Josh, Tiffany Stoiber: Thankful for each other, time with family, surprise turkey in the trunk

University of Nebraska at Kearney employees Josh and Tiffany Stoiber are thankful to gather with family this year for Thanksgiving. They will cook the turkey for the first time in their young lives. (Photo by Erika Pritchard, UNK Communications)
University of Nebraska at Kearney employees Josh and Tiffany Stoiber are thankful to gather with family this year for Thanksgiving. They will cook the turkey for the first time in their young lives. (Photo by Erika Pritchard, UNK Communications)

UNK Communications

KEARNEY – Josh and Tiffany Stoiber are establishing their Thanksgiving traditions as a couple.

“We’re so young that we’re in that period of figuring out how Thanksgiving works as adults who are married,” Tiffany said. “I have my family, and he has his family. How do you combine those things and establish traditions when we’ve only been married for six years?”

Early in their marriage, Tiffany’s parents, Tim and Nina Valleau of Kearney, visited them in Wisconsin and brought the turkey and roasting pan. Most years, the Stoibers spent Thanksgiving with Josh’s parents in Iowa and Texas. Christmas was designated for the Valleau family.

Tiffany, who grew up enjoying quiet Thanksgiving dinners with her one sister, parents and sometimes small extended family, was introduced to large family gatherings when she married Josh. Josh, his four siblings, mom and dad each made something special for the day. Josh baked the apple pie, his mom made sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and cranberry crumble, and his dad was famous for his stuffing – that is until his dad revealed the dish had turkey giblets in it.

Josh and Tiffany Stoiber, back and front right, have often celebrated Thanksgiving with Josh’s family at his parents’ house in Texas or Iowa.

This year, Tiffany is making turkey for the first time in her life. She will take the main dish to her parents’ house for Thursday afternoon dinner where they expect 14-15 people.

“We’ve really come into our own, especially with cooking,” Tiffany said. “I feel like when we were first married, I was not a very good cook.”

She ordered one turkey from Walmart’s curbside pickup, but after arriving home from the store the Stoibers found two 16- to 18-pound turkeys in their trunk.

So, what do you do with an extra turkey? Tiffany practiced cooking one of the birds and invited friends to feast on it last weekend. Following an online recipe, the Stoibers brined the turkey. Tiffany made herb butter with parsley, garlic and lemon and put it under and over the skin. She also stuffed it with onions, lemons, garlic and parsley.

“It was gorgeous,” she said.

Tiffany Stoiber practiced making her first turkey a week ago before cooking one Thursday for her family’s Thanksgiving meal.

They will repeat the process Thanksgiving morning. Tiffany is glad she practiced because it took longer than expected. She now knows to prepare the turkey early, and Josh will baste it while she is running in the Kearney Family YMCA Turkey Trot.

The Stoibers also will make green bean casserole, stuffing, gravy and Josh’s mom’s sweet potato casserole. Additionally, Josh purchased canned cranberry gelatin, a must for him at the Thanksgiving table, though he doesn’t particularly care for the taste or expect others to eat it. “I’m happy it’s there because it’s an important Thanksgiving tradition,” he quipped.

Other family members will cook ham, corn, dinner rolls and pie, Josh’s favorite.

The Stoibers have a lot to be grateful for this year. Josh was promoted in May from print production specialist to web content and engagement specialist at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Tiffany joined UNK Online as academic outreach specialist Nov. 1.

We asked the Stoibers what they are most thankful for this Thanksgiving:

Person – Tiffany is most grateful for her mom. “The older I get, I appreciate having her to counsel me and share her wisdom, and to just be my friend. We went to the Kearney Area Farmers Market almost every Saturday this summer.”

Josh is most thankful for Tiffany. “I’ve really liked to be able to work with Tiffany. We also get to do all of our hobbies together, whether we’re playing Call of Duty or doing shows at the community theater.”

Music – Josh is happy that new musical theater cast albums are coming out after the COVID-19 shutdown. “I love concept albums for shows that haven’t been staged yet, but the music is all done. So, they try to put together a recording to get the show staged,” he said. “People have been writing shows during lockdown, so there have been some really good cast recordings that I’ve been listening to, specifically one called ‘For Tonight.’”

Television – Tiffany loves the series “Ted Lasso” because it’s inspiring, while other shows are “grungy and sad.” “Ted Lasso is a good human but still has issues and makes mistakes, while bringing everybody else up with him,” she said.

Place on Campus – Tiffany and Josh most enjoy Cope Fountain. The couple walked around it when they lived close to campus. It also was a marker for Tiffany when she ran the virtual Lincoln Half Marathon last year. “When I got to the fountain that’s when I knew I was almost done,” she said.

Colleagues – Tiffany is thankful for her new colleagues in Graduate Studies and Academic Outreach. “The work environment here is really positive. Everybody is so willing to help and has been welcoming,” she said.

Josh is grateful for his managers Kyle Means and Thane Webb. “They have had my back and been in my corner. They encouraged me to go for the things that I’m strong in, support me in that, trust me to do a good job and help me to do a better job.”