Showing posts with label Family and Home. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Family and Home. Show all posts

Thanksgiving 2022

Our Thanksgiving day was mostly enjoying family and eating, but here's a recap of the days leading up to Thursday, because the whole week was mostly food prep. And, a few extra things from time to time.

My Thanksgiving prep started a few weeks before the week of Thanksgiving by coming up with a plan. The plan was to softly prepare dishes on each day of the week to not have an overload of cooking the day of, so I could spend more family time than in the kitchen. It's a great process that I will definitely be incorporating each year from now on. The prep started with gathering recipes that I wanted to try this year and buying all of the necessary ingredients needed for each dish. Seems easy enough, right? 

Most everything we bring into our home is organic, if not organic, definitely non-gmo. Everything pictured here is within a decent budget and most can be found at a local grocery store now. If your local store doesn't have these brands, brands that are equivalent will work just as well.

(Monday-November 21)
I started the week out with making homemade cranberry sauce, which I've never made before, and pumpkin pie-which again, I've never made before.

Cranberry Sauce:
2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. water
-Add everything to a pan and boil, then simmer until you hear the cranberries pop. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Pumpkin Pie:
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger
1-15 ounce can pumpkin
1-12 ounce can evaporated milk
2 9-inch graham cracker crust
Crush two cups graham crackers in a food processor, add two tbs. sugar and pulse until sand consistency. Pour into a medium bowl and add two tbsp. melted butter and mix together. Press into a pie dish and set aside. 
Using this tip from America's Test Kitchen, I followed the temperature settings here and it worked for pumpkin pie with a graham cracker crust, too. Preheat oven to 400. Pour previous mixed ingredients into prepared graham cracker crust and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until center is set and toothpick comes out clean. Set aside and allow to cool. I placed our pies in a covered pie dish and left out on the counter until Thursday.

And, that wrapped up the prep for Monday.

(Tuesday-November 22)
For Tuesday I prepped mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes. I kind of improvised with the sweet potatoes, because we don't like them with maple syrup, or marshmallows. An unpopular opinion is that sweet potatoes don't go with marshmallows and marshmallows don't go with sweet potatoes. ☺

Mashed Potatoes:
6 pounds russet potatoes (peeled and quartered)
8 ounces cream cheese (softened)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup milk
1 stick butter
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. paprika (or more to taste)

Boil potatoes about 15-20 minutes until fork tender. Drain and mash in a mixing bowl, or use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Add cream cheese, sour cream, milk, half the stick of butter, salt, and pepper and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Spoon mixture into a baking dish and brush top with remaining butter (melted), and sprinkle with paprika. Cover and place into refrigerator.

Sweet Potatoes:
4 pounds sweet potatoes
1/2 cup milk
1 stick butter (softened)
1/2 tsp. salt

Wash and cut up sweet potatoes into large quarters. Boil until fork tender, drain and place in an electric mixing bowl with paddle attachment. Mix until sweet potatoes are broken up. Add milk, butter, and salt and mix until smooth, or desired consistency is reached. Spoon into baking dish, cover, and place into refrigerator.

And, that wrapped up the prep for Tuesday.

(Wednesday-November 23)
On Wednesday I prepped apple pie and the stuffing we decided on for the meal. We went with a basic apple pie recipe with a graham cracker crust. If you haven't caught on yet, we all prefer graham cracker crusts to traditional pie crusts, because of the flavor. For the stuffing we went with a cornbread and plain bread stuffing.

Apple Pie:
1 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
5 cups granny smith apples, peeled and sliced into half moon shapes
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
6 tbsp. sugar
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tbsp. flour
1/4 cup flour for topping
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup oats
2 tbsp. brown sugar
Crush two cups graham crackers in a food processor, add two tbs. sugar and pulse until sand consistency. Pour into a medium bowl and add two tbsp. melted butter and mix together. Press into a pie dish and set aside. 
Slice apples and place in large bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over apple slices and mix. Set aside. In a small bowl, mix 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, and 1 1/2 tbsp. flour. Add to apples and coat thoroughly. Dump apple mixture into prepared graham cracker crust and spread out evenly, but mounding a bit in the middle. In a medium bowl, mix together 2 tbsp. butter, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup oats, and 2 tbsp. brown sugar. Sprinkle over top of apples and press down just a bit to get it to stick to apple tops. Melt remaining 2 tbsp. butter and drizzle over top of crumb topping. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake an additional 30 minutes, or until apple filling is bubbly. Temperature times may vary with these recipes, so please take note of that and adjust accordingly.

1 stick butter
3/4 cup onion (chopped)
1 cup celery (diced)
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. sage
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 eggs (beaten)
5-6 cups dried bread crumbs
3-4 cups dried cornbread chunks
1-2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Melt better in a skillet and add celery and onion until onion is translucent.
Add seasonings and eggs, stirring constantly until cooked. Transfer everything to a larger bowl and add bread crumbs. Mix to combine and add broth slowly to mixture until desired stuffing texture is reached. Add any extra ingredients that you would like, at this time, raisins, nuts, cooked bacon, or sausage. Transfer to a baking dish, cover and chill in the refrigerator until ready to cook.

I ended up placing all items in covered baking pans to make it easier on Thursday to remove from the refrigerator into the oven with ease, and also use them to serve the dish, as well. You can pick up the ones I used here.

(Thursday-November 24)
On Thursday, all we had to do was cook the ham, and heat up the the rest. Once the ham was cooked, we heated up the sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon bits, and the stuffing at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes we removed everything, but the stuffing. The stuffing cooked for an additional 20 minutes. We made the gravy with 5 cups chicken broth, 1/2 cup flour, and a few tablespoons of ham drippings (to taste). Added salt and a bit of pepper, and everything was ready to go. For the rolls, we got prepackaged from a company here called Big River Breads, popped those in the toaster oven for about 10 minutes, and everything was ready in under an hour. We have leftovers for a few days, too. 

I definitely recommend this preplanning approach and using my schedule here you can adjust to fit your Thanksgiving, or family needs and on what days you prepare what. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and were surrounded by the ones you love, and who love you.

July Fourth 2022

 Hope your July Fourth was a "blast." We spent a quiet day/evening at home and away from crowds. We needed some downtime, so July Fourth helped with that. We had picked up a few random sets of fireworks and we all enjoyed our own little street show. It was a good evening. Two days before on July 2, we headed to the beach, not to surf this time, but to walk along the sand and enjoy the ocean from afar. It's nice to spend some time at the coast just being there instead of in the water. We had a great two days bringing in America's 246th declaration birthday. Hope your Fourth was just as special.