Planning for this Thanksgiving has been the polar opposite from my planning last Thanksgiving. Last year, I knew months out that I wanted to buy a pre-made meal from a grocery store. I researched my options, looked for other people’s experiences, and stalked stores online as I waited for the special holiday fare to appear. It was the best, especially postpartum, and I still 100% recommend this option to everyone.
This year, I have basically been in survival mode since August. For a long time I thought that we would be living in a hotel over Thanksgiving, and I didn’t take the time or energy to come up with a plan for that scenario. Then we were offered this house… and while that did make things a lot less stressful, I am still running around like a chicken (turkey?) with its head cut off. Case in point: it wasn’t until the beginning of last week that I realized Thanksgiving was only 10 days away. Maybe it is the endless Hawaiian summer playing tricks on me, but I was really taken by surprise here.
There was still time to order dinner from Whole Foods or a dozen other places, but I wanted to use my new kitchen. So I returned to the easy yet festive option we enjoyed last Christmas… Turkey and Stuffing Meatballs. That was my plan until Sunday night when one of my kids expressed a deep desire to have a traditional roasted whole turkey for our Thanksgiving meal. As delicious as those meatballs are, making my kids’ Thanksgiving dreams come true is more important, even if that leaves me scrambling for the smallest turkey I can find on the Monday before Thanksgiving (it is 13 pounds, by the way, so not really small).
So now our menu is as follows:
- Roasted Turkey
- Homemade Gravy
- Cranberry Sauce
- Maple Brown Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Buttermilk Bread – making one plain and one cranberry-walnut loaf
- Luscious Apple Pie with Perfect Flaky and Tender Cream Cheese Pie Crust (both from The Baking Bible)
- Homemade Whipped Cream
And the game plan:
- Wednesday – Cranberry sauce, buttermilk breads, apple pie
- Thursday – Turkey, gravy (while the turkey is resting), mashed sweet potatoes (stove top, while turkey is in the oven), Brussels sprouts (prep while the turkey is in the oven, roast while it is resting), whipped cream (right before dessert)
It was hard to choose just a handful of side items, but I know that there are still going to be a bunch of leftovers even with limited sides. Harder for me was choosing just one dessert (whipped cream is an “accompaniment,” right?) – I love to bake and I have a wicked sweet tooth. But I keep reminding myself that I am only cooking for my little family of five, and I will be doing plenty of special holiday baking in the weeks ahead.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!