Thanksgiving in Texas part 2

What I like about Thanksgiving at my house is that we have an intimate gathering.  Anybody who wanted to participate in the cooking was both welcomed and encouraged!  I don’t have a very large kitchen but it doesn’t bother me to have help with such a big meal.  There was absolutely no stress and we ate dinner in our PJs so it was very informal. With the amount of food you are stuffing in, you really need the elastic waist band!

We started the turkey at 8am.  In the oven it went and my father-in-law was up bright and early to put the turkey in. The night before he rubbed it down with butter and added salt and pepper. He added a little bit of water to the roasting pan we put in the temperature probe on the breast and set the oven to cook at 350 degrees and set the internal temperature to 180.

Now for the side prep.  We made a few things the night before.  My daughter prepped vegetables and a cheese ball the night before and then started on her sweet potatoes.


The goal was dinner at noon, and at 16 pounds an approximation was made that it would take 4 hours, but a turkey takes it’s own time and the temperature probe wasn’t showing it was ready yet.  Pop was basting the bird every hour.   It was more like 1pm. He trussed the legs with dental floss before cooking, but that unraveled sometime close to the end.  I agree it looks prettier with the legs tied, but look at that golden bird…

cooked turkey

Because I don’t have a double oven, once the turkey is out the side dishes that need heating are put in.  The potatoes were cooked and waiting their turn for the oven as was the dressing/stuffing.  And of course the rolls! So we put all of that in the oven while the turkey rested enough for carving.

Now the trick is to have everything hot and ready at the same time!  Easier said than done.  As some things cool, they might need a quick trip to the microwave to warm.  Or somethings can sit in the microwave because it is directly above the cook top which is very warm with all the side dish cooking (potatoes, okra, etc.)

I did a “buffet” style setup for the food.  I put some things on my breakfast table and the other things I wanted warm on top of my cook top and the remaining things on the island counter.  I guess you can call that stations.



All of that activity and preparation ends with the grand meal time.  Which goes so fast!  I try to savor the moment.  I am very thankful for the people, the food and some time off.  I love Thanksgiving.  It’s fall at it’s best.  I do wish it would linger a little longer.  I look forward to ending the evening on this cool night, lounging on the sofa with the roaring fireplace watching TV and snuggling with my old best friend…


Thanksgiving in Texas part 2

Thanksgiving part 1

So it’s after Thanksgiving and I’m late with my blog because I was so busy. This year we went to a farm to pick up our turkey.  It is way more expensive to do this but my daughter is into no hormones added to food and organic foods as well as free-range responsibly raised animals.  So we went about 45 minutes out of town to pick up our turkey tom (which by the way is just a male turkey). Here is a pic of turkey Tom’s stomping grounds…




The turkey was sixteen pounds.  And I asked the farmer how he gets his turkeys to raise?  He told me that he orders them as hatch lings, so they are a day old when he gets them.  He orders them through the mail and they deliver them to the post office.  He has to go and pick them up from the post office.  The hatch lings have never eaten anything so he starts from there.  He feeds them an organic feed and they eat whatever else they can find in the ground.  He gets them in the late spring – early summer and raises them through the week of Thanksgiving.  So about 7 months.

I noticed there might be some people from other countries that just might come across my blog.  So a little bit about Thanksgiving in the United States as we celebrate it.  I’ve always been told that it was a meal celebrated between the pilgrims that came over from Europe to settle in America and the Indians that taught the pilgrims how to farm here. That’s what I was taught in school  I even remember making moccasins at school (to represent native Indian foot wear) and hats with cut out feathers.  I don’t remember much about the pilgrim stuff we made.  If you look on wikipedia now it doesn’t even mention Indians in Thanksgiving.  I’m kind of shocked about that.  My father in law has warned me that history is being re-written and taught in schools.  That sucks.

Really though, the holiday now is more about celebrating family, friends and what we are thankful for.  It occurs in the fall when we have cooler weather which for us is when we harvest things like pumpkin, squash, etc.  It’s always the fourth Thursday in November.  So the meal usually consists of traditional recipes in the family for that meal.  And in my family any deviation is frowned upon LOL!  It is a true eat fest with too much food and days and days of leftovers!

Thanksgiving part 1

Fall weekend wrap up

Today started out cold!  Forty-five degrees cold.  We turned on the heater for the first time this season last night.  I started the day making breakfast with the farm fresh products we bought!  Then it was off to complete my tasks!  On the list clean up the yard for guests coming for turkey day, re-wire my lights that stopped working above my desk and clean the pool.  I have been watching “Tiny Houses” on HGTV and I really think the idea of living in a tiny house like 400 square feet sounds appealing.  The house we have is big.  Lots of gardening lots of things to keep up with.  I don’t mind it.  I think I really wouldn’t mind letting go of those things in favor of less complication and more ability to do more outside.  Just have to wait for the kids to leave home.  I have two teenagers so that won’t be too long!

Here is a picture of our maple tree.  Most years during this time it has such pretty colors, orange, red and gold.  This year unfortunately the leaves just turned brown and fell off.  Not much of a fall.  It went from hot to cold with no color.


I planted this tree myself when it was about as tall as me.  That was about 7 years ago maybe.  So with the lawn complete, the pool shocked and my re-wire job done.  I finished the day with my favorite thing of all. Tennis!  My second favorite part of the day is twilight!    This is one of my favorite places in the neighborhood.  I guess you can’t see the bridge too well in this picture.  This is part of my running path.  When we first moved here 15 years ago I just couldn’t believe we lived here.  I was so grateful and hoped we would be able to stay.  That wish came true.  I am not so tied to here anymore.  It is pretty and I am very fortunate to have had this opportunity to be here.




Fall weekend wrap up

First Blog

So today I decided to start a blog.  I read up on it, it seems like people make a business out of it by promoting their products.  I just want to use it as a sort of journal.  I doubt people will read what I write about.  So maybe if I get to the point where I can’t remember, the stories and projects will be something I can read for entertainment.

Today started out rainy.  My tennis lesson was cancelled which was a big bummer because I really look forward to the exercise.  My daughter talked about going to a farmers market to get some fresh meat and vegetables.  We had to make a 45 minute trip there and back, shop, eat breakfast and be back in time for her to go to work.  And it was pouring rain!  We arrived at the small town and the major road is blocked off for a parade.  As luck would have it, we followed some other cars and ended up going through a maze of neighborhood streets for a few miles and ended up exactly at the market.  Our trip was meant to be.


My daughter has been very interested in organic vegetables and responsibly raised and treated animals.  I am intrigued by this.  I think she has a point.  I do believe that we have too many chemicals allowed in our food that is wreaking havoc on our bodies.  I also understand that to mass produce in order to feed the population it is necessary.  It’s good to have food for the many and I think it comes at a health cost.

I was really surprised to find out that the Vietnamese lady who does my nails also buys fresh meats and produce from a local farm that is sold in a Vietnamese store locally.  She rarely goes out to eat at restaurants and eats vegetables, fresh meat and rice.  I admire the fact that many Vietnamese people that I see look to be a healthy weight.  She is such a nice lady and always asks about my daughter.  She has small children of her own.

Next, we went to breakfast at a really cool Bake Shoppe.  It was owned by a really nice man and his family that made the absolute best chicken salad sandwiches and Mexican potato soup.  On weekends that had really good breakfasts.  It is now owned by a new family and they have made some major decorating changes.  The original owner would say “one for foo foo” meaning that a customer was headed towards the foo foo room.  Well, now with the new owners the foo foo room has been notched up.  BIG TIME!


The rest of my day was spent preparing for Thanksgiving.  I am really excited that we are going to have a small intimate gathering.  I set the table even though we are days away from the big day.  This year is a first in that we are buying a fresh turkey from a farmers market.  Another 45 minute drive to the actual farm.  I am really excited about this.  I wrote out the menu and set the table. The tentative menu is:

Gram’s Gravy
Gram’s Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes Savy Style
Cranberry Sauce
Green Beans
Pumpkin and Pecan Pie



Today in the stores there is Christmas music and Christmas food.  I enjoy Christmas.  I just wish that we could savor Thanksgiving more instead of rushing through it.  The rush for commercial Christmas is what bothers me most.  To me it takes the meaning out of Christmas and cheapens it.  Makes me sad.  I really do love Thanksgiving.  Even though it’s an eat fest.  It’s also a time to be with family or to volunteer time for others.  It’s a time to be grateful and to give thanks which is really important in life!

First Blog