DRAFT TODAY, POST TOMORROW: Some posts may be in draft status until I (aka procrastinator extraordinaire) get around to posting them.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


We started the 21 pound turkey last night, unsure how long it would take on the smoker. It was done in about six hours. It turned out fantastic, especially the dark meat.

I made the strawberry rhubarb pies, using a medley of recipes, adding a package of fresh blackberries to the second one. I used a combination of arrowroot powder (a heaping 2 Tbsp) and sugar (3/4 cup in the first and 1/2 cup in the second with a package of frozen rhubarb and 2 heaping cups of sliced fresh strawberries. I topped the second one with a crumb mix. They were too wet though. I thought it would work out okay but the first one overflowed while cooking and the topping on the second one soaked up a lot of the liquid. Fortunately, they tasted good, the crust was good, the filling was good, but the pies just seemed a bit soggy. No one else even tried it so I should have done one and done a pecan pie for the second one.

I cut up the veggies for roasting tomorrow while the pies were baking. It was mostly brussels sprouts but I added a head of broccoli, a head of cauliflower, the carrots leftover from the turkey and broth prep, and a red pepper from my garden.

This morning, I found that my 9+ pound ham wouldn't fit in my crockpot. Oops. But there weren't any smaller hams, so what could I have done. I decided to bake it and found comments saying that people had used tin foil to tent the ham when the ham was too tall, so I put my orange slices in the bottom of a glass baking dish, put the ham on top, mixed my pineapple juice and maple syrup and poured in, then used my hands to mix some juice into brown sugar to make a paste and rubbed all over the ham. I baked it for a few hours until the oven was needed to rewarm the turkeys. The ham turned out AWESOME--everyone loved it.

I started the giblets and veggies for stock to make gravy. It eventually reduced by about half. I fished the liver out and ate it. (I know, I'm weird but I like the liver, just not the rest of the gizzards.) In another pan, I put the "drippings" and veggies from the turkey. It included a lot of liquid from the wine and apple cider Mick used in the turkey baste. It reduced some and we later strained both pans and combined them. I added arrowroot powder but forgot that it needs to be mixed with water or something first, so I had to fish out some lumps and then add it again. It thickened up nicely but I thought it tasted too sweet because of the white wine and apple juice. But everyone who tried it seemed to like it. There was a jar of Heinz gravy that was brought with the other turkey.

I peeled 5 pounds of potatoes and 5 pounds of sweet potatoes. I made the potatoes first, cutting up, then boiling them. I saved some of the water when I drained them; I mashed them with a little of the reserved water, salt and pepper. I added some garlic powder and Earth Balance soy-free "butter" and blended with a hand mixer. I added more salt and pepper, some coconut milk creamer, and some fresh chopped parsley. I asked Mick to taste it and he said "perfect." I put them in a crockpot and they were almost gone by the end of lunch.

I cut up the sweet potatoes and boiled them. I drained and mashed them with a little reserved water, adding a dash of salt. Then I used the hand mixer and added some Earth Balance "butter," a few handfuls of dark brown sugar, a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, and some hazelnut coconut milk creamer. I put them in a crockpot. Everyone was asking for the recipe and were shocked that they are non-dairy. Yum!

I put the veggies in to roast after the turkeys were rewarmed. I heard that my BIL went back for seconds, he liked them so much. I also cooked some carrot "coins" with "butter" (coconut oil or olive oil would work too, but I wanted the butter taste) and turbinado sugar. It didn't make a lot but they were gone in no time. I didn't care for the Sprouts canned cranberry sauce--it was fine tasting but got really soft and melty. My FIL brought some from the F&E cold case and it was better. No one ate salad except me--note to self--do not serve salad at Thanksgiving!

There were a dozen kids (and almost as many adults!) and they had a great time so I think everyone who attended will be open to us hosting some holidays. But the family who didn't want to come, didn't. And some who I thought were coming didn't either. I thought it was very successful anyway!

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