Thanksgiving this year was a total success. I was so nervous about ruining the turkey and, I’m happy to report, that it was edible and even, dare I say, delicious!! 💪 This was our first year hosting in our home here in Cincinnati and we invited both sides of both Rob’s family and my family as well as my sister’s in-laws. We had about 16-ish adults and Hannah was the only kiddo. It was loud and fun and I can’t wait to do it again (though not every year since hosting was a lot of work)!
Rob and I cooked the turkey, made stuffing, and made two cocktails to share with everyone (mulled wine and spiced cider). I even burned the marshmallows on the sweet potato casserole (just a wee bit) for my grandma since she couldn’t make it. Everyone else each brought various side dishes, desserts, wines and appetizers. It was a hit! Then again, how could it not be when the family is full of great cooks!?
The turkey recipe I used came from my sister (who got it from a magazine). See the recipe below. The real trick is to brine the turkey and, in doing so, it turned out amazing!!
We did about 1.5x what the recipe said for our 22lb turkey and added some water at the end to make sure the bird was 100% covered in our bag of briney awesomeness. Also, I used regular mushrooms instead of dried (since I couldn’t find already dried ones at the store). With the slight change in the recipe it still turned out to be a winner. We started brining the turkey Tuesday night to cook it on Thursday. We cooked it for about 4.5 hrs and brined it throughout. The first few times we brined it with butter until we used the whole melted stick and from there on out we brined it with the juices in the roasting pan.
One good tip for cooking Turkeys
Don’t trust the pop-up thermometer. Ours didn’t pop
but lucky Rob’s step mom mentioned that sometimes they don’t
and when we checked the temperature with our hand held
digital thermometer it was ready to go!
The stuffing I made was from Pinterest and I personally super loved it (I didn’t take votes to see what everyone else thought but know I’ll use this recipe again). I doubled it since you can’t ever have enough stuffing. Plus – who doesn’t love Thanksgiving leftovers?! I’ll take it that the recipe was a super hit since a lot of it disappeared.
The two drinks I made were a mulled wine and a spiced cider. The cider was a recipe I kinda came up with on my own but it was super delicious. See the recipe below:
- 3/4 gallon of apple cider (I did a whole gallon but didn’t need as much in the end)
- 2 bottles of pinot grigio
- 2 green apples
- 6 cinnamon sticks
- 750 ml of spiced rum
The drinks came out really good. I accidentally left the cranberry juice out of the mulled wine (since I’m a failure) and didn’t realize it until now. smh.. It explains why it was a little strong! BUT, in the end it didn’t matter since we mixed the two (2 parts cider to 1 part mulled wine) and it was tasty. I’m sure drinking brandy + rum + pinot grigio + cabernet sauvignon all at once wasn’t the best choice BUT it didn’t really cause any issues. All the food really absorbed the alcohol.
Aside from the food – getting everyone to fit in our house was another task! Luckily our family all had folding chairs and tables to donate to the cause. We definitely could not have hosted before our renovation. We did a card table in front of the couch, a long folding table in between the TV and dining room, and then had our dining room table. Don’t worry, though. The TV wasn’t blocked and we were able to watch Harry Potter ALL DAY. Another fun Thanksgiving thing that I wouldn’t mind doing each year. I’m a major HP fan!
But that place setting thoooo. I’m so happy everyone fit (I was only slightly concerned).
One fail was that I didn’t get as many pictures as I wanted. I feel like that always happens. I need to get better about that!! I got one photo of Rob and I, a few of Hannah, and two of Hannah and I together. Maybe next year I’ll get one of the three of us and some of our other family that was there. I guess we can only do so much, right? At least we did learn that Hannah loves black olives!
Happy Thanksgiving, internet. Now bring on Christmas!!