Minh and I making gravy... last thing to finish off the meal..
Thanksgiving – as I’ve said before – kicks off one of my favorite times of the year… THE HOLIDAYS!!! But before those precious days of baking and gift-giving and no work can come around, we must first get through Thanksgiving… which I don’t mind so much since I LOVE to cook!!
This year’s Thanksgiving was easy enough. I tried some new recipes, but kept it fairly simple without the complicated ingredients or processes. I knew that I wouldn’t have THAT much time to prep since I was spending most of my free time working out or being lazy… so I kept the recipes down to things that had few ingredients and very little prep or hands-on time. Oh.. and since Anni is diseased with the Celiac’s.. we made everything completely GLUTEN-FREE!!!
- Sage Butter Turkey
- Cornbread-Sausage-Chestnut Stuffing/Dressing
- Buttermilk Chives Mashed Potatoes
- Glazed Carrots
- Sauteed Butternut Squash and Brussel Sprouts with Bacon
- Garlicky Green Beans with Pine Nut
- Apricot Cranberry Relish
- Brazilian Cheese Bread (adapted from Little Teochew)
- Simple Turkey Gravy
- Chocolate Beet Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (adapted from Simple Bites)
- Nina’s Signature Pumpkin Cheesecake
I got pretty much everything I needed in two trips to the grocery store (plus maybe one or two side trips that don’t REALLY count). Since the turkey was provided by my aunt (as it has been for the last few years), the total cost of the meal (for 12+) came out to under $150. CRAZINESS!!!
Turkey turned out PERFECT... except for the lack of skin color.. wanted to keep it in longer, but was afraid it would dry out...
For me.. it’s always the SIDES that make the meal. I usually take just a small piece of turkey (dark meat, of course), and LOAD UP on the sides. This year was no exception.. although I think I may have an allergy to brussel sprouts. Minh and I decided we would need to make another dish to be sure, but I got a slight rash on the backs of my hands in the middle of dinner.. and the same thing had happened last year at Thanksgiving. The only thing that we ONLY have at Thanksgiving that we don’t have any other time of year is brussel sprouts and pine nuts.. and I kind of REFUSE to believe that I’m allergic to pine nuts.
LEFT: cornbread sausage chestnut dressing; RIGHT: sauteed butternut squash and brussel sprouts
LEFT to RIGHT: gravy, buttermilk chive mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, sage butter turkey
Anni - Playing "Angry Birds" on the iPad while waiting for dinner...
For some reason, dinner always gets done a little bit earlier than expected, or just in time… but we’re never all ready to sit down and eat. There’s always last minute things that need to get done before everyone is ready to sit down to dinner.. Dad needs to pick out a bottle of wine and somehow get it open (the ever missing wine opener that is never there when you need it)… Mom NEVER sits down with the rest of us but has to finish doing something in the kitchen… Pictures need to be taken.. cups need to be (first put out, and then) filled with various beverages.. etc.. etc.. There’s always SOMETHING. Inevitably, we can all be starving – and at least half of us will be standing around the dinner table waiting to sit down, but dinner will always be thirty minutes AFTER you expect it to start..
And no family gathering is complete (at least not in the last couple years) without some inappropriate picture taken of my grandma holding alcohol that someone has thrust into her hand…. You can’t hear it from looking at the picture, but we’re ALL laughing hysterically in the background.
This picture cracks me up.. Oh Grandma!
Minh and Khiem - "shooting the breeze" while waiting for dinner...
And the last odd thing about our typical Thanksgiving dinner.. NO ONE ever wants to carve the turkey. As the chef for the night, I probably should be the one to do it, but I NEVER EVER EVER carve the turkey. Probably because I’ve never bothered to figure out the best way to do it. I’m always afraid that I’ll completely butcher it.. or worst.. that it’s actually UNDERCOOKED!!! I don’t want to be the one to reveal THAT! Usually Mom will carve the turkey, but since my uncle was in town this year, he did the honors. Although, truth be told, he only made the first cut, then my mom took it away to finish carving in the kitchen. You can also see in the picture how Dad is starting off on the sides before the turkey is even ready.. trust me.. we’re all hungry…
Uncle Viet had the honors of carving the turkey.. mostly because NO ONE ever wants those honors in my house...
And of course, we had to get a family picture for the night. Only ones missing that came later are my aunt Nhan, Anthony and Nina.
Family picture before we all stuff our faces...
Hope everyone else had a wonderful Thanksgiving.. now we have THE HOLIDAYS (!!!) to look forward to…