Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Octoberfest: Thanksgiving by the Numbers

Earlier this month was Canadian Thanksgiving. Here it is, by the numbers:
  • 2 Ham's cooked
  • 2 Turkey Pot pie's made from leftovers
  • 3 dinners hosted
  • 3 Turkey Shepherd's Pie's made from leftovers
  • 3 Bags of Turkey, Rice & Broccoli Casserole made from leftovers
  • 3 & 5, ages of nephews that stayed over for the weekend
  • 4 Turkey's cooked
  • 6am, when the boys woke me up Saturday morning
  • 7am, average wake up time each day
  • 9 Friends for Saturdays dinner
  • 10+ people served dinner leftovers
  • 12 Morgans chatting happily Sunday night
  • 23 Mitchell's talking, laughing and playing on Monday night
  • 44 guests served total
  • 70 Pounds of Turkey cooked
Phew! It was a weekend for the books that's for sure. Exhausting but worth it, 100%.

Have I told you how I cook Turkey's? My aunts taught me how and I am so super thankful that they did. Here's what I do. I take the Turkey out of it's wrapping and place it on a cutting board, ensuring that it's innards and stuff are out. Then I rub margarine all over it. Then I sprinkle it with seasoning: Garlic salt, Onion salt, Garlic Plus seasoning and Seasoning salt.

Then it's time to be cooked. For my cooking I use an Oven Bag - you can buy these in most grocer stores. I lightly sprinkle some flour in my oven bag and shake it around and place it in the roasting dish, open. 

Then I slide the turkey into it - top it with minced garlic and diced onions, close up the bag and put it in the oven for two hours. 

After two hours you have perfectly tender and tasty Turkey, with TONS of juices for gravy. 

And now - we're up to the details of the weekend. Friday night my sister dropped her two kids off with us - we ate dinner together, dug around in a pumpkin to weed out the seeds (boy did they love getting their hands messy) and headed to the park to wear them out. This is the part of the evening where Austin asked me if I could be "the ugly old troll under the bridge." Awesome, thanks kid. Also he was playing robot - he spent ages walking around then freezing and needing to be reset. Too cute. 

Robot Austin 

We got them down to sleep and the food / house prep continued since we were going to be hosting the three dinners. And then we crawled into bed knowing that the kids would be waking us up early...which they did. Then it was a morning of cuddles and then a trip to the pool - swimming, then lunch and finally nap time for Austin. While Austin napped and Connor helped uncle Paul clean up outside I set tables and put a Turkey into the oven. I chose to take the whole day to set up so it wouldn't be stressful - I chopped veggies and watched TV with Connor, I enlisted the help of Jessie and Connor to make Pumpkin Gnocchi which was fun - cooking with a 15 year old chinese student and a 5 year old. Awesome. Then it was time to feed the boys and get them to bed before the dinner party started - we had friends coming for an friends thanksgiving - for our friends that didn't have a place to go - we had Lindsay and John (an American and Canadian), Hanne and Drian (two new arrivals from South Africa) and Samir (a coworker from Toronto). We also had our students Duncan and Jessie join us and it was lovely. We laughed and talked and it was perfect. 

The Table setting

The Spread

Pies by Lindsay - homemade apple and homemade Pumpkin Chiffon (BEST PIE EVER). The Pumpkin Chiffon was two layers - bottom was plain pumpkin pie, top was pumpkin chiffon....so freaking good. 

Sunday we were again woken up bright and early, and had more cuddles - love my nephews. Then it was time to set up again for the day, but also found out how to make it fun for the nephews. We made a quick park visit - lots of swinging and then headed back the house - Paul kept the boys entertained while I got the Turkey into the oven and then we did lots of cutting and prep and table setting. We were going to be heading to church with both boys (!), while I hosted the service and Paul was doing a special prayer - trying to wrangle the boys is like herding cats - it's a lot of crazy. We got the turkey in moments before heading to church and the house was dinner ready by the time we left. We dropped the boys off after church and headed home for dinner. We were having Paul's family over for our Morgan Thanksgiving Dinner - 14 of us. Everyone was chipping in with types of food and stuff and it was so much fun. 

The table setting with an extra 5 places added

New Drinks cabinet! From a sewing machine desk, details to come shortly.

Monday was finally sleep in day! Except I woke up at 8am and couldn't sleep. Thankfully I felt rested, so I did my new strategy of slowly working all day rather than powering through in a rush. I set the tables first - setting for 25 to eat is a bit harder than the other days were! I had a table set for 12 in our dining room, a table for 8 set up in the kitchen and a table for 5 set up in the living room. Success! I slowly worked all day - with a turkey nicely cooking in the background. Paul was away for the day helping a friend with some renovations so I worked alone. The family was coming by 4 and I was ready for them! Everything was tidy and organized and quiet by the time Paul came home and 3pm - and we were all ready minus carving the turkey, which Paul was to do. Victory! Dinner with the Mitchell's was great - everyone laughed and talked and everything went smoothly. The kids ran around like, well like something loud and crazy and it felt like family.

I was able to quickly throw together leftovers for lunch and then make a bunch of leftovers into other foods - I made leftovers into three Lifegroup Meals (needs to feed at least 25 ppl): Shepherds Pie (with turkey, roasted veg and gravy, topped with cheesy mashed potatoes), Turkey Pot Pie (also with leftover roasted veg, shredded turkey and pie crust) and Rice Casserole (Steamed broccoli, Rice, leftover turkey). I was so pleased. I also made all 6 lunches of leftovers, portioned out turkey for people to eat that week, set aside some shredded turkey for the freezer for later meals and made a few other small dishes. While I worked our student came in and out of the kitchen to chat with me - I had at least 15 minutes with each of them and was feeling pretty pleased with that. I was in bed by 10 feeling very very accomplished. 

And that was our Canadian Thanksgiving. Very Thankful indeed!

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