I am writing this from my couch, with a full belly and an even fuller heart. The kids are singing show tunes from Annie, with Thanksgiving twists like “It’s a hard knock life, for turkey,” and “The sun’ll come out tomorrow (but not for the turkey),” and my husband is finishing up the dishes, humming the same songs, but probably not realizing he’s doing it.
For the past five Thanksgivings, we’ve celebrated quietly, just the four of us. We set a nice table, but oftentimes never change out of our pajamas for the day, and we play games, watch football, and read books. When we sit down for our holiday meal, we take turns sharing what we are thankful for, like health, family, and YouTube videos of origami, and today we started what is already everyone’s new favorite tradition: sharing our most embarrassing moments from the previous year.
We like to laugh, and it’s important to us that our kids learn at an early age that embarrassing situations become less so if you own them. Finding the humor in life’s sticky situations makes for well-adjusted humans, and I for one am thankful for the ability to laugh at myself.
Even though we’re feeding two adults and two children, we cook a 20 lb bird, because we love turkey, and we can seriously get down on some leftovers. I’m already planning the many turkey-themed meals I will be serving for the next couple of weeks.
One of my favorite things about roasting a turkey is making Crock Pot turkey stock afterwards. If you still have your turkey carcass, don’t throw it away! Use it to make delicious stock that you can freeze and have on hand for anything that calls for chicken or turkey stock.
Crock Pot Turkey Stock
- One turkey or chicken carcass, with all of the good meat removed. If you stuffed the bird with any spices or vegetables, all of that good stuff can go in the slow cooker, too.
- 2-3 celery stalks
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 1-2 carrots, or a handful of baby carrots
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-2 sprigs fresh herbs (thyme, sage, rosemary, or parsley work well)
- salt to taste
- After carving the bird and removing all of the good meat, cram the carcass into the slow cooker. You may need to break it up a bit to get it to fit, especially if your turkey is as gigantic as ours was.
- Toss in the celery, onion, carrots, and spices.
- Fill Crock Pot with water until it's about ½ inch from the top. I was able to get about 6 cups of water into my 7 quart Crock Pot.
- Cover and cook on low for anywhere from 8-24 hours.
- When you consider your stock sufficiently cooked, remove bones and pour stock through a strainer.
- Let the stock cool in order to skim the fat off the top, and use or freeze. I freeze mine in 1 and 2 cup portions, my freezer always has a stash of homemade chicken or turkey stock ready to go!
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