Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

I don't even know where to begin.  There is so much I have to say about Thanksgiving and our celebration yesterday.

We woke up to see the news about the attacks in Paris and Beirut and, for a moment, I lost my breath.  My heart hurts for the people of Paris and Beirut, just as it did a few weeks ago for the people in Ankara.  At first, it felt a little strange preparing for a huge celebration where we'd all be so joyous and thankful, but then I realized, that's exactly what we needed.  We needed to prove that there is still good in this world.  We had people from all over the world coming to our house and I could think of nothing more appropriate than coming together.  While the bombers may want to divide communities, cities, countries and the world, our little Thanksgiving was just way to show that unity and peace will always win.

The morning was kind of crazy and not so crazy at all.  I woke up early after having a stress dream about not being able to clean our house in time for our guests.  I guess if that's what I'm stressed out about, I'm doing okay. We had a master schedule of when things needed to go in the oven, be prepared, etc.  The turkey went in around noon and everything was prepared, so there were a couple of hours where we were just waiting, but once the turkey came out, things went into the oven and came out every ten minutes for an hour.  It was stressful.  
Ain't that the truth!
Flowers from our youngest guest!  Arvin (two years old) arrived at our door with his mom with flowers in his hand.  So cute! And these flowers smell so good!

wine glasses are set
I wasn't really sure when everyone would come or how hungry people would be, so I made sure to have lots of appetizers.  I figured that if some people were here waiting for a while, we'd at least have some food for them to eat.  I may have gone a little overboard, but most of it was eaten, so maybe not...

This cheeseball was amazing.  We still have half of it left and I'll most definitely be enjoying it throughout the week.  The sausage was a big hit.  This must have been before Mike put out the "Sausage contains pork" note, which was much appreciated since half of our guests don't eat pork.  


These spinach stuffing balls were another favorite! A few of the guests asked what they were made of and I couldn't bring myself to say that it was a boxed stuffing mix.  Apparently, there is a similar Indian dish, but it's friend.  Mine were baked, but I bet frying them would be even better!

Appetizers anyone?

We originally planned to start eating around 4:30, but that got pushed back closer to five since people arrived fashionably late, which was completely fine.  More time for appetizers!  

Mike was extremely nervous about cooking this turkey.  Neither of us had cooked a turkey before and we were worried that our small oven wouldn't be able to do the trick.  Our fears were put aside though when Mike started carving.  That 15 pound bird was absolutely delicious.  

Mike was a master turkey carver! So proud!

These bourbon carrots were to die for.  I'll definitely be making them again, even if it's just for me.  They were extremely popular and were almost all gone when we were cleaning up.  Luckily, I have a few extra carrots in the fridge so I know what I'll be eating this week!

Lots and lots of stuffing

Mashed potatoes, stuffing and turkey! Three Thanksgiving staples!

Our guests brought a few Turkish foods to add to the feast! When in Turkey....

We had a few mishaps with the food, none of which were huge losses to the meal.  The broccoli cheese casserole didn't cook all the way through, so it was cold in the middle.  I put it back in the oven for a few minutes to cook, which it did, but by the time it came out, most people already had their food.  Oh well, more for me this week! 

The funniest mishap was with the cranberry sauce.  Mike and I had been joking about how we had to have cranberry sauce, even though most people don't like it.  In fact, half the time, people forget to put it out.  That morning, I told Mike that I wouldn't be surprised if we forgot the cranberry sauce, since it's supposed to be chilled in the refrigerator until serving.  Sure enough, when I went to put things away at the end of the night, there was the cranberry sauce, waiting to be served in the refrigerator.....

I also didn't get any pictures of the desserts, which is a major bummer.  We had pumpkin pie and cheesecake, both of which were delicious.  We made everyone have a sliver of pumpkin pie, but most people wanted to have some cheesecake as well.  I was secretly kind of bummed because that meant less leftovers for me, but my gut is thanking me.

For most of our guests, this was their first Thanksgiving.  Our Thanksgiving included as much diversity as possible. We had 

3 Americans (Mike and I, plus one other)

3 Turks
 one of which grew up in the Netherlands and two others who have lived in multiple countries

1 Indian

1 Indian-Turk (2 year old Arvin!)

1 Palestinian

1 Malaysian

1 Ukranian

You really can't get much more diverse than that. 

This little guy, Arvin, was super cute and enjoyed making his trucks fly across our floors all night long.  He was a little disappointed when he realized the cheese ball wasn't birthday cake, but he quickly moved past that and enjoyed quite a few slices of sausage.

The late night crew.  These three alternated between the balcony and the couch. Conveniently, college football was on, so we still had a little post-thanksgiving football. 

 Overall, Thanksgiving was a ton of fun.  It was more work than I realized, but both Mike and I enjoyed hosting and cooking the meal for our first time.  Our guests were so grateful and just kept telling us thank you and how delicious it was.  It was different from previous Thanksgivings, since we didn't sit down and have a formal meal, but it was still a lot of fun.  I'm not sure what we'll do on actual Thanksgiving, but at least we got a chance to do our own celebrations.  I was definitely very thankful yesterday.

And today, I'm thankful for our couch and Hulu.  I'm spending the day doing a lot of nothing after lots of hard work over the past few days.  I think I deserve that (and the last piece of cheese cake), right?