Have you ever had that feeling of happiness and sadness at the same time? Like, when you finish reading a fantastic book, or when the lights come on after a standing ovation at the theater – it’s a feeling of complete joy but also sadness about that enjoyable experience coming to a close. This may sound over-romanticized, but that’s how I always feel after Thanksgiving weekend is over, and this year was no exception.
My Turkey Day Trials paid off as the menu was flawless and well-prepared. The snow day our district received the Wednesday prior was also an added bonus as I was able to get many dishes done ahead of time. By the time the sun came up on Thursday, drying out all the snow and thawing out the ground, Rob and I were able to enjoy breakfast, watch the Macy’s Parade, watch the Dog Show, and cheer on the Patriots in the background while trussing the turkey. The only time our schedule got tight was when I forgot to broil the yams (to toast the ever-present, much debated marshmallow topping).
As my parents knocked on the door, we had cocktails and hors d’oeuvres ready, with dinner fresh and hot on the warming tray. It was so good to see my mom and dad again, and even better to have them stay as guests in our home. It felt like our little house was now completely nested having such great company.
Although I may have gone overboard a bit with the food. It was my first Thanksgiving – better to have too much than too little! Plus it made for excellent weekend-long leftovers. 🙂 Here was the menu:
– brie cheese with onion jam and honey crisp apples
– shrimp cocktail
– Turkey (not stuffed, but filled with garlic, lemon, sage, rosemary, and thyme, and drenched in olive oil, salt and pepper. I also poured a mix of white wine and turkey stock into the bottom of the roaster, so a flavorful steam would keep the bird moist).
– Apple and leek stuffing
– Rob’s potatoes (silky smooth with the addition of cream cheese)
– Marshmallow yams (an old classic made super flavorful by roasting yams – skin on – adding real maple syrup to the mix, and toasting the you-know-what out of the marshmallows).
– black & green olives
– Mandarin oranges
– Turkey gravy
– Horseradish pickled cucumbers and peppers
– Cranberry sauce (yes, the jellied canned kind – we wouldn’t have it any other way!)
– Dinner rolls (Alex Guarnaschelli’s recipe) with homemade sage honey butter.
– Pumpkin pie (since my disastrous pumpkin pie episode, I’ve made 4… let’s just say I got the recipe down).
– Gingerbread, chocolate mousse, & brandied pear trifle (OMG. Really, just OMG).
– Cardamom shortbread cookies
– See’s Peppermint Patties
Seriously, I think we all gained about 7 1/2 pounds each.
But this smorgasbord provided excellent leftover options, which is, arguably, the best part of Thanksgiving dinner. The desserts made excellent accompaniments to the morning cups of joe, and the delicious buttery dinner rolls were perfect vehicles for shoveling overflowing turkey and cranberry sandwiches (with extra mayo) into our wide-open mouths.
We stayed pretty active the whole weekend seeing the sites Coos Bay had to offer. One major highlight was the HH-65 circling our house with a fully dressed Santa Claus jubilantly waving out the side door (it’s good to have connections to people who can fly Santa around!). We hiked, we explored, we shopped, we got rained on, and were always welcomed back to an exuberant amount of leftovers and a warm fireplace. And when the weather got too dodgy, the games we played (or maybe how we played them) were so side-splitting funny, Seinfeld could have used us for a new pilot sitcom.
Scrabble Slam was the first requested game, which led to a flurry of thrown cards, and frenzied shouting of suitable-for-the-family 4-letter-words. I, at one point, tried my hardest to get “poop” down on the table, but to no avail just kept shouting the word “poop” while someone else’s card took my spot. Yeah, how’s that mental image treating you?
And then there was Slamwich. Slamwich is the best game – ever. I highly recommend this game to any foodie fan, or just anyone in general looking for an entertaining way to make, munch, and steal a sandwich. My mom and I purchased the game in Florence after a day of shopping, and met my dad and Rob at the sports bar they were holding down watching the Oregon game. Joining them, we sat at the bar, ordered a drink and appetizers, and proceeded to read the rules to this silly, silly game. 15 minutes later, we were drawing serious looks from across the room as we were slapping slices of bacon, cheering on our sandwich thieves, and calling out each other’s “slipslaps” with gusto. Needless to say, we were quite a scene.
But our Slamwich efforts were soon squashed by the determination and competitiveness the Wii brought to the party. Rob and my dad literally wore a spot in our wood (I lied – laminate) floor playing endless rounds of bowling. It was hilarious! Then the boxing and sword fighting started. The squealing laughter of frantically punching the air and ducking from invisible punches, jabs and stabs filled the house. At one point, I just sat back and thought, “This. Is. Awesome.”
As most wonderful things do, the weekend flew by. Rob and I finished most of the leftovers with stuffing and turkey stuffed mushrooms and relaxed before getting ready to face another Monday workday. Although this Monday our pants were quite a bit tighter, it was just a reminder of the fabulous family, food, fun, and fabulous Thanksgiving weekend memories.