Thursday, January 26, 2017

Christmas Day 2016

(Thankfully, I had the foresight and time to write this post and save it soon after the day.  I'd never have remembered all this detail otherwise.)

Christmas morning several of us slept in, me being one of them, since I had been running on an average of 3-5 hours a night all week with all Judah's throwing up in the middle of the night (3 nights!), mixed with Genevieve feeling like she needed to throw up for hours one night, mixed with Bobby's top two molars coming in and waking us both at 4:30/5 multiple mornings.  Daddy got up with the kids that woke up early on this day for me.

Once we did all get up and I threw the breakfast casserole in the oven, we gathered around the giant tree of all trees.  The kids passed out gifts and they enjoyed opening them together.  We ate our breakfast, and then Drew jumped right into his Lego sets.  Bobby really loved the books that he got, so he was reading those.  Judah and I put together his Playmobile Nativity set.

Then it was time to get back in the kitchen.  We had only one family over for Christmas day.  That family has a peanut and a gluten allergy.  I tried to make most of our dinner gluten free and peanut free.  Our menu for Christmas day included one smoked turkey, one fried turkey (with peanut oil), gravy, rice dressing (recipe below), green bean casserole (with gluten), sweet potato casserole, canned jellied cranberry sauce, 7-up salad, and a blueberry tart.  We also set out the left over fudge and sugar cookies from Christmas Eve.  Our friends brought, meatballs, a gluten free apple cobbler, gluten free muffins, and a veggie tray.

My favorite picture!  Definitely one of the rare moments when everyone is looking, everyone's eyes are open, and Bobby is smiling in the picture.  Sadly though, Drew is not looking so happy.

The food was all amazing!  The only hitch we had was that the propane tank for the fryer ran out just as it got up to temperature for the turkey to go in.  Our meal was 2 hours late, but we were just lucky there was an American gas station open 20 minutes away with a tank.  German stores are not open ever on Sundays, and especially not on holidays.

A keeping it real photo :)
 The rice dressing was a gluten free alternative to bread stuffing.  I looked at a couple different recipes and came up with my own recipe based on what I wanted it to be.  It tied the food together very well, in the end.  Here's how I made it.  Sorry, I rarely measure things, so no amounts are given.

I cooked Basmati rice in one pot.  In a small pan, I saute'ed onions and garlic in a lot of olive oil, adding apple cider vinegar in after onions were getting soft.  Then I added the pecan halves and the golden raisins cooking for just a couple more minutes.  I then mixed the mixture into the rice.  I added shredded coconut and diced apples and pears (lemon juice on the fresh fruit to keep it from turning brown.  Salt and pepper and that was it.  It was sweet and savory.

The turkey was amazing!  The thanksgiving and this fried turkey were some of the best turkeys we've ever made.  In order to be more likely to repeat it, I'm going to detail the way we prepped and cooked them.

I switched my brine recipe to this one:

½ gallon hot tap water
⅔ cup sugar
1 pound kosher salt
8 pounds ice (which is a gallon of water)
16 cups (128 ounces) vegetable broth

It is simpler than the old Alton Brown recipe that I used for so many years.  Also, I brined it for less time.  I made the brine base on Friday, heating the vegetable broth, water, salt, and sugar to disspolve it and then cooling it over night.  I brined the turkey for only about 12 hours.  The turkey was then patted dry and left to dry out in the frig for several hours.  (For the smoked turkey, we let it dry out overnight.)  Then we set the turkey out to warm up a little bit about half an hour before cooking time.  However, it ended up sitting out for almost two hours because of our propane tank issue.  That is fine.  Brian is trained in food safety, being a vet and you can leave food at room temp for as much as four hours after it has come to room temperature.

Working on his Lego sets, he can do them all by himself and is proud of it. 

Judah put baby Jesus in his manger on Christmas morning.
 We had Mass in our living room with our very own priest around 2pm and we had dinner at almost 6pm, instead of at 4pm.  Oh yes, and I mustn't forget the blind beer tasting to see if the guys could distinguish between a widely available and cheap beer and a rare (can only be purchased at a monastery in Europe) and expensive beer.  Of course, I do not remember the names of these beers, but I called one Panteen ProV and one Suave.  Remember, "If you can't tell the difference, why should we?"  I was the pourer.  Great care was given to tie ribbons on one set of glasses and for me to record secretly which beer was which.  One beer was foamier than the other, so I had to let the foam settle, wipe the foam off the sides, and swirl all the glasses so no one could tell the difference by looking.  It was quite amusing to watch the whole thing.  In the end, they all chose correctly which was which.  So apparently, there is no substitute for the real deal even though "it has been said" these two beers are indistinguishable.

They spent a lot of time smelling and looking at them before even tasting.  This was serious business.

The bottle was empty.  He likes to get the last drops.  :)

Men being manly in the cold with fire and beer.

Drew and his buddy trying to play Guess Who?, a new game from Aunt Kristen.  They weren't exactly doing it correctly, but they were having fun so who cares.

Killing the turkey, I mean, he was carving the turkey.

Judah was sharing his Nativity set with his friend.

Hannah's reading one of her books she got for Christmas.

Drew put this baby Jesus that I purchased last year in Rome, right outside Vatican City, in our manger that the children worked to make soft for baby Jesus all of Advent.  They were scrambling the last two days to do good deeds and sacrifices, and still his bed was kind of scant in my opinion.  With five of them, he should have had a cloud of cotton balls on which to lay his head, but, alas, we seemed to have had a rough Advent despite our efforts.

Thank you, Godparents, for the awesome Playmobile Nativity set!  It's been one of the most played with gifts out of all the gifts for all the children.  It is still out well after the Christmastide has passed.

I have to give a shout out to my wonderful mother who volunteered to address and mail out my Christmas cards.  I ordered them and wrote my letter and sent it all to a store in her town.  She picked them up after a severe mistake on Walmart's end wherein they lost my whole first order, and I had to do a rush order and pay more for it just to get them out on time.  I am so thankful because there would have been no way for me to get them out in time again because I struggled so to find a family picture.  Next year I must order them in October I guess to get them here in time to mail them back out.  You are the best Mom ever!

Getting molars has made these smiles few and far between.  He may being having one of the roughest times of all my kids with teething.  Genevieve did struggle with those molars, but she got all four at once and during an overseas move.  
Merry Christmas!  

No comments: