Monday, November 28, 2011

A Winning Thanksgiving Week

As luck would have it, a demon of some sorts took root in my belly last night. I woke up multiple times to kneel before the porcelain throne. This has continued through out the day in all sorts of variations of "fun." I can't tell you how many of my friends have confessed their envy of me.  It's a perfect way to end a holiday devoted to eating.  I'm pretty sure I will have met my goal with my nutritionist next week.  Yea.

This Thanksgiving, as in last, my husband wanted to take on the preparation and roasting of a Turducken.  If you are unfamiliar with this Thanksgiving mutation I can break it down for you. It is basically a monstrosity made of turkey that is stuffed with a duck that is stuffed with a chicken.  The unfortunate part of Thanksgiving for me is that turkey is the main course.  I am not a fan of poultry.  My mother was in the Weight Watchers program while we were growing up and it seems the only meat allowed was chicken. We had chicken served to us like Forest Gump would serve up shrimp.  Oven fried chicken, Parmesan chicken, chicken pot pie, get the picture.  I like turkey only a little better then chicken.  I like duck not at all.

My husband is very proud of his Turducken.  It's quite the feat for any chef.  Each bird has to be de-boned.  (According to Julia Child the correct term is "boned" but I giggled like a 13 year old boy every time we talked about boning a turkey.)  Aaron first made two different types of stuffing.  I was not allowed to even help with that part due to last years fiasco with the stuffing.  He then de-boned each bird.  The chicken was stuffed with one kind of stuffing then placed in the duck and so forth.  Everything is then stitched shut. 

Our friends, Tiffany and Bryon, were in town this year and so Bryon helped Aaron with some of the work on the Turducken.  He also prepared a fried turkey for our feast. 

But wait!  There's more!

We were all invited to Kevin and Caren's this year.  Kevin smoked a turkey and so Iron Chef: Turkey was born.

The day before Thanksgiving, Tiffany got to sample what a Baking Day at Caren's is like.  The two of us spent the whole morning at Caren's preparing everything for our meal.  Caren and Tiffany made two different stuffing's, two different cranberry relishes, mashed potatoes with various toppings (we had a potato bar), sweet potatoes, and green beans. 

I made a pumpkin cheese cake.

When the big day arrived the men presented their turkey's.  They were quite the sight! 

Each was carved and served.  The adults all had ballots with criteria to grade the turkeys by.  It was a close race but in the end, my beloved's Turducken won.  I personally liked the fried turkey best.  It was the ugliest thing I'd ever seen but it was juicy and the crisp skin tasted like bacon.  Can't go wrong with bacon!  Note: the kids liked the smoked the best.

The other part of our Thanksgiving week was to prepare for another annual competition: The Gingerbread House Smack Down.  Last year's competition had an at-party-assembly rule.  This year had to be modified due to lack of space.  There was now the option of assembling your house at home or at the party.  Participants would only be competing with in their category.  I went the at-home route and enlisted the help of my friend, Tiffany. 

We had a great time together and found that we worked well with each other, feeding off of one another's ideas.  I would have an idea and then Tiff would either complete it or improve upon it and vice versa.  The end result was fabulous!

This year's theme was Santa's workshop:

The other at-home-assembly competitors:

The day before the party I found this super cute candy cane hat.  I thought it would be so fun to wear at the competition and so put together this little party outfit:

At the party the kids have a-go at it as well.  Caren and I bought a bunch of gingerbread haunted houses on sale after Thanksgiving.  We provided these for the kids teams as well as candy and frosting for them to work with.  The results were....interesting.  Bless their hearts, they did what they could in the 30 minutes they were given to work in.

After the kids were done the adults stepped up to the table.  The adults had one hour to work on their creations.  (Party Trade Secret: we covered the table with multiple layers of plastic table cloth.  After each round was done we simply wadded up the dirtied top cloth and the next round of players was set to go on a new clean plastic cloth!  A little Caren Genius...)  The competitors this year were more prepared then the last.  Many came with their own candies that had inspired them. 

My favorite conversation overheard that night:

Dave likes to work with fruit and antique tools..
"The icing is overflowing!"

"Well, get it!"

"I can't!  I don't have anything!"

"Just use your hands..."

"I can't!"

"Yes you can.  It's icing!  Not battery acid!"

The winning house went to Occupy North Pole:

Our other tradition for the Gingerbread House Smack Down is that the winner of the previous year is to add to the trophy so it will grow like the Stanley Cup.  I won last year's competition.  Here I am with the new improved trophy:

I also won this year's first ever at-home-assembly category and so I now have a new trophy to add on to!  Yea!

So that is how my Thanksgiving week went.  Lots of  fun with lots of friends and lots of food.  Now I am sitting here by the fire, wrapped in a Big Ugly sweater, sipping hot water and nibbling on saltines.  Just one more stomach flu away from my goal weight...

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