this seems to help with most of the problems I'm dealing with, but no concrete answers.

8. 2010 seemed to be the year of "frustration." Can 2011 be "contentment," "love," or even "unicorns?" Let's make it happen.