Thanksgiving Crash Course

Every year at Thanksgiving, my family gathers around the table at my parents’ house to enjoy a roast turkey and all the fixings lovingly made by my mom. She’s a great cook and prepares the works – turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, tons of veggies, and pumpkin pie for dessert. Usually apple pie too, but I always choose pumpkin because it only comes around once a year. Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays. We always have great food and lots of laughs – just thinking about it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Simple e-vite sent out to my family. Unnecessary? Yes. But cute.

Simple e-vite sent out to my family. Unnecessary? Yes. But cute.

But this year, my husband and I have decided to step up to the plate. We’ll be hosting our first ever Thanksgiving dinner – first holiday meal of any kind, actually. We’ve wanted to do this for over a year and now we finally have a dining table big enough for a crowd! So we’re pretty excited, but as the day quickly approaches I’m realizing there are a lot of details to consider. I’ve never made a turkey and I have a lot of questions. Fresh or frozen? How far in advance should I buy it? Do I even have a roasting pan big enough for a turkey?! I’ve made stuffing before, but my mom was always right there to help me if I needed it. And it seems almost impossible to time all those side dishes to be ready together, especially since the turkey will be taking up prime oven real estate. I think I need a bit of a crash course in Thanksgiving dinner…

Since (Canadian) Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, it’s time for me to get organized and start thinking about how to pull this off successfully. I love party planning and I’m always up for a challenge, so I’m pumped.

Here’s the menu:

  • Roast turkey with gravy and cranberry sauce
  • Stuffing
  • White balsamic roasted vegetables (potatoes, carrots, squash, brussels sprouts)
  • Red cabbage and apple slaw
  • Apple pie and pumpkin pie (with ice cream :-))

My mom has offered to bring the cranberry sauce and the pies, which is a bit of a relief. Even though I love baking, I’ve never attempted to make a pie crust. I don’t think now is the time to start experimenting (other than the turkey, stuffing, gravy, veggies, and coleslaw, of course). And I don’t even like cranberry sauce, so how would I know if I got it right? My husband and I have already done a test run of the roasted vegetables, and they turned out pretty well. This week we’ll be trying out the coleslaw (with turkey burgers, so it’s an accurate simulation). In the meantime, I’m reading a lot of turkey recipes to find one that sounds simple and fool-proof.

Let me know if you have any tips and tricks for a couple of rookie Thanksgiving hosts! I’ll keep you posted on how it all turns out. Hopefully there won’t be too many disasters…

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