No Turkey Sandwiches Here…

Last Saturday was our annual Thanksgiving party and it’s an event that gets bigger and bigger every year- which I’m grateful for because it means that every year, we have more and more friends.

This year, if I had one regret, it was that we didn’t have enough food.  For Me. For leftovers.  Or to eat on the day.  Yep, we had a pack of hungry people come through and we barely had a scrap left.  Luckily, I followed my Grandmother’s old mantra, “always hold some back”- and luckily I did because after the first round of people, there was not a scrap left on the table.  I put out some more of nearly everything but it still wasn’t enough!  Neither The Runner nor I got to eat!  And I was really looking forward to a turkey sandwich on Sunday morning!

But we had great feedback about the food, so it was worth not getting to eat.  As always, my Grandmother’s Corn Casserole Recipe was the hero dish of the day, followed by the Sweet Potato Casserole.  Non-Americans are always quite surprised by the combination of marshmallow and sweet potato.  For those of you who have enquired about the recipe, I use a mixture of a few different recipes- one of which is this one from Martha Stewart.  It’s really easy- basically mash a few sweet potatoes, season with spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, etc), top with marshmallows and bake!  It’s not rocket science but it’s delicious.  Of course, I do add a bit more to mine, but that recipe or a google of sweet potato casserole should get you started.  P.S.- the hardest part will be finding white marshmallows in Australia- for some reason all marshmallows are sold in pink and white packets rather than just white.  You have no idea how many packets we had to buy to get all white marshmallows to top the casserole with!

If you missed out on anything, the full menu was:

 

Turkey

Corn Casserole

Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallow Topping

Green Bean Casserole

Pasta salad with feta, bacon, tomato and mint

Watermelon and Haloumi Tabbouleh

Tomato, Mozzarella and Basil Salad

Potato Salad with Scallions and Dill

Cornbread

Sausages

Pumpkin Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

Fruit Mince Brownies

Trifle (made by Eleni)

Egg Nog

 

I’m so thankful for everyone who came out to celebrate the day with us- if you happen to have any photos, please send them to steph@herunsicook.com

See you next year- the date as so many other things is triathlon dependent!  We’ll keep you posted!

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Oops, I did it again!

I don’t know how this happened but I’ve gotten myself into another wee pickle.

First, let me make one thing clear, I am NOT a Christmas person. Christmas is expensive, commercialized, and not that much fun unless you’re the one sitting in front of a mountain of gifts to open and snuggled in front of a fire. Yes, I enjoy giving more than receiving and actually that’s one part of Christmas morning I love- watching someone open gifts but let’s be honest, after watching someone open their 5th gift in a row, it gets a bit tedious. I think I discovered this at about 12 or 13 when I was no longer the youngest person in the house on Christmas morning. Anyway, I digress.

I’m not a grinch or a Scrooge but at the same time, Christmas isn’t as good in Sydney. Sydney has lots going for it but singing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” while you’re sweating through your Santa hat is not one of them! Christmas lights- a bit pointless when it doesn’t get dark until after 8 at night!

Anyhow- despite my ambivalence about Christmas, The Runner and I are hosting a Christmas Eve lunch/dinner. What the???? I know, how did this happen? Thanksgiving is my holiday, my day to feed the masses and stuff myself silly. Thanksgiving is my day to shine, not Christmas- so what am I doing hosting Christmas? Stupidity, boredom, well meaning intentions, my big mouth? The truth is none of them- or all of them.

Actually, I blame The Runner. It started with him saying that he missed not having an actual Turkey on thanksgiving and thought we should do one for Christmas instead. Great idea- except it’s not. Turkey for 2? No way! So I invited another couple, and then somehow it became turkey and ham because apparently both are traditional on Christmas in Ireland. So I invited a few more people, and then a few more, and then a couple more and now I’m hoping the weather is nice because we can fit more people at our outdoor table than the indoor one. Oh no, this is how the first thanksgiving party came about. A trickle and now years later a flood!

In truth, I’m excited about hosting my first Christmas- just a bit in the dark though. My family suffers from a lack of Christmas traditions- other than eggnog– very potent eggnog. I asked The MOM- or MOB as she has nicknamed herself (Mother of the Bride) and apparently the only tradition our family has is that we don’t have turkey. We’re Thanksgiving people like I said. So, I’m throwing it open to the public- what do you make on Christmas? What’s your Christmas tradition? And most importantly, tree or no tree?

The crazy thing I do every year….

And no, it’s not skydiving, or some weird satanic ritual, but it probably is enough to get me committed to the Martha Stewart Home for the Domestically Insane.

It’s Thanksgiving.  And my annual Thanksgiving Extravaganza, now in it’s 5th year.

It started off small enough, just a few friends but overtime it’s snowballed.  Big Time.  Last year, The Runner and I worked out that we had 60 people over.  That’s right, 60.  Nearly enough for a 2 week, grand slam tennis tournament and just 4 fewer than the number of teams in the NCAA tournament– and we could have miscounted.   If you saw our apartment, you would wonder how we fit everyone in….. I don’t know, but it’s not a sit down dinner and not everyone comes at the same time, OBVIOUSLY!

As if that’s not crazy enough- (ok, maybe not crazy but a little bit unbalanced), I make all the savoury food.  (By savoury, I mean not sweet, so everything except desserts).  For 60 adults.   Turkey, sides, the whole kit and turkeyboodle.    Seriously, where is the straitjacket?

This year’s menu:

Turkey
Autumn Harvest Stuffing
Quinoa Salad with Kale, Pine Nuts, and Parmesan
Lemon Nut Rice
Whipped Sweet Potatoes with marshmallows
Cauliflower Gratin
Roasted Carrots and Potatoes with Dill
Roasted Pears and Red Onions
Herbed Mashed Potatoes
Corn Casserole
Macaroni and Cheese
Tomato, Basil and mozzarella
Green Bean Casserole

All made from scratch,  I know, it’s a little bit crazy.   But I LOVE it!  And, yes, there is room for one more!