Thanksgiving Recap

I seem to always be giving you yesterday’s (er, last week’s) news.  I know today is December 1.  You should totally make an advent calendar if you aren’t in possession of one already.

However, I keep getting questions about my Thanksgiving, so here’s the skinny.  The dinner, fabulous.  The weekend, insane.

I cooked my turkey (and almost everything else) on Thursday.  I was on my feet something stupid like 8am to midnight.

And speaking of stupid, I invited a handful of Muslim friends and put bacon in the green bean casserole.  Doh!  At least I remembered to tell them; and they were gracious enough not to be offended.

Making the turkey a day ahead was genius.  Not only did it free up my oven on Friday (the day of our dinner) and ensure the turkey was super moist, but it also avoided a potential crisis.

Monsieur Jacques: brined, buttered, roasted... about to be hacked to pieces.

I cooked a BIG (by German standards) bird.  As such, I could barely fit Monsieur Jacques in a borrowed roasting pan.  I put foil up the sides and tented the top.  But when this dude was done, the juices started a-flowin’.  I ended up with a river of melted butter and turkey fat on the bottom of my oven that burned black and stunk to high heaven.

We tried to let it burn off, but the smoke detector wasn’t having it.  At least the turkey was done, so I could turn off the oven.  After scrubbing the cooled black bits with baking soda + water, I was back in business.

We had guests from Israel, Morocco, Germany, Russia, New York, and Wisconsin (practically countries in themselves if you’re from FL).  And, even though the kids almost outnumbered the adults, the munchkins got along.  Conversation NOT involving who-smacked-whom-upside-the-head took place.  Unexpected, for sure.

Since we had some Thanksgiving newbies again this year, I decided to write little explanations on the table cloth next to the dishes so I didn’t have to repeat 50 times what in the world that brown nasty-looking stuff (ing) was.  No one touched the cranberries though – just like at home.

Table tattoo.

My pumpkin pie was amazing.  The spekulatius cookie crust made all the difference in the world.  I’m going to include the recipe below since I’ve had a few requests for it.

Pumpkin Pie #1 of the weekend.

Since I had some time on my hands Friday morning (because I pre-cooked the bird), I busted out the markers and drew a thankful tree I found on Pinterest.  I am not addicted, really.

This year's thankful tree.

We also introduced everyone to the wishbone cracking tradition.  We chose the two oldest children to compete.  The parents had to help us translate what to do, and the first time neither one pulled hard enough to break it.  It was boy vs girl, and the boy won!

Muscles vs beauty.

After our Friday fête, I went to a baby shower, a wedding, and a Christmas event (Adventskaffee) at the kindergarten on Saturday.  If that wasn’t enough, we were invited to a Texan’s Thanksgiving on Sunday that lasted half of the day.  Sheesh.  After a MAJOR cheat weekend, we are back on track with the Abs Diet, eating our protein and greens.

Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving!


Pumpkin Pie.. from a Pumpkin

The pumpkin pie recipe is really easy.  I got it from this website, but here’s the recipe with my notes.

For the filling:
1 c sugar (I used about 3/4 c)
4 t pumpkin pie spice (or 1 1/2 t cinnamon + 1/2 t nutmeg + 1/2 t cloves + 1/2 t ginger)
dash of salt
3 eggs
3 c fresh pumpkin puree *
12-18 oz evaporated milk (I used 4% kondensmilch) **

Blend all ingredients together using a mixer.  When sufficiently soup-ified, pour into crust.  Put two sheets of foil (criss cross them like an X) underneath a springform pan and fold up around the sides because the butter from the crust leaks!  If using a flour/butter pie crust instead of the cookie crust below, cover edges of crust in foil.

Bake at 210C for 15 mins, then turn down oven to 175C and bake for an additional 45-60 mins (I did 60 mins).  You want to be able to jiggle the pan and the middle move only slightly.  It doesn’t have to be 100% set in the middle since it will still cook from the outside inward while on a cooling rack.  You just want to make sure it doesn’t still look like soup in the middle.

Cool to room temp and then refrigerate.

*for this pie, I used two very small hokkaido kurbis that I bought at Aldi on sale for 29c ea.  You could use a medium-sized one instead of two small.  Wash the outside (you will be eating the rind), cut in half, scoop out seeds, cut off the stem and any weird-looking parts of the skin, place on a baking sheet cut side down, and roast at 200C covered in foil for about 30 mins or until a fork or sharp knife glides through the skin and flesh as smooth as butter.  Let cool and then puree in a food processor or with a handheld stab mixer.  You don’t have to get the 3 cups exact.  Eye-balling is totally allowed.

**If your pumpkin is wet like it looks from the can, you only need 12oz of the kondensmilch.  If it’s dry, you’ll probably need the 18oz.

For the crust:
I used this recipe.
1 1/2 c finely ground graham cracker crumbs
1/3 c white sugar
6 T butter, melted

I used spekulatius cookies, and I ground them in a food processor.  Since we don’t have pie pans here (only springform and they are BIG), I used more like 1 3/4+ cups of the crumbs, which is about the capacity of my food processor.  If I make this again, I will decrease the melted butter to 4 or 5 T.  I don’t think it needs this much butter, and a lot leaks out the bottom of my springform pan.

Mix the crumbs, sugar, and butter together in a bowl.  Then dump a little at a time in the bottom of the springform pan and press down with your fingers until completely covered (if you want to transfer your pie to a serving dish, line the bottom of the springform with parchment paper and then put down the crust).

Then, make little piles all around the edge of the pan so that you will somewhat evenly cover the sides.  Press the crumbs up onto the sides.  They’re very fragile, so just do what you can to hold them there until the pie filling gets poured in.  After filling the crust, I pressed the edges down because they just ended up falling down anyway, and this way they are baked into the pie and don’t look weird.

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