This year was a different Thanksgiving for our family. We were not able to travel because Mike had to work and my parents could not make it this year like they normally do. I decided to cook anyway since my kids and hubby were looking forward to it. We thought about going out to dinner, but it's just not the same. Besides, we wanted the left overs. So, it was just me and the kids. Jarod watched football most of the day while I was in the kitchen playing my favorite Christmas music with Maleah keeping me company. I was feeling sad because I was missing my family. It means so much to me to be around family this time of year. I kept feeling sorry for myself because I felt all alone, but then I reminded myself of how truly blessed I am to have such a wonderful husband and two beautiful children. It really is all about perspective.
My day started out making homemade bread. Once that was done (around 10am) the kids and I sat down to the table and had bread, pumpkin butter and coffee. Maleah, of course, did not partake in the coffee. The kids really enjoyed it, although, the minute I pulled out the camera to take a picture Jarod quickly got up from the table. He does not like getting his picture taken. At this point, everything was good. I was feeling quite content. I put my bird in around 11am and started putting together my side dishes. The turkey was only a 10 lb. bird, so it said to cook it 2.5-3 hours. No problem. I took the bird out after 2 hours and it barely looked like it was cooking. I was a little worried. I put it back in and ended up having to cook it 4-5 hours total, way too long. I cut into it and it was not good; very dry and almost stringy, yet bloody and not cooked when I cut the legs. I could not figure out why because I had made a turkey last year and it came out perfect. I thought maybe it was my new stainless steel roasting pan I used. It didn't have a lid like my one from last year, but I used tin foil, which is what lot of people do. I was so discouraged. I was tired from being in the kitchen all day making the whole dinner, and then my turkey did not turn out. I called Wild Oats, where I got it from, and they told me to come in and get a refund or a new bird. I was determined to figure out what happened and give it another shot, so I opted for another bird; not to mention that I really wanted to sink my teeth into a nice, juicy, tender turkey. So, I brought the new bird home the next day (Friday), but before I cooked it, I called the company that makes/raises these birds. I talked to a lady about my turkey mishap in great detail and she said she had no problems with her bird and basically did everything I did. I tried it again, only this time I put the tin foil over it for the last hour instead of the first. I told Mike I had a good feeling about this one and that it looked perfect. The thermometer we stuck in it even read the right temperature. I took it out of the oven and asked Mike to carve it. I stood there in great anticipation to see how my bird turned out this time. I just knew it was right this time. He cut into the leg and bloody juice came oozing out. I could not believe it! I could not figure out the problem. Mike told me to just let it go and chalk it up to a bad turkey year. I told him, "Honey, you know me better than that. I CAN'T! I have to figure this thing out. I gotta know how to cook this thing right for next year. I GOTTA KNOW!" I asked Mike to run over to Target and get an oven thermometer to see if it was our oven. I put the thermometer in the oven and it read the right temp, 325 degrees. I was convinced it was the bird, the bird I paid $2 a pound for because it was all natural. So, Saturday morning, I made another trip to Wild Oats. But, this time, I asked for my money back. I took that money and went and bought me a cheap bird from Hy-Vee. I got it home, prepared it the same way as the other two birds. But, this time, I decided to put the oven thermometer in with the bird while it cooked so I could watch the temperature. Interestingly enough, it was 25 degrees lower than what I set it at. Hmmm...so having the bird in their with a big tinfoil tent over it must some how "soak up" the heat, so to speak. I turned the oven up to 350 degrees and the thermometer read 325. Okay, we are getting somewhere now. I took the foil off about an hour before it was done. Three hours later I took it out of the oven and, once again, asked Mike to carve it. I said a prayer, "Oh, dear God, let this one turn out. I'm tired of cooking turkeys." Low and behold, it was PERFECT! It was tender, juicey and DONE! Thank you, Jesus! Now my question is, "Was it because I turned up the oven or because it was the cheap bird from Hy-Vee?" I guess I'll never know. I'm just glad it turned out.