Our First Thanksgiving

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2014 was our first Thanksgiving as a married couple and as such, my first time cooking a Thanksgiving dinner.
My years of watching and/or helping my mom, sisters, and various cooking shows paid off (thankfully!)
My only real obstacle that was non-pregnancy related was my lack of an oven. My way around this was making sure that we had a large toaster oven and slow cooker (Crock-Pot) when we moved in this past May.  Pinterest provided the idea of cooking turkey breast in the Crock-Pot and internet searches helped me pin down an ambrosia recipe.

My mom had a Thanksgiving week routine that was rarely (if ever) altered. Monday she would finish up any shopping that hadn’t been completed yet, Tuesday we would start on apple pies, and Wednesday we would make pumpkin pies. She would always make her own pie dough and we would most likely bake about 2-4 pies a day. Those were the days when we had over 10+ people at our dinner table.

I wanted so badly to follow her tradition but my pregnancy prevented that slightly. Tuesday I ended up baking a pumpkin cheesecake for a pot luck we went to that evening. (It was only a box kit so I didn’t bother to take pictures, but it was REALLY good!)

Wednesday I got to work on the pies, one apple and one pumpkin. And yes, I “cheated” and used a pre-made pie dough since I wasn’t sure I could handle the extra work.
First up was the apple pie, I used “The Best Apple Pie Ever” recipe.

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I had 7 medium-sized braeburn apples, which I peeled with my “palm peeler” and sliced into smaller chunks.

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To help me keep track of the recipe, I used the “My Cookbook” app to import the recipe to my tablet. All of the instructions were right in front of me the whole time without needing to print!

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The only thing I would do differently next time around is mixing the dry ingredients with the apple in the bowl. The sprinkle/layer method didn’t quite work for me.

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The top crust I pinched together with the bottom before using my first two fingers to create the “frilled” edge. There was a little bit of dough that I had pinched off the edge which I rolled together and formed a little heart. Finally I brushed on some melted butter and sprinkled on some maple sugar (which I happened to have on hand, otherwise it would have been regular sugar). A few vent holes and it was off for baking!

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The pie plate fit perfectly in our toaster oven. About half way through baking I turned the pie to help with even baking.

While that baked, I started on the pumpkin pie.

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I simply followed the recipe on the Libby’s Pumpkin can. The one substitution I made was pumpkin pie spice in place of the cloves and ginger.

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Isn’t this pie plate so fun? Goodwill find! 🙂 The steam makes the plate slightly over-sized so it barely fit in my toaster oven. I wasn’t able to turn the pie and had to take the whole rack out when removing, but it still came out well!

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Thanksgiving morning I relaxed and watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while we waited on lunch.

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Before lunch, I put our turkey breast in the Crock-Pot to start its 7 hour cooking.

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I didn’t use any specific recipe for the turkey, but rather came up with my own.
Under the skin I put several pads of butter, then to the pot I added 2 cups of low sodium chicken broth and 1 cup of apple cider. Skin side down, cook on low for 6-7 hours. The meat literally fell off the bone when I went to cut it for dinner!

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For lunch we ate with my in-laws. The only thing I didn’t take was the sweet potatoes (I’m not a fan.)

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We had a nice dusting of snow come through in the afternoon.
Round about 6:30 I started in on dinner. The turkey was cooked and all the sides had to be made.
For stuffing I made 2 boxes of chicken flavored Stove Top. Veggies were Green Giant corn in butter sauce and peas in butter sauce (gotta love microwaves.) I “cheated” with Bob Evans sour cream and chives mashed potatoes (which I highly recommend!)

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Biscuits were Pillsbury, two tubes worth fit in the toaster oven pan.

The last thing I made was the ambrosia. Another Thanksgiving recipe that I came up with my own version:
1 container of Cool Whip (I used lite since that is what I accidentally picked up)
1 15oz can mandarin oranges
1 20oz can pineapple chunks
2 cups of shredded coconut
2 cups of mini marshmallows

I found pairing it with chocolate pudding is just heavenly!

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This normally isn’t me, but I bought the cat her own turkey feast and threw a few scraps of real turkey in with it.

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The last touch was a can of cranberry sauce (Ocean Spray of course!)
Dinner was delicious and paired well with a nice glass of sparking apple cider!

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Even the baby enjoyed all the food!

I’m really looking forward to doing some more cooking/baking in the near future. If you see my Pinterest boards start going crazy with recipes, you’ll know why. 🙂
Now I may have to go raid the fridge for some leftovers!

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