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Our Thanksgiving Feast Recap: Two Turkeys and New Traditions

Thanksgiving is either the most delicious day of the year or it’s the most tiring multi-day cooking event. Since Xak and I started hosting the traditional Thanksgiving dinner in 2019, we’ve experienced both simultaneously.

For this year, Xak and I would be sharing our Thanksgiving feast with Barb and Buford, and my parents, Ma and Pa (yes, like Laura Ingalls). We actually make the same amount of food whether we have additional guests or not 😄, however we always want to make sure we include items that our guests will enjoy.

I approach Thanksgiving the same way people might approach a work assignment: creating a project plan. This probably seems ridiculous, but I don’t think it’s ridiculous to try and minimize stress during the biggest meal you’ll prepare for the year.

My festivity preparations begin the first week of November, usually while eating heavily discounted Halloween candy. This is when menu brainstorming begins. We refine the menu several times, send it out to our attendees for approval and suggestions, and then create our shopping list and dole out assignments.

The week of Thanksgiving is very intense. This is when grocery shopping, thawing, chopping, boiling, and our annual viewing of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles occurs. Believe it or not, we also were ambitiously planning on hosting an afternoon tea on Wednesday afternoon. We knew it would be an extremely busy week, but with our careful planning, I knew it would all come together smoothly. Well, that was the goal at least. 😬

Thanksgiving Planning and Schedule

The hardest part of planning a big meal is making sure there’s something for everyone to eat. This means knowing everyone’s allergen information and dietary preferences. I admire restaurants and caterers who are able to create such extensive menus.

Luckily, the only real dietary concern I have to keep in mind is that Barb doesn’t eat beef, but that’s not really a problem on Thanksgiving. However, there’s plenty of preferences I also make sure to reflect on during planning.

Some of these preferences include the following:

  • A bottomless never ending bread basket for Pa
  • Only buying Welch’s RED Sparkling Grape Juice (I might have made the mistake of getting white grape juice before)
  • Plenty of real stuffing and non-lumpy gravy for Xak
  • Medium roast k-cups for Buford
  • A non-spice based dessert for Ma

You can’t make everyone happy, but you can certainly try. The best way I know how is to make sure I write down everything I need to do.

On Thanksgiving, our day actually starts at 7 AM and begins with an unofficial 5k. We’ve done official Turkey Trots in the past and it’s complete chaos so we now adopted the tradition of running one near our house. After our run, we serve breakfast to anyone who stayed over the night before and then we begin the prep work!

Thanksgiving schedule
A brief snippet of my Thanksgiving Day schedule including color coding for assignments. I created schedules for every single day this week (Sunday – Thursday) to make sure nothing was forgotten!

Plan

Serve 4 different appetizers by 12 PM, Thanksgiving dinner featuring 12 different dishes by 4 PM, and 2 desserts by 5:30 PM.

Appetizers

I usually serve appetizers during the Purina National Dog Show, which airs right after the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade (I turn the TV on the moment it turns to 9 AM). I try to time laying out the food shortly after the Toy Group is announced. This allows everyone to cheer for the pug without food being thrown all over the place. The appetizers also serve as comfort for when the pug ultimately loses, as it does every year 😒

Ever since Xak and I started hosting our own Thanksgivings, we’ve kept to classic appetizers, but made new addition last year that will make it to our permanent list moving forward.

Our appetizers included the following:

  • Deviled Eggs
  • Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Spinach and Artichoke Dip
  • Brie and Leek Tartlets
Thanksgiving appetizers
Our appetizer table, ready to go once the pug loses the Toy group round.

I’m a huge fan of portable finger food so I like to handle all the appetizers myself while Xak can focus on the turkey preparation.

Stuffed Mushrooms

Recipe Used: https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a20089643/easy-stuffed-mushroom-recipe/

I am a mushroom person. I love it in beef stroganoff, on top of pizza, in creamy risotto, and so much more. However, my favorite preparation is stuffed mushrooms. 

The mushroom serves as a perfect edible vessel to carry a tasty, buttery mixture of cream cheese, breadcrumbs, herbs, and parmesan. For this year, I decided to make two different changes: 1) cough up the extra money for baby bella mushrooms as opposed to the slightly cheaper white button variety and 2) make the stuffed mushrooms in advance, freeze them, and then bake them on Thanksgiving morning.

Ultimately, both changes turned out ok. I didn’t really taste a significant difference in mushroom flavor, so I’m not sure if it was worth the extra $1 or $2 I paid, but I do think the brown color looks nicer. When it came to baking the frozen mushrooms, I did notice that the mushrooms turned out a bit soggier than when I make and bake them on the same day. I’m guessing this has to do with freezing them, and not the type of mushroom but I’m not entirely sure.

It was nice to save some time on Thanksgiving day, so I think I will try this approach again next year. Maybe I’ll take them out of the freezer earlier though, instead of baking them immediately.

Deviled Eggs

Recipe Used: my own

I’ve been making deviled eggs since I learned how to boil an egg. Ironically, I despise condiments but I make an exception for this. There’s something about popping a deviled egg in your mouth that brings on the feeling of a summer picnic or cookout.

I’ve made deviled eggs so many times that I was gifted dishes specifically for deviled eggs. Usually I try to avoid “one use” kitchen supplies since I have limited space, however this is the one thing I justify due to the frequency I make deviled eggs.

Although there are several recipes that include interesting flavors like bacon, avocado, or dill, I stick to a very basic recipe of a hard boiled egg, mayo, relish, salt/pepper, and paprika.

I try to make sure everyone has 1.5 total eggs (roughly 2-3 egg halves). These typically go over very well and I’m always happy to see an empty deviled egg dish by the end of the day. It never gets old.

These are easy enough to make in advance, but finding the space for a deviled egg platter in the fridge can be a bit tough. It is nice to have one less thing to worry about, so it’s just something I “figure out.”

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Recipe Used: https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/26819/hot-artichoke-and-spinach-dip-ii/

Whoever put together spinach and artichokes into a dip deserves a medal. When made well, this is such a quality combination. The reason I put this caveat is because I have unfortunately had a less than stellar experience (this is an understatement) ordering spinach and artichoke dip at a restaurant with a name based on a day of the week (ahem). 

However, thanks to that awful experience, I vowed to only eat spinach and artichoke dip that I make at home. After realizing how straightforward the recipe is, it really doesn’t make sense to order it anywhere else. 

The recipe I use includes frozen spinach, artichoke hearts, cream cheese, mozzarella, parmesan, garlic, and plenty of seasoning and spices.

The end result is a delicious, melty dip, perfect for toasted baguette slices, pita chips, or carrot and celery sticks. I made the dip the morning of, and I think that’s the right approach. Even though I love leftover spinach and artichoke dip (if there is any left), it’s nice to have piping hot, freshly baked dip.

Brie and Leek Tartlets

Recipe Used: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/brie-leek-tartlets/

This is our most recent addition to our appetizers list, and also a happy accident. Last year, I bought leeks to make potato and leek soup for an afternoon tea. The soup turned out great, but I had purchased way too many leeks. In a state of panic to avoid wasting food, I started researching “leek recipes” and stumbled upon an appetizer for brie and leek tartlets which included brie and leeks (of course), phyllo cups, heavy cream, butter, and a few different spices. They seemed simple enough, so I gave it a try.

I made these the day of which turned out really great because the phyllo cups become nice and crisp. These were the most talked about appetizers last year and also this year. I even got compliments from some very tough critics (no names).

Thanksigiving Brie Leek Tartlet appetizers on tray
The finished brie and leek tartlets which disappeared shortly after this pic (sorry, too busy to take in progress shots).

You would be surprised at how mouthwatering buttery leeks sauteed on a stove will smell. Combine that with the creamy richness of brie and you have the most delightful appetizer that I guarantee will be a big hit.

The Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

While our dinner menu hasn’t strayed too much from year to year, Xak being Xak loves incorporating something new to add to the table. 

For this year, we decided to try not one but THREE new things. This is huge for someone who orders the same thing every time at restaurants (me).

After consuming 2 bags of Halloween themed miniature Reese’s cups, this is the dinner menu we created for 2023:

  • Popeyes Cajun Turkey (New!)
  • RecipeTin Eats Roasted Turkey + Gravy (New!)
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Scalloped Potatoes
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Cranberry Sauce (Homemade)
  • Cranberry Sauce (can)
  • Brussel Sprouts with Bacon
  • Crescent Rolls
  • Texas Roadhouse Rolls (New!)

Turkey Troubles

In the past we’ve had one turkey: a pre-cooked Butterball 12 pound turkey that goes straight in the oven from the freezer. NO THAWING NECESSARY.

It actually tastes pretty decent and alleviates so much stress. This year, we had planned to do the same, only we knew we wanted two turkeys since someone whose name rhymes with a synonym for saccharide (cough) mentioned that there was a severe lack of turkey leftovers.

Unfortunately, as Xak and I went on our first grocery trip to pick up our reliable Butterball in a bag turkey….it was not there. There were turkey breasts, small and large frozen turkeys, and even Cornish hens, but not the turkey we’ve grown to depend on.

This meant that Xak and I would have to make our own turkey this year. 😳

Popeyes Cajun Turkey

I love fried chicken. More specifically, I LOVE POPEYES. Since fried chicken isn’t exactly the healthiest item to eat on a regular basis, I have a self imposed rule of limiting my fried chicken intake to no more than once every 2~ months. 

Popeyes is my go-to celebration meal. I’ve eaten it for important milestones such as the day I signed for my house, my birthday, and of course National Fried Chicken Day (July 6th). In fact, we celebrated the beginning of Thanksgiving week with a “2 can dine” meal from Popeyes.

Popeyes chicken
Our celebratory meal to kick off Thanksgiving week. Unfortunately they forgot to give us our cole slaw order and we didn’t notice until this picture. 🤦🏻‍♀️

Last year, one of my co-workers mentioned they were trying the Popeyes Cajun Turkey for their Thanksgiving meal and I was intrigued of the existence of a Popeyes turkey.

Xak and I decided we wanted to try this out for our next Thanksgiving. Even though it wouldn’t have the same spicy, crispy, crunchy fried to perfection battered chicken skin, the seasoning would likely be on point. 

The turkey itself is pretty pricey. It’s ten pounds and costs $99. That’s a lot of money! The minor bit of good news is that it does include a Popeyes apron.

The instructions for cooking the turkey are pretty simple. Thaw it for 72 hours (marked on the “Monday” tab of our schedule) and then pop it into the oven for a few hours, wrapping it in foil, removing the foil, and then letting it rest.

On Thanksgiving day however, despite following the directions exactly, the turkey wasn’t reaching the temperature we needed it to. After about an additional 1.5 hours of additional cooking and unnecessary stress, the turkey was finally ready.

After snagging a quick taste of the turkey (delicious!!), I decided our guests wouldn’t mind our schedule being off by an hour (I hope 🤞)

RecipeTin Eats Roasted Turkey and Gravy

Recipe used: https://www.recipetineats.com/genius-easy-juicy-roast-turkey-dry-brined/

Although we had already decided on the Popeyes turkey, my nagging anxious thoughts always tend to win. In my head, I started creating a backup plan by researching foolproof turkey recipes while we were creating the Thanksgiving grocery list in early November. As a huge RecipeTin Eats fangirl, I was so happy to see that Nagi (the blog owner) had just what I needed.

Since Nagi’s recipes have been a big hit in our house, I figured it was safe to trust her with our Thanksgiving backup turkey. We made notes to include the ingredients to our grocery list, including ordering a new turkey roaster. Xak agreed he would be responsible for turkey duties so I marked him on the schedule.

One of the hardest parts of making your own turkey is the thawing process. The recipe called for dry brining several days in advance. This is great, except in order to dry brine underneath the skin, the turkey needs to be thawed enough to access the skin. Although we had begun thawing the turkey on Sunday, there were still parts that were completely frozen. If your turkey isn’t thawed enough to rub the brine under the skin, there is luckily a hack of thawing it in water that is constantly changed, a method that Xak ended up using.

On Thanksgiving Day, once the Popeyes turkey was done and removed from the oven, Xak popped in the fully brined and thawed turkey. A short 1.5 hours later, with some rotating and butter brushing in between, out came the most majestic sight with an amazing smell.

The turkey was dynamite. To me, it looked just like how a turkey on television would look. Even better though, you could SMELL this turkey. After letting the turkey rest, and transporting it to be carved, Xak took up making the gravy.

Every year whenever I attempt to make gravy, it turns out awful. I’ve followed so many “fool proof” recipes, and yet somehow I manage to prove them wrong. I am capable of making a simple roux (a mixture of fat and flour) and I make it often for other dishes like baked macaroni and cheese. For whatever reason, I can’t seem to do it on Thanksgiving.

Luckily, after several years of my failed attempts, Xak bravely volunteered to take over gravy responsibilities with the guidance of RecipeTin Eat’s turkey gravy recipe which includes turkey drippings (mixed in with onions, garlic, along with white wine), flour, and chicken broth.

I have now handed over all gravy responsibilities to Xak. That gravy was awesome!

Mashed Potatoes

Recipe Used: https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/food-cooking/recipes/a12083/delicious-creamy-mashed-potatoes/

I make mashed potatoes often for regular dinner time. Usually I throw in a couple of Russet potatoes, mash them to bits with my potato masher, and toss in butter, salt, and milk.

For Thanksgiving however, a bowl of everyday mashed potatoes doesn’t seem appropriate. If you’re going to go full glutton, might as well have the most indulgent mashed potatoes imaginable.

Cue the Pioneer Woman creamy mashed potatoes recipe. I was introduced to this recipe at a previous Thanksgiving. It’s full of cream cheese, loads of salted butter, half and half, and seasoned salt. As a huge potato fan, these are my favorite mashed potatoes ever and you can even make them in advance. I definitely make sure my fridge has room for this one.

Five pounds of potatoes is quite a lot and will mean leftovers for a few days. Expect some delicious dinners over the next week.

Thanksgiving baked mashed potatoes
After thawing the potatoes for a few hours, they go in the oven for about 30 minutes along with several pats of butter on top. Delicious.

Sweet Potatoes

Recipe Used: Ma’s

Xak and I like eating sweet potatoes, but we don’t really buy them much except around Thanksgiving. This is the time to stock up since our local grocery store marks them down all the way to 25 cents per pound. This means we get enough sweet potatoes for a Thanksgiving side dish, for baking ingredients, for roasted vegs during dinner, and so much more. It’s a great time to be a sweet potato fan!

For Thanksgiving, we enjoy putting the sweet in sweet potatoes. Typically this means a lot of brown sugar, butter, marshmallows, and walnuts. It’s basically an excuse to have dessert during dinner. Since Ma is the one who gave us the recipe, it only made sense for her to take ownership of creating the dish for Thanksgiving day. I stand close by though to supervise and make sure she doesn’t skimp out on the marshmallows. 

Thanksgiving sweet potatoes
Ma uses walnuts instead of pecans. Per my supervision, every centimeter of the dish is covered with the toasted marshmallow, brown sugar, and nutty topping.

This is another good dish to make ahead because peeling and boiling sweet potatoes the day of Thanksgiving is not fun.

Cranberry sauce

Recipe Used: Ma’s

Ever since I was little, I would get a lot of grief from everyone once they find out that I LOVE canned cranberry sauce with the distinct ridges around its cylindrical shape. I’m not sure why I love it so much, but what’s even more surprising to me is how many people hate it.

Since I’m usually the only person to touch this during Thanksgiving, Ma started making her own Cranberry sauce several years ago. It includes actual jello, whole berry cranberry sauce, walnuts, and apples, among other things. It’s a big hit at Thanksgiving and gets devoured pretty quickly. Even I have to reluctantly agree that it’s quite tasty and I put a huge scoop on my plate (however I still love my canned ridged sauce)

Thanksgiving homemade Cranberry Sauce
The alternative Cranberry sauce for those who don’t appreciate the canned version. This recipe luckily doesn’t require an oven, but does need fridge space.

Ma takes responsibility for this dish and I was glad to put her name down on the schedule. Since the Jello has to set, we definitely had to make this one the night before. Luckily, this was the last of the fridge space needed!

Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

Recipe Used: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sunny-anderson/pan-roasted-brussels-sprouts-with-bacon-recipe-1944571

Outside of the Green Bean Casserole, what vegetables do people really eat during Thanksgiving? Now that Xak and I are at responsible ages where we think about vegetable servings for every meal (sigh), it made sense for us to try and include another green dish. Sadly, I didn’t think broccoli (our favorite) would be very popular, so we had to look for something else. 

Whenever I go to Cava, if there’s no braised beef, I like ordering the roasted vegetables for my bowl. This typically includes a mix of carrots, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. The combo is really tasty (especially paired with saffron rice!), but the standout for me is the Brussels sprouts. In the past, we’ve also had it as an appetizer paired with some bacon and it was extremely delicious. For our “green” side dish, we started making pan roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon, butter, and onions.

Although all health benefits are immediately canceled out by the addition of the bacon and the butter, it is absolutely delicious! It’s also something that can be cooked on the day of, so no worries on needing additional fridge space for this one.

Stuffing (Dressing)

Recipe Used: https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/food-cooking/recipes/a11893/thanksgiving-dressing-recipe/

Xak’s favorite Thanksgiving dish is stuffing (or more accurately, dressing). I grew up with a reliable box of Stove Top, which in my opinion is delicious in a pinch. However, once Xak and I started celebrating Thanksgiving together, I realized that instant stuffing wasn’t going to cut it.

What makes stuffing good? To me, it’s just a bunch of dried bread with some herbs that’s then rehydrated by chicken stock. Apologies to any stuffing fans out there.

Putting my personal feelings about stuffing aside, I set out to find a quality recipe that would make both Xak and myself, a non-stuffing person, happy for seconds.

Although my go-to recipe queen is RecipeTin Eats (who does indeed have a stuffing recipe), I remembered in previous Thanksgivings eating Pioneer Woman stuffing and actually getting seconds. The process seemed easy enough. The hardest part was remember to start several days in advance. Since you’re drying out a lot of bread, no fridge space is needed, but plenty of dining room table space is required for the baking sheets.

The reason the stuffing is so good is that it contains breads with different textures and flavors. For this recipe, we used 1.5 loaves of French baguettes, a loaf of ciabatta, and some homemade cornbread. After letting everything dry for about 2.5 days, on Thanksgiving day, you rehydrate the bread with a mix of chicken broth, celery, garlic, onions, butter, and a ton of fresh and dried herbs. 

Baking the stuffing makes the top a bit crispy and ultimately delicious. So while my crude description and preconceived notions about stuffing are technically accurate… I can sorta see why Xak likes stuffing so much.

Scalloped Potatoes

Prior to Thanksgiving day, I researched a ton of recipes for scalloped potatoes including watching a potato themed Martha (Stewart) Cooks episode. That episode was so difficult to watch because I wanted to make EVERYTHING right then and there.

Although the scalloped potatoes Martha demonstrated seemed do-able, I realized I was reaching my limit for Thanksgiving. I only have a certain amount of stove and oven space, and I was out of room in my refrigerator. So, for this dish, I enlisted the help of Barb to provide the scalloped potatoes… from a box 🤣

Thanksgiving Scalloped Potatoes
Boxed scalloped potatoes for this year. Still tasted good.

Perhaps next year Xak and I will be more adventurous.  

Green Bean Casserole

Recipe Used: the one on any cream of mushroom soup can, fried onions tin, or green bean can label

Every Thanksgiving, we should really be thanking Dorcas Reilly for creating the most iconic Thanksgiving side dish ever. A small nod should also be given to Campbell’s for popularizing the dish on a cream of mushroom can label.

While I’ve tasted “fancy” versions of this comfort food, I don’t really feel the same way as I do with the simple version of green beans, cream of mushroom soup, and fried onions. 

Thanksgiving Green Bean Casserole
Nothing fancy about this green bean casserole. Just the way I like it.

How can something so simple be so delicious? I usually trust Barb to handle this dish on Thanksgiving day. She knows better than to mess with perfection.

Crescent Rolls

I have a feeling this might be the most popular bread featured in bread baskets around America on Thanksgiving Day, but I have no way of easily validating my claims other than noting the empty shelf at my grocery store.

We buy a ton of crescent rolls around holiday time. My dad and Xak both love bread so it’s important to make sure there’s plenty at the table. 

While these are pretty easy to make (cover your ears and pop open the biscuit tin, roll them up and place them on a sheet to put them in the oven), you still need to account for oven time and also timing when to put them in so they’re nice and piping hot for the meal.

Another challenge is actually making sure you pick up the right package. One year, Barb accidentally made the mistake of purchasing Crescent ROUNDS instead of Crescent ROLLS. I had no idea “Rounds” were even a thing, and apparently neither did some people who left scathing reviews on the Pillsbury website. Unclear if Barb is one of these reviewers.

Crescent rolls
We get two of these for a total of 16 crescent rolls. Unfortunately there were no Original flavor ones, but at least they were rolls and NOT rounds 🤣

Usually crescent rolls are the only things in our bread basket, until this year….

Texas Roadhouse Rolls

It’s no secret to anyone that I love Texas Roadhouse. Aside from the early bird specials, one big selling point is THE ROLLS. These might possibly be the best “free” restaurant bread in existence. Further research is needed.

Last year on the day before Thanksgiving, Xak and I went out to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. That night, our server apologized for the delay in our rolls since the kitchen was fulfilling pre-orders. Near the entrance and on our table, we saw signs mentioning daily specials and also a seasonal sign for “Texas Roadhouse Rolls” for your Thanksgiving table.

The thought of fresh, fluffy, buttery rolls sounded like an excellent idea for the Thanksgiving table, so 2022 Dani and Xak added this to our Thanksgiving 2023 notes and also a calendar notification reminding us to order the rolls in advance.

This year during the week of Thanksgiving, Xak called our local Texas Roadhouse and placed an order for 24 rolls. It apparently comes with two tubs of cinnamon butter which was not enough for Xak’s liking. As he tried to barter with the employee over the phone, I mouthed my reassurances to Xak.

It will be ok.

-Me, Reassuring Xak that 2 tubs of cinnamon butter were more than adequate

Xak reluctantly conceded to 24 rolls and only 2 tubs of butter.

When Xak returned with the rolls the day before, we had a set of instructions on how to thaw and bake. I added this as the last item on the schedule alongside our crescents.

The rolls turned out AMAZING. In fact, they disappeared faster than the crescent rolls did from the basket. The two tubs of butter also were more than enough for all the rolls (surprise 🤣). We are definitely doing this again next year!

Thanksgiving Desserts

I imagine most households serve something traditional like a pumpkin pie. While I personally love pumpkin pie, I know most of my guests sadly don’t. Xak and I try to offer desserts that will make even the pickiest of eaters pick up a fork.

Ultimately we ended up with two different desserts this year.

Spice Cake

Recipe Used: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/super-moist-spice-cake/

The best part about Fall bakes is the spice. Give me a ginger snap, a slice of pumpkin bread, or an apple cider donut with a cup of tea or coffee and I will be in complete bliss.

A few years ago, I discovered a spice cake recipe which looked amazing on the webpage and also simple enough for my amateur baking skills to not completely screw up.

Along with standard cake ingredients such as flour and eggs, the spice cake called for nutmeg, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and molasses which tipped me off that this would be a winner. Topped with a pillowy layer of tart cream cheese icing and you have one of the most delicious cakes in existence!

Spice Cake ingredients
There’s actually quite a bit of ingredients in this spice cake, but don’t get intimidated.

Since I had made this cake previously, I knew it would be a great way to end our Thanksgiving meal as well as for future tea times throughout the next week. However, remembering that Ma isn’t a huge fan of spice desserts, I knew I wanted to add something that she would eat.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Although Xak and I had big plans to use our new springform pan wedding gift, after doing research on the perfect pumpkin cheesecake recipe, contemplating whether we could make mini cheesecakes (with pumpkin), we realized the best pumpkin cheesecake we’ve had comes from the Cheesecake Factory.

Luckily, grocery stores carry 7 inch Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes. Do they taste exactly the same as the ones in store? Not sure… I should probably conduct an experiment with side by side tasting 😏

Thanksgiving desserts featuring pumpkin cheesecake and spice cake
This picture is from the day after Thanksgiving because I ate dessert too fast to snap a pic.

While we would have loved to make our own cheesecake this year, sometimes you have to make sacrifices. The good news is, the cheesecake was delicious and everyone agreed that it was a great dessert. I’m sure we’ll be using the springform pan quite soon. I foresee plenty of cheesecakes and raised game pies in our future.

final Thoughts

Overall, Thanksgiving was a HUGE success! Although we were off about an hour and a half from the schedule due to the Popeyes Turkey, I am very pleased with how closely we stuck to our plan and schedule. Planning a multi-course meal is really difficult and thanks to all the many afternoon teas Xak and I have put together, I think we’ve finally mastered the art!

I am so pleased with how the turkeys turned out. Xak did an amazing job with everything. While the Popeyes turkey was really tasty, it’s too expensive to justify buying again next year and I wouldn’t mind getting the fridge space back. I am grateful we were able to have the experience, but for next year I think we will stick to just one larger turkey based on the RecipeTin Eats recipe.

I am so happy that all who attended seemed to enjoy themselves and I’m extremely grateful for everything: not just on Thanksgiving, but everyday. I look forward to many days of leftovers and reliving the magic of Thanksgiving in every sweet potato bite.

Bonus: Seasonal Lego Decor

We are huge Lego fans and earlier during Thanksgiving week, we purchased the dried flower centerpiece Lego set (from the Botanical collection) since it went on sale.

Although not on our schedule spreadsheet, Xak managed to put together the set (fiddly bits and all) in between rotating baking trays, checking up on turkeys, and chopping ingredients with an hour to spare. Our dinner table looked awesome!

Bonus (part 2): telestrations

Barb, lover of board games, always brings over a game whenever she drops by. This year for Thanksgiving she brought a game that all of us enjoy called “Telestrations,” a portmanteau of the childhood game “Telephone” and “Illustrations.”

This game is a great way to burn off a few calories from dinner through laughter. The premise is simple:

  • Each person selects a card from a deck with 6 words
  • Someone rolls a 6 sided die. The number that’s rolled is the placement for the word you must draw
  • Draw the word on your note pad in 30 seconds
  • Pass the note pad to the person on your left and they must guess the word based on your drawing
  • Pass the note pad again to the person on the left, and they must draw based on the word the previous person guessed
  • Repeat until the notepad returns to the original owner

This sounds way more complicated than it actually is, so here is an example of one of my clues: “Meat Loaf” and the chaos that ensued.

via GIPHY

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