I just cannot get myself motivated to blog these last six months. I want to but just cannot think of anything that I really want to write about. But none the less… here I am.
Earlier this year I wrote about a few goals that I wanted to achieve in my life. Three days ago I crossed another one off my list. I have wanted to know for some time now if I could manage to cook Christmas dinner from scratch, all by myself. I did. It all started out with me planning on cooking my first turkey. I cannot eat ham because pork and my stomach do not get along so I get turkey or chicken during a lot of the holidays. I don’t mind at all.
I bought a turkey before Thanksgiving and had planned on cooking it then since I could not go ou of town with my mo, dad and brother because I had to work. Our plans for Thanksgiving changed and we had lunch at the Care Center with my grandpa. So then I decided to cook it for Christmas. My brother talked me through how he cooks a turkey and I also got advise from my grandma who hs cooked two turkeys every year for the last 50 years. I got a lot of advise from both of them. When it came time to prepare it on Christmas Eve, my brother had to take out the neck and giblets. I could not get myself to do it. Even as I writing this all I can think of is EEEWWW. We placed it in a brine and let it sit overnight in what I began calling our extended fridge. It’s the family room that we try not to use in the winter because it costs too much to heat and so it tends to get down to the 20’s in the room. Perfect for keeping salmonella off poultry while it sits in a salt water ice bath.
Knowing that I had a lot to do, I decided that the best course of action would be to make all of the dishes that will be served cold and worry about the hot foods the next day. I am extremely proud of the fact that I made cranberry sauce from scratch and it turned out tart and delicious. I found the recipe on my Jamie Oliver Recipe app on my iPhone. I cannot wait to try out more recipes from that app. I also made two jello salads, one that my grandma usually makes every year (I forgot an ingredient) and one for dessert.
Waking up Christmas morning was a challenge. I did not want to get up, which would have been unheard of for me when I was little. I dragged myself out of bed at 7:30 in the morning to prepare the turkey for the oven. My grandma cut up the veggies to put on the bottom while I rinsed the brine off the turkey and put some butter under the skin. Ma helped me cover the bird in olive oil and I sprinkled some Herbs de Provence over the top of the turkey. I sprinkled it with a little paprika and place it in an oven bag on top of the veggies. It went into the oven and I moved on to making pancakes for Ma and me for breakfast.
After about two and a half hours, the meat thermometer read 168 degrees F and I pulled it out of the oven and covered it with a towel to let the temperature rise to 175 degrees. It smelled amazing and when I cut into it, it was a little dry. Not as bad as I thought it would be but I was proud that I actually cooked a turkey. Ma and I knew we would never hear the end of it from my brother about not cooking it breast-side down and it turning out a little dry. After lunch I finished off making the rest of our Christmas dinner.
I found a recipe for Herb Roasted Vegetables on one of the MANY daily recipe email I have signed up for. I cannot help it. I love recipes and the more the better. This one is diabetic friendly and just what I needed. I figured I would be the only one that would eat it because it has sweet potatoes, but surprisingly my mom loved it. She couldn’t tell the difference between the sweet potatoes and the parsnips (which was the first time cooking or eating them for me and I love them). It was a great recipe and once that I will be making a lot more of.
The last thing on my checklist for dinner was gravy. I carefully strained all of the juice from the bottom on the pan that the turkey cooked in into a large measuring cup. I started to make a rue in a saucepan but once I added the liquid to it, it didn’t thicken at all. I added cornstarch to it and it thickened beautifully but separated by the time I could get it to my parents’ house.
All in all, the food was fantastic and I did it with minimal help from my family. No one minded that I was doing all of the cooking because they knew that I wanted to do this for them on Christmas. I am proud of what I was able to accomplish in two days during one of the busiest and hectic holidays. I could not have asked for a better Christmas.