Caution: this posting is a little long........We have always looked forward to Thanksgiving in our family like I'm sure many of you do. It's usually celebrated with a huge group of family & friends with lots of noise and chaos in the house. This year though, things turned out to be a LOT different from Thanksgivings past. When our son Jack, was unable to make it to the Thanksgiving festivities last year due to his work schedule, and the distance he lives from us, I decided that I will never spend another holiday without my only child if I can at all help it. So the hubby & I decided to take Thanksgiving on the road this year, and take it to Jack!!
As you have read before, my son is an artist and a student, and single - so he doesn't take time to cook for himself very often. That being said, he loves his mother's cooking (moi), and I love to cook for him. I decided to make all of the family traditional foods for our Thanksgiving feast (except for Lita's torrejas). I'd also cook enough to enable Jack, and us of course, to have some left-overs. (My hubby eats left-overs, in fact he loves them, so I'm blessed.)
The first thing I did was ask Jack & Earl (he's the hubby) what they'd like me to make. The list was kinda long....LOL!! Here is what I ended up making:
- roasted turkey
- cornbread dressing (not stuffing y'all)
- mashed potatoes
- sweet potatoes (like my dad used to make)
- greens (sister Heather's recipe)
- green bean casserole
- mac 'n cheese (like my Kelly used to make)
- Mish Mash
- pumpkin pie
- pecan pie (my own tried & true recipe)
- Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits (OK - they came from a box- LOL)
And Earl made his ever requested Jello Pie!!
Of course I was not crazy enough to try to cook all of this after we got to Jack's apartment Wednesday evening! NOPE - I was prepared!! Tuesday, I made the pumpkin & pecan pies (which I forgot to take pictures of - what!!??). I also picked, cut up, washed, washed, washed and bagged the greens so they just had to be cooked (at least 5 hours) on Thanksgiving morning at Jack's place.
Greens have to be washed numerous times to get the sand/grit out.
Back & forth from sink to sink until the water is clean.
Finally clean & draining.
I rolled them up and sliced away.
A mixture of mustard & collards.
Bagged & ready to pack.
To cook these babies, I brought to boil a quart of chicken stock and the remainder water - enough to cover the greens. I tossed in some salt, pepper, a few red pepper flakes and a big turkey leg (we don't eat pork). Once boiling, I added the greens, brought them to a boil again, covered the pot, turned down the heat and let them simmer away! This is only the second time in my life I've made greens (yeah - I'm not a southern gal), but they were on point! My sister Heather makes great greens, and she told me how to do them. According to her, you need one bunch per person - so I made three, but I think that's if you want left-overs because three bunches made a good size pot!
All the meat fell off the bone of that turkey leg!!
Tuesday night, I also did Step 1 of the Mish Mash. Are you familiar with this? My cousin's wife used to bring it to all the family dinners, and I love it.
Here's what you do:
Take a bag of fresh cranberries (mine had been frozen then thawed), put them in a blender with a little water, and chew them down. Mix this with 1 cup of sugar and refrigerate at least over night. To finish the dish the next day, drain a can of crushed pineapple then mix it with the cranberries, 12 oz. of cool whip and a bag of mini marshmallows. Cover & refrigerate a few hours. That's it - and it is soooo good!
Wednesday evening when we finally got to Jack's (rush hour and holiday traffic are a bear), I finished the Mish Mash, made the mac n' cheese & cornbread dressing - which I didn't get pictures of either!! I'll try to remember to post the recipes for those at a later time though because they are both scrumptious!! Then I relaxed, and spent time talking with my guys.
Thanksgiving morning I put the greens on, and got Tom ready to roast. To do that, he got a bath, then I slathered him with butter and sprinkled him with poultry seasoning, salt & pepper. He was stuffed with chunks of oranges, apples and onions. We have been using a roaster for our turkeys for the last few years and love the results. I was concerned this time because I usually use a baking bag, but forgot to bring one - so he was just naked in the roaster. The results were wonderful though. Here are before & after photos:
Ready for a bath.
Getting carved up!
Next, I put the potatoes in the crock pot to try out a new recipe (from Pinterest) for slow-cooker mashed potatoes - I thought they didn't turn out that great, but my guys liked them. I won't make that one again though. I made the sweet potatoes - with marshmallows on top (that's how dad did it!!), and the old stand-by green bean casserole. Just before dinner, I sliced jelled cranberries (my fave), made the gravy and whipped up the biscuits (not sure why I have a photo of these and not other items).
Finally we were ready to eat - and eat we did. Can I just tell you that we were stuffed when we finished! But everything was SO GOOD!!!
The best part of the holiday though was being able to spend it with Jack & Earl; my favorite guys in the world. It was strange not being with the rest of the family, but we enjoyed each other's company so much, and this special time with just the three of us. We are so blessed in so many ways, and have so much to be thankful for - not just on this holiday, but every day. God is GOOD!!
Love & blessings everyone.......