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Thanksgiving, 2020

Thanksgiving, 2020 has come and gone. Although SN and I usually host a large meal, it was nice to enjoy the holiday with just the two of us. No guests means...


No cleaning the house!

No makeup! (To be honest, I sort of regretted this one while looking through the photos we'd taken.)

My plan was to have a light breakfast of plain yogurt and almonds. On a holiday that revolves around eating, you should save room for the good stuff, right? SN had other ideas.

Thanksgiving breakfast

To be fair, this is also good stuff.

Just ignore the mess. There wasn't much reason to tidy up, considering the mess of all messes right in the middle of our hallway:

Remodeling during the holidays

Construction! I'll come back to this in a future blog post.

Come to think of it, as long as you are ignoring the mess, you really should also be sure to ignore the dog hair.

So. Much. Dog. Hair.

Funny dogs

Olive and Bernadette look so guilty. And they should! We thought we were done with dog hair when we adopted Olive. She doesn't shed at all - lucky us. Then we pushed our luck and adopted Bernadette, who sheds enough for 3 dogs.

SN just got a new phone and I told him to be sure to use it to take photos throughout the day.

Getting ready for Thanksgiving

Photo on the left: Me saying that I'm not ready/don't take any photos yet. Is this every husband's cue to start taking photos or just mine?

Photo on the right: Me saying that I'm ready/take photos now, which is great...until you look a little closer. Weird sock dealies? Check. Stirring with a butter knife? Sure, why not. It's all part of the fun of Covid Thanksgiving.

Our photo session was interrupted by a baby deer walking past our windows, followed by another, followed by a dozen more deer. They just kept coming out of the trees, like one of those clown cars.

Not a single photo!

Back to our meal, when we host guests for the holiday, everyone brings a dish. This year, we actually had to prepare the food. All of it, like cavemen. My online grocery pickup order* hadn't gone quite as planned, with many ingredients for our feast being substituted or canceled altogether. I think our last minute menu changes worked out fine though.

*No complaints. Smith's substituted my brussels sprouts with a $12 ham! We are ready for Christmas.

I made a vegetable side dish in our air fryer, combining frozen green beans, dried cranberries, and butter:

How to make green beans in the air fryer

My box of Stove Top stuffing mix had been canceled, but it was no big deal because I found a package of stuffing in our pantry that we'd forgotten about:

Expired stuffing mix

November 26, 2020 is only slightly after May 13th, 2018.

Leftover stuffing

If you're wondering if you can still use the expired stuffing mix found in your own pantry (you know there's a box hiding in there somewhere), I'm happy to report that this tasted great. We improved it by adding green chile (we are in New Mexico, after all), onions, walnuts, and celery.

Oh, speaking of celery, my new Breville Sous Chef took care of it in seconds:

Cyber Monday is coming. Treat yourself! If not to a new food processor, at least to one of the other things inside this cupboard.

SN was in charge of preparing our Thanksgiving turkey. He used Alton Brown's recipe and began the previous day by brining the bird. In a move I've never been able to understand, he followed the recipe exactly, stuffing the turkey with apples, onions, rosemary from our garden, and even a cinnamon stick.

Alton Brown turkey recipe

The turkey was amazing, though recipes from Alton Brown always are.

We're now a third into this blog post and guess what?

Food blogger

STILL COOKING. Come back to me, potluck Thanksgiving.

Biscuit agrees. Guests are much more likely to sneak scraps to her than her mean ol' mom and dad. I'm 16, she says. I only weigh 4 pounds. This might be my last Thanksgiving. 

I "accidentally" drop a piece of turkey, because how can you say no to that?

Cute chihuahua with tongue out

The menu I'd prepared wasn't completely thwarted by my grocery pickup order. In addition to the Alton Brown turkey, we sipped hot apple cider throughout the day:

Hot apple cider

Having never used Pinterest or Instagram, SN insists he has never seen a photo of a drink that has a star anise seed floating in it. He thought I'd served him a mug of homemade cider without noticing there's a big spider on top.

The apple cider was hard to beat, but it was not the only drinking going on in our house...

Coors Seltzer

Driven to drink because I was, you guessed it, STILL COOKING. The dogs are looking down, ashamed. You just can't get away with this sort of thing when you have guests over for Thanksgiving. 

I take that back. Our guests would be suggesting I have a Coors while I cook. Looking at you, Steve.

Side note: You can get a free 12-pack of Coors Seltzer via rebate. My Coors Seltzer review? I've tried 3 out of 4 flavors and none have been very good. They're sort of bitter, especially the Black Cherry. You'd be better off having a refreshing can of sparkling water or just about any other beer. Still, you can't beat the price with the rebate.

In addition to the turkey, SN was in charge of making mashed potatoes. Remember in my previous blog post when I said we'd be skipping potatoes this year? SN thought that was outrageous. He is firmly on Team Potato.

He had me keep an eye on his boiling potatoes. I did. I watched them. I watched them as they boiled over. I am not on Team Potato.

Funny side note: I Googled Team Potato and it turns out it's a real thing. "Team Potato is made up of athletes just like you who are dedicated to performing their best athletically...fueled by potatoes." That is so not what I think of when I think of eating potatoes.

Potatoes = stretchy pants and a nap

Samsung Flex Duo
Look at us, actually using both ovens on our Samsung Flex Duo simultaneously. It took 3 years, but we finally did it.

With our meal nearly ready, I set the table:

Thanksgiving 2020

See those throw pillows? The table set for only 2? This the most "Thanksgiving, 2020" tablescape I've seen.

The weather foils our Martha Stewart-like aspirations every year. We always hope to take our guests on a post-meal nature hike, but it never fails to be cold and windy. Last Thanksgiving, our meal was even cancelled altogether due to a blizzard! If only the weather would cooperate, SN and I could host the best Thanksgiving ever.

Blue dining room
Thanksgiving, 2020 = sunny and gorgeous at our mountain home

Had we invited guests, we could even have fulfilled my dream of hosting a foosball and air hockey tournament on the patio. The weather was that perfect.

I already know the forecast for next year: baseball-sized hail. Just you wait.

After a day* of toiling over a hot stove, stirring stuffing with a butter knife and watching potatoes boil over, we were finally ready to dig into our holiday feast. 

*Well, at least a few hours. Have you noticed that Thanksgiving dinner tends to be served in the early afternoon? I suppose everyone is simply too excited to wait until dinnertime.

Yellow table runner

I sent photos of our meal to my mom, who did not approve of our weird ceramic fish. That just makes me like him more.

Turkey dinner
SN and I enjoyed our meal in peace, as our dining room has a strict 'No Dogs Allowed' policy.

Getting some serious side eye from these girls:

Dogs and Thanksgiving

Prior to eating, SN proposed we set the timer on his new phone and get a few photos together. 

holiday photos
Top: SN got up to check his phone, frustrated that the timer hadn't gone off. Whoops.

Bottom: My food is getting cold, SN. 

Also, did you catch my nifty disappearing wall outlet? Magic!

funny Thanksgiving toasts

"Cheers, my love." "Cheers, Dapper Squirrel. Someone get him a tiny glass of wine."

Cute couple

No more wine for SN.

Holiday cheer gif

We laughed and reminisced about previous Thanksgivings, like when we first moved into our home and everyone was trying to get the hang of our new oven. My mom and SN's aunt kept reaching into the oven and I kept pointing out to them that the shelf slides out, so there's no need to dangerously stick your arms in, and they kept misunderstanding and saying that all oven shelves can be removed. 

That was the same year we learned the importance of running the garbage disposal prior to simultaneously using our dual dishwashers, lest a sludge of food scraps and garbage water spray everywhere. Good times.

I was unable to finish my enormous plate of food, so imagine my surprise when SN went for a second serving. After clearing his plate again, I asked if he would like the rest of my turkey. He gladly accepted, but made a face before the fork had even left his mouth. It seemed I'd poisoned him.

Chinese 5 Spice

I think Chinese Five Spice powder tastes amazing on turkey, but SN disagrees. He had not been expecting the turkey to taste like licorice and cinnamon. Now we have another Thanksgiving memory to laugh about.

Thanksgiving for 2

"Happy Thanksgiving!"

With the sun shining, we headed out for a post-meal hike. Our first stop was SN's greenhouse. Remember when I helped build it? Yeah, I've tried to block that out too.

Green house with red trim

See that tall post, above? It was SN's weather station, at least until it was struck by lightning. Ka-boom! We're still finding bits and pieces of it throughout our property. 

Inside, SN enjoyed visiting with his friends, the cactus:

Saguaro cactus

See that blue rain barrel in the center photo, above? Just outside the window? We've been struggling with it. A bear keeps knocking it over, dumping all of the water out. Bears are jerks.

Hiking in NM

This is our backyard! I don't know why we don't hike our property every day.

(Oh, wait. Now I remember. Fear of being eaten by a bear.)

We gathered some of the few piñons still available. They're one of the world's most expensive foods.

(The bears greedily ate all the other piñons. See? Jerks.)

New Mexico home

We also found evidence that the property behind ours has been recently surveyed. This seemed like good news, as it is part of the undeveloped portion of our neighborhood and we have always wanted to purchase it, should it ever go up for sale. For the rest of our hike, we discussed the possibility of building a new home on that lot. It would be exactly like the one we just built, only better!

Brick floors! Further from the neighbor's barking dogs! Wood cabinets in the kitchen instead of those darn white ones that are impossible to keep clean!

(Disclaimer from SN: He never agreed to that and he never wants to move again and he was just humoring me. Bah.) 

After doing a little sleuthing, rumor has it the golf course is buying the lot behind ours without it ever going up for sale to the public and they are going to turn it into horseback riding trails or another course or resort casitas or some other nonsense. Bah.

Hiked out, we returned home for the most important part of Thanksgiving, dessert.

Breville food processor fries
Sweet potatoes are not dessert, you say? Presenting...

Air Fryer Dessert Fries Recipe
Dessert fries!

(Om nom nom.)

We are totally serving these for our big Thanksgiving meal next year. It makes me sad to think of all the times I've had sweet potato fries without chocolate syrup and whipped cream. Such a waste.

Dessert Fries Recipe

  • Sliced sweet potatoes, unpeeled (super easy if you have a Breville Sous Chef food processor)
  • Whipped cream
  • Chocolate syrup
  • Salt
  • Optional: Cinnamon, cardamon, ginger, sugar, chili powder - whatever you enjoy
  1. Sprinkle salt on the sliced sweet potatoes.
  2. Heat the sweet potatoes using the French Fries setting on your air fryer. Don't have this setting? Set air fryer to 400F and cook in 5 minute intervals, removing when crisped to your preference.
  3. Drizzle with chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

Thanksgiving Leftovers:

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