A baby screaming in a high chair (has been crying and screaming for 20 minutes already), throwing toys on the ground, acting like a maniac. A mother trying to truss a slippery buttered 10 pound turkey for the first time (all while trying to watch a youtube video on how to truss a turkey, running back and forth to wash hands so the video could be rewound). A father who is trying to shred meat off turkey necks for the gravy all the while contemplating jumping off the balcony due to frustration because of the ear piercing screams. Oh, I forgot to mention both these parents had been up since 5am because their wonderful toddler decided to wake up an hour earlier than expected.
Yes. This happened. I was blessed with this scenario the first time ever making a Thanksgiving turkey this past week. Woo, nothing can test your sanity and the strength of your relationship with your husband like a non-stop hollering baby plus trying to make sure food was ready for Thanksgiving dinner all the while being exhausted from lack of sleep. Good thing is, that was the height of the chaotic scene! And thank goodness the turkey didn’t slip out of my hands onto the ground. Nobody would have ever known if it did though…. 🙂
Deep breath in, deep breath out.
Chaos and all, I was able to get 2 homemade pumpkin pies (real stuff, not from a can), brownies, crispy green beans, a turkey, honey glazed squash, homemade marshmallows, homemade whipped cream and gravy all done in time (with help from my husband of course!). Sounds like a lot to tackle for my first ever Thanksgiving dinner, huh? The reason I decided to do so much is because well, I’m kind of a food snob. Yes, I’m admitting it. My thinking was, the more food I made, the more I knew about what type of ingredients were used and the quality of them. That’s probably the biggest down side of knowing too much about where food comes from– you grow partial to not wanting to eat any food you don’t make! But, aside from being a food snob, I do enjoy cooking for people and watching them gobble up my food because they enjoy the taste!
Luckily, because I can be a type A personality some times, I made a game plan and was able to execute it perfectly. Coming up with a plan when you have many things to cook with and time limit to get them done in really helps reduce the whole “running around like a turkey with it’s head cut off” thing.
So how did everything turn out? Ah-may-zing! Although I cooked it, I have to give big kudos to Mommypotamus, The Healthy Home Economist, The Urban Poser, Organic Pastures and of course, Grandma Chauncey for the impressive real food recipes. Oh, and Tara Firma Farms for raising a delicious, pastured turkey. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to take pictures of all the food…
- The Healthy Home Economist’s recipe for the chewy brownies and pumpkin pies (I tweaked the pumpkin pie recipe a little by only using 1/2 teaspoon cloves and allspice).
- Mommypotamus’s recipe for the turkey and honey glazed squash. Note: Do not substitute the squash for anything other than butternut. I used some french squash (the farmer sold me on it) and it was wayyyy too sweet!
- The Urban Poser’s recipe for the homemade marshmallows. Oh. My. God. These were soooooooo good.
- Organic Pasture’s recipe for homemade whipped cream made with raw cream and honey. Heaven in the mouth. Was devoured in seconds.
- My recipe for crispy green beans
- Last but not least, I used Grandma Chauncey’s recipe for the homemade real gravy (recipe coming soon!) Scott was in charge of gravy and he did an amazing job replicating it. Once you eat Grandma’s gravy, you will never be able to eat the boxed gravy again!
I think the food I am most proud of however is my turkey. Because my turkey was literally straight from the farm, it hadn’t been pumped with all kinds of additives so it required a different method of cooking. Pastured turkeys are leaner and cook quicker. As I mentioned above, I followed Mommypotamus’s recipe for putting the turkey in a 24 hour long brine bath (salt, honey, sage, thyme) then putting an herb butter mixture (butter, olive oil, chives, shallots, garlic, lemon juice, thyme, sage) in between the meat and skin. I roasted it for about 3 hours at 325 degrees.
The end result? A perfectly moist turkey that bursts with flavor in your mouth. My aunt said it was the best turkey she ever had! Yes! That is what I call success. I just hope it wasn’t beginners luck!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving that was filled with real food, love and family!
What kind of food did you make for Thanksgiving?
Until next time,
Loriel – Healthy Roots, Happy Soul
This post is part of: Monday Mania