Thanksgiving has come and gone. Who else is still wearing (or longing to be wearing) stretchy pants? Because I am.
Thanksgiving day was good and busy. The Professor and I drove down to Dallas to my parents’ house who hosted Thanksgiving. It was a small group – my parents, The Professor and me, one of my best friends Alex and her mom, and my grandparents, Grandmommy and Grandaddy. My sister Jackie was in Massachusetts visiting her boyfriend.
Here’s all the girls. On a related note, I’ve decided to grow out my bangs. They never stay where I want them to.
Thanksgiving used to always be at Grandmommy’s, but a few months ago she declared she was too old to host Thanksgiving and Christmas. There was weeping and gnashing of teeth from my cousins and me, but we will get through it together.
All in all, it was a great day. We ate a lot. Cooked a lot. Laughed a lot. Watched a lot of football. Did some Black Friday shopping. The day was too busy to take step-by-step pictures of our recipes. Instead, I present to you the inaugural Accidental Okie’s Thanksgiving Superlatives.
And just so you don’t think I’m infallible, we’ll start with this one:
Most Failed: Unset Pecan Pie
I’m not sure what happened. Well, that’s not true. I do. I know exactly what happened. I didn’t cook it long enough, and also had the broiler on for a few minutes to toast the Brussels sprouts, making the pie look deceptively done. So we pulled it out. It wasn’t set. Like really not set. So we scooped it with a spoon and ate it anyways. We’re courageous like that.
Best New Side: Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Did you know Brussels sprouts were Julia Child’s favorite Thanksgiving side dish? My parents bought some on the stalk, so we made them instead of green beans. They were delightful, and made me realize what I dislike so much about Thanksgiving food: everything is sweet. Sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, carb-centric stuffing and mashed potatoes, rolls and desserts. Having the slightly bitter Brussels sprouts brought perfect balance to the meal.
We made a variation on the Barefoot Contessa’s roasted Brussels sprouts, only I broiled them hot and fast for about 15 minutes, flipping them a few times, and I cut every one of them in half, no matter how small the sprouts. The inside of the sprouts get delightfully crisp and yummy.
Best Extra: Citrus Plate for Water and Tea
This was one of those things I did while things were baking and I had some down time. If I had been in a hurry, they would have been dumped in a bowl, but doing them ahead allowed me to make them oh so pretty. There were oranges for the iced tea and lemons and limes for the ice water. Everyone loved them, and snacked on the oranges. It was a win-win-win.
Most improved: My Stuffing Recipe
I changed my stuffing recipe up a bit this year, and I loved the results. I halved the corn bread to just one batch, doubled the celery, used a whole pint of sliced mushrooms and a whole bag of Craisins.
Most Likely to Change Your Life: Pomegranate Hazelnut Fall Salad
I made my pomegranate hazelnut vinaigrette salad dressing. It was so scrumptious atop a salad of romaine lettuce, pomegranate seeds, pepitas (peeled pumpkin seeds), and ribbons of shaved Parmesan cheese. I ate more salad than anything during dinner. On a related note, I had more room for cake.
Worst Timing: Um, Everything
Okay, someone enlighten me. What is your strategy for getting oven things cooked while the bird hogs the oven for hours and hours?
Best Averted Disaster: Kitty Thanksgiving
My mom and I were stuffing the bird while my dad worked on one of the other dishes. The Professor was doing one of six loads of dishes of the day. I look away from the turkey for a second because a strange movement catches my eye. And what do I see? Lyla, my sister’s cat, running from the dining room, through the kitchen and to the garage. With a flopping bird in her mouth.
Everyone dropped what they were doing and we all descended on Lyla, shooing her outside the house. She saw this and tried to make a break – very alive bird still in her mouth – to the stairs. We caught her, got her in the garage, and she lost grip of the bird, who promptly flew away to safety.
We still don’t know the answer to the following questions: When did Lyla bring the bird into the house? To what rooms did she take the bird? How did she sneak it by us in the first place? And, did she want her own kitty Thanksgiving? I guess we’ll never know, but we all think the averted disaster was our Thanksgiving miracle.
Most Important Meal of the Day: Breakfast
This year, I made Paula Deen’s French toast casserole recipe, using a loaf of Udi’s Cinnamon Raisin Bread. It was delicious. Actually sitting down and eating breakfast ended up being a good idea. The casserole and a big glass of milk filled me up. I didn’t snack while cooking, and was actually hungry when we sat down for lunch. Breakfast is definitely staying next year.
Best Non Traditional Dessert: Carrot Cake
My mother had a brilliant idea. Brilliant. We made carrot cake for dessert. Carrot cake is for Easter in our family, but the cake was a perfect complement to Thanksgiving’s rich and scrumptious flavors. Plus, let’s be honest, who can say no to fresh cream cheese pecan frosting? I know I can’t.
We modified my mom’s recipe with Better Batter Gluten Free Flour, and it turned out perfectly. There were no other modifications – just a one-to-one ratio of flour to Better Batter, oh and halving the salt. Always half the salt when modifying a gluten-free baked item. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. I was too busy eating it.
Best Black Friday deal: Modern Family Season One for $13
I love that show. The first episode where Cam holds up the baby to Lion King music. The ever-broken step. The quotes. Oh the quotes.
“I collect antique fountain pens. I’m quite adept at Japanese flower arrangements. Ikebana. And I was the starting offensive lineman at the University of Illinois. Surprise!”
“I design high-end electroacoustic transducers. That’s just a fancy way of saying I get things to make noise.”
Best Friday Night: EVER
I had the greatest post-Thanksgiving Friday ever. Shopping (mostly window shopping, although I did buy a berry bowl since Marcy told me to), a massage, cream cheese and jalapeno stuffed pork tenderloin, and a Duck Dynasty marathon.
It’s time to get The Professor to grow a long, sexy beard. (sarcasm)
Best Thanksgiving Travelers: Charlie and Pippa
Charlie and Pippa have always gone to Dallas with us, so they’re great travelers. Pippa always sits in the driver’s seat. Charlie got relaxed enough to sleep on his back on my lap. It was good times. We love our kitties.
Best Texas moment:
Of course I’m the Accidental Okie, but I’m also an eight-generation Texan. Every once in a while I see proof of this that blows me away. Here was one of those moments. This conversation really happened.
Sarah: Did you hear that Larry Hagman died?
Dad: (Calls his dad to pass on the news and then gets off the phone).
Sarah: Did Grandaddy know?
Dad: Yeah, he and Uncle Don had lunch with Larry’s brother last week, and he said that he wasn’t doing well.
Larry Hagman’s family is from the small town where eight generations of my family are buried. Larry was in the same class as my great aunt Lou.
I hope your Thanksgiving was great, as well. Tell me your superlatives!