I started cooking Friday afternoon, and I'm so glad I did. Things always take longer than expected. We were up kind of late that night, but it was worth it. I baked the pies (two pumpkin and one apple), put together the casseroles (asparagus, green bean, and sweet potato), made the cranberry sauce and a cheese ball, and chopped the onions, celery, and bread for the stuffing. I bought two 10 lb. frozen butterball turkeys at the store and made sure those were thawed by Friday night.
Yes, I wrote the baking instructions on the casseroles so I wouldn't have to dig around for my recipes on Saturday.
A couple friends picked us up around 12:30 on Saturday afternoon and helped us bring all the food to their house. Ryan and I immediately got to work on the turkeys. Fortunately, my dad had me do the turkey for Thanksgiving a couple years ago. After a refresher course over the phone, we were ready to go. Ryan actually did most of the (dirty) work on the turkeys - pulling out the insides and rinsing them out. I kept my hands clean so I could hand him the olive oil and spices. We used salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Both turkeys actually fit in the same oven, even though it was small.
The turkeys were in the oven by 1:45. Ryan and his friends spent the next couple hours studying. I watched a football game. Around 3:00, I got a call from one of Ryan's MPH professors asking if I was available to babysit her 4-month-old baby girl for a couple hours. I told her that if she wanted to bring her over, I'd be happy to watch her. So a few minutes later, I met baby Isabella for the first time. She's as good as she is beautiful. The guys entertained her for me while I peeled potatoes. Ryan fed her a bottle, and she loved him!
She was very content to have me hold her and to watch everyone. Ryan was a huge help and not only mashed and seasoned the potatoes for me, but he also carried the casseroles and stuffing to the oven in the upstairs apartment and kept an eye on them. I didn't even have to think about them at all. And they were cooked perfectly and right on time!
Everyone loved having a baby around the house and were sad when she had to leave a couple hours later. I felt like I was having a vision of our life in a couple years! All that was left for dinner was putting the crescent rolls in the oven and getting the food on the table. Ryan had the honor of carving the turkeys for me.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Grandma's Asparagus Casserole
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Crescent Rolls with Honey Butter Glaze
Savory Cheeseball with Strawberry Preserves
Somehow, we managed to save room for pie. I had warmed them in the oven while we ate dinner, and they were delicious with a dollop of whipped cream.
The girls and I cleaned up the kitchen and made up plates of leftovers for everyone to take home. Then we played a game of monopoly, watched football, and enjoyed a scrumptious cheese ball and crackers.
I am so thankful for a wonderful day spent with Ryan and good friends. We definitely missed being with our families, but we were glad for the opportunity to provide a Thanksgiving meal for those who were away from their families as well. My favorite moment from the day was when they asked Ryan to "give thanks" for the food as we all held hands around the table. What an amazing oppportunity for them to hear us thank the Lord for His provision and goodness. We pray that our lives will continue to be a testimony of His work in us.