November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving At Our House

American Thanksgiving is upon us. Anybody willing to swap recipes and traditions (no matter when or where you celebrate)?

Thanksgiving Dinner at Our House

Roast Turkey
Cornbread Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole
Honey Baked Squash
Mrs. Yeaman's Refrigerator Rolls
Cranberry Jelly
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie

I don't have a special recipe for roasting my turkey, nor for my gravy. For the turkey though, I have the best results with a roasting bag. Also, my cranberry jelly is commercial canned (though I did find organic). Hopefully that will change, because I'm going to be planting two American cranberry bushes this fall. Here are the recipes that are special to me however:

Cornbread Stuffing

I grew up in the North, where bread stuffing is the norm. It didn't take too many Thanksgivings in the South however, to quickly become a cornbread stuffing convert.

1, 8" pan of your favorite cornbread (skillet preferred, can make ahead)
3/4 cup onion, minced
1 & 1/2 cup celery with leaves, chopped
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp salt
1 & 1/2 tsp dried sage leaves, crushed
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp pepper
cooked giblets & their cooking water

Break cornbread into fine crumbs & place in large mixing bowl. In frying pan, melt butter and saute onion & celery. Stir onions, celery, and seasonings into cornbread crumbs, mix well.  In a blender, liquefy the cooked giblets and about 2 cups or so of their cooking water (this is to disguise them from the fussiest eaters). Stir in enough of this liquid to make a sticky paste. This makes a moist, tasty, stuffing. Save leftover liquid for gravy or soup. Stuff turkey and cook according to directions.

Green Bean Casserole

This is a classic recipe, with personal modifications noted.

1 quart home canned green beans (may substitute frozen or 2, 15 oz. cans)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I like Annie's Organic semi-condensed)
1/2 can milk (I often substitute unsweetened almond milk)
1 & 1/3 cup crispy canned onion rings (organic, non-trans fat preferred)
salt & pepper to taste

Mix soup, milk and pepper in a casserole dish (I use a 2 quart round). Stir in beans and 2/3 cup of the onions. Bake about 25 minutes or so, at 350 degrees F. Top with the remaining 2/3 cup fried onions and bake another 5 minutes or until the onions are toasted.

Honey Baked Squash

I'm going to be trying this with my buttercup squash this year.

Halve winter squash of choice. Scoop out seeds. Put a huge blop of butter in the hollow. Fill with honey. Place squash in baking dish with about a half inch of water in bottom. Sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg if desired. Cover with foil. Bake at 400F for about 30 mins. One squash = 2 servings

Mrs. Yeaman's Refrigerator Rolls

We always ate Thanksgiving dinner at my grandparents' house. This is the recipe my Gramma Wilson used for holidays, and I have no clue as to who Mrs. Yeaman was. This is a plan ahead recipe, as you will need one cup of leftover mashed potatoes. It's good for a company meal because the dough is also made ahead, and rises in the refrigerator. It makes the best ever rolls.

1 yeast cake (or 1 packet yeast, or 2 tsp dry bulk yeast)
1/2 cup warm water
2/3 cup shortening (best with organic palm)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup mashed potatoes (from fresh makes the tastiest rolls)
1 cup scalded* milk
2 eggs, well beaten
flour to make stiff dough (I use unbleached all-purpose)

*A note about the milk. This is a very old recipe and probably used raw milk. Heated would do if pasteurized milk is used. It needs to be warm enough to soften &/or melt the shortening.

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water; set aside. To scaled milk add shortening, salt, sugar and mashed potatoes. When cool, add yeast mixture. Mix thoroughly and add eggs. Stir in enough flour to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto floured board and knead well. Put into bowl large enough to allow for rising. Cover with damp cloth, put a tight lid on the bowl, and refrigerate. When ready to use, shape and let rise till double in bulk. Bake at 425 F for 15 to 20 minutes.

Pumpkin Pie

I'll have to refer you to another post, here. I use my recipe for Sweet Potato Honey Pie, substituting my homegrown pumpkin for the sweet potatoes. Serve with organic whipped cream.

Apple Pie

This one too, is on another post, here.

Thanksgiving Traditions at Our House

Traditional foods, of course. :)

At our house this is a sit-down, family style, no TV, no football (gasp) meal. We use good dishes, serving dishes, cloth table cloth, candles, centerpiece, and even bread and butter plates. I think these are part of what make a meal special.

When the kids were little, I would tape a huge sheet of drawing paper to the refrigerator door, around the first of November. All month long, everyone would write or draw things they were thankful for. Guests were encouraged to participate too. By Thanksgiving, we had quite a work of art, and we were reminded to be thankful everyday, rather than just one.

This one from my childhood. My grandmother's family was from Cape Cod. One tradition I remember as a wee girl (this was both Thanksgiving and Christmas), was that of serving orange sherbet in special crystal cups at the beginning of dinner. My mother told me it was to cleanse the pallet, which was over my head at the time. This formal dinner tradition is long lost in this country. To a little girl, it was very special and I liked it because it meant two "desserts".

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Holiday Season at our house. It is followed by DD's birthday (which falls on Thanksgiving day on occasion), Advent, Christmas, DS's birthday, and ends with New Year's. Since we don't have a TV service, we can't participate in the traditional New Year's Day parade and football games. Instead, we pop in a tape of the 1995 Mummer's Parade (DH is from South Jersey) and watch football movies. Not the same as the real things, but it's the tradition at our house.

That's it for our Thanksgiving (and more) traditions and recipes. I'd love to hear about yours.

Thanksgiving At Our House  © November 2010 by Leigh at


Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Your menu looks fantastic! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Anonymous said...

Great menu and traditions! I make cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries (B.C. is a big cranberry producing area). We also have mashed carrots and parsnips. Also squash roasted with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. (I know olive oil doesn't fit the close to home rule tho!) And brussel sprouts. My turkey stuffing is a bread stuffing with cranberries and apples and lots of herbs. Happy Thanksgiving to our neighbours!

Renee Nefe said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
This year is going to be our first Thanksgiving dinner on our own for a very long time. We were invited to my brother's but declined because his place is going to be a mad house. ;o)
we're having Turkey, Mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, corn, green beans (not casserole), butter nut squash, sauteed mushrooms (instead of stuffing), canned cranberry jelly, pumpkin dessert.
I'm going to have a chat today with my daughter and see if she'll help me make the meal.

Mama Pea said...

I'm being a total rebel and refusing to do the whole traditional Thanksgiving meal this year, but yours is making my mouth water.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with your family!

Nina said...

Happy Thanksgiving. Your menu looks like a veritable feast. We have a vegetarian and a vegan in our household so holiday meals tend towards the eclectic and sometimes non-traditional when we gather together.

Tami said...


Nuff said. (grin)

Happy Thanksgiving Leigh!!!!
Happy Birthday Dan!!!!

upinak said...

Oh Leigh... I have a recipe for you on my blog. Go check.. you will DIE, probably from the caloric intake. ;)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Leigh said...

Ocean thanks! The same to you!

Evelyn, ah yes olive oil. I love olive oil and ponder that it isn't at all local. I'm thinking about planting an olive tree! There are a few varieties that might make it here.

Renee, good for you, lots of yummy veggies to go with that bird! Does Darly enjoy cooking? Heather did so it was always easy to recruit her help, especially when I let her pick which dishes she wanted to be in charge of. :)

Mama Pea, well, that could be a tradition too. :)

Nina, oh yes, that would make for some interesting nontraditional traditions! Have you ever tried one of those vegetarian "turkeys"?

Tammy, Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

Upinak, oh my, what a pie. I never would have thought to try pumpkin, peanut better and chocolate (via the nutella) together but man does it sound good.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Theresa said...

Lovely menu! This years menu looks similar. Turkey, simple bread herb stuffing, gravy made from juices, mashed spuds, lightly steamed broccoli and homemade
cranberry sauce/jelly with oranges. No soup or extra sides this year. We simply can't eat that much food and there is only us this year. Oh and pie and ice cream.
And yes, there will be football. ;)
Have wonderful day!

Woolly Bits said...

happy thanksgiving, Leigh!

luckily we don't have this feast, which means one less cooking ordeal for me:)) we have loads of traditions in germany and as many again over here - but actually we are not very traditional in our christmas food approach. I remember the shocked face of an irish neighbour, when I told him on my first christmas here, that we are eating lasagne:)) the one thing I always do though - I make my own cookies and lots of them... if I can find the time I'll make a new page with recipes on my blog.... our "pre-christmas" advent time starts this sunday!!

Mr. H. said...

Your thanksgiving meal sounds delicious and I love how you make your squash. I will try that.

One of the dishes that has become a tradition for us is "Orange Pecan Sweet Potatoes." This dish is not very healthy and we do not grow any of the ingredients. That said, it is one of the few dishes we can get my "picky" side of the family to eat at family gatherings...and it does taste pretty good too.:)

Orange Pecan Sweet Potatoes -


4 large sweet potatoes, peeled, chunked and cooked

1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon Corn Starch

1 cup orange juice

2+ tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Lightly butter a 3 quart baking dish and add sweet potatoes and pecans.

Combine brown sugar and corn starch in a small saucepan. Gradually add orange juice, whisking to blend.

Cook over high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from heat; add butter and vanilla. Pour over sweet potatoes.

Bake in preheated 350°F oven for 45 minutes, until edges are browned and bubbly.

Razzberry Corner said...

Oh, your meal sounds wonderful! I just made a blueberry/blackberry pie and a traditional pumpkin tie. The turkey's in the oven, the yams are waiting to go in. I love thanksgiving for it's traditions!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!!

Mr. H. said...

OOPS! I forgot to mention that we sprinkle a 1/2 cup of raw cranberries on the top before it goes into the oven...the one ingredient that we actually foraged ourselves.:)

Vicki said...

Happy Thanksgiving Leigh. I hope it is a wonderful one. It certainly sounds like an amazingly delicious one!

Tina T-P said...

Hi - I hope you had a wonderful day! Happy Thanksgiving my friend! T.