Day 315 – Did they rave about your T-day dinner? If not, stop in here

It’s hard sometimes to not have traditions, my life doesn’t have the same room for the traditions I’ve always had.  Cooking the Thanksgiving meal has been one of my favorite things to do for years, it is easy and they rave about it.  If you didn’t get rave reviews, or you were just too scared to take it on.  Drop by here over this next month and I will give you everything you need to make a repeat performance at Christmas that will stun your family and friends.  I didn’t get to cook this year, so let me help you, and the best part is, it will ALL be homemade, with just a few secrets thrown in.  I will even give you the timing so that you can keep your day easy and relaxing, the only frantic time is the last 30 minutes and if you recruit a little help ahead of time, even that will go smooth.


Here’s your menu:

  • Turkey
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Gravy
  • Peas
  • Fruit Salad
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Rolls
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Whipped Cream

No yams or sweet potatoes, no green bean casseroles, nothing to yuck it up and add more work than is necessary.  You can feed an army with this as is, and everyone will walk away satisfied.  The cost is reasonable, I’ll give you some hints on what to do if you are feeding more than 10 people, otherwise, everything I give you will feed at least ten.

What to do ahead of time:  Go shopping at least three days before so if you have to buy a frozen turkey, there is time to thaw it.  That’s it – only the shopping, everything else can be done the day of.

First tasks:  Pumpkin Pie and Cranberry Sauce

Unless you are a regular pie maker, do what I do, buy the Pillsbury refrigerated rolled pie crust.  This will be the only thing that is not homemade in the whole meal, no one is going to notice by the time you serve the pie.  Things to remember:

  • Use the Libby’s pumpkin, a large can makes two pies
  • The recipe is on the can
  • Use deeper dish pie pans so it doesn’t spill over the top
  • Use a pot to mix your pumpkin ingredients, it has a handle that makes it easy to support
  • A fork is all you need to mix with, no fancy gadgets, no mixers, no Kitchen-Aid
  • Let the pie crust sit on the counter while you mix your pumpkin, then unfold it, it will break less at room temperature
  • Bake the pies until done, stick a regular table knife in the center, when it comes out clean it is done
  • Read the instructions catefully, there is a temperature change needed
  • Bake both pies at the same time

While you are making the pies, you can also make the cranberry sauce, yes, I said MAKE the cranberry sauce.  It’s so easy,

  • One bag Ocean Spray cranberries from the produce section
  • One cup water
  • One cup sugar

Put the water and sugar on the stove, heat to dissolve the sugar, then add the cranberries and bring to a boil.  ***Put a lid on it – the cranberries will spit all over every surface as they pop.  Again, the recipe is on the bag.  Most important part, when they are done cooking, drop in to a heat proof container (I use a mason jar) and put in the fridge for cooling.  If your kids are like mine, I also buy a can of the Ocean Spray jelled cranberry, just put it in the fridge when you buy it so it slices easier.  The homemade stuff is pretty tart.

Check back next week for more help on how to make your Christmas feast amazing.  If you started these tasks at 9:30, you are done with everything and have the kitchen cleaned  up and your shower taken by noon.  To make sure you don’t miss anything, click Follow, or Follow by email.  Turkey and stuffing are up next.

The one tradition I could manage this year, on Thanksgiving Day I send emails to my kids and others that are important in my life telling them why I am thankful for them.  No group stuff, this one has to be personal.


Day 337 – I thought November was a sleepy month

It seems every one of my friends started something new today to celebrate November.  Three people (all women) on my FB began a Thank you campaign – celebrating Thanksgiving with 30 days of gratefulness.  A couple of men I know started Movember clean shaven.  “Movember is all about bringing back the moustache, having fun and doing it for a serious cause; men’s health, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives. Mo Bros commit to growing a moustache for the 30 days of Movember, and in doing so become walking and talking billboards for the cause. The moustache is our ribbon, the symbol by which we generate conversations, awareness and raise funds for men’s health.” (from the Movember website)  Having just completed the pink ribbon campaign for breast cancer, Movember is the perfect followup.

Then there are thousands of us who began NaNoWriMo, an international campaign to write 50,000 words in 30 days, the size of a small novel and also NaBloPoMo – National Blog Posting Month, it’s a way to publicize your blog and get more people to read it, as well as prompting you to write more.  Apparently the writing community wants you to be prolific this month.

The NaBloPoMo event is right up my alley, I’ve been trying to write daily as it is to share my 50th year.  Read “What’s it All About” for details, but essentially, I’m celebrating the journey to my 50th birthday right now, and it’s going famously.  Already I’ve started meeting goals – I figured I’d take stock of those on the 4th, a month in to make sure I’m on track.

NaNoWriMo – or National Novel Writing Month is my second attempt.  Last year I stopped on the 15th with 15,892 words – I was already 9,113 words behind by then and didn’t know where the book was going.  This year I’m off to a good start, at least for the first day, but I really haven’t thought through the whole book yet, so I may run in to the same problems I had last year.  We’ll see, I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, life goes on, the SEMA show is happening here in Las Vegas right now, we will be headed to Baja soon for the SCORE 1000, and I’ll have to figure out how to keep my blog going south of the border.  It’s not so much the technology challenge as the mental challenge of wanting to meet goals when the Sol (both beer and sun) are flowing.  Ahhh, Baja, I can’t wait!