Giving Thanks

Every autumn we pause and review our blessings. I, for one, am grateful to be able access my website – an error sent it into oblivion for the past few weeks. Today it’s back!

A wise man once said, “…things could be better, but they could also be worse.”

This Thanksgiving as we are caretaking for my elderly Mom, we needed to stay home. We moved our dinner to Wednesday night to be able to celebrate with our son and his wife who were heading to Wyoming on Thursday to be with her family and help vaccinate their 300 head of cattle. We invited friends Alexis and John to join us. Alexis observes the laws of kosher eating so we needed to be careful with the menu.

I was finding challenges planning for our meal so I decided to raid my stash of props and dishes and see what I could do using what I already had. I spent less than $10, yes it helps that I had a catering business a while back…

Tim’s herbed turkey was a show-stopper!
I spent less than $10 for decorations; a beautiful bunch of discounted flowers at the grocery store made a lovely centerpiece in a pumpkin tureen. I used candles we had on hand, napkins left over from Tim and Hannah’s wedding and all the green and brown dishes I could find!
A rustic crate, metal pie rack, lanterns and candles added a homey touch.

We have our favorite Thanksgiving menu every year, but I’m always looking for new foods to freshen up the traditions. This year we added cranberry salsa. I’m not fan of the fresh cranberry and orange rind recipe, this added just the right touch of heat. This is the third time I’ve made it and we finally hit the jackpot!

Fresh Cranberry Salsa

1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries (remove a few for garnish)

1 bunch cilantro, stems removed and leaves chopped coarsely

1 bunch green onions, cut into 3 inch lengths

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

1/4 cup Nellie and Joe’s key lime juice

1/2 cup white sugar

1 pinch salt

Coarsely chop cranberries in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a medium blade, set aside. Chop cilantro, green onions and jalapeno peppers. Stir together with cranberries, lime juice, sugar, and salt. Refrigerate if not using immediately. Serve at room temperature as a condiment or spoon over cream cheese and serve with Breton crackers.

This is our traditional menu, started by my Mom and maybe hers before her. I remember my grandmother talking about having to scald and take the feathers out of fresh poultry. She said by the time she was done she didn’t feel like eating it!


Roast turkey, herbed if you are lucky enough to have Tim prepare it 😉

Mashed potatoes – this year I cooked them ahead of time. After reheating them, we added cream, milk, butter, salt and pepper. Apparently if you cook them, then chill them, the cooling does something amazing to the texture. We were happy with the results.

Herbed gravy – turkey drippings and broth, thickened with cornstarch and seasoned with fresh sage and rosemary.

Sweet potatoes, if you rub the skins with vegetable oil before baking, they will slip right off. We served them plain for purists and Tim made a souffle with coconut milk and maple crunch topping.

Green bean casserole, yes, the French’s onion ring classic. No alterations, this is my husband’s favorite part of the dinner.

Cornbread stuffing, I do not like the soggy stuff that we dig out of the turkey. This year I tried Mrs. Cubbison’s cornbread stuffing mix lite recipe cooked in a crockpot. The celery and onions were sauteed before adding the stuffing mix, butter and broth. Try substituting broth for part of the butter, you will not miss the calories at all. I added dry sage and cooked it in a plaid crockpot for 1 1/2 hours on high. Perfection. We offered toasted pecans on the side (bake 7 minutes at 350 degrees.)

Cranberry salsa and whole berry sauce (canned organic)

Ambrosia or 5 Cup Salad – a recipe from an earlier era. The sweetness balances the saltiness of the other dishes.

1 cup miniature marshmallows

1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1 cup sour cream

1 cup canned pineapple tidbits, drained

1 cup mandarin oranges, draind

Fold together gently and refrigerate overnight.

Rolls, butter and jam

Martinelli’s blush and mango apple ciders

Pumpkin pie cake

Pecan pie

Key Lime Pie (recipe on the Nellie and Joe’s Key Lime Juice bottle)

Whipped cream

To all our family and friends, we are thankful for you!