This year, start a new day AFTER Thanksgiving tradition. It’s the perfect day to slow down and enjoy a day of rest in the very busy holiday season.
The holiday season is upon us. In our family, not only do we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, but we also have two birthdays in November. Right after Christmas, we have our wedding anniversary and another birthday.
With all of these special days so close together, we try to give each day its due. Our Christmas tree doesn’t go up until after Thanksgiving (we also don’t have an artificial tree, so have to wait for a fresh-cut one.)
In giving each day its due, we also add in a few extras.
The day after Thanksgiving used to be spent shopping the Black Friday sales. When retailers began starting their bargain sales on Thanksgiving Day, we stopped going to the sales. It just didn’t feel right to be shopping that evening, nor did I really want to finish up our meal and relaxing day in order to get to town in time to shop.
After the full day of food preparation and consumption, but before the busyness of the Christmas season, we set aside one day, the day after Thanksgiving, to spend together with no real work involved.
Thanksgiving Day preparations are many and varied. We typically spend Wednesday preparing the desserts, just as my Mom did years ago. The potatoes are peeled and covered with water in the pot, the dressing is mixed up and ready to be baked, and the turkey is awaiting the oven.
I used to purchase frozen turkeys for our meal. Then I discovered the ease and tastiness of buying a fresh turkey. No more remembering to get the turkey out soon enough. No more wondering if the turkey is indeed completely thawed. No more soaking the turkey in a sink full of water to help it thaw quicker because I totally forgot to get it out of the freezer!
Ready for the oven!
Another thing that I noticed about the fresh turkey was the taste. While I’m a big proponent of making food ahead and freezing it, there is something to be said for a fresh-never-frozen turkey. It just tastes better.
The fresh turkey means one less item to leave off of your list. No more thawing the turkey. Simply put it in the roaster pan, add water and aromatics, and calculate the baking time. At 20 minutes per pound, the average 14-pound turkey will take 4-1/2-5 hours to bake, or until the internal temperature reaches the safe temp of 165*F. Sounds like a lot of time, but with potatoes to boil & mash, scalloped corn to mix up & bake, rolls to mix, rise, & bake, sweet potato casserole to make, and more, there’s not a lot of downtime on this food fest holiday.
I do multi-task and try to double up on tasks. The sink is filled with hot, soapy water when the cooking begins. It’s so much easier to clean as you go rather than letting it all build up for a major dishwashing session later. The racks in the oven are moved to accommodate more cooking vessels. The turkey can be baked in the oven or in the roaster oven. The roaster oven is a great choice when you need more oven space!
This is why we really look forward to the day AFTER Thanksgiving almost as much as the day of. For us, it’s a relaxing, movie-watching, lounging day. It’s a day to just be quiet and together.
It’s been quite interesting to see the movies that my children choose for our movie day. Some movies are the same each year. Others are brand new. Movies like Toy Story, Elf, and UP! are on the play list every year. Some movies are watched once, then not repeated. I love that my children still enjoy “younger” movies!
Just as their movie choices changes so do they. As I look around the room while they are engulfed in a movie, I study their faces and marvel at these young people who used to be tiny babes. The ones that I can vividly recall learning to walk and talk. Today, they are explaining complex movie plots to me and figuring out their futures.
If we’re not careful, the years will slip away and we’ll miss the small nuances that signify change. For me, I tend to be a bit emotional at noticing how they are changing and growing up. While I’m in awe of the young people they are today, I freely admit that I do miss the days of little people.
I digress, sorry! Trust me, as your children get older, you’ll understand!
In addition to the veggie tray that is inevitably left over from our Thanksgiving meal, there is also a mound of turkey left. We used to just make mini sandwiches with leftover rolls. Last year, I did something a little different. I used Thanksgiving leftovers to make our sandwich platter.
We have four turkey wraps that are the “fan favorites” around here.
Turkey BLT or TBLT (or TBT if you’re my Mary and don’t care for lettuce!)
Basically, a BLT on a wrap with added sliced turkey
Turkey Cucumber Ranch (this one is inspired by Mary and her love of Ranch dressing!)
Spread Ranch dressing on the wrap, then fill with thinly sliced cucumbers and sliced turkey
Spread a bit of mayonnaise onto the wrap, add sliced turkey and slices of jellied cranberry sauce
Turkey Cranberry Spread
Similar to the version above, but combine half a can of jellied cranberry sauce with 1/2 cup or so of mayonnaise. Spread this onto the wrap, then pile on the turkey!
Turkey Avocado (this one doesn’t use leftovers, we just really like it!)
Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise onto the wrap, add sliced turkey and avocado
To thinly, evenly, and easily slice the turkey, after your Thanksgiving meal is over, place the turkey into the refrigerator. Colder meat is much easier to slice!
Enjoy your Thanksgiving and try to relax the next day while you watch movies and eat leftovers! What movies would you suggest we watch this year?
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