Friday, November 23, 2007

Thankfully Thanksgiving

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Good health, family, friends, a roof over my head, house furnace that works (especially this time of the year), and sitting down for a big meal with our loved ones... those are some of the things that I am so thankful for this time of the year. And so grateful that I get to share it with you too.

These days, thanksgiving is centered on the turkey, stuffing and all that food, and the main idea behind this is being together with family and be surrounded with people who we care about. The family dynamics can be uncomfortable at times, but at the end of the day, it's about spending time with our families and we usually have a great time doing just that. Of course watching the Dallas Cowboys on play some football helps divert all that attention on the turkey too.

Since we had only arrived home the night before thanksgiving to snow on the ground and a mere 14 degrees (minus 9.4 degrees celsius), and we couldn't find a fresh turkey at the local grocery store that night, we settled for a frozen 20 lb. turkey at 7.30 pm the night before. I was determined to have a thanksgiving dinner, so the only way to thaw a frozen turkey in a hurry was to thaw it in a bath of cold water in the laundry room sink and changing the water every 30 mins. Because of the size of the turkey, this was going to take awhile! So, that meant that I had to change the water twice every hour, for about 10 hours. Thankfully, I had a great partner who helped me with that for a couple of hours so that I can catch some sleep in between.

At 4 am, I was up and working on cleaning and prepping for that thanksgiving dinner schedule for 4 pm. Instead of stuffing the turkey like I did every year before, I opt to roast the turkey unstuffed this year except for a sliced up orange in the cavity. This decreased the cooking time in the oven, and it also gave me the best stuffing I've made in years because the stuffing wasn't soggy like they would have been in the turkey. It turned out golden brown, crispy, and I could taste the corn bread, sausage, thyme, apples, raisins and pine nuts in every bite. When the turkey was done, I skimmed off most of the fat, deglazed the pan with some white wine, and made a rich brown gravy with Wonder flour.

I also decided to go healthier this year by offering a baby spinach salad with mandarin oranges instead of a creamed spinach dish, and I switched to baby sweet peas with pearl onions and fresh tarragon instead of the usual green bean casserole. These were just a few efforts to cut down on the calories for the day, and for me to justify another slice of turkey with gravy!

The kids are just getting the idea of thanksgiving from their preschool teacher and I think I enjoyed it most when I saw them gobbling up the turkey breast and the mashed potatoes. Then they had 2 slices of pumpkin pie each. Unfortunately I didn't have the good restraint to do the same.

And at the end of the day, it was all worth it.

I just tried this grid version of collage from Picasa today, and to view a larger pic of each dish, simply click on the picture itself.


Cris said...

Looks like it was a fun day! I cooked all day and we had Thanksgiving with friends! Second time I get to do this here, but this time around I was really into it and it wa fun!

Anonymous said...

Looks good! Err.. where's the kids table?

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hi Cris,
Yay! YOu cooked all day too! Wasn't it fun to watch the group eat it all up? :)

Hi S.S.,
LOL! Thanks for noticing. The kids table was a mess by the time I took out the camera, so it didn't make to the blog. Maybe next year. :)

Little Corner of Mine said...

Woohoo...I love the collage! Yes, I heard stuffing on the side is way better than stuffed it inside the turkey. Dishes look great and what a beautiful color of your turkey.

SIG said...

Ooo... everything looks yummy. I love baby spinach.

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hey C,
Thanks! Haha! Wish you were here!

Hi Singairishgirl,
Thanks! I love baby spinach too!

Dwiana P said...

Happy thanksgiving for you and family by the way. sorry late. I didn't have time lately to seat in front of my pc.
I see you have great meal on that special day!

East Meets West Kitchen said...

Hi Dwiana,
Good to see you here, and hope you had time to enjoy some turkey?