Monday, November 28, 2016

Hectic Holiday Weekend Recap

My Lord am I glad this holiday weekend is over!  It was flippin' crazy cakes.

I felt really good mentally Thanksgiving morning.

I baked my apple crumb pie the night before, my stuffing was done like 3 weeks prior and frozen (and tastes delicious btw), the night before I made my pie filling and gingersnap crust so all I had to do was bake my light pumpkin pie and do mashed potatoes.  Oh yeah and frost and plate the Christmas cookies I was bringing but I'll get to that.

So I came down and put my filling into the pie tin and put the pie in the oven and used that baking time to go down and do my PT and iron my clothes for the day.  Then the Mr came down and I chose our workout for the day...a nice long strength session (50 minutes) on Fitness Blender and kicked our butts.  When the pie was done, I did a little work (self employed people know that there is no such thing as a day off), I frosted the cookies and dipped the peanut butter balls.  I wasn't running behind as usual where I'm running around and felt pretty mellow.  I went up and took a shower and then decided I should get to peeling potatoes.  The Mr was supposed to but he was editing and I didn't want to interrupt him.  Well, I should've because it took longer than I wanted to peel and cut and before I knew it, I was rushing having to time warming up the stuffing, boiling the potatoes and putting the non frosted cookies in a warm oven to revive that fresh baked taste.  Of course the water decided to boil over as I added the potatoes and flood the stove.  It is just not a holiday unless something goes awry.  (Like last year when I left the pumpkin pies out overnight and then wondered if I was going to give everyone food poisoning.  Since the internet was about 50/50 on that front, I erred on the side of caution and threw them out and baked new pies on the spot.  We were late because I did roasted sweet potatoes which only two people other than us really liked because they appeared healthy so no one else wanted to touch them (they weren't there was candied bacon and syrup involved.  Oh well, more for us!) and they took more time than I thought.)

So I'm sopping up water with paper towels and transferring the potatoes from the in pot strainer that I never used before into the stockpot and praying they boiled in time.  Then I realized that instead of grabbing two 6 lb bags of potatoes, it was actually 6 lbs total.  Well given how many people were expected, that wasn't going to fly.  So those mashed potatoes I made for the channel, got pulled out of the freezer and I tested them and those babies were fresh as hell, yo!  I was happy to know I could make those ahead and Food Save them in the future and they wouldn't be a watery mess since I didn't use broth for them.  So I supplemented what I had (which would've ended up being fine) with the microwaved frozen ones and added them to the mix.  I pulled the stuffing out of the oven and into the carrier and pulled the cookies out of the oven and plated them and the ones waiting.  Oh, all in my skivvies no less.  I wasn't risking getting the war zone all over my outfit.  I snapped at the Mr who likes to stare at me while I'm bouncing off the walls of our 2 butt kitchen which makes me incredibly anxious.  Hovering is for mother in laws, Mr...sit down!  Somewhere in there I did my make up.  I did a basic job on the hair that I wasn't pleased with but didn't care enough to fix and threw on my clothes.

We drove up the road and I didn't even get a nice long car ride this year to relax on the way there.  The Mr walks in and cheerily says hello and Happy Thanksgiving.  *crickets*  I guess my mom did say hello but no one else acknowledged him.  I was behind him arranging my pies and when I heard the cold reception, I just kind of felt like "why is it I'm so opposed to alcohol again?"  I followed him back out but I guess he was just grabbing our water bottles and he said "time to go back into the warm welcome."  We went in and my mom was at least in a chatty mood so we talked for a few and everything looked like it was ready to roll and we were just waiting on my cousins to get there.  Twenty minutes pass and they are just throwing the homemade noodles on.  Are you kidding me!?  So twenty more minutes later, one branch of cousins (about 10 more people) aren't there and they say it's time to eat.  I know the noodles aren't ready at that point, at least not thickened up.  Don't have to tell me twice, pit hunger had set in by then since I hadn't eaten much that day.  It was hot inside and since we were expecting 10 more and we're always kind of hogging the main table, we thought we'd sit out in the patio room with the two cousins that did show since they were hot too.  Then my grandma's husband comes out there after he'd just been griping about how cold it was (the Mr turned down the blast furnace from "Hades" to "Tampa" on the thermostat) but he's going to sit basically outside with us?  I assume he wanted to because we're faces he doesn't see regularly like everyone inside.  Three more people show up about half way through dinner and 7 other people are missing in action and never showed.  I assume it was made as clear to others as it was to me that we were to decorate for Grandma as a family and such but whatever.  It was actually nice to be able to have a little breathing room but still, I don't know what happened to all of them.

I was glad we were on the patio because frankly the mood in the main area was described by the Mr and myself at any given time afterward as "forced" and "soulless."  This did not remotely resemble Thanksgiving to us.  My uncle, for 20 years, has always made a point to save a turkey leg for the Mr and kind of makes a big announcement about it.  I saw them when he was murdering the turkey with that old school electric knife (please don't do that to your turkey) but they weren't even out at all.  Later the Mr said "this is the first time I didn't have a turkey leg on Thanksgiving."  I told him I had 4 in the freezer and would gladly thaw one and he said no but he said he felt stupid for feeling like it was a big deal but it was kind of tradition that he missed.  Everyone was plastering on fake smiles when they bothered to smile at all.  We didn't look at ads for Black Friday which has happened every year since I was a kid.  When her husband and I got in a trivial conversation (no, not about politics), he was really beginning to irritate me so I got up to go into the main room to get away from him and everyone was just sitting there watching football not speaking.  Sigh.

I went to the bathroom and came out and they were starting to pack up leftovers because people were acting like they were leaving and in my mind, I'm like "aww HELL NO!" so I asked when we were all going to decorate the Christmas tree and my aunt was like "oh the ornaments are over there if you want to do that."  Hmm, this was presented like we, as a family would decorate the tree.  So I told the Mr to go out to the car and he got the platter of Christmas cookies and our Christmas music we brought.  People's eyes lit up when they saw all of them even though they were in food comas.  My mom asked what I did and I said "you can't decorate for Christmas without Christmas cookies and music!"

The kids grabbed a few and people were grabbing here and there as they went by and the Mr and I decorated the tree.  He leaned over and whispered "we were sold a bill of goods" and I laughed and said "yes we were!"  The tree is pretty pencil thin though so even just the two of us was almost too much.  Suddenly it felt like the mood lightened a bit and kids were laughing and people were talking and the guys were in a huddle talking sports or something and it felt a little more like the holidays.  People got plates of Christmas cookies to take home with them which was my intent.

We all cleared out about the same time and I guess I assumed due to the multiple runs to the car that the Mr had taken our leftovers out to the car.  When we got home and were discussing the evening, he commented on how we must've been on the sh*t list because we didn't get ANY leftovers but everyone else seemed to.  Never in my LIFETIME have I not gone home with noodles...even when they were burnt last Christmas.   I still took some home...and then into the trash but that's not the point.  The thing that bothered me the most is my aunt shared pics of her and mom hanging out with their friends the next day totally belly laughing until they were crying.  I felt like "gee, thanks for saving the "fun" you for your friends but giving the white flag version of yourself to your family."  I understand they're burnt out and they're sad it's likely Grandma's last holiday season but I feel like Grandma is still very aware of energy around her and I sure as heck wasn't going to spread the feeling of doom that was in the air.  So yeah, t'was not stellar but I've had worse holidays I guess.

Friday was work filled for both of us and the kitchen looked like it had exploded because I didn't even bother to clean it up the night before.  I started slowly taking down Fall decor so we could be ready to get Christmas stuff up.  (I've never not had my tree up by Black Friday but too much work to do to care the past few weeks.)   My big Black Friday purchase was a new Food Saver that was 33% off and then I got double cash back through Ebates so I got almost $8 back on that.  My current one is on it's last legs after 10 years and I use that thing so much it's not funny so it's definitely worth the investment at $80.  Oh and since I was still ticked at getting no noodles, I whipped up a 2 person batch myself so pffft!  I don't need your damn noodles!

Saturday we watched college ball and had our annual appetizer spread which I look forward to because I don't have to fix anything major for it.  That always ends up being our lunch and dinner and I feel like I could be eligible to be flown for the Macy's parade from sodium bloat.

Sunday the plan was to put up the Christmas tree.   I wanted to take my newly acquired butt muscles and slowly building hip muscles for a test drive on the historic district's cobblestone streets.  Typically we walk 3 miles there (what the DPT wanted me to increase to on our hood walks) but my hips are always so screwed up I'm limping by the end.  I will say I was able to feel the booty engaging and about halfway through even though I had hip soreness, the newer muscles started to engage to help out.  I was worried my calves would lock up but they didn't, at least not on the walk so I was able to actually enjoy the best of both worlds by having Fall colors and some Christmas stuff out to ooh and ahh at.

The plan on putting up the Christmas tree was tossed because my legs weren't having it.  I've never NOT had my tree up by this weekend but tough noogies.   Lots of things are different this year so why not this?  I think we're shooting for Tuesday.  Now I just want to sleep for a week but I have a holiday excursion to plan.  I see our destination has a nice layer of snow on the ground.  Just keep a base and I'm good to go.

For those of you who remember the Christmas cookie blast I did a few years back, things like that will be on the YouTube channel from now to keep that kind of temptation off this site.  So if you are looking for a new recipe every day for the first twelve days of December, here's a sneak peek of what is coming.  Make sure you subscribe there so you don't miss it!  And for those who asked, yes, this will be a year round venture not just holiday time.

How was YOUR holiday weekend?

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  1. What a weekend! Kind of feels like the weekend started on Wednesday really even though I had to work Friday, if you call that work since I literally got like 1 email the entire day. But Saturday, oh wow what a day! Thanks so much for all your hard work with the food for all of the days. Only problem is now I have to buckle down again just to break even in December weight-wise.

  2. That sounds like quite the "holiday". I wonder if your 7 family members that didn't come feel about the holidays at your grandma's the way that you do and made other plans. I'm glad you got the tree decorated, and brought at least some joy into your grandma's house for the day. You could easily have just left, but you tried and that's important. I hope you get some rest now from your weekend.

    My Thanksgiving was super low key and easy. A couple friends came over and we had a meal of sides and she brought poyha and no-one had to do a turkey. I went in and worked for a while Friday while no-one else was in the building to distract me, and then did a bunch of stuff around here the rest of the weekend.

  3. That was a very busy weekend for you! You deserve some rest after all that, girl. It sounds like you handled the stress of everything quite well and didn't let those party-poopers ruin your holiday. Don't you sometimes just want to say to people like that, "why bother?" Sheesh.

    Mine was okay, although I was sick the entire time. We did make a Thanksgiving Day run to Walgreens to stock up on cold medicine and that did help, along with orange juice. But the fever stuck with me through Saturday so I was pretty out of it. I did get some good naps in so I was thankful for that. I made way too much food (I forget two people aren't there anymore to take home leftovers) and decided going forward I'll be scaling way back. I just couldn't get into the leftovers this year and aside from a little turkey and stuffing, didn't bother eating the rest of it. Did some online shopping over the weekend and finished a great book (had a great email conversation with the author about it, too.) For as crappy as I felt, there was no drama and the mood was relaxed at home, and I was quite happy about that.

  4. WOW

    How on earth do you cope with Thanksgiving and Xmas right after each other? Does it turn into one long holiday?

    (PS I think by now you've noticed I'm not American. Find American culture fascinating!)

    1. A month in between but it's gone in the blink of an eye! I think they should rename the season "the quickest way to send a Type A personality over the edge."

      I would love to know your traditions or how they seem to differ from what you've read about ours!


    2. I am from Malta -we celebrate Christmas obviously because we are around 95% Catholic. Then in summer every town celebrates a saint. My town has St Mary so we usually have a good get together around that time.
      At Christmas, turkey is quite common but not everyone has it. For example, I am hosting this year, so we're having beef wellington and a chicken sTew type of dish.

    3. That is wonderful! Beef Wellington...I'm buying my ticket now! You do the holiday right! :-)


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