I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving. I know it’s been a handful of days since the big turkey day, but I thought I’d show you what actually happened in our kitchen and at our table. With pictures! I wrote up a post explaining what I thought we’d be making, and while we mostly stuck to that plan, there were some alterations. And we had some fun during the 48 hours of shopping, prepping, cooking, and baking. Hope you did, too.
*All these photos were taken on Thanksgiving by me or my husband.
So to start things off, here’s our organic family farm-raised turkey before we put it in the smoker. We brined it with a Whole Foods-bought brine (salt, spices, sugar) for 18 hours. That’s 1 hour per pound of turkey. Then we smoked the sucker in our in-laws’ Traeger. We rubbed the turkey with a spice mixture that came with our brining kit (salt, spices), plastered it with peppered bacon, and stuffed it with oranges, lemons, and onions. It took 5 hours of smoking and 5 hours of cooking.
It was the most flavorful and moist turkey I’ve ever eaten. I think we all agreed on that. The bacon looks black, but it’s not burnt – just smoked. And tender and delicious.
The day before, we made our Grain Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, but we made them with carob chips because chocolate does bad things to my husband and me.
With the same recipe we also made some snickerdoodle cookies by omitting the carob chips and putting cinnamon in and on them.
Cranberry sauce is actually something we make in our house pretty regularly when the cranberries are in season. That recipe can be found in our Thanksgiving Meal Planner from last year.
If you’ve ever seen “America’s Next Top Model” then you’ll know that none of those models ever go on to actually become America’s next top model, but you’ll also know what “smeyezing” is. It’s smiling with your eyes and not your mouth. Here’s my (failed) attempt.
The monkey’s attempt…
The gravy. We took the gizzards from the turkey and added some onions, carrots, celery, lemons, oranges, and seasonings (to match the brine and stuffing) and simmered it all day long. Then we blended it. And by “we” I mean my father-in-law. I had nothing to do with it.
The brussels sprouts were also my husband and father-in-law’s creation. They smoked them for about 5 hours with the turkey and then steamed them to soften them up and seasoned them with I don’t even know what. I think there was some bacon grease involved. They were fantastic.
Fake smile competition between Elyn (mom-in-law), me, Seth (husband), and Jim (dad-in-law)…
We neglected to get pictures of our carob mint coconut milk ice cream, which was the best ice cream Seth’s ever made. We also made the apple coleslaw and sweet potatoes with pomegranate, and they were perfect complements to everything else. And we did make that pumpkin cheesecake from Paleomg.com. I truly did feel like I was eating cheesecake, which was why I was too distracted to take a picture of it.
Here’s my plate…
One last thing. We saved the turkey carcass and all the lemons, oranges, and onions that were inside it and made a soup the next day. We just stuck the carcass, etc. in a big pot that night and put it in the fridge. The next day, I added enough water to cover the carcass; threw in a bunch of roughly chopped carrots, celery, onions, and garlic; and seasoned it with some salt and the leftover fresh herbs we used on Thanksgiving. We let it simmer for about 4 hours, removed the bones from the pot, and now we have a lot of turkey soup in our freezers. We’ll need to add more meat to it when we take it out of the freezer and cook it up later on, but it’s a hearty, flavorful, vegetable-rich soup base.
That’s all! Hope you enjoyed the tour, and I hope your Thanksgiving was as delicious, peaceful, and full of very good company as ours was :)
Until next time.