When it comes to cooking, my motto has always been go big or go home. If I’m cooking for more than two, I tend to go a wee bit overboard on the number of dishes and quantity of food I make. That’s the reason Julia and I found ourselves in the kitchen all day yesterday, prepping a 22 pound turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, two kinds of stuffing, roasted brussel sprouts, biscuits, and pie. No shortcuts either…everything we made was start-to-finish homemade. Well, we cheated with the pumpkin pie and got one from Trader Joe’s. But considering that Julia made her own crust and a gorgeous strawberry rhubarb pie, we can let that one slide.

Did I mention we made all of that for just the two of us and Rachel?

To be fair, we were planning to spend all day cooking, and every minute was so much fun! We started our morning with a walk to Malibu Kitchen in hopes of getting scones for breakfast but sadly the place was closed. Instead we snacked on bananas and cereal while watching the parade and prepping the turkey. Julia and I split up our duties quite nicely. She is great at cooking meat, and at baking, so she handled the turkey, gravy, classic stuffing, biscuits and pie. I’m more of a side dish gal myself, so I covered the cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, and a second stuffing. While Julia trussed up the turkey, I got to work chopping and cutting.

Curious to know what four loaves of cubed, toasted French bread looks like? Yes, that bowl is three times the size of her head!

One of the stuffing recipes called for cooking sherry. The wine guy at Trader Joe’s said we could absolutely drink some as an aperitif, but it was awful. Rachel gave the glass one sniff and walked away.

Luckily, Rachel brought over some champagne and a traditional favorite, sparkling apple cider. We quickly dumped our baby pours of sherry for these two drinks instead!

While cooking, we watched some holiday movies on Lifetime (terrible, yet entertaining) and taste-tested our way through each dish. Finally, around 4pm, everything was ready to go! Here’s our meal:

We went shopping for all the ingredients on Wednesday night, which is how we ended up with a ridiculous 22 pound turkey to feed three. We’re warned for next time…but still, Julia did a beautiful job.

Classic mashed potatoes in my family means potatoes, butter, milk and salt to taste. Delicious every time.

The grocery store was out of buttermilk (there were literally 8 people gathered in the milk aisle, searching for some), so we improvised with plain Greek yogurt in its place. Oh yeah, and I don’t own a biscuit cutter, so Julia went with Christmas tree shapes instead. Too cute, right?

I wanted to make a bread pudding-style stuffing, of which everyone was wary, which is how we ended up with two kinds instead. Julia made a classic version, simple with celery, onions and lots of herbs.

I followed this recipe for herb and apple bread pudding stuffing, and it was awesome! Not dry in the slightest; the only change I might make is more apples? Those bites were my favorite.

Rachel made another traditional dish, broccoli casserole. She used real cheese instead of fake cheese, and it turned out really good.

Normally we eat many more veggie sides, but we were running low on time so we decided to just let this recipe be the star. I saw roasted brussel sprouts with grapes and walnuts on the cover of Whole Living and immediately emailed myself the recipe. It was super simple and super yummy…I think I’m most excited for these leftovers!

Of course, we rounded everything out with homemade cranberry sauce. This year, I cut the sugar in half and couldn’t taste the difference. Cranberry sauce is another favorite that I only eat over Thanksgiving but absolutely love. Making the cranberry sauce the night before was our one big job as kids, and even now, I just love hearing those fresh berries pop!

Here’s my plate, plus many more nibbles on everything.

After dinner, we watched another movie while waiting to digest a bit. As soon as our stomachs had a bit more room, we dug into the pies. Here’s Julia’s beauty, step-by-step:

The pie was oh so good! We also had our cheaters’ pumpkin pie, which was actually pretty tasty.

After pie, we watched Just Friends (pure Ryan Reynolds gold) and changed out of jeans into stretch pants. I’m serious…I think that’s a sign of a fabulous Thanksgiving 🙂

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