Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday because it's the one that has nothing to do with getting anything, but rather giving thanks for everything that you've already received.
And maybe even more importantly, it's the one with the feast of my favorite comfort foods, most of which evoke warm fuzzy memories of my Mamaw Putter.
But as life goes, memories, for good or for bad, have a way of accumulating as the years pass.
Take for instance the time 10 years ago when my husband decided to install a Jet Tub a mere 4 days before we were scheduled to host Thanksgiving at our house. It took him less than 3 hours to gut the entire bathroom and another 3 hours to try to figure out what to do next. Two days later, we had no running water and just 24 hours before everyone was scheduled to arrive, each time you turned on the bathtub jets, the microwave would kick on, a fuse would blow and we'd lose power in the kitchen.
Tim the Tool Man had nothing on my husband.
Since then, he has faithfully kept his promise not to begin any home improvement projects in the months of November or December. So this past Tuesday when he excitedly said, "Go see what I did in the kitchen!" it didn't cross my mind to be concerned until I flipped on the light switch and thought a nuclear bomb detonated. When the spots in my eyes cleared, I realized he installed eight T8 fluorescent bulbs around the ceiling of the kitchen. Then I realized how badly our kitchen walls need repainted and 19 people were eating dinner at our house the next day.
Thanks a lot, Clark Griswold. You not only exposed our nasty walls, but our kitchen can now be seen from the Space Station.
Despite the messed up walls and the need for sunglasses in my kitchen, this was by far my most stress-free Thanksgiving ever. Much of that has to do with the season of life God has graciously blessed me with right now. A season of health and strength, both physically and emotionally.
But on top of that, this year, I learned the big secret. The key to solving the unspoken dread of every woman who has ever hosted a Thanksgiving dinner, was handed to me on a silver platter and now I'm going to pass it on to you.
Everyone knows that the turkey, although the star of the show, is also the biggest pain in the a**. You have to time the entire dinner around it, trying to strike that delicate balance between cooking it early enough to use that precious broth for your side dishes, but not so early that you're serving a cold and dry turkey to your guests. The carving of the turkey is never as glamorous as they make it appear on tv and then you're stuck with the unsightly carcass sitting on your counter top the rest of the evening.
If any of that sounds familiar, read on.
1. Cook your turkey the day before and save that precious broth to be used at your convenience.
2. Carve the turkey, place all the meat in a large aluminum pan and then happily rid your house of those dead bones.
3. Pour 2 cans of turkey broth over the meat and then cover the pan with foil. Refrigerate and marinate overnight. (I used Bowman Landess broth from Kroger.)
4. An hour before your meal, pop that covered pan of meat into a 350 degree oven.
5. Remove the meat from the broth, platter it up and serve.
Be prepared to bite into the moistest most delicious turkey you've ever eaten. A huge shout-out to my good friends, Dave & Mindy for sharing that with me.
So there's one holiday problem solved for ya. As for the family member who arrives to dinner carrying a sweater clad Persian cat wrapped in a baby blanket....well, you're on your own with that one.