I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Ours was different this year, but wonderful. It was a day full of family, friends that are like family, food and laughter. My brother had go to work that evening. He is a truck driver so he is gone a few days at a time. His beautiful wife went to Louisiana to have Thanksgiving with her sister, so my brother came and ate with us before he left for work. I am 15 years older than him, so I have always treated him more like a son than a brother. I am so thankful that God has blessed him with such a sweet wife that takes such good care of him. And I am so proud of him for being such a hard worker and taking care of her.
My new daughter in love is from Colombia, South America, and of course, since Thanksgiving is an American holiday, her family does not celebrate Thanksgiving. We invited them over to teach them about Thanksgiving. They enjoyed the food and even though they do not speak much English and we speak no Spanish, we are learning to communicate well. I think their favorite foods were turkey, dressing and broccoli & rice casserole.
That afternoon Kevin's Mom and Grandma came by to visit. Grandma will be 90 years old this month! She is moving a lot slower, but she still gets around.
Later that evening my dear friend, Jaree and her sweet girls came by to eat and visit. My heart was overflowing with thankfulness for all the wonderful people that God has placed in my life.
I started cooking on Sunday in order for everything to be ready to eat by 2:00 on Thursday. So, here is how the week went down:
Sunday - baked pecan pie (without corn syrup) and placed in freezer.
Monday - Made cranberry chutney.
Tuesday - placed turkey in brine (apple juice, orange juice, garlic, salt, pepper & thyme); cooked cornbread for dressing; baked brownies for trifle & made Cole's favorite chocolate crackle cookies.
Wednesday - Made lemon meringue pie, key lime pie, chocolate pudding for trifle and pumpkin roll. Boiled eggs. Took pecan pie out of freezer to thaw.
Thursday - Up early to get turkey out of brine & wash off excess salt. Baked turkey (stuffed orange, apple, garlic in cavity, rubbed olive oil, salt & pepper all over before roasting - juiciest turkey ever!). Made broccoli & rice casserole in crockpot. Prepared cornbread dressing with sausage & apples; candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows; deviled eggs; Rhodes frozen Texas rolls (my guys' favorite rolls); put Grant's butterfinger brownie trifle together and made Wassail in another crockpot.
My neck decided to get stuck again on Sunday. Great timing! I have herniated discs, damaged nerves & all kinds of nice & painful things in my neck & back. It hasn't hurt that bad in several months, but my neck locked up on me and had a pinched nerve that shot through my right shoulder & caused my right hand to go numb. I am EXTREMELY right handed and had a whole lot of cooking to get done, so this was not good! I would get as much done as I could while Kevin was on the machine and when he got off dialysis, he would stir and mix for me. I hate taking pain medicine, but didn't have time to slow down, so I was popping Aleve and Advil just to keep going. I was in so much pain. I absolutely could not have gotten it all done without Kevin's help.
I didn't try to "healthy" everything up too much. I had way too much to do and not a lot of time to do it in and I wanted Tiffany's family to have a traditional Oklahoma Thanksgiving. I did, however, use Truvia baking blend in all my baked goods. It is a blend of Truvia & sugar, so it's not sugar free, but it's low sugar. Everything baked up beautifully, except the meringue. As far as taste goes, you can't tell a difference in the taste or texture at all. But the meringue didn't get big & fluffy like it does with real sugar.
Hot apple cider or Wassail is one of Cole's favorite things. It also makes your house smell sooooo good! I make it in a slow cooker. Tiffany's family loved it and so did Jaree's girls. Here is how we do wassail:
WASSAIL IN A CROCKPOT
2 - 64 ounce bottles of apple cider
1 cup orange juice
1 can sliced pineapples
1 or 2 oranges, sliced
5-6 cinnamon sticks
handful of red hots (optional)
Place all ingredients (including the pineapple juice) in a crockpot on low setting, or you can put on high, then turn it down once it gets hot.
Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season full of love, peace, laughter and happiness.