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Thanksgiving 2014: Friends, My First Turkey, Yoga and a New Addition

Thanksgiving 2014 is a wrap and it was a success. I stayed here in Charlotte and celebrated the day with friends. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday to spend with my family and I always especially enjoy planning the meal and spending the day in the kitchen with my dad. It’s been a little weird to be away from them for the last two years on Thanksgiving.

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Last year I ate pumpkin pie for breakfast at the airport on Thanksgiving Day when I flew to the Dominican Republic for a friend’s wedding.

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And this year I opted to stay in Charlotte for a variety of reasons but was blessed to spend the day with friends who have truly become and extended family for me.

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I spent all day on Thanksgiving Eve prepping for the feast. I made homemade gravy out of homemade turkey stock, bourbon pumpkin cheesecake, prepped the dressing and prepped the turkey.

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Prepping the turkey required the purchase of a 5 gallon bucket from Home Depot to brine the bird. I got it in the brine at 11 p.m. on Thanksgiving Eve and let it do it’s thing in the fridge until around 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

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We offered three yoga classes on Thanksgiving morning at Charlotte Yoga. I got up early for a green smoothie and a practice before teaching my class at 9:15. It was such an incredible way to kick off the day and the studio was packed with friends and good energy.

When I got home I took Sullie for a walk and went on a little three mile turkey trot on my own before packing up and heading to my friend’s house for the day.

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I was super nervous about roasting the turkey so I got there early to get the bird in the oven and to help with overall meal preparations. We had this beautiful spread of appetizers to snack on…deviled eggs, grapes, artichoke dip and shrimp cocktail…along with some bloody marys.

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I was THRILLED when my turkey did everything it was supposed to do…cooked in the right amount of time, turned golden brown and stayed juicy and tender. First Thanksgiving turkey…check! I used Alton Brown’s “Good Eats Roast Turkey” along with the ThermoWorks Chef Alarm probe timer and had no issues with the turkey.

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Of course I had no idea how to carve a turkey so I took a time out to watch a YouTube video and then went to town.

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I think I did a pretty good job! Here’s the start of our spread….turkey, roasted brussels sprouts and roasted parsnips and carrots.

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Mashed potatoes.

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Dressing.

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Sweet potato casserole.

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And here’s my plate. Turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, lots of gravy, parsnips and carrots, brussels and sweet potatoes. Unpictured was the cranberry sauce because we forgot about it until we sat down to eat.

All the food was so good but by the time we sat down to eat around 6 p.m., I was pretty worn out from two days of cooking. I can’t wait for Thanksgiving Round 2 tonight with all the leftovers. πŸ™‚

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For dessert we had pumpkin bourbon cheesecake, sweet potato, pie, pumpkin pie, Nutella pie and apple pie. (Not all pictured)

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I had a sliver of chocolate, cheesecake and pumpkin pie. During dessert we went around the table and shared what we were grateful for this year. That morphed into talking about first jobs, first cars and all sorts of other things. It was a lovely evening.

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And my big announcement of Thanksgiving is that I had the joy of sharing it with two sweet girls. Sullie became a big sister this week!Β Meet Zoey. She’s eight weeks old and came home on Monday. I’ll have a post with all the details soon but in the meantime we are all having a great time getting to know one another. Sullie and I are both in love with the pup.

I hope you all had a Thanksgiving full of happiness, love and good food! Wishing you a year of abundant blessings and gratitude. xoxo

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Teri [a foodie stays fit] November 28, 2014, 9:21 am

    OMG OMG OMG. My heart just exploded! That little ball of fluff!!!!!! I cannot wait to meet her!

  • 2
    Katie @ running4cupcakes November 28, 2014, 9:36 am

    OMG so adorable!! And that is a great pic of the 3 of you guys. Can’t wait to hear more. And congrats on hosting a successful Thanksgiving!! πŸ™‚

  • 3
    cait @pieceofcait November 28, 2014, 10:03 am

    OMG what a cute little pup!!!!! so glad your first year hosting went so well! πŸ™‚

  • 4
    Nicole @ Runs & WODs November 28, 2014, 11:01 am

    All your food looked delicious! Happy Thanksgiving!

  • 5
    Courtney F November 28, 2014, 11:33 am

    Congrats on the little, she’s adorable!!

    We have used Alton’s recipe before, and it always delivers!! Great choice :o)

  • 6
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine November 28, 2014, 11:36 am

    Zoey is adorable! Aw! XOXO
    Happy Thanksgiving Jen! πŸ™‚

  • 7
    Stephanie November 28, 2014, 12:39 pm

    I roasted my first turkey this year using the same Alton Brown method – it turned out wonderful. Congrats on the new pup! She’s adorable! That Nutella pie sounds delicious.

  • 8
    Michelle @ Fit. Flexible. Fabulous. November 28, 2014, 12:52 pm

    Wow, let me just say how impressed I am that you prepared all that delicious food…way to go! I seriously don’t know where you get the energy. I admire your stamina! Pumpkin bourbon cheesecake sounds amazing (we like to put bourbon in lots of things, too!).

    Congrats on the new addition to your family. Such a cute pup! Happy leftover Turkey Day!

  • 9
    tiffany November 28, 2014, 1:22 pm

    ahhhh so cute!!! can’t wait to hear more…sullie seems like a good big sis. πŸ™‚

  • 10
    She Rocks Fitness November 28, 2014, 3:34 pm

    YEAH for puppies and YEAH for a successful Thanksgiving dinner! Everything looks delicious. I cannot wait to have my leftovers tonight. I’m already thinking about it. πŸ™‚

  • 11
    Diana November 28, 2014, 4:55 pm

    OMGosh! How adorable is Zoey? Such a cute and happy family pic! And wow! Your Thanksgiving spread with friends look INCREDIBLE. Wow. Everything looks delicious!

  • 12
    Sam @ PancakeWarriors November 28, 2014, 5:38 pm

    oh what a wonderful day! Your thanksgiving looked like a blast! Omg Jen Zoey is too cute. I can’t wait to see more pictures of your new little family!!

  • 13
    Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves November 28, 2014, 8:24 pm

    That is some beautiful Thanksgiving food!! The bird looks perfect!
    Congratulations on the new pup! She’s so fluffy I could die. πŸ™‚

  • 14
    Liv @ Healthy Liv November 28, 2014, 8:26 pm

    Zoey is the cutest!! Congratulations!! And your Thanksgiving food looks, delicious of course. Nice job on the turkey!

  • 15
    Michelle November 29, 2014, 6:19 am

    Congratulations on your new addition (super cutie!) and a successful first turkey!!! Your stuffing and gravy look amazing – would love the recipes, hint, hint!!

  • 16
    erin November 29, 2014, 5:51 pm

    looks like an amazing thanksgiving, jen! i am beyond impressed with the turkey that you made! that’s definitely something to check off the bucket list! and, oh my goodness, sweet sullie is a big sister! best news ever – i can’t wait to see more photos of the two of them together. zoey looks so cuddly and sweet – so much love to share!!

  • 17
    tara November 29, 2014, 7:39 pm

    good for you and that sweet puppy ! congrats on a successful turkey ! i made my 4th yesterday (day after thanksgiving dinner with my dad that i hosted) and it was also a success but got done ~30 mins early. oh well we let it rest with foil and it was fine. i too use a version of alton browns recipe along with his brine and i love it. the only thing i did different this year was instead of oiling it up, i used a homemade herb butter and spread it under the skin and then all over the turkey. it was soooo good. thanksgiving with friends sounds great !

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