Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend: When I actually have Thanksgiving!

As I'm sure more of you are used to than not, we have the unique situation in our household of multiple in-laws due to multiple divorces that demand time and attention when it comes to seeing us for the holidays. "Fortunately", neither The Hubs or myself are in contact with our fathers currently, so it greatly alleviated the stress this year when it came to Thanksgiving. The actual day of Turkey was spent with my parents (mom and stepdad) at my step-grandma's house, where she cooked a delightful meal as always. I didn't have to do a damn thing except bring the rolls, which I am all about. Saturday, though, is my turn to host for my in-laws. My in-laws are a small group (thank GOD), consisting of my Mother-in-law and my sister-in-law, as well as my sister-in-law's vegetarian boyfriend.

I hosted the Saturday after Thanksgiving last year, too, and it was my first time doing so! First time roasting a turkey, first time trying to figure out how to get all those sides prepped and still get the turkey done on time... it was CRAZY, stressful... and the same time, awesome! Go figure. The turkey, by the way, turned out EXCELLENT! (The secret: butter.) The biggest rookie mistake I made was of making too much darn food, so that was corrected for this year.

Last year's menu:
- cocktail franks in sweet sauce (appetizer)
- 13 Lb. Roast Turkey
- Mashed Potatoes
- 2 Stuffings, vegetarian and non-vegetarian (both box mixes, but the vegetarian version required a lot more work!)
- Broccoli Casserole
- Enchilada Casserole (vegetarian "main course")
- Creamy Corn Bake
- Biscuits (from a can)
- Pear Crisp

This year's menu:
- chips and dip (appetizer)
- 8 lb. Roast Turkey BREAST
- Mashed Potatoes
- 1 stuffing, box mix (the vegetarian will just have to deal, he barely ate the non-vegetarian one last year, dammit)
- Broccoli Casserole (It's officially "the dish" they want now)
- Biscuits (from a can)
- Mac and Cheese (Mother-in-law is making/bringing)
- store-made pumpkin cheesecake

So yes, as you can see, I've cut WAY back. Partly due to cost, and partly because THERE WAS SO MUCH FOOD LEFT OVER BLEH. Apparently my SIL and her boyfriend partied too hearty the night before, so they barely ate a damn thing (but at least took home a significant chunk of the food), and no one even touched the pear crisp because they were too full! UGH! Regardless, I was still insanely proud of myself for how well it all went - everything was done and still hot by the time I wanted to serve dinner, and all my prep the night before helped a TON, so boo-yeah! I also went pretty far-out on setting up a nice table; bought fancy (for ROSS prices, anyway) tablecloths and monogrammed napkins, a new pitcher/glasses set for water, etc. I felt so grown-up, even though we were using patio chairs for dining chairs because we can't afford a nice dining room set yet. (Still can't, but this year we don't care enough to sit at the damn table - they can sit on the couch.)

This year is pretty casual compared to last year; I just don't have the newbie enthusiasm yet, and I don't think I'll really feel like going SUPER-all-out until we have an actual house, dining room, chairs, etc. We're still in a cozy 1-bedroom apartment right now, where our kitchen/living room/ dining room take up the first half of the apartment. Still, I'm fairly confident that this year will be lovely as well, and I still glow with pride when I remember how "grown-up" I felt putting on my first official Thanksgiving dinner (with a good dose of help from The Hubs, btw - he was a total champ at being my assistant house-cleaner/ sous chef). I still look forward to when it's our first time hosting the ENTIRE family TOGETHER, which I do hope will happen one day... not next year, maybe, but eventually one day I think I'll be able to take it on! =D

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