stuffed 1.0

pie lady and son pumpkin

Turns out preparing a Thanksgiving feast isn’t rocket science. In fact, now that we’ve attempted our first one, I’m pretty sure that it’s more complex and labor intensive than rocket science. Fortunately, we had the good sense to call in a lot of help…

For example, that gorgeous Pumpkin Pie above? It’s from local baking geniuses, Pie Lady and Son.

Pie Lady and Son box

This past summer, we practically lived on their Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. Since then, we have sampled become obsessed with the Cherry Pie, Apple Pear Pie, and freshly baked muffins. This shop, located on 9W, is undoubtedly the cutest operation in the universe, complete with red checkered curtains, bushel baskets, home-made signage and extremely smiley service. I’m obviously not the only one who is enamored – when we went in last weekend, they had already closed their orders for Thanksgiving. So we bought the pie that day, froze it, and defrosted it according to their printed-out directions. It was delicious – eggy, nutmeggy and the crust was unsurprisingly divine. And all we had to do was whip the cream.

fresh whipped cream

But I’ve skipped ahead to the end…

Long before we enjoyed that pie, we made stuffing. Thank you to my mother-in-law Sandy, who provided the recipe and phone consultation services on this one. It turned out great!

turkey stuffing with sausage

Among other ingredients, it called for sausage, celery, and poultry seasoning. We used Bell’s. It has apparently been around for just a few years, since 1867. I love the old-school packaging:

Bell's Seasoning

Some stuffing got stuffed where the sun don’t shine, and we put the rest in the Kermit green Rachel Ray baking dish my friend Ann-Marie gave us for our wedding. Whenever I use this, I pretend I’m hosting my own cooking show (that is, sans make-up artist, camera men and….well, expertise.)

Rachel Ray baking dish

While I prepared the green beans, Rob made his excellent mashed potatoes, including parsley, some skins, and of course a surplus-o-butter:

mashed potatoes

My mother took out her aggressions on the yams:

cutting yams

We tackled all the side dishes the day before in order to pace ourselves and also because our oven is the size of a shoe box. This is why I got an 8.5 pound turkey. For those of you who laughed at me when I told you how little it was, you were right – I underestimated our oven – we could have fit a much bigger one in.

small turkey

I can’t take any credit for this beauty – while Rob and my mom took care of the turkey business, I hung out with a bird more my speed:

xenia taler bird tile

This tile by Xania Taler has no innards to be gutted, no giblets to be simmered, no skin to be seasoned. (I can eat turkey and other meats as long as I don’t see too much.) I focused instead on setting the table:

table setting

…Arranging the prickly seed pods I gathered while pre-pig-out running at Tallman Mountain State Park that morning (they are apparently from a sweet gum tree):

sweet gum seed pods

…Building a fire:

fire with flowers

…And readying the cranberry sauce. I had every intention of making my own from fresh cranberries and orange zest, like my mother always does, but amid everything else, this got crossed off the list. (There’s always next year.) And there is something nice about that crazy canned stuff, too. Doesn’t it look kind of like a candle when served like this? All it needs is a wick:

cranberry sauce

Actual candles were soon lit and faux bubbly was popped open:

Martinelli's sparkling

After about 24 hours of anticipation, we finally dug in. It was an eating frenzy: forks flew, gravy flowed, and, in emulation of one very tasty little bird, we quickly became stuffed, ourselves.

Eventually, we waddled over to the couch and watched the sun set.

Thanksgiving sunset

Hope yours was excellent, too.

8 replies

  1. What a lovely Thanksgiving meal! I can relate to the “small oven – small turkey” syndrome…we cooked our turkey in our countertop convection oven and the smallest bird I could find was 12-lbs. He was kinda crammed in there πŸ™‚

    Your sweet gum balls reminded me of when our daughter was small – we picked them up and called them porcupine eggs.

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