I can cook a turkey!

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Cooking an entire Thanksgiving meal from scratch is crazy. Honestly, I cook dinner just about every night but this was completely exhausting. So, if you ever take on the task of doing this, definitely give yourself two days. One for prep and one for cooking.

On Saturday I made the sugar coated pecans and the apple pie in the morning. For the pecans, you definitely need to double the egg whites. I needed 4 egg whites for 2 lbs. of pecans. I used vanilla extract instead of water and probably used more than the recipe said. I also used more than the called for amount of cinnamon. What can I say, I'm too lazy to measure everything.


For the apple pie, I used 4 Granny Smith apples and 5 small Gala apples. The crust was Pilsbury premade crust. I just used a sharp knife to cut out strips for the lattice top.

Once the baking was complete, I decided to chop up everything else necessary. 4 stalks of celery for the stuffing, 1 1/4 onions for the stuffing, and 1 onion for the green bean casserole. Since Tom picked up fresh green beans instead of the precut bagged ones, I chopped off the ends and tossed them into boiling water for 5 minutes and then put them into an ice bath.

Later in the evening I realized that George the Turkey still had some frozen spots, so I filled up the sink and stuck him in there, changing the water every 30 minutes until he wasn't frozen. I didn't want to chance leaving him at room temperature overnight, so he was dried off and wrapped up in two plastic bags and stuck back in the fridge.

At this point, I was exhausted already. I had baked, prepped as much as possible, cleaned the entire apartment and decorated the Christmas tree. I seriously don't recommend trying this...ever. Then I realized that I hadn't peeled the potatoes.

I peeled about 4 of them before Tom came in and decided he was going to do it for me. It was cute because I don't think he's ever peeled a potato in his life. I had to teach him how to do it.

Sunday I woke up 30 minutes after my alarm was supposed to go off and freaked out a bit because I was worried about George not being done on time. Tom removed the first bag of George's innards with no problems. Removing George's neck wasn't so easy. The neck fell out of the bag and we both looked at each other and yelled "GROSS!" before picking up tongs to remove his neck.

George was stuffed with a quartered lemon and orange and seasoned according to the recipe. I put him inside a cooking bag because I didn't want to have to deal with basting him.

45 minutes behind schedule, George went into the oven.

Stuffing: I forgot to take a picture before everyone started eating. If you use this recipe, you definitely need more than it calls for. To serve 12 with leftovers, I needed an extra 4 stalks of celery, another small onion, and almost 3/4 of a loaf of bread. Without it, the stuffing was maybe 1/2 inch thick in the pan. Following the recipe, I sauted the onions and celery and then promptly forgot that it would be hot as I shoved my hands into a large bowl to mix everything together. So fair warning: stuff that is sauted is hot!  Genius I know!


Mashed Potatoes: I definitely made more than we needed. I used a 5 lb. bag of all purpose potatoes. There were too many potatoes to cook in even our largest pot, so I filled it as much as I could and boiled those first. When they were done, I transfered the potatoes and the water to a large bowl and boiled the second batch. Once complete and drained, all of the potatoes went into the large pot to be mashed. I wanted to use milk, cream cheese, sour cream and chives. Somehow I completely forgot to add the sour cream. If you do this, just know that the potatoes will be pretty dense.


Green Bean Casserole: This stuff was awesome! Never again will I use the typical recipe with cream of mushroom soup. I really like cheese so I ignored the recipe calling for 1 cup of cheddar and added 1 1/2 cups instead. It turned out awesomely cheesy and delicious. I'm definitely going to start incorporating this into every day meals. Oh and I ignored the recipe and used French Fried Onions instead of stuffing.


Cranberry Sauce: Canned cranberry creeps me out so I wanted to try this. We definitely didn't need to use an entire bag of cranberries. The recipe called for sugar and orange juice. If I make this again, I'm going to cut the orange juice in half (or more) and add in water. The orange juice flavor came across almost as strong as the cranberry.

AND NOW FOR THE STAR OF THE SHOW........GEORGE!
Tom keeps telling me that I need to change George's name because a turkey can't be a boy, so fine....Georgia or G for short. So, G turned out really well. I was really worried about it. G is a Butterball turkey and their website says that a 19.25lb turkey should take 4-5 hours to cook. At 4 hours I checked G and the pop up timer I had inserted was up and the meat thermometer said 200 degrees. G was done! And had a very nice golden skin! My uncle carved G and said he was really impressed with how juicy and tender G was. So, now I know I can cook a turkey. Which is quite an accomplishment.

Everyone raved over the sugar coated pecans and I even had to write down the recipe for my mom and aunt. My cousin's boyfriend who refuses to eat just about anything even liked them, so I was happy.

And now, the pictures of how the tables were set for Christmas to eat Thanksgiving, just because I find it amusing!


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