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Thanksgiving Week

La Quinta, California: With the kids back east with Lenny's family, DT and I had a quiet Thanksgiving. The rest of the week was fairly busy. We met with our gardener to have him order the yellow pansies for our front and back gardens, and the courtyard (remember, annuals are planted in November/December in the Coachella Valley). He is going to re-do our front landscape as well. The plants in front of the house are so leggy and so over-trimmed! (The HOA "takes care" of the front garden (we are responsible for the back) and they are over-zealous with pruning and over-water everything.) The plants in the front never have a chance to bloom - they always look dead. Just sticks. Things are going to change around here.

Sunday Night Pizza

There seems to be an over-abundance of stuff in the freezer, and with a turkey breast in the near-future, thought it might be a good idea to free up some space for anticipated leftovers. My goal this week! There was a "flat bread" in the freezer that came in a package of two. I wasn't too impressed with the first one, but thought if I doctored the other up a bit, maybe it would pass. Ho-hum. Will not purchase again. I shaved a few asparagus spears and put them over hand-shredded mozzarella, and sprinkled a few chili flakes over. Wasn't bad. Wasn't good. The asparagus and mozz would have been better with pasta.

Speaking of pasta... there were also two small chicken Italian-style sausages in the freezer and a cup or so of red sauce. This was a no brainer - tossed with penne - and baked in the toaster oven/air fryer.

So good and so easy

DT had an appointment for his bike to have a tune-up. After we dropped the bike at the shop, we went out to lunch on the nearby El Paseo (the Rodeo Drive of the Desert). I had been reading local Mexican restaurant recommendation on The Facebook. Everyone was raving about Armando's, so we gave it a try. O.M.G. it was terrible. We were seated at a nice outdoor table right away, but before my butt hit the chair, a server came to take our order. We hadn't had a chance to open the menu! Now I wish we had ordered immediately as it took nearly an hour to get our lunch after we ordered. The table next to us finally cancelled their order and left, and our waiter pronounced them rude. Really? Nothing like waiting so long for a really bad tostada. How is it possible to ruin a tostada? It was $17 too, and could have fed a family of four, and not worthy of the doggie bag. Dave had a chile rellano and said it was mah-mah hoo-hoo (so-so in Mandarin). We compensated ourselves with a stroll down El Paseo. No, I did not step into Louis Vuitton, but DT found a nice shirt and a pair of shoes at Tommy Bahama.

I suppose my Thursday was a lot like yours? Cooking. Cooking. Cooking. Our menu: Roast Turkey breast, stuffing, gravy, Brussels Sprouts, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. No potatoes this year - too much food. It seemed to be a lot of work as well, even though I had made the pie crust last week (when I made the peach pie to take to LA), and froze it in the pie plate. Still dealing with a temperamental oven as well, so that is never fun. I had ordered an organic Mary's turkey breast from Bristol Farms, requested the smallest one and was presented with an eight pounder for $80! Ouch. Too much pressure to not over-cook $80 worth of turkey. I also ordered a quart of gravy as I didn't think I'd get much from the breast to use in gravy, and that saved me a ton of work. Celery, onion, and mushrooms were sauteed and mixed with Pepperidge Farms stuffing mix. I'm goin' all-in on Ina Garten's "store-bought is fine" Thanksgiving theme this year. I did moisten the stuffing with home-made turkey stock - frozen from last year's feast. Jacques Pepin shared a recipe for shaved Brussels Sprouts sautéed with bacon this week. Sounded delicious. I use turkey bacon, so had to add a little butter (turkey bacon renders no fat, but has that smoky flavor). At this point, what was a little more butter? No cloverleaf rolls this year; no rolls at all. No sweet potatoes. Definitely no marshmallows. Homemade cranberry sauce, using the recipe from the back of the Ocean Spray package, but substituting the water with orange juice. Punkin Pie with a canned pumpkin, eggs, sugar, heavy cream, spices, a pinch of salt, and a glug of Jack Daniels.

While simmering the cranberries, a few tablespoons of the juice was reserved before it was ready to gel. Poured into a highball glass and topped with sparkling water (some vodka would be a nice addition), it was a delicious mocktail and bright start to the evening.

Cranberry Sparkler? Orange zest & cranberry garnish.
Stuffing (my favorite part of the day)

I had asked Dave to choose the wine for dinner, and soon heard a champagne cork pop from the other room... such a fun choice. There was pumpkin pie, but no photo. So much work. Maybe we will take advantage of the buffet at our clubhouse next year???

Dave saved one entire half of the turkey breast, in one chunk. It is frozen for another day. Before I headed out for my walk this morning (Friday), I put the turkey "carcass" in the Instant Pot, along with all the celery bits, onion skins, rosemary, sage, and a bay leaf, covered it with water and came home to two quarts turkey stock. I saved enough turkey for leftover dinner tonight, but with the rest, a quart of turkey soup, and filling for a turkey pot pie were prepped and frozen for easy dinners down the road. There is a quart of stock to use in the stuffing for next Thanksgiving (assuming we don't go to the clubhouse). I used the celery leaves and left-over mushrooms to make a base for cream of mushroom/celery soup for dinner tomorrow night... after our tailgate for two before the Oregon v Oregon State game at 12:30p pacific.

The freezer is full again. How was your Thanksgiving? Please comment below.

Hope you all had a nice day and hope you didn't over-tire yourselves. I slept 10 hours last night! Until my next update, I remain, your stuffed correspondent.

3 thoughts

  1. Our Thanksgiving was fun and easy this year along with sister Betty we were invited to a friends house for dinner followed by dessert at another friends house
    Sorta of a progressive dinner kinda party. Very nice! Following the store prep idea we discovered pre cooked turkey thighs, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy at the local market
    Actually pretty tasty and not much effort!
    Oh no, GameDay just picked Oregon State to upset the Ducks, booooo!
    Go Ducks!

  2. Each year I wonder why I go to so much effort to make this one meal. It’s not even my favorite meal and yet I keep doing it. I think I’ve made my last turkey dinner. Going forward I will make foods that we really enjoy instead. I’ve got mushrooms and celery in the fridge to make cream of mushroom soup, it’s so so so delicious and only takes 1 pot! Win-Win!!! Have a fun weekend!

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