Wednesday, November 26, 2014
I made the pumpkin pies this evening. I used a low carb recipe from George Stella, but I made two of them with sugar instead of splenda. They have a "praline" crust - finely chopped pecans, splenda (or sugar), cinnamon, and butter. Like a graham cracker crust, but with pecans and splenda instead of graham crackers. Did you know that splenda does not burn like sugar does? Or at least not as readily? The splenda pie turned out great, but the praline crust on the sugar pies burned. Too burned to serve. Rats! I'll have to make pastry crusts tomorrow. Fortunately I have all the ingredients. Yes, including the pumpkin! I got a bunch for my emergency food supply. Canned pumpkin goes well in soups and stews and chili, and it's good for you - if you don't bury it in sugar. So I have extra pumpkin, and everything else I need. Except patience.
And do you realize what pecans cost? Yikes!
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
I woke up early this morning and lay in bed panicking about not having enough food to eat. I found a site that tells you how much you need of each thing to serve different numbers of people. According to them, I have enough turkey, but not enough sweet potatoes or green beans. Which are the two things I was thinking I might be low on. So I got another pound or so of green beans, and another three pound bag of sweet potatoes, and a couple more apples for the apple salad, and some more grapes. The grapes were because I'd eaten most of the ones I got a couple of days ago! Which increases the cost, but then I'm serving 16 people, instead of the 12 or so I was thinking earlier. And I sincerely hope that I don't need to get anything else!
I've washed all of the dishes and silverware (dishes are ones I picked up at an auction this summer, and some of the silverware has never been out of the box), including serving dishes and utensils. Still need to wash the glasses, some of which have never been out of the box. (I got extras of both at outlet stores.) One table is extended and the tablecloth is on it. Haven't moved the second table yet. I picked up the card table chairs from a friend so there are enough chairs. Almost all of the cleaning and clearing is done (except for the big pile of packing material in the middle of the living room from unpacking the china). I think I've got about as much done as is possible at this point.
I'm having a lot of fun planning and doing all of this! I like to cook and like to cook special meals for more than just me, and I'm girly enough to love to use china and tablecloths and crystal and so forth. Actually, I think I enjoy the planning and prep and so forth more than I do actually having people over! I'm not a real people person, and having that many people around and having to make nice with them all is stressful. And then there's the cleanup, of course! But the planning and prep and all is fun.
Hope everyone else is having fun planning your holidays, too, and that you all have a great Thanksgiving Day. And don't forget that the reason for the season isn't the dinner or eating yourself into insensibility, but remembering all the things we have to be thankful for, all year long. And I, for one, have way more things to be thankful for than I can even begin to realize!
Monday, November 24, 2014
I got all of the shopping done yesterday. I hope! Everything on my list, anyway. I spent about $71 on food, plus things like kitchen towels and hot pads and a new turkey roaster. That's what I actually spent, not what will actually be used for Thanksgiving dinner. It includes, for example, a four pound bag of sugar and a five pound equivalent bag of splenda. It also includes lots of pecans to make the crusts for the pies. It doesn't include the things I already had, like eggs and flour and butter. If I were to figure out what dinner actually costs, it would probably be about $70, and if I adjusted it for the low carb things like I did last year, it would probably come out close to $60. I'm not going to bother with that, though.
I think I have my guest list pretty much set. At least, I sure hope so! It stands at 16 people, which is more than I had expected or had really planned for. That's ok. We'll manage. The 16 pound turkey should be big enough. I've seen between 3/4 pound per person and a pound, so that's right in there. I'll move the apple that I had intended to put inside the turkey to the apple salad, and cook another potato or two. The only thing I might get, if I feel really motivated, is a couple more sweet potatoes. I have three pounds, and that's not very many. Maybe on my way back from working at the homeless shelter Wednesday morning.
Anyway, Thanksgiving preparation is pretty much on track. How's yours coming?
Seattle, how's your 27 pound turkey doing? Did you find an oven bag that big?
MrThing, you're welcome here! You and your wild kiddo and your wife and the baby that's about ready to pop!
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Ok, now there are 14 confirmed people for dinner (one of whom I'm not at all sure is coming), and five maybes. I had been figuring on about 14 people when I started put this together, but, like Topsy, it just growed.
I called a friend today and she said I can borrow her two card tables and eight chairs. That's a big relief. Don't know where I'll put them, though.
Got almost all of my Thanksgiving shopping done this morning. Just have to get the turkey and the broccoli. The other five stores I went to are all together on the edge of town. I'll get the turkey and broccoli at Kroger, which is just up the street. I need to get the turkey so it can start thawing.
I don't think there are any changes since I posted my preliminary menu, but here it is.
Mashed potatoes (and yes, I'll really mash them, with a potato masher and everything!)
Whipped sweet potatoes with butter
Roasted green beans (69 cents a pound at Marsh, and they were nice and crisp and fresh when I got them this morning. By Thursday, maybe not quite so fresh.)
Creamed spinach (rats! I forgot to get the spinach!)
Pumpkin pie (I'll make two with sugar and one with Splenda)
Tea and coffe
I've figured out how to do some simple rearranging of my furniture to get more room to extend the dining room table. I don't think it will extend it enough, though, so I'll probably set up two card tables in the living room, back to back, so they're one table. That would seat six, and then eight or so in the dining room. That means serving buffet style in the kitchen, which isn't a problem. There's an island (one side is in the living room and one side is in the kitchen) so people can go around it. Should work.
Doing two tables will make it easier to find tablecloths. I think. And I need to check to see that I've got enough napkins. Paper ones, but nice paper.
I'm sure it sounds like I'm making a big fuss about it all, but I'm having fun. That's the important part, right?
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
So at the moment I have somewhere between ten and eighteen people coming for Thanksgiving dinner. Well, between nine and seventeen people coming, plus me.
Two people haven't responded. They're international students and I don't know whether they assume that if they don't say no it means that they are coming. Or if they assume that if they don't say they are coming it means that they aren't. I'll send them another email.
One of the international folks from the library asked about bus service out here. There is none, and the buses aren't running on Thanksgiving Day anyway. I told her that if she had a friend who could bring her, the friend was welcome, too. So that's another two maybes.
One of the international folks from the library gave an email address that they can't decipher at the library. I haven't been able to send him an invitation, but the library folks had extended one on my behalf. Another maybe.
And I told the international group that I'm matched through that I have room for an extra three people. That was assuming that the first two maybes didn't come and before I invited the second maybe's ride, and before I found out today that another person had signed up through the library. I thought I had everyone from the library already. I won't hear about these three until Friday at the earliest, since the deadline for people telling the organization isn't until tomorrow.
Planning gets more and more hectic.
I'm thinking of maybe getting two 14-16 pound turkeys, and freezing one if we're at the lower end of the guest list. But I'm not sure how I'd cook both of them. A smoked turkey that I could serve cold might work, but I don't have a smoker. I think I'll look for ways to smoke a turkey without a smoker. Put liquid smoke in the brine, maybe? Or I could boil one instead of roasting it. That seems to have been a popular way to cook turkey a hundred years ago or so. Maybe because they were tougher back then? I'd serve ham, except that one of my guests doesn't eat pork, and I'd guess by her name that she's either Jewish or Muslim. I told here that I wouldn't serve pork. Decisions, decisions.
(I used to have trouble wrapping my head around the idea of not eating pork or not eating meat in general, for religious or ethical reasons. Then one day it occurred to me that from their perspective it probably wasn't much different than me not eating human flesh, for religious or ethical reasons. Some vegetarians don't want to eat anything that was cooked in a pan that had been used to cook meat. I'd feel the same way about eating anything that had been cooked in a pan that had been used to cook human flesh! Fortunately, I have all of the social, legal, and religious taboos on my side so it isn't something I have to worry about. But it has made me more accepting of other people's crazy obsessions with not eating pork or not eating meat or whatever.)
On the plus side of the budgeting for Thanksgiving, Marsh has fresh green beans for 69 cents a pound, so I'll get a bunch of those. I was afraid they be a couple of dollars a pound.
And I still have to clean up my house!
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