I have cooked a turkey almost every year for the past 15, whether I have had company or not. I LOVE turkey and can find a dozen leftover recipes, if necessary, as well, anything from turkey rice soup to turkey with gravy to put over potatoes or leftover dressing. If I have company I can trust not to break anything, I will get out my grandmother's china and use that, something I have only done 4 or 5 times in the 26 years since she died and I "inherited" the dishes. They are very unique, and were bought in 1925 when my grandparents were married, so they are also fragile. They also need to be hand washed because of their age and the 25k gold trim on the rims.
This year, I was still planning on cooking a turkey but not necessarily having company. I had hoped to not have to make it a day of cooking, cleaning up, and being on my feet endlessly. I was hoping to pace myself through the weekend. Not to be. And it definitely won't be a day for the good china.
First, my daughter is coming home for Thanksgiving this year. I can't even remember the last time she was around for Thanksgiving. Second, my ex isn't doing anything for Thanksgiving this year, so that means all the kids and grandkids will be available, meaning they expect me to cook. And last, my sister just isn't up to having Thanksgiving at her house because she just got back from 3 weeks away at a hospital in Detroit with her daughter who is ill, and her son is having knee surgery the day before. That was leaving my dad with no place to go unless I had him over. The last two years have been bad weather, so he hasn't gone out anyway, but this year the weather is expected to be in the 50s, so he is willing to get out, and surprisingly, still feels okay even after his chemo treatment.
To complicate the whole thing, my oven decided to die this past week and my dining room light with a ceiling fan attached has the fan stuck in the on position, on high no less, and the mechanism to shut it off is broken. Neither of these projects are something I care to tackle myself at this point, and I can't afford to pay someone. If I wait for the handymen of the family to fix things, it might be next spring before they get around to it.
To solve the dilemma, I am fortunate enough to have a big electric roaster which I have used for turkeys before. It works great, and can handle up to a 20 pound bird. I also have a nifty little toaster/convection oven I will have to resort to for the pies, and will only resort to the microwave for anything last minute or to reheat.
Fortunately, I am able to plan for a large crowd and really like to cook, but I also need to pace myself out here. The house cleaning isn't that far behind, and I have gotten the kids to help over the past couple of weeks to do some vacuuming and Don has done the mopping, something I can't do. I just need to do the table clearing that gets to be a chore, because I tend to let paperwork and bills pile up for a while until I got through things and sort them out. I dusted some this week and reorganized pictures and things this weekend. Other than that, I'm not going to bother!
So the menu will be, of course, turkey, stuffing (homemade), potatoes (instant--the kids don't care and I'm not going to deal with all that pealing and mashing), gravy, vegetables, rolls, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, and desserts: pumpkin pies (homemade except for the crust this year--again, no rolling), blueberry pie, chocolate pie, and a pumpkin cheesecake dessert. Do you think that's enough??
I figure I'll make the pies tonight and the desserts tomorrow, and the turkey Thursday morning with the stuffing, and while that's wrapping up cooking, the rest of the stuff can be done. I have this miniscule kitchen, so that always presents a problem getting things made ahead and a place to keep them warm, and without a warm oven, I'll have to come up with something. A heating pad, maybe?
I just hope the temperature is over 50 degrees outside because then I can open up the 3 season porch and we can get more light in the dining room and people can sit out there, away from the TV if they want. In general, we keep things fairly simple, so its not that big of a deal to pull this off.
I'll be running around like a headless chicken for the next few days though. I hope to get some sort of workouts in, but we'll see how it goes. I did run yesterday morning, on the treadmill and probably should have gone outside, and today did 32 min. in the pool--I'm up to 3/4 of a mile now and so far no ill effects. Not as fast, but I'll take whatever I can get right now. I wish everything else was as simple as that.