Sunday, December 26, 2010

AHHHHHHH – The Post-Christmas Sigh of Relief

All things considered, I am not getting as big a sigh as usual, but only because I was a bit ahead of the game going in!

Christmas Eve was relegated to making pies and stuffing and attending Midnight Mass. I had the honor of starting that service by singing seven verses of The Holly and the Ivy, a cappella, so I made sure to have a little wine earlier in the evening to lube the pipes (thank you Diane, the Guffey’s Peach Apricot Chardonnay was superb).

Christmas Day started with prep and stuffing of the bird and getting it on to cook by 8:30, a fully stuffed 20+ pounder with 5½ to 6 hours of cooking time. Should have been done by 2:30 with all arriving and scheduled to eat by 3. Then Mom, Jim and I sat down to nuked frozen breakfast bagels (thank you Mike Savides for another successful school fund-raising purchase), after which we opened our gifts, then cleared our mess from the living room and got busy transforming the place into a sit-down dinner space for 16 people.

It went quickly and efficiently. We were pretty much ready by noon with even the potatoes peeled and cooking. At 1 p.m., when I opened the roaster lid to baste the turkey, I was flabbergasted to see that the pop-up thermometer on the turkey had already popped…and hour and a half early! I even double checked it with a regular meat thermometer to make sure it wasn’t just defective. What to do?

So I let it sit for 30 minutes, then carved the entire bird into thick, juicy pieces, placed them into a heavy pottery dish, doused them with hot turkey drippings, covered them and set them on the back of the stove to keep warm. I put the mashed potatoes into a crock pot to keep them hot. As soon as everyone arrived, I reheated the huge dish full of turkey in the oven just before we sat down to eat around 3:20, and everything turned out great!

My sister-in-law, Flo, made an excellent sweet-potato and apple dish with marshmallows and Meredith brought a broccoli-cheese casserole that was practically wiped out in the first round, leaving all those wanting “seconds” disappointed.
No one left the table hungry. After the round of family present opening, we managed to clean up two trays of cookies and pizzelles and two of the four pies I made.

After everyone left, we cleaned up, and pretty much everything, including all the furniture, was back in place by 9 p.m. I will spend today, finishing the cleaning and organizing of my office so that I can start the new year right. I will also be giving Mom instructions on the use of her new Kindle Reader.

Mom loves to read, but her eyes are not what they used to be and everything on those book pages seems to go yellow when she tries to sit and read. With the Kindle, I can download whatever she wants to read and increase the font to a comfortable reading level. I also got her the cover with the light so she can have it nicely lit if she desires. Who says the old folks can’t embrace technology?

And tomorrow, when it comes, it’s back to the grind!