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Another Thanksgiving has come and gone…

…well, I shouldn’t say gone, since I’m still working on burning it off!

Quick note before I jump into this blog: I apologize for my lack of blogging lately. It’s been quite a busy month and while it continues to be, I am trying to make a more conscious effort to blog (about my potentially boring life…har har). I also apologize for the length of this post, but I needed to document my very first Thanksgiving (that I hosted)!

This year was definitely unique. Typically, my mom cooks the bird and all the food, while I help out with the sides and sauces and it’s usually a smaller gathering. Maybe a few guests here and there, but never more than 8 people. My mom, however, has gone to visit my sister in Vancouver with a return date that is TBD. So, when I realized I would be at home without a Thanksgiving meal, I took it upon myself to organize one with my friends (14 people to be exact) – I would tackle my very first bird and they would help out with sides and desserts.

At first, I was confident – I’ve planned lots of events before, so what’s another one? Then, slowly as the day approached, I realized I had no freaking idea how to actually bake a turkey. I also learned very quickly, I had no idea how to pick one either. I ended up picking a turkey that was probably too big and almost didn’t fit in my fridge or oven. I also didn’t realize the defrosting period and how it varies depending on the size of your turkey. Here’s a piece of advice: Google EVERYTHING (and I mean, EVERYTHING). It will save you the headache of trying to figure things out yourself and the potential mini freak out moments when you realize “OMG, my turkey is STILL frozen!” the day before the event.

On top of the turkey, I was a little ambitious and decided to bake a lot of desserts (24 pumpkin pie turnovers (I’ll give a recipe later on) and 2 gluten/dairy-free pumpkin pies), roasted potatoes, sweet potato mash and cranberry sauce (not from a can!). I did try to plan ahead and did all of the baking and prepping the night before. I also had a lot of help, which I’m super thankful for. My poor mother had to Facetime me several times so I could tap into her expertise (I wrote pages of notes – I kid you not) and my boyfriend had to come the night before to help me prep until midnight (he definitely earned a lot of brownie points for that).

Then, the day of the event came and I discovered very quickly, don’t ever try to work on the same day you’re hosting an event. I had one of my best friends come over to help me prep the turkey for the oven (thank you E!!) and all the sides that I was making. At one point I had to pop onto a conference call for literally an hour and a half while my turkey was in the middle of baking. On top of that, I had an appointment to pick up my car from the auto shop and had to return my rental before the rental car shop closed. Suffice to say, I was a little anxious. Luckily, my boyfriend finished work early that day and helped a lot with the turkey – lifting it out of the oven every hour or so (a 22-pound bird is not light!) and making sure it wasn’t drying out.

Side note: if you ever want to tackle your first turkey – one of my friends gave me the best tip ever: cover it with bacon and wrap the wings with tinfoil, so they don’t burn. The bacon will add juices into the turkey and prevent it from drying out.

In the end, the turkey turned out GREAT! Everyone had a wonderful time and there were, not surprisingly, tons of leftovers, which I’m still chipping away at. I’ve never hosted an event like this and while it was a little stressful (it’s really bad if you’re a perfectionist like I am and want everything to go smoothly), it was definitely worth it in the end to see everyone enjoy themselves.

So now, moving onto what I’m thankful for this year! I’m definitely thankful for my health – I had a really bad year, in terms of health, about two years ago. I had gotten pneumonia and a really bad pinched nerve, which semi-paralyzed the left side of my body for a few days. After that, it really just lingered – breathing was hard and every time I got sick, it was ten times worse than before, because my body was already really weak. On top of that, I had sustained a very bad lower back injury that took about a year to mend. Two years later, I’m a lot better. I still have those moments where I overexert myself and I have to remind myself I’m not a teenager anymore, but I’m feeling a lot better. I can play sports again and while my back still bothers me here and there, I’m not wincing every time I sit down.

I’m also super thankful (to the infinity!!) for my family and friends. My family, for putting up with me when I come home from a long day and I’m in just one of those moods. Also, for helping me out a lot whenever I was sick or stressed out about something – especially when I injured my back and needed someone to bring me to my massage appointments. My friends, for constantly making me laugh and letting me be my weird self (and I mean weiiiiiiiird). They never try to make me into something I’m not, and it has let me grow into being a lot more confident in myself versus that quiet, nerdy girl in the corner during high school. I’m a better person because of all these people and I’m so incredibly lucky to have them all in my life. While I don’t necessarily have the biggest social circle, I’ve always prided myself in saying that, all of the people that I do spend time with, are all people I’m close with. I don’t need to know everyone in this world, as long as the people I know, know exactly who I am and not some version of me that’s not a true reflection of who I am (aka weird, awkward, and a ginormous dork). I can only hope that I offer the same feeling of friendship that they have given me.

– EmptyPenguin

Written by EmptyPenguin

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