It’s the last day of November, which means we only have 31 days left in 2020… and wow, what a year. It’s been a year unlike any other, yet somehow I feel like there’s even more to be grateful for this year.
Last year, I wrote to you over Thanksgiving weekend, and I told you about how grateful I was to be able to fly home to Seattle and spend time cooking with my dad.
But of course, like for many, this year was different…
Normally, on Thanksgiving, my dad cooks the main dishes (turkey, smoked salmon, sausage) and I assist with the sides. Well, as I was unable to fly this year due to COVID-19, that meant that we’d stay in Texas. That also meant my husband and I would be hosting our first Thanksgiving together!
Now, I was a little terrified, as I’ve never cooked a 25lb turkey before. So we did a test run in early September and all was well. I love to cook, but Thanksgiving is really another beast. However, I thought I was prepared. And, making our own traditions after all, is something to be grateful for.
And so, I woke up (somewhat) early, then Leo, Darrell, and I got the turkey ready together.
Leo thoroughly enjoyed smothering it with butter. I’m used to cooking meat, but usually I use the grill or the smoker — but we really wanted a nice, roast turkey this year. So cooking it in the oven was what we went with.
After all, we roast whole chickens all the time! How different could it be?
I prepped the cheese plates, along with my favorite recipe: a cheese ball (cream cheese, green onions, and chopped, dried beef), some smoked salmon, and sausage. My husband had finally just sat down to watch football as I opened the oven door to baste the turkey.
“Well, I’ve never cooked a full turkey, but surely I can handle this,” I thought to myself. As I basted the turkey, I lightly tapped the bird with the baster, and I immediately heard a crash.
I look down and suddenly I see all the turkey drippings (and a pan full of chicken stock) pouring into the slats where the heat from the gas oven comes out. Immediately, this buttery mixture caught flame, and smoke started billowing from the oven.
“Darrell,” I said (trying to hide my mess from my in-laws), “I need your help, NOW PLEASE.”
I grab the fire extinguisher while he tells me to grab the turkey and close the oven. Somehow he manages to get the fire out with a combination of opening and closing the oven and letting it burn out. Then, I clean out the remaining turkey juice with tons of paper towels, we put the turkey back in, he gives me a laugh… and he heads back to watch his game.
The flames didn’t actually catch the turkey on fire, however, just the oven — so we were alright to keep cooking miraculously.
We both still didn’t understand how it fell to begin with. After all, I barely touched it.
Well, no less than 10 minutes later, the turkey comes crashing down again. This time making an even bigger fire. Low and behold, the 25Ib turkey is simply too heavy for the oven grate. (Darrell thought it would be a funny joke to get this giant turkey since I said I wanted enough for leftovers.)
By this time, my mother in law is trying to help, and I have to open all the windows as our house is filled with smoke.
I run outside to the smoker and tell Darrell that we should have smoked this bird to begin with… and I light the coals. He of course is determined to fix the oven problem, so he uses his same open and closing the oven door strategy to burn off the fire — this takes about 20 minutes to complete without using the extinguisher. After all, we still have to cook everything else: green bean casserole, sweet potato pie, garlic mashed potatoes, and more.
At this moment, I’m especially thankful for him… because I definitely would’ve used the extinguisher if he wasn’t there, and we would instead be remodeling the kitchen now. I don’t think I’ve ever had a gas oven, and I know I’ve never had one that I spilled a whole platter of butter and turkey stock in.
Anyway, Darrell didn’t get to watch a ton of football as a result, but we ended up just putting the turkey pan right in the bottom of the oven (after cleaning out two giant messes and fires). No grate to fall over this time!
I was pretty shaken by this point, and considered calling it quits and going to a restaurant, but I was determined to have a successful ending to our first year hosting Thanksgiving dinner.
He laughed and said, “You didn’t want this to be boring, did you?”
Despite the craziness, the turkey actually survived and Darrell ended up cooking most of it, while I handled the sides. In the end, we had a lovely dinner with just the five of us.
Even through it all, I’m grateful we’re fortunate enough to even have a Thanksgiving dinner.
Due to COVID-19, throughout the US and the world, millions of people are going hungry. (source: www.feedingamerica.org). Because of this, I decided to organize a Simpler Trading food drive — with a goal of 100 pounds of food and $500. We ended up collecting 175lbs of food and over $6k in donations.
This was a huge success and I’m so thankful to everyone who was willing to help make this a reality, but it left me wanting to do even more.
That’s why this year I decided to donate half of my personal Cyber Monday sales to those who need it the most. So I’m kicking off my holiday drive for Safe Austin with this email.
The SAFE Alliance serves to help women and children who are victims of abuse, domestic violence, and exploitation. For me, this cause is personal — as it wasn’t that long ago that I was the one leaving with only what I could carry.
So, if you decide to pick up any of my classes or indicators today, just know that you’re getting them on the best sale of the year, and part of that money will also go to help women and children in need this holiday season.
Happy holidays from me, my family, and the Simpler Trading community!