I’m Thankful for Turkey From A Bucket, Not Mansicles

It was two days of family togetherness that started with ice and ended with mansicles.

I’ve mentioned the amazing turkey recipe by Alton Brown that my husband was dying to try out on other people.  His cooking skills really go unappreciated much of the time.  And this was an awesome turkey.  The one off putting thing about this recipe may be the preparation.  The first step after removing the giblets is to put it in a bucket with ice and a lovely brine. Yes a bucket of turkey is NOT like a bucket of chicken from KFC.  I made the mistake of sharing this secret with the rest of the world.  I posted this picture on Facebook, encouraging people to guess what was in it:

There’s turkey in that thar bucket.

(Please ignore the grossness of my back porch.  It’s called a mudroom for a reason…)

This made my mother a little nervous.  She didn’t realize that this involved turkeys in buckets.  She wanted to know if it was safe.  Um… we’re all still alive after last year.  I’m not sure if this was really that reassuring to her.

They still came, despite fears of being poisoned.  Which was good considering they were the only ones who accepted our invitations.  We’re unpopular and stuff.  We don’t really have places to put sleeping people in our little house.  No beautiful guest rooms here.  Just a couch, a love seat, and a mouse contaminated air mattress.  However, if you really want to sleep in an actual bed or bedroom you can hang out with one of my kids who pee the bed.  Oh yeah, have we got a place for you!

Since the turkey was not put in the refrigerator early enough (um, forgotten in the freezer by the turkey chef) my husband had wrestled with it in a sink running cold water for over a half hour trying to get the giblets out.  This was quite humorous.  I really, really should have taken pictures.  Did you know that a wrench can get that stuff out?  POP!  Out came some sort of meshy thing.  As it turned out, he quite didn’t get it all.  What he thought were the giblets were something else, I guess?  I did not conduct an inspection, therefore I cannot offer an opinion.  After dinner my mother happened to notice the little bag of guts still in there.  I guess it’s a good thing it was in paper.  House fire avoided-you can’t make this stuff up!

Thanksgiving. Check out that beautiful green bean casserole.

I’ll be very surprised if anyone comes to my house to eat anything after reading this.

Dinner turned out quite well, despite the turkey troubles.  The turkey was delicious, as was the taters.  My loving husband forgot to make the gravy.  Therefore we decided on that yummy prepackaged chicken gravy.  That was ok with me, I hate turkey gravy.  The green bean casserole was AWESOME.  My one contribution to the meal was green bean casserole.  YEAH.  It’s famous.  I cannot divulge my secret.  If it weren’t for my taco soup and my green bean casserole, I’d have no awesome recipes.

My parents stayed over because Evil Genius had tickets to the game the next afternoon.  My husband was very excited about this because he could actually go to the game with someone who didn’t ask things like “What’s the pink upside down exclamation mark over there?” (that was me that asked that by the way).  My Dad appreciates football almost as much as Evil Genius.  I was excited about this because I could hang out with my Mom a little more.  Even with the kids along this can be fun.

When my parents arrived the weather was in the mid 60s and beautiful.  The next day it was 27 with wind chills in the teens.  My Dad wore his long johns, my husband wore his usual sweatshirt and kind of wintery coat.  Evil Genius thinks he has to laugh at the cold or something.  He has some sort of thing against wearing hats that actually protect his ears and head.   He scoffed at the convertible gloves/mittens that I told him to take.  I am so nice.  I changed my plans to take them over to the stadium so they didn’t have to walk the usual half hour over and back like we usually do (we don’t pay $20 for parking).  As it turns out, these two die hard football fans did not last the entire game.  I had to go back and get them early, like at half-time.  Weenies.  I dropped off two guys but picked up two Mansicles.  You know like icicles but human.  They were a tad bit cold.  Evil Genius had the heater in the car going full blast.  I was sweating so much that I had to take a shower after we got home.  I still don’t think he thawed completely for quite a while after we got home.

From a previous game where the temperature was pleasant. Why does my son look so scared in this picture?  My daughter does not always have a moustache.

I think they had fun, but Evil Genius was bummed that the weather didn’t cooperate so he and my dad could fully appreciate the game.  Like he controls the weather!  That’s my job-my children have actually accused me of making the weather work against them.  Next year they can go together and experience what a game is when it isn’t so darn cold.  No more mansicles, please.

Thanksgiving: Brown Paper Bags and Toilet Paper Tubes

We always made the hand turkeys for Thanksgiving art. I like these variations!

Thanksgiving.  What does the word conjure up for you?  For me it brings forth images of pilgrims, Indians, turkeys, and brown paper bags and construction paper.


Oh come on, didn’t you do the reenactment of the First Thanksgiving when you were in school?  If you were an Indian, you had a vest made of a brown paper bag, and a headband with a feather made out of construction paper.  No one wanted to be a Pilgrim.  They were so not cool that I can’t even remember what the kids that were the Pilgrims wore.  Something with a construction paper buckle somewhere on it I’m sure? The fact that I can’t remember could have something to do with the fact that I am some percentage American Indian and can’t prove it.  Or something like that.

Oh I’m sorry, they are Native Americans.  I grew up in the 70s and 80s.  Old habits die hard.

I asked my son what they were doing at school for Thanksgiving. All he could recall was that they got to eat turkey and mashed potatoes on Friday for hot lunch.  Yet today, he turned to me and announced that “In 1620, the Pilgrims came to Plymouth Rock.”  Oh good, he IS paying some attention.  Meanwhile, my daughter is making a turkey out of a toilet paper tube and a tracing of her handprints and paint.  I’m not sure if either of them really gets what it’s really all about.  All they care is that Grandma and Grandpa are coming up to eat with us.  And that they may stay over a day.

Last year my parents got the unique opportunity to visit Disneyworld on Thanksgiving weekend. I guess it’s not SO unique.  I remember visiting Disney on Thanksgiving.  It was the best day ever.  I got to ride Space Mountain with NO WAITING.  I think I rode it ten times that day.  Visiting DisneyWorld in my family is really not that unusual.  When we lived there I did go five times in a couple of years.  My Aunt Evie is the youngest of the six kids in my Mom’s family.  Somewhere along the line, she was infected with the Disney bug.  She goes at least once a year.  They were the ones that convinced my Mom and Dad that maybe they were ready for a nontraditional Thanksgiving.  I don’t blame them.  I’d blow off a turkey dinner for a trip to Mickey Land if I had it in my budget to do so!  Hell Yeah!

Our Thanksgiving dinner at our house last year.  Why is the butter right next to me? I don’t even LIKE butter.

Anyway, back from my tangent.  Thanks to this trip, my husband found out that he had found possibly the most perfect turkey recipe ever.  For the first time ever we made our own Thanksgiving turkey.  All it took was a bucket, a bunch of spices, and an oven.  It was the most amazing turkey ever.  In fact, my husband was so excited that it turned out that well that he insisted he cook dinner for everyone.  Invitations sent.  My parents, of course, were the only yesses.

So here we are hosting Thanksgiving dinner.   On a budget (thanks for finding and sending that gift card Mom, that really helped!).  The turkey isn’t as big as he hoped.  The store was out of the cheap green beans, so at his insistence we got the ones with no salt added.  Have you ever eaten canned vegetables with no salt added?  One word:  Ew.  And the store was out of fresh sage.  The more I think about it, the apple pie may be replaced with apple crisp.

The menu:

Turkey and gravy

Stuffing of some sort

Mashed Potatoes

Green Bean Casserole (it’s famous, you know)

Cranberries (Mom will make sugar free)

Pumpkin Pie (Mom will make sugar free)

Apple something or other

He’s in charge of turkey.  I’m in charge of making something edible to go with it (that’s a bit scary).  My daughter is in charge of decorating.  She wanted to make snowmen, because she saw kits to make little tube shaped snowmen in my Oriental Trading Post catalog.  I told her that a) we can paint toilet paper tubes white and it will look the same and b)  there are no snowmen at Thanksgiving (at least there had better not be).  We settled on the toilet paper tube turkey because she was determined we were going to use those rolls (we save everything because she will turn it into art at some point).  I think it will turn out pretty cute when it’s done.  Perhaps she can make placemats or something as well.

Up until last year, we usually went to Mom and Dad’s house every year.  They are hoping that eventually we’ll establish our own traditions, and I think Mom deserves a break!  Thinking back, though, I don’t really think we have any big traditions outside of the meal itself.  As kids we used to watch Charlotte’s Web every year.  I tried to pull it out last year, and Evil Genius promptly vetoed it because it might make him sad (honey you’ve seen the movie, you KNOW how it ends.)  Here at our house, our one tradition is that we put up the tree in the days following the Thanksgiving holiday, or whenever I can convince my husband to lug all of the stuff up the stairs.

So the prep is getting in to full swing.  I feel like we should sing some Turkey Carols.  What?  You say there isn’t such a thing?  Oh yes there is!  A page I follow on Facebook shared a fun post from Red Vines and Red Wine yesterday that had exactly that.  Click the link and enjoy!

What does the word Thanksgiving make you think about?  What is on your Thanksgiving menu?   Do you have any special traditions?

Actually, some of us like the legs too.

Helloooooo November!

So October….NOT the best month for our family.  I’m thinking, hoping and praying that November will be much better.  As much as I love the month of October for many reasons, this year I am very excited about November.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m ready to be done with this election!

The best thing about November:  In one week we will no longer have to listen to political ads!

Thanksgiving:  Evil Genius is cooking.  People will actually be coming to my house.  Last year he made the world’s most awesome turkey.  Thank you, Alton Brown.  I’m making green bean casserole and some sort of dessert, because I just don’t do the cooking thing so well.

I love this! HA HA!

I’m wishing for:  A WHOLE month where no one in my family gets seriously injured, appliances don’t quit completely, cars don’t need any major repairs or replacements, our bank account doesn’t go negative, all of us stay well, and perhaps good news on the job front for me (yeah, I haven’t heard back from Lowes.)  That’s not asking too much, is it?

More likely to happen:  If I can get the Halloween decorations down before December, I will consider that progress.  If I can take a walk without being injured or bleeding, I’ll take that too.  Yesterday I bled all over my purple coat from a cut I got at some point on my hand.  That stinks.  I love my purple coat!

Thus far, I have noticed one thing-now that Halloween is over, I am unpopular.  Leading up to yesterday, I was getting over 100 hits a day.  Awww… back to reality!  Halloween costumes that are cheap and thrifty attracted a lot of attention this year.  Hmmm… I wonder what I could tag my posts with this month?

Even the turkeys are feeling the pinch right now, heh heh…