Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The sky didn't fall, Turkey Lurkey

Well, THAT was a busy weekend.

Mat and i have always had busy holidays rather than relaxing ones. Actually i can't remember one holiday in the last 10 years that's been relaxing, unfortunately.

We both have, not large, but - complicated - families. My parents are divorced so there has always been 2 separate dinners with my family, and Mat's dad now has a common-law wife so there has always been 2 dinners with his family. Every holiday we have 4 dinners to attend. On top of that, we always have to travel back "home". The last 3 years we have both lived in Ottawa (I've lived here for the past 7 years) and so we drive 4 hours each way to eat 4 huge meals. ugh.

There's never enough time and no matter how hard we try to divide our time equally between all of our family members, people seem to "complain" that they don't see us or spend enough time with them.

I know what you're thinking...poor us...everyone wants to be around us. But honestly? It does wear on you especially when you are tired from long car rides and crummy sleeps in crummy beds that aren't yours.

This weekend was no exception. In fact, it was probably 10 times more stressful for several reasons, but mainly because i decided to host my dad's family at my new house for thanksgiving.

Here's a quick rundown of the situation:

My dad's side of the family has had 2 recent deaths of close family members: My grandmother and my aunt within a week of each other this past Easter. Since my parents divorced (10 years ago) my dad's family has had all of our holiday meals at my aunt's house (who passed). My dad got the feeling that his brother (my aunt's husband) wasn't ready to host everyone at his house for thanksgiving which is understandable. So, my Dad thought we could all go to a restaurant for thanksgiving. I didn't want us to forego a traditional thanksgiving weekend and although Mat and i have no dining room furniture, and barely enough plates and cutlery for everyone, we thought we would invite my dad's family up on Saturday for a thanksgiving dinner.

I moved our kitchen table into the the empty dining room, brought another table up from the basement, covered them in matching table cloths and gathered all of the chairs in the house.

There were six of us in total, and i made a traditional thanksgiving dinner from scratch.

Here's the menu:

  • Fresh, free-range, organic turkey
  • French bread and herb stuffing
  • Braised red cabbage with red wine, cloves and orange juice
  • Yams with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and brown sugar topped with baby marshmallows
  • Mashed potatos
  • Butter, garlic and rosemary infused mushrooms
  • Cooked baby beets from the Byward market
  • Market-fresh steamed yellow and green beans sautéed with butter and slivered almonds
  • Fresh, homemade cranberry sauce and gravy
  • Homemade pumkin pie with fresh whipped cream

It was more than i was going to make but i couldn't help myself. These are the foods that make up thanksgiving for our family and i couldn't NOT have one of them.

If i do say so myself, everything turned out wonderfully. My biggest fear was the turkey wouldn't be done properly or it would take forever, but it was done "early" and it was so tender and juicy.

It took a lot of prep work, but when you break it down and tackle things individually, it's quite manageable.

And i really suck because i didn't take one picture. I was too busy basting the turkey and wanted to serve everything while it was hot that i completely forgot. I'm quite disappointed in myself for not taking pictures of my first thanksgiving, but my dad took a couple with his "old fashioned camera" so i can scan them when i get them next year!

So that was Saturday night and afterwards, since everyone was from "home" which is 4 hours away, they all stayed at our house on couches and air matresses.

The next day, Sunday, we all woke up and drove back "home" to have dinner with my mom and then dinner at Mat's house. Immediately after dinner at Mat's house yesterday, we started back to Ottawa.

So. Tired.

How was your Canadian Thanksgiving?


Jennie said...

Although I'm not Canadian my sister is by default and my nephew is, so I think of them during the Canadian holidays. I think they had a great holiday. And honestly next year I may just eat some mashed potatoes in her (and your!) honor.

Chris said...

MMM! Your menu sounds yummy!!!

We have a similar family situation and it is soooo exhausting! Once the kids are added to the mix it just becomes even more so.

About 2 years ago we finally decided no more traveling on Christmas Day. If they wanted to see us for a family Christmas they were forced to do it another day. Traveling all day with 3 kids after an early morning gift opening is just nooooooo fun on Christmas.

Thanksgiving is 'First come, First serve' now too. The first people to get me dates are the ones we attend :-D

Ms. Porter said...

Your menu sounds delish, I'm sure it was. We only have two families (mine and hubs) and I sometimes find two dinners in one weekend too much! I agree with Chris, I sure wouldn't travel on Xmas with kids.

SC said...

Bravo for you Roz... your menu sounds delish!!!

In some ways you and Mat are lucky that you are both from the same area and you can see both your families on one holiday - PC and I are either with my family or his, never both - which is hard sometimes because you are always feeling guilty that you are not with the other family - but at times its nice to be able to go to one spot and relax and enjoy!

Hang in there... if you ever had kids, it will be a good excuse to stay put and tell people to come to you!!!

Katie said...

Oooh, all of the food sounds delicious...especially the cabbage dish. Also, Jon and I did the running around like crazy thing for Thanksgiving and Christmas our first two years together. Granted, it was just between my parents and his, but it was still a lot of time on the road and different states. Last year we started a rotation and it has made things so much easier on us. Glad you had a very happy Thanksgiving :)