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Posts tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Happy Thanksgiving


Before all the cooking starts I wanted to take this opportunity to wish all of you that celebrate Thanksgiving a wonderful holiday. We have so much to be thankful for, I know I do and putting aside the food we should pause and give thanks for everything, a warm home, plentiful food, family and friends and I think about those that do not have this. Whether human or animal I have to stop and remember those that are not as blessed. Thank you to all of you who have stuck with me and have been so encouraging.

Have a joyous day with friends and family and enjoy all the delicious food. 

Suzanne and Percy and my sweet angels Izzy and Nando who crossed the rainbow bridge




Photo by James Ransom

Photo by James Ransom

Every year I make the same meal for Thanksgiving, there is little to no variations year to year because everyone loves it that way. It makes things easier sort of, the only planning involves the shopping and of course the preparation. I try to make as much in advance as possible to save myself work on the big day. This will be Percy’s first Thanksgiving with me and I plan on giving him a plate of food along with the rest of my guests. I am excited that this year my two cousins will be joining me as well. My menu is very basic, nothing fancy but everything is homemade and has withstood the test of time. The dishes on the menu are linked to former posts so that you can see the recipes. Mashed potatoes, well, no recipe required, so my potatoes have not lumps I use the food mill and then simply add sour cream, butter and salt and pepper, thats all, the same goes for the pumpkin pie, I used canned pumpkin and follow the instructions on the back of the can, I’ve tried other methods and quite honestly the results are so similar it’s not worth the extra effort. The meal is always served with wine, this year a Cabernet Sauvignon, Lambrusco, Sparkling blanc de blanc and I am still undecided on whether to serve a Chardonnay or white bordeaux.

Thanksgiving Menu

butter and herb roast turkey


mashed potatoes

oven roasted brussells sprouts


cranberry sauce

dinner rolls



Pecan Pie

Apple Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Happy Thanksgiving And A Holiday Giveaway


I wish each and everyone of you a totally awesome and wonderful Thanksgiving. I hope you will be enjoying the day with family and friends. The food is important it’s what is the driving force behind the holiday but without our loved ones and friends to enjoy it with we might as well just have a bowl of cereal. I have a lot to be thankful for, family, friends, great job, the sweet memories of my pugs.  I am also thankful for each and every one of you, YES YOU, without each others support and inspiration what would be the point of having a blog. I am thankful for each of your wonderful and uplifting comments, thank you so very much. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, not just because of the food but I love a holiday where there is no pressure to gift anyone, it is a day when we all come together to enjoy each other, catch up (if you haven’t seen each other for a while) eat, drink and be merry.

I start cooking in the morning, it’s a busy day and usually by the time all is said and done I am exhausted but in a good way. The day after Thanksgiving is also the official start of the Holiday Shopping season, I avoid the stores like the plague on Black Friday.

As a holiday gift to you I asked the UBER talented Michael of Michaels woodcraft to make a cutting board which will be given away to one lucky reader. Michaels workmanship and devotion to his craft is inspiring. Thank you Michael!! This is open to US residents only, again, I am sorry that we cannot ship to my international friends. All you need to do is leave a comment and you will be entered. Thank you all for being there and putting up with me and for being so supportive. I truly appreciate it.

Farmers board

Farmers board

This board is gorgeous, made with love by Michael and will last a lifetime if cared for properly. I have to admit I have an addictiion to his boards, everytime I see a new one I have to have it. They really make a gorgeous presentation on the table.

The drawing will be on Wednesday December 2nd, Good luck my friends and have a wonderful Thanksgiving feast!!




Thanksgiving Preparation

Photo by James Ransom

Photo by James Ransom for food52

I don’t know where the time went, next week is Thanksgiving. It dawned on me today so I started prepping. I make the same thing every single year, no change there would be a coup if I did. Part of me didn’t want Thanksgiving to get here even though it’s my favorite holiday, it’s my first without Izzy and Nando and I feel sad.  That said I have started prepping, write the shopping list, order the turkey, make what I can in advance, bread cubes are drying in oven as I type this. Took a whole chicken out of the freezer to make stock. There is a lot of work and planning that goes into one meal and I do what I can in advance. Is that what you do? I usually have 8-10 here for Thanksgiving. How many do you have over?


What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Do you cook/host the meal or go to friends or relatives. Have you started preparing? Would love to know what everyone does, I know that some of you from other countries do not celebrate Thanksgiving. What is on the menu at your house? Traditional or non traditional or a mixture of both. Here is my menu with links to the recipes.

Butter and herb roasted turkey


mashed potatoes- yukon gold, sour cream. butter salt and pepper

brussels sprouts- oven roasted

corn – steamed and served with some butter

homemade potato dinner rolls

cranberry sauce- use the recipe on the ocean spray package but sub fresh squeezed orange juice for the water and add some orange zest.

pumpkin and pecan pie – I usually just use the pumpkin pie recipe on the can of LIbby’s pumpkin, may do something different this year from my good friend Johnny at Kitschen Flavors.

I have a pretty strict time line making as much as I can in advance.

Done in advance:

Make chicken stock (need for dressing)

Make cornbread and air dry (2 days before I make the dressing)

Dry bread cubes for dressing (doing that today)

Cranberry sauce made ahead and refrigerated (making it this weekend)

Make compound butter for turkey (Monday)

Make pie dough and refrigerate (Tuesday)

Day before:

Prep the turkey putting the compound butter under the skin, and refrigerate.

Make dressing cover refrigerate.

Make the bread dough, form into rolls, cover and refrigerate until a few hours before baking them.

Make the pies plus an extra for a friend, the apple and pear tart

Thanksgiving Day:

We eat late around 5:30 or 6PM. I’ve heard that most eat early like lunch time. This is actually the easiest day, I have already done a lot of the work. Set the table, get the wine ready, refrigerate the white, let the red breathe/decant.

Turkey goes in at around noon – I get at 18-20 lb turkey and it’s done in 3 ish hours because of the fast cooking method I use in my graniteware pan.

Peel potatoes and cut and let sit in cold salted water until ready to boil. (Usually around 4PM)

Make the corn and brussels sprouts.

Bake the dressing

Bake the rolls right before dinner is served so they are hot.

Whew, it’s a lot of work but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Love Thanksgiving!!

Izzy And Nando

Izzy And Nando


Happy Thanksgiving


From Google Images via pinterest

I want to wish each and everyone of you that celebrate the Holiday a very Happy and absolutely delicious Thanksgiving. There is a lot to be thankful for and on this day of giving thanks I want to tell you all how much I love and appreciate all the support and kindness you show to me. Blogging is a fun and a creative outlet for us but where would I be without you or really where would we be without each other, your sweet comments and support mean the world to me. I know you are busy today cooking or traveling or maybe you are just relaxing. Whatever you are doing I hope your day is filled with love and happiness.

Thank you all for everything.


Suzanne and Nando





What Will You Serve For Thanksgiving?

Dressing or stuffing

Dressing or stuffing

Some of you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but here in the US this is probably the biggest food holiday of them all, it’s also a time to remember how much we have to be thankful for. For me the Thanksgiving meal is steeped in tradition. Every year I make the same meal, I have tried adding something different but in the end, the best is always the tried and true recipes.

Do you try new recipes or stick to the tried and true?

Is it Potluck or do you do all the cooking?

What do you make, or do you go to someone else’s house for the meal?

I bake pies for friends, this year I am making apple, pumpkin and pecan for both my table and for my friends. I have will have 6-8 people over, family and friends.

How many will be around your table?

Photo by James Ransom

Photo by James Ransom

Thanksgiving 2014

Butter and herb roast turkey– compound butter under the skin and steam roasted

Dressing– cornbread and bread with a lot of other things. My signature dish.

Mashed potatoes- Yukon gold, sour cream and butter. I like super creamy smooth potatoes so I use a food mill.


Brussels Sprouts- I am going to make this recipe this year from my friend Bevi, it’s a Food52 contest winner


Cranberry orange sauce (see recipe below)

Homemade potato rolls

Just out of the oven

Just out of the oven

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

For Dessert

Pumpkin Pie

Pecan Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

Apple pie right out of the oven

Apple pie right out of the oven

Cranberry Orange Sauce

1 cup sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice + 1 tsp orange zest
1 12-ounce package Fresh or Frozen Cranberries ( I always buy Ocean Spray)
Combine sugar and juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil; add cranberries, return to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate until serving time. Makes 2 1/4 cups. Optional- add the zest of 1 orange for a stronger orange flavor. I always make a double batch because I must have it for the leftovers.

The Wine

Can’t forget the wine, this year I have a magnum of Christian Bernard Select Black Gamay (A beaujolais), I also have Rioja, 2001 R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia,  Pernand-Vergelesses 2008, premier Cru Sous Fretille (Grand Vin du Bourgogne) I’ll pop the bubbly with dessert and serve coffee too. What are you drinking?

Holiday Dressing Or Stuffing

Dressing or Stuffing

Dressing or Stuffing

I’ve posted this recipe before, its what I make every single Thanksgiving and have been doing so for many years. This recipe has undergone some changes over time, but has essentially remained the same for a while now. There are a lot of components but it’s pretty straightforward and easy to make. I don’t feed an army but make enough for a small army, everyone wants to take some of this home. I like to use cornbread in my dressing and a little bread cubes, lots of nuts, walnuts and pecans and I add them to the usual suspects, onion, celery etc… You can make it vegetarian by simply omitting the bacon and chicken stock (use vegetable stock instead), I’ve done that and it’s still really good.

Makes A lot of dressing/stuffing

Double your favorite recipe for cornbread (I use the recipe on the cornmeal package)

4 cups  cubed herbed bread

2 cups  ground walnuts

2 cups  chopped pecans

1 Chopped white or yellow onion

1 Chopped Granny Smith Apple skin removed chopped into bite size pieces

2 cups chopped celery chopped

1 Pomegranate with the seeds removed its approximately one cup.(OPTIONAL)

1 pound good quality bacon cooked until crisp and broken into small pieces

2 tbs bacon fat

2-3 cups chicken stock (add in installments you don’t want your stuffing to wet)

2 large eggs lightly beaten

1/2 cup milk or half and half

2-4 teaspoons dried sage (If using fresh sage increase the amount to suit your taste)

2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper (black, mixed, your choice)

4-6 tablespoons butter to saute vegetables

  1. Double a recipe for cornbread, I like to bake it a day or two before I make the stuffing cut into cubes or break off small chunks and set out on a baking sheet to dry or you can scatter on two baking sheets and bake in a 200 degree oven until dried.You can also air dry uncovered but its quicker in the oven.
  2. You can make your own herbed bread cubes by cutting a day old loaf of artisan bread into cubes, toss with some chopped herbs (I like sage) a little olive oil and bake in a 200 degree oven until bread is toasted or you can use bagged cubed herbed bread if you wish
  3. Grind walnuts in food processor and roast in fry pan on low heat careful not to burn, You will know they are done when you can smell the walnuts.
  4. Chop pecans, onion, apple and celery. Melt butter (You can use olive oil if you like) in saute pan add the onions and celery saute until onions are translucent then add the pecans, pomegranate,apple and the sage continue cooking until the ingredients are cooked through but not mushy. Fry the bacon until its crisp break into bite size pieces set aside.Reserve 2 tbs of bacon fat.
  5. In large mixing bowl add the cornbread and bread cubes. Add all the other ingredients Toss to mix careful not to over mix you want the breads to retain its shape as much as possible. Now add the chicken stock, eggs and milk and mix everything together. Adjust seasoning, add salt if you wish or more sage to suit your taste.
  6. Butter your casserole or baking pan and put your dressing in. Bake covered with foil in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes then to crisp the top drizzle some of the pan juices from the turkey on top and put in broiler for a few minutes until the top is crisp. You can make this a day ahead and then refrigerate.(Let sit at room temperature for an hour before baking) NOTE: I like to cover and bake then crisp in the broiler you can with very good results just bake uncovered for 30-45 minutes.
  7. I like to use as few pans as possible, in the morning I add the dried cornbread and bread cubes to a large mixing bowl and add what I cooked to the bowl as I go using the same saute pan for everything. Since there are so many steps here I find this makes sense. In the end I only have one saute pan to wash.

Potato Dinner Rolls

Just out of the oven

This is my go to recipe for dinner rolls on Thanksgiving, the rolls are soft and flavorful and are very simple to make.  It was the only bread that I would make for the longest time partly because it’s so easy to make but really because they are so good.  The dough is silky smooth and handles beautifully, I make it in my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, it does the kneading for me. The recipe makes approximately 16 rolls and they freeze well so bake them, wrap well and freeze. This recipe is from King Arthur Flour under the title Amish Dinner Rolls.


2 Large eggs lightly beaten and at room temperature

1/3 cups sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons Butter at room temperature

1 cup unseasoned mashed potatoes

2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

3/4 cups potato water (from the potato you boil ) cooled to room temperature

4 1/4 cups all purpose flour

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook combine all of the ingredients. Mix until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl, approximately 6 minutes. The dough should be smooth and shiny, its a very soft dough and you might be tempted to add more flour, don’t do it that is the way it is supposed to be. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, turn the dough so that its coated with the oil. Cover the bowl in plastic wrap, then cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise until its doubled in bulk in a warm place for 90 minutes.

Ready for first rise
After almost 2 hours doubled in bulk

Once the dough has risen, remove from the bowl and on a lightly floured surface divide the dough into 16 pieces (if you want larger rolls like a sandwich roll you can make larger balls), each piece should be about the size of a handball. Gently roll the dough in your cupped hands until it forms a nice round ball.

Place the dough balls onto a parchment lined baking sheet leaving about 2 inches between each (You will have to use 2 sheet pans) Cover with well oiled plastic wrap and place a kitchen towel over them and let them rise again for 2 hours, the dough has risen sufficiently when you gently press with your finger and the indent stays. Alternatively you can refrigerate the dough balls overnight and continue the rise in the morning.

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

After the rolls have risen for 2 hours place in your pre-heated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. They will be golden brown and when you tap them with your finger there will be a hollow sound. Brush the tops of the rolls with melted butter,