I am having a fabulous Christmas, I am so thankful for my wonderful family. Adam surprised me with an iPad and a small treasure trove of other goodies. From my family and my in-laws I got an AccuQuilt Go, a Cricket, and a 1st edition of Raymond Briggs’ The Snowman! I was so surprised by all of it, it’s been a wonderful day.

I made my niece Grace a “pouf” of her very own, another 24″ Amy Butler Gumdrop. She bounces on mine constantly when she’s over, and this summer she pulled all her favorite (pink) fabrics from my stash and said, “Make me one please, Aunt Jackie.” So I did, deciding to just use the Rainy Days and Mondays fabric from Riley Blake that I’ve been saving for a deserving project. From these photos, I would count this as entirely worthy.

Adam made breakfast this morning (eggs and English bacon).

Everyone opened their stockings and watched Dr. No while he cooked.

Then we opened presents and I set to work on the Christmas feast. I am finally going to write down, right here, what I did to this turkey. Because every time I make a turkey we go through this slight panic while I try to remember how I’ve made them every other year. I basically follow the Easy Roasted Turkey recipe from America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, but with a few tweaks of my own.

I ordered a 14 lb. bird from Whole Foods, and I brined it in water and salt this morning for about 3 hours. The directions said to leave it in longer, but I was not so good at getting up this morning. And even 3 hours injected a lot of flavor into an already superb turkey (it’s a Jaindl Farms turkey, same as they serve at the White House). Then I dried the turkey, stuffed herbed butter under the skin of the breast, and brushed the whole thing with melted butter. Sprinkled it with salt and pepper. Stuffed it with a halved lemon and halved onion (I like to do that to all my roast birds). I chopped up another onion, 2 carrots, and 2 celery stalks and threw them in the bottom of the roaster. I put the turkey breast side down and roasted it for 1 hour at 425. Then took it out, drained the inside juices back into the roaster, and cooked it another 1.5 hours breast side up at 325.

Now, this is with a pan of roast potatoes and another one full of sausage balls cooking away above it. The juices run clear at this point, but for the life of me I’m never able to get my thermometer to read more than 160-165 degrees at the thigh. The book says 175, my mom says 180, we have this discussion every year, and every year (Thanksgiving or Christmas) when I make a turkey it is always juicy, wonderful, and non-toxic at 160ish. So I’m sticking to that in the future. Take heed, Future Self!

It was a delicious, huge feast for 8. Adam made his famous mashed potatoes. I made a quick stove-top bread stuffing (I took no pictures while cooking AGAIN this year!). Boiled al dente carrots and roasted cippolatas wrapped in bacon. Sausage balls and roast potatoes loosely taken from recipes out of my early edition copy of The Constance Spry Cookery (another in-laws gift from several years back). Then my mom brought apple pie and brownies. We were so stuffed we haven’t even touched the Christmas pudding.

I hope everyone else is having a great holiday with family and friends. Today has been perfection! Now I’m off to play with my new toys.