a couple's adventures in eating
We have a LOT to be grateful for this year: our marriage, our loving Lord, our beautiful and giving families, our health, our totally awesome cats, our new jobs, bacon (in general), Jersey Shore (for making us feel better about ourselves), and of course, a wonderfully delicious Thanksgiving meal. One of the best parts about it? Thanks to Universal Studios giving its team members a FREE turkey every year and thanks to a well stocked pantry of spices and baking supplies, we only spent TWENTY-FIVE DOLLARS on an entire meal that will surely last us for days to come. Not bad, eh? Timothy and I will never shirk at telling you that our mamas done taught us right in the frugality department.
It isn’t typical for us to focus on our own foods with the restaurant-centric blog. But, we couldn’t help to brag just a teency weency bit about the surprising feast of a lowly actor couple.
For a girl, I will say I’m not always great at being a girl. I never knew you’re not supposed to put bras in the dryer. I rarely look in the mirror after I hop out of the shower. I have around five pairs of shoes total, most of which are flip flips, only one of which are heels. And I don’t find Adam Levine attractive. But, I am supremely girly and squeamish when it comes to raw meat in the kitchen. Giblets? Guts? Goo? Nay, nay. Thusly, Timothy, being the strong and wonderful husband he is, did us the honor. He seasoned our turkey brilliantly with fresh lemons and sage and used an old Julia Child trick of creating an edible roasting rack with celery sticks and onions which also packed in flavor after hours of roasting and basting. MWAH. Superbly delicious.
I had my first experience spending an entire day in the kitchen. Ooh Lordy, it’s not easy. But, it’s oddly relaxing. Being the new and unconfident cook that I am (I’ve always considered myself an utter disaster in the kitchen), I found that I was completely anxious at first. Once I was met with the smell of warm, buttery cornbread in the oven, however, I loosened up a bit. :)
Because I’m not great with culinary timing, I knew our two crock pots would be of great service to me. In an effort to start new traditions, I used all recipes from the internet and one variation on my mom’s amazing broccoli casserole.
Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes. Here’s the recipe I used: Budget Saavy Diva’s Ultimate Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes. They were pretty good but I ended up needing to spruce them up with some extra butter, salt, and of course gravy (which we admittedly stole from Timothy’s folks). I recommend not letting them go for too long. After the recommended 4.5 hours on high, they were beginning to dry out. Keep stirring and add milk and water for softness if you prefer! I’ve already turned the leftovers into a big batch of potato soup!
Broccoli Casserole: I used this recipe: Southern Food’s Crock Pot Broccoli Casserole. Instead of cream of broccoli or celery, I used cream of mushroom like my mama does. I should have also taken her advice and used dry, minced onions instead of freshly chopped. They were a bit overpowering. The key is to not let the crock pot run too long or your broccoli will turn to mush. I definitely prefer this dish baked in the oven.
Cornbread Dressing: I used this recipe: Cooks.com Southern Corn Bread Dressing. This was probably my favorite side dish of the night. I still have a few tweaks to make. The recipes doesn’t call for butter. What? I do! And I did. You can lighten it up by using olive oil or a lighter variation of butter. Alternatively, use extra chicken stock instead of milk. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to sauté the celery and onions before tossing them in. I used simple Jiffy mix for the cornbread. Easy, tasty, and affordable. Now I don’t know what to do with all of this leftover dressing.
Deviled Eggs: I was raised on deviled eggs and it would be Southern blasphemy not to include them at every holiday meal. These turned out perfectly. I am very traditional and very simple with my approach to deviled eggs. Do you want to know how simple? I don’t even use celery or paprika in those puppies. Mayo, mustard, salt and pepper to taste and, if you dig it, a splash of pickle juice. Don’t hate. That’s how I roll. AND Timothy also struck gold with an Alton Brown tip. Stop hard boiling your eggs; STEAM THEM. We have a bamboo steamer basket. Pop six eggs in the top basket, steam over boiling water for 11-12 minutes, toss those puppies in an ice bath. BOOM. The perfect hard boiled egg.
Lemon Garlic Kale: This isn’t really a typical Thanksgiving dish for either of us but we tossed it in the bunch to mask our gluttony. Kale, yeah! Healthy! Truth be told, we are kale fiends and could eat the stuff every day. We eat this recipe on fairly regular basis. Simply put, sauté one small onion with olive oil and a few cloves of garlic. Throw in a couple cans of chicken stock. Fill pot with a bag of kale (or fresh), cover and let it simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes of so. Careful not to overheat your kale. Voila. Delicious, light and healthy!
What was great about this Thanksgiving was that it was delicious, yes, but also a great learning experience as well as beautiful foundation to set new traditions with both food and family. Special thanks to Pinterest, The Idea Room, and Paper Glitter, for all the beautiful printables that made our table setting come to life. Here’s to a restful, fruitful, loving, giving holiday weekend to you and your families!