I have to work today from 12:00-6:00. That's inconvenient, because there are two things I've been assigned bring to our family Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, but since my boss thoughtfully didn't schedule me on Friday, I won't complain! Before I leave at 11:15 I'm trying to get as much cooking done as I can.
For as long as I can remember, I always bring the same thing on Thanksgiving--pumpkin pies and Cranberry Jello, a two-layer, pound-inducing concoction of cranberry sauce, crushed pineapple, nuts, whipped topping, cream cheese, and marshmallows introduced to the family by my mom about 25 years ago. After she died I became the designated maker, and I don't know if they'd let me into the party if I didn't bring it.
Right after breakfast I got out all the ingredients for both dishes and set them up in different staging areas on the counter. I preheated the oven and got started on the pies. This year I'm making one traditional variety, and, for a twist on tradition, a pumpkin-chocolate chip. After the pies were in the oven, the kitchen counters were covered with dirty dishes, pumpkin puree, and spice jars.
I cleaned up that mess, and started on the jello. The first step was to dissolve packages of red jello with hot water, then mash canned cranberry sauce in until the mixture is smooth. (No matter how careful I am I always end up with red splatters. This year I remembered to wear a dark colored shirt to hide anything that splashed on me.) After the sauce was blended in, I added drained pineapple and chopped walnuts and mixed again, then put the pan in the refrigerator to jell. I cleaned up the sticky counter, then got out the mixer to prepare the whipped topping. Later, when the bottom layer is hard, I'll soften cream cheese, mix it with the topping, add miniature marshmallows, and spread the mixture on top of the jello.
With both dishes under control, I decided to do some bonus cooking. I had quite a bit of juice from the drained crushed pineapple, so I used it make muffins. Fortunately, I make a batch almost every week and I can throw the recipe together in the time it takes the oven to preheat. Easy-peasy, and I'll be happy when there's something good for breakfast tomorrow.
In the middle of all the cooking insanity, this song came on the radio. It always makes me smile, so I had to stop, turn up the volume, and dance around for a few minutes.