Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011, With a Side of MIL Saga: Part 8

As you may already know via Twitter, I found out two fridays ago that MIL was no longer having us over to her house for Thanksgiving, and instead wanted to come over to our house. Through a string of miscommunications, it initially seemed like this was typical MIL shenanigans, but I think it was actually legit.

First of all, other than a brief mention in October, we were apparently never formally invited to Thanksgiving at her place to begin with - hubs just assumed that we were, since it has been a tradition to go over to MIL's the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and split the actual holiday between my family and Justin's dad's side. Secondly, when she texted him about Thanksgiving, it did not say anything about making arrangements to go over there, it just said "I need to talk to you about Thanksgiving", so again, we were just assuming it was to cement a time to go over there like we usually do.

When Justin did finally get ahold of her (after MANY, MANY tries, which again seemed like she was ditching us), she gave some weird story that they had to repair the roof and therefore couldn't afford to replace their dining room table and chairs, so there would be nowhere to sit.

(Let's pause to consider if there is any world in which this makes actual sense)...

I instantly thought she just didn't want to see us, and then later thought that maybe they couldn't afford to do a big Thanksgiving (which would mean I'm just a jerk), so I offered to cook. After all, cooking a Thanksgiving IS on my 101 in 1001 list, so it's not like it's something completely out of the question. And I think it would have been super rude to have them over Thanksgiving weekend and NOT cook, so whatever. I didn't really particularly WANT to, but I was going to cook a full Thanksgiving meal.

Jumping ahead, to tie up the MIL portion of the story...Several times throughout the meal, she mentioned that she had made a 25 pound turkey, so it wasn't the being able to afford it thing. And she came, so it wasn't the not wanting to see us thing. So...she really got rid of her table and chairs and there would be nowhere to sit. No shenanigans, but definitely weird. It shouldn't be ENTIRELY shocking, seeing as how she ripped out the carpet and has been living off plywood for the last 2 years without any plan to replace the flooring (assuming it's still not fixed, I didn't ask). And last Thanksgiving, her couch was mysteriously gone so we had to sit at the table the entire time. And their room only had mattresses on the floor, as they had ditched the bed frame. Is there some kind of obvious explanation here, that I am too dense to see? Bedbugs? Termites? Some weird anti-hoarding disease that causes you to get rid of all of your basic furniture without replacing it first? I AM SO CONFUSED.

Moving on.

I didn't grab my nice camera because I was super tired from Lucy not sleeping all week and because I didn't want to explain to MIL that I needed fancy photos for my blog in which she is heavily featured, so iPhone pics it is.

For the table, I was going for "casual, but nice". Molly from My Happy House had posted a tablescape that a) was pretty and b) featured a wooden pumpkin I already had, so I went for a less fancy version of that. Our Target has a whole section of porcelain goodies, so I picked up a cake stand, butter dish, sugar bowl (the creamer was out of stock), spoon rest, and a couple of platters. The table cloth and napkins were also reasonably priced, so I grabbed those too. I now own stuff to entertain that is less fancy than our wedding china, yay!

For the appetizer, I made the Pumpkin Pie Fruit Dip from Smashed Peas and Carrots. It was pretty yummy, but everyone except Adriana pretty much ignored it (and then Justin cut her off so she wouldn't spoil her appetite).

For the entire rest of the meal, I went back to Life of a Doctor's Wife's awesome Fakesgiving posts. I totally replicated her entire meal (aside from subbing my garlic mashed potatoes for hers). When I first read those posts last year, I contacted her and got her OCD-friendly meal prep timeline, which was also a huge help.

The best part by far was her Totally Untested Marshmallow-Topped Sweet Potatoes. These were AMAZING and way better than throwing some marshmallows on canned yams and calling it a day. I couldn't convince Justin to even try them (rude!) but whatever, more for me!

Instead of doing smaller breasts, thighs and legs, or a whole turkey, we took the middle road and got a 10 pound breast. This made for some interesting improvising with thawing and with the recipe itself. It needed to cook for a good two hours longer than I expected before it hit the required internal temperature. Also, I kind of winged it with the gravy since that recipe only yielded two cups, and I wanted way more than that. I think I won without sacrificing much taste.

The end result:

And of course, the best part of doing it myself, is that we get to keep all of the leftovers!

This is probably silly to those of you who have been cooking your own Thanksgiving meal for years, but this was a HUGE accomplishment for me. My mom is a Supermom, and will never give up control of Thanksgiving. If I wanted to, I could literally go for years without cooking a turkey dinner. However, this is one of those things where I wasn't going to feel like a Real Mom until I knew I was capable of doing it myself. And now I know I can!

A big thank you to all of the bloggers who tested everything out first, so I could succeed without putting much effort in myself :)


Heather said...

Yeah, you! What an accomplishment. I'm far to nervous to try a Thanksgiving dinner by myself - especially with a little one in the mix.

Shalini said...

1) I love the new blog background--so pretty!
2) The first time I tried to cook a turkey, I was a vegetarian and didn't know you had to thaw the turkey first. It ended up taking, um, twelve hours to cook a 12-lb bird. I would say you had WILD SUCCESS compared to most people. It all looks so yummy!

Jessica said...

We host Thanksgiving every year, but I don't cook much of it. My husband does the turkey and everybody brings something. (I make pie and stuffing). I'm not sure I could coordinate making a whole dinner myself!

lifeofadoctorswife said...


I am SO GLAD you used my list (I did too - it made Thanksgiving so EASY!) and that it went well~

StephLove said...

Congrats on your first Thanksgiving dinner!

We alternate Thanksgivings with my mom and stepfather and Beth's mom so I've never cooked a whole Thanksgiving dinner either, though we always help cook. This year I did the sweet potatoes and Beth did stuffing and gravy.

We had MIL drama this year I can't even write about on my blog because I'd be disowned, so I am feeling a little twitchy with pent-up venting.

Lacey said...

Wow! I'm little domestic goddess, you. ;)

And the MIL weird. I paused, and thought about whether the table/roof thing made sense and tried to come up with a possible explanation, and no. I've got nothing.

Courtney said...

I feel so behind on my blog reading so I'm trying to play catch up. Sounds like you had a nice thanksgiving. Props to you for checking another item off your 101 in 1001 list! And I love your MIL saga stories. I always wonder what happens if she finds out about your blog..... haha

Mrs.CFH2 said...

I'm playing catch up over here! This looks fantastic and congrats on hosting your first Thanksgiving! Regardless of the circumstances, it's a huge accomplishment and it looks like it went off without a hitch!