Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It's Turkey Time!

Sunday afternoon farmstands with my grandma. Love it. 

I can’t really remember if I've told you about my mom’s pet turkey yet.

But I feel like it is an appropriate story for today. His name was Ted. He was a lady.

Long story short, one house ago (military family), my mom had a wild turkey that she fed outside of the kitchen window and that my dad constantly threatened to make into dinner. She named him Ted. He was a good turkey.

In the spring, Ted the Turkey came by with his/her babies for a snack. She became Tedette (originality is not one of my mother’s strong suits). Tedette had a limp and wasn’t seen too often in the following summer, perhaps she made her way to warmer pastures (for my mom’s sake).

Turkeys are graceful, lovely and delicious animals. Not the best pets, but great centerpieces for your Thanksgiving table.

I really do love thanksgiving; it’s one of the few holidays that don’t involve over-the-top gifts and massive commercialization. It’s all about family, food and coming together. I’m into that.

This year I’m having a family thanksgiving and a friends’ thanksgiving (two things I’m definitely thankful for this year). The family one was fairly standard (with a few upgraded twists) and the friends one is going to be Southern-themed (have to spice things up a bit).

Cottage thanksgivings are the best. A crackling fire makes everything more delicious

So here are my tips for thanksgiving this year, if you’re doing it on your own for the first time, or even if you’re a vet, there might be something helpful in here:

1.       Use a bag for your turkey. Holy moly does this ever make a difference. 17 lb turkey in 2.5 hours. No prob. Easy peasy gravy? Yes please. Juicy Bird? Of course.

2.       Elevate things just a little bit. Add garlic to your brussel sprouts, and roast them rather than boil them. Crazy good, and just a little different.

3.       Switch it up! This year I made a pie combining sweet potato and pumpkin (rather than straight pumpkin) and topped it with an amaretto whipped cream. It wasn’t crazy different, but it was unexpected. People love your pumpkin/apple/pecan pie, but maybe you’ll pleasantly surprise them with something new this year.

4.       Lighter options. Now, I’m not advocating a healthy thanksgiving dinner, at all, but something on the menu that doesn’t induce “the itits” (read: food coma), might be a good option. This year: green salad with bacon vinaigrette. (read again: bacon = better).

5.       Make a plan – plan your menu around a theme or family traditions (I’ll attach mine at the bottom if you need a direction), then where you need to buy things (by store, and even grocery section so you don’t forget), then when everything needs to be started, cooked or thawed. Don’t forget that it might take a day for your turkey to defrost.

6.       Get help! Cooking with family and friends is what the holiday is all about. Rock some sweet tunes and bond with the people you love. That’s what makes this holiday my #2.

Yeah. I got the drumstick. Whatup.

My thanksgiving menu (traditional and cottage-friendly)
  • Turkey with Venison sausage, fennel, apple and nut stuffing
  • Dark ale gravy
  • Homemade cranberry sauce (easy!)
  • Brussel Sprouts roasted on the barbecue with garlic and olive oil
  • Fresh corn  
  • Mashed potatoes with herb infused cream and gruyere cheese
  • Green salad with pecans, goat cheese, dried cranberries and bacon vinaigrette
  • Warm bread with compound butter (butter mixed with herbs and cream cheese)
  • Pumpkin and sweet potato pie with Amaretto Crème Anglaise (whipped cream with sugar and vanilla) (recipe tomorrow)

*note: infusing the milk/cream for the mashed potatoes is an easy way to make them a little fancier. Just head the cream until it steams (not to boiling) with some of your favourite herbs and let it steep for a bit while you make the potatoes. (I used bay leaves, sage, and thyme). 

I hope you have a family and food-filled Thanksgiving this year! Take a nap on the couch with your head on someone's shoulder. It's really the best way. 

Much love, 


Obsessed with venison sausage stuffing. 


  1. Thanksgiving once again was a time for family, friends and of course food. Lovely blog!