As tempting an offer as an invitation to dine & meet new folks, I tried to brave a Thanksgiving dinner single handedly… “Read on” for lessons learned Winking smile

IMG_1239For those who don’t know, this was my first Thanksgiving alone with the kids since the divorce. As often is the case, in an effort to be a role model to my children, I bit off a little more than I bargained for.

Being a bachelor, I didn’t exactly have turkey and stuffing on hand, so Thanksgiving morning we went shopping. I figured I better take it easy and get a pre-cooked ham. “Heat and serve,” no big deal, right? Ah, but as they say, the devil is in the details.

I started off with pumpkin pies, by following the directions on the puree can. They took longer than the directions implied. This of course put my whole schedule behind as I only have one oven. IMG_1238

I had no ‘wire rack’ to cool them on, but a layer of butter knives works well too Winking smile Once the pies were done, I immediately put in the potatoes. I wrestled with this idea, but figured I was pretty good at twice-baked potatoes, whereas home made gravy can be risky business. Unfortunately, since I picked out the largest ones, they ALSO took longer than I bargained for. I started the ham on a higher rack, but they were still too firm for my liking.

IMG_1240With the ham in (dressed in pineapple, of course) I dove eagerly into the potatoes. I figured it was alright that they were a bit firm, as they’ll cook some more, but I hadn’t counted on having to gut them while they’re piping hot. (Word to the wise: a pot holder is meant to hold pots, not POTatoes) I mixed in butter, ranch, bacon bits, and cheddar, and re-filled the semi-torn skins.IMG_1243

The ham wasn’t getting up to temperature as quickly as the label had promised, (see a pattern here?) so I glazed it, set it to broil, and returned the potatoes to the oven. In no time, dinner was ready. With a splash of olives and some egg nog, we had a meal fit for a prince.

IMG_1242Oh yes, one more hurdle. My 6 year-old son chose this moment to stop liking ham & twice-baked potatoes altogether. Holding fast to the “no dinner, no dessert” rule, he missed out on the pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

SO, for those considering doing a thanksgiving meal by yourself, I’d recommend doing any pies the night before. Add an hour or two in for extra cooking and preparation, and a healthy serving of patience and gratitude to help wash it down. All-in-all, I didn’t burn anything, and spent the time with those I love, which is what really counts…


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