Thanksgiving Cometh!

So it hit me that today is the eleventh (a big thanks to our Veterans out there!) and I still don’t have a Thanksgiving plan.

I sat up this Google Doc with dishes, who’s preparing them and some of the things we’ll need for each of them.  As Thanksgiving nears, I’ll go in and highlight what we have plenty of and what we need.  I’ll also probably chuck off some of the items!

How do you organize your T-givin’ madness?

Pre-Holiday Season Purchase

Again, I know I’m early to the party with all my ideas for holidays and whatnot, but this is important, guys.  I’m talking about changing your entire holiday, guys.  And for those of you in Canada, Thanksgiving is Monday, right?  So this is almost too late for you guys!

A roaster oven.  This thing cooks your turkey without taking up a single bit of space in your oven.  Instead of sticking the bird in there, fiddling with tin foil, pulling it out to baste (and spilling turkey juices all over your oven) the turkey is already out and easily accessed on your counter top.  Instead of attempting to cram your side dishes in the oven around the turkey, you have access to your entire oven.

The one I linked to is a 22 quart capacity.  My mom has a smaller one, I think.  This is an 18 quart one that is only $19.99.

And lest you think this is a thing you’ll use once a year, it does other stuff, too!  They can pretty much function like an oven, so most things that can be baked can be made in this.  Here’s a Hamilton Beach product manual for one of their roaster ovens with use tips, cleaning guides and more.  (Dootsie’s pro tip for buying appliances… always look up a product manual.)  We used one to do a whole chicken this summer, and it was so much less miserable than firing up the oven.

Do you have a favourite OMG LIFESAVER appliance?

Holly Holiday: Thanksgiving Menu Thoughts

I live one to two holidays in the future at any given time.  I’ve always been pining away for future holiday fun, but at my job, it’s just gotten worse.  I did a Black Friday ad a couple weeks ago.  I’m scrounging together November-December events for a calendar for our next pub.

So of course I’m thinking turkey.

I was Pinning some stuff this morning and I came across this link to 60 Thanksgiving side dishes.  It got me wondering…

If you cook a big Thanksgiving feast, or other BIG holiday meal, what are your essential side dishes?

For Thanksgiving, I absolutely must have turkey gravy, cornbread dressing (our’s is made pretty simply), cooked cranberry sauce, canned cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans and those cheapie brown n’ serve rolls.  It does feel a little odd without some sort of sweet potato dish, but I honestly don’t care for them too much.  Our Thanksgiving is pretty basic, but we take a few detours off of PURE simple once in a while for surprises.

Banana Bread

Banana bread is something of a staple at my parents’ house.  It’s not hot and ready every day, but it’s so common, there’s probably miniature loaves stashed away in their deep freeze somewhere.  Of course, they’ll stay there forever because thawed and baked banana bread will never compare to fresh from the oven for the first time banana bread.  And it’s so relatively inexpensive to make, why wouldn’t you just make a fresh batch when you want some?

Banana Bread

Here’s how we make it.

Ingredients:

3 bananas, mashed to the appearance of chunky baby food (if your grocery frequently has overripe, nearing rotten bananas that they throw out, capitalize on it.  Those bananas make superior bread!)

2 eggs, beaten

2 cups flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar (sometimes, we use halfsies on brown sugar)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda (slightly less if the flour is self-rising, which my mom’s always is.)

1/2 c chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a loaf pan or buncha mini loaf pans (how we do it.)  Mix eggs and bananas in large bowl.  Mix in flour, sugar, salt and baking soda.  Add pecans.  Spoon batter into pans (if you’re using a big loaf pan, fill about 3/4 full.  For mini loaf pans, fill to slightly better than half full.)  Bake (for loaf pan, 1 hour.  For mini loaf pans, adjust time randomly–for the pans we have, it took about 20 minutes.)  Eat while still warm if at all possible.  Otherwise, when cool, store in an airtight container.

Sliced!