Last year, you may recall that we had a small gathering to celebrate Thanksgiving with only Dan and I, plus my parents. This year was NOT like that. We had 12 people, and Dan and I hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner! We invited plenty of family over to witness this holiday miracle, and spoiler alert upfront – everything turned out just fine. We still have a lot to learn about timing, roasting a turkey and multi-tasking, but given the pros we have in our family, I have no doubt, these talents will emerge eventually.
My planning for the meal started about a month prior to the actual event. With this:
Being so organized turned out to be a huge bonus. There was a lot of chaos on the day of, especially because we were keeping an eye on this little guy for Trent and Cassie.
Luckily, Penny helped keep him occupied, and that wore her out.
After a really good tip from one of our close friends, Dan decided to brine the turkey. He popped it into a bucket (sanitized, of course!) that he usually uses for brewing beer. On Thanksgiving morning, he checked in on it to see how the little guy (22 pounds) was doing.
Coincidentally, we also used a large bucket like this to hold our root vegetables prior to roasting them. We made quite a few, obviously. Someone was intrigued by the food prep:
After the brining was through, Dan continued the prep of the bird.
Here’s another glamour shot of the main event.
We prepped some appetizers to tide people over while we cooked. Some very generous guests brought some delicious contributions as well.
You may recognize that artichoke bruschetta from Dan’s accomplishments at last year’s Thanksgiving. I made the veggie dip with Chobani and fresh dill.
Dan had some help as he checked in on the turkey.
At last, the turkey was all done!
Dan’s uncle did us the honor of carving (another skill we have yet to master) and he created a beautiful platter.
Dan’s parents were kind enough to bring a ham as well, just in case people had an insatiable appetite for meat.
Here are some sides that bolstered our meal.
We served roasted root vegetables with just a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper. We also “healthified” our mashed potatoes with some Greek Yogurt and less butter than usual. Instead of the traditional stuffing, which can have oodles of calories, we created a special barley dish with apples, cranberries, celery and toasted almonds. They were all a hit! Not pictured, but served were green beans with mushrooms, a salad, cranberry salad and croissants! We also had tons of lovely desserts, including pumpkin and cherry pie plus my mom’s famous coconut cake.
The food was wonderful, but the company really made the day amazing. Kristyn even flew in and surprised us all!
I can’t wait until we host our next event so we can do an even better job (AND I’ll remember to take even more pictures!)