Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Blessings of My Marathon Meal

I think we should laugh more. I have been thinking about that a lot lately: How busy we are and how we enjoy life less than we should. I was also thinking about aspirations and what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be happy. It seems simple but at times it is the most challenging of goals. As is the Thanksgiving have all those menu items end at the same moment-hot! I liken it to the Boston Marathon of Meals. It is my Boston Marathon.

I start by getting all my favorite recipe books out and sorting recipes

Things that can be made ahead: Pie crusts. I made 4, just in case, and put them in the freezer. Just so you know, I only made 1 pie! And a eggnog chocolate crusted cheesecake.
Jello Salad-I call it Groot Salad now. I shared it with my good friend, one of the nicest people on the planet and now I think of her whenever I make it.

Groot Jello Salad (I have had this recipe for years and have no idea where it came from.)

  • 2 3 oz size cherry jello
  • 1 16oz whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 20oz crushed pineapple (keep 1/4 cup juice)
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 8oz cream cheese
  • 1 Tb mayo

Dissolve jello in 2 cups water. Stir in berries and pineapple. Pour 1/2 in the fridge and set 1 hour. Set rest aside.
Mix cream cheese, nuts, 1/4 cup pineapple juice, and mayo together. Layer over chilled jello. Place in fridge for 10 minutes. Pour remaining jello over top. Frig until set.

I love stuffing but I am very picky. I grew up on my mom's stove top stuffing. My grandmother puts extra celery and onion to jazz it up. I love it because it is TRADITION. Now that I am creating traditions of my own, I like a really jazzed up kind of dressing!!

Awesome Sausage, Apple, and Dried Cranberry Stuffing ( The following recipe is close with some few tweaks of my own.


  • 1 1/2 cups cubed whole wheat bread
  • 3 3/4 cups cubed white bread
  • 1 pound sausage with sage
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 granny smith apple, cored and chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried craisens
  • 1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3/4 cup stock
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Toast cubes in 350 degree oven. Toss in huge bowl.
Cook sausage and onions until browned. Add celery and spices-cook 2 minutes.
Add to bread with all remaining ingredients. Pour into a 13 x 9 pan and bake 30 min.

I vacillate between my grandmothers apple and yam casserole which is out of this world and a recipe that is in the most fantastic of cookbooks, The Pastry Queen Christmas. It has ginger in it which I love. My friend Amber doesn't care for ginger so I am adding both recipes!

Sweet Potatoes and Apples from Grandma McQuivey

  • 2 apples, sliced and peeled
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 17 oz can yams
  • 1/4 cup margarine


Toss together apples, pecans, sugar, cinnamon. Alternate layers of yams and apple mixture. Melt margarine and pour over top. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until apples are tender. (sorry grandma, I had to loss the mini mellows on top-yuck.)

Pastry Queen's Sweet Potato

  • 4-6 sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 heaping granulated sugar
  • 4 Tb melted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 tea vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • dash of cinnamon
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger

Roast sweet potatoes in a 425 degree oven after poking with fork-1 hour. Rest for 15 minutes before removing skin.
While cooking potatoes, mix sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Add potatoes and combine. Add to 13 x 9 buttered pan.
Combine topping ingredients and add to top. Bake for 30 minutes.

My pumpkin pie cracked but thanks to my eldest having a great decorating idea from family fun can't tell. Don't Cry over a Cracked Pie! That is my new motto.

Ideas for desserts:
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Easy Pie Crust
Nut Crusted Pumpkin Pie

Or this year I tried a recipe from the Lion House Pies Cookbook

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie

  • 1 9 inch pie shell
  • 1 8oz package cream cheese
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tea salt
  • 1 tea cinnamon
  • 1/2 tea nutmeg
  • 1/2 tea ground cloves
  • 1/2 tea ground ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 15 oz canned pumpkin
  • 1 tea vanilla

With mixer mix, cream cheese, sugar and all spices until fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in pumpkin and vanilla. Pour into shell. Bake 350 degrees for 55 minutes-use knife test. Cool then chill in fridg for 3-4 hours.

I tried something new this year after receiving many suggestions on facebook to do so. Brining my turkey. The recipe below is from the Good Eats Food Network Recipe Collection.



  • 1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey

For the brine:

  • 1 cup kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 gallon vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
  • 1 gallon heavily iced water

For the aromatics:

  • 1 red apple, sliced
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary
  • 6 leaves sage
  • Canola oil


2 to 3 days before roasting:
Thaw turkey in the refrigerator.
Combine the vegetable stock, salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, allspice berries, and candied ginger in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve solids and bring to a boil. Then remove the brine from the heat, cool to room temperature.
Combine the brine, water and ice in the 5-gallon bucket. Place the thawed turkey (with innards removed) breast side down in brine. If necessary, weigh down the bird to ensure it is fully immersed, cover, and refrigerate or set in cool area for 8 to 16 hours, turning the bird once half way through brining.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Remove the bird from brine and rinse inside and out with cold water. Discard the brine.
Place the bird on roasting rack inside a half sheet pan and pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the apple, onion, cinnamon stick, and 1 cup of water in a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Add steeped aromatics to the turkey's cavity along with the rosemary and sage. Tuck the wings underneath the bird and coat the skin liberally with canola oil.
Roast the turkey on lowest level of the oven at 500 degrees F for 30 minutes. Insert a probe thermometer into thickest part of the breast and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the thermometer alarm (if available) to 161 degrees F. A 14 to 16 pound bird should require a total of 2 to 2 1/2 hours of roasting. Let the turkey rest, loosely covered with foil or a large mixing bowl for 15 minutes before carving.
My favorite roll recipe is a potato roll. I tried a new recipe but could not just make one recipe. We compared the two and found that my old stand by is great. It was a request of my eldest that we have rolls. Being a very picky eater she loves bread at every meal.

Potatoe Rolls- source unknown
  • 1 pkg yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup hot mashed potatoes
  • 1/4 cup melted shortening
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup warmed milk
  • 1 1/2 tea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 4-4 1/2 cup flour

Mix all adding only 2 cups of flour at first. Add all flour until tacky dough.
Place in greased bowl. Cover, rise 1 hour.
Punch down. Rest 10 minutes
Shape into rolls. Place on greased sheets. Rise 1 hour.
400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.
Makes 2 dozen

We had a quick lesson about utensils. The girls had never seen the butter knife and wondered why we had 2 forks. We need to eat on china more often!

Relishing the relish!! I have not found a favorite recipe yet! Any ideas would be great. After dinner Joel said I was done and had crossed the finish line. I reminded him that I was just sprinting towards the end now-deboning the turkey and cleaning the kitchen!

My least favorite part but a final stretch of the meal.

This, dessert, is the final finishing line moment. Where your kitchen is clean and you get to savor the pie. The final moments of pure joy and peace.

And as I was eating, I see on our "Thankful Board" that someone else is thankful for pie too!! Other items that we are thankful for:
  • Family
  • Utensils
  • Scriptures
  • Happiness
  • Talents
  • Friends
  • Giving Love
  • Bushes
  • Pottery
  • Each other
  • Christmas Dinner (I didn't say that!!)