Well, it was another rememberable Thanksgiving for the Thelen clan. Two years ago, we did not have a couch in our rented house, last year, we had 12 people over to celebrate a "Friendsgiving" with a number of Sarah's classmates. This year, we were kind of transient as our house is still being remodeled. We have a nice (but cozy) 1000 sq/ft apartment and we started the week without a table :)
When we planned this ~6 weeks ago, we were supposed to be moving into the new house, but due to some unforeseen issues (electrical, permitting, etc), our move in was delayed 3 weeks, so instead of trying out our new Kitchen, we had a very cozy and intimate Thanksgiving.
The morning started with Martha, Sarah, and me running in the Ridgewood Turkey Trot, an 8K race in Raleigh. We had to get up pretty early to join 3K+ other runners on a 5 mile journey through a Raleigh neighborhood.
Meanwhile, back at the apartment, Bob prepped our Turkey. I started brining it on Tuesday so it had a good 36 hours of moisture and flavor added it it. Bob spatchcocked it (used a new pair of tin-snips to make quick work out of it), put herb-butter under the skin, and put a rub on prior to starting the smoker (thanks again Chuck!) and putting the turkey on!
After the race, the runners headed back, Sarah and Martha started on brown bread and from stratch crust for the pumpkin pie! Meanwhile I started making a turkey broth from the turkey spine, neck, and giblets (with herbs and veggies).
While the pie crust was resting and the turkey was smoking, we decided to head back to the house to finish up the run-in shed (read about the run-in shed here) by adding the last few kick-boards (future post about finding a local mill that has rough-cut lumber!). It was a beautiful day, sunny, a bit chilly, and a great day to use a nailer and Milwaukee circular saw (thanks chuck!).
With the run in shed looking awesome, we went back to the apartment for the sprint to the end. I made my mom's world-famous stuffing recipe, a cranberry chutney, mashed some potatoes (with prep-work by Bob and mashing by Martha), while Sarah finished her Pumpkin pie.
Our tiny dinner table (a card table that Martha and Bob bought us - from Target) was decorated with place settings, napkins, and napkin rings from my Mom (Laura), that arrived just in time for the thanksgiving feast! We ate, joked, and rested after a long day of running, cooking, baking, building, and just enjoying each others company. In my experience, no holiday should become routine or forgettable - the best are the ones where circumstance plays a role. Looking back over the past 35 years, the holidays I remember the most are ones with a special person (the Rubino's visiting the Thelen and Graff families), a special place (Thanksgiving with Scott Graff and family or Uncle John's family), a special event (an Easter with a snow storm, a super warm Christmas, a white Christmas, the Thelen family thanksgiving football game, sitting at the adult table for the first time), or strange, unique situations (Santa visiting, not having a couch, deployed in Afghanistan, an undercooked or overcooked Turkey/roast). With this in mind, this Thanksgiving is one that will be remembered, because if fits several of the criteria. Special people (Martha, Bob), a special place (our temp apartment), a special event (moving to a new house), and unique situations (all of the above). We will look back on this past week with great fondness in a few years!
A special thanks to the Thelen family and Slamer family (and our extended families) for always being there to help us out!