~Thursday, November 26, 2020~
HAPPY THANKSGIVING everyone! 🦃🍷And our first being away from our dear friends and family. It’s extremely strange that we’re only cooking for two today as we’ve always had either the duties of hosting or trying to get somewhere (usually with a ton of that California traffic). Don’t get me wrong, I would love nothing more than to be with the people I love. BUT, it was really nice to just be one with the trailer kitchen, one with the food we prepared…..stuffing, gravy, caramelized brussel sprouts, garlic green beans, mashed potatoes, rolls and pumpkin pie, all while hanging out with my hubby. No distractions, no expectations, no timeline. It was definitely fun, but a little strange too. We do have one neighbor, Anne, who we know is traveling alone. Under normal circumstances, in a heartbeat we would have invited her to join us. But, we had to keep to our COVID style of Thanksgiving, especially in our small, confined travel trailer space. If it’s any consolation, we will certainly be dropping off a piece of our pumpkin pie.
The plan was by Thanksgiving, that we would be at a place with full hookups, not worrying about power or water limitations with food prep and clean up. The location is perfect too as we have amazing low 70’s weather and wonderful people around us. We also had the added bonus of smelling everyone else’s delicious cooking! We started the day off by watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Not quite the same, but at least they put it on. My favorite was the Rockettes performing, wearing blue masks that I thought cleverly went with the whole nutcracker themed attire.
Knowing we have very limited resources in terms of utensils, pots/pans, etc. and one small oven, it was a bit challenging in timing everything, i.e. oven use, how long, temperature, etc. and Jeff and I were determined to make everything from scratch, which we did, with the exception of the cranberry sauce. Just couldn’t do it all. The first item at hand was the pie. In hindsight I wished that I had made at least the crust and the sugared cranberries the night before. But after the long drive yesterday and the still needed grocery shopping last night, I was just too exhausted. Anyway, we made it work. The pie was a blast to make and turned out beautiful, if I may say so. Unfortunately, it delayed getting the turkey in the oven at a good time to avoid eating at our normal “Latreille” hour (usually 8 or 9 p.m.). The turkey finally went in the oven around 4:00 (sorry honey), which meant all of the other dishes that needed oven time had to have stovetop time. It worked. For example, the stuffing was supposed to be BAKED in 2 sessions. One for 45 minutes covered, then a second for 40 minutes uncovered. When we got close to the “bird” being done and rested, I threw the stuffing in the microwave for about 5 minutes just to get a little cooking going, then, with the oven available, baked it per the second half instructions. Now a little cooking break to do some sightseeing around our RV park. The desert and cactus playground is literally in our backyard! The Saguaros are amazing! 🌵🌞So beautiful...especially at sunset.
We could even hear donkeys nearby that I’m sure Sadie would have loved to meet. However, I don’t think the desert is conducive to dogs running off leash with all of the prickly cacti surrounding us high and low.
Another challenge was having oven time for the brussel sprouts. Because I wanted to get that item done early, I opted for a sauteed version instead. The result…...absolutely delicious with a bit of caramelization and crispiness. Too bad Jeff doesn’t like them or maybe that’s a good thing….more for me. 😋
The one item I was very nervous in making was the gravy. I’ve never done it and knew my mother’s gravy was top-notch. About a week ago, I had asked her for directions and a video tutorial. I didn’t get the video tutorial, but I did get the directions. Earlier in the day, I had made my own turkey broth from the turkey innards, onion, celery, peppercorns and water. All for the sake of making gravy. When it came time to make, I used a little of the turkey grease (separated), a little flour for thickening, then slowly added the turkey broth with salt and pepper. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a flat whisk to break up the flower better, so I opted for a fork, which still wasn’t working very well. One item I do have is the Ninja blender. That should do the trick right? It worked. Smooth as can be. And it was delicious! Jeff did such a great job with the turkey and the mashed potatoes. Yum! Yes, I gave in today and actually had a little bit of turkey. I usually don’t eat meat (fish only), but make an exception to enjoy a meat meal with my husband 2-3 times/year.
The day was wonderful and the whole dinner was a success!
It was great Facetiming or just talking with our family to visit and share in the celebration too, all while staying safe!