Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving from the Jungle Reds!

HALLIE EPHRON: Happy Thanksgiving! We're putting this together the weekend before, because today most of us will be "off duty" and on family/friends time. 

I’ll be in Brooklyn having Thanksgiving dinner with my daughters and son-in-law and my two grand grands (3 and 6 years old). It will be a wonderful exercise in chaos and overeating. 

Here's my granddaughter at Thanksgiving three years ago admiring the pies. She's got her eye on the vanilla custard pie, her dad's favorite and the one we added to the rotation in his honor.

Otherwise, our Thanksgiving dinner menu is pretty much what I grew up with:

  • Butternut squash soup topped with toasted almonds, scallions, and a dollop of sour cream 
  • Roast turkey with Pepperidge Farm stuffing
  • Gravy
  • Green beans
  • Mashed turnip (rutabaga)
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Cranberry sauce (canned, both with and without whole berries)
  • Pies: Pumpkin (with whipped cream), apple (with vanilla ice cream), and vanilla custard
  • Prosecco and sparkling cider

What I miss from my table growing up was a casserole of sweet potatoes and sliced apples, baked with maybe brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon, and probably something like apple cider. I’ve never been able to duplicate it so I'm not sure what the ingredients were. If anyone has a recipe that sounds right, please post!

Where will you be, with whom, and what’s on your table?

LUCY BURDETTE: I haven’t even gotten that far, can you imagine? We’ll be having two feasts, one with John’s tennis pals and one with our neighbors. I will do what I’m told! I have a new oven waiting for me--after 3 years of limping along--so I’m looking forward to lots of desserts! Maybe a pumpkin roll stuffed with whipped cream, or maybe go off the reservation and make a chocolate cream pie?

RHYS BOWEN: We’ll be celebrating as usual with daughter Clare and her family as well as daughter Anne from LA. Our menu will be, as usual. It will be at her house so she’ll be doing most of the cooking.

Roast turkey (organic, humanely raised)
Two types of stuffing: sausage meat and vegetarian
Mashed potatoes
Green bean casserole (at the request of son-in-law)
Roast sweet potatoes
Cranberry sauce

Apple crumble, pumpkin pie, cream, ice cream, English custard.

JENN McKINLAY: I will be driving to Flagstaff with the Hub and the Hooligans to play in the snow, hopefully, and plan to eat at a restaurant in the mountains, where someone else does the cooking and the cleaning! A perfect day!

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Well, good question! And right now, writing this, I don’t know!  But no matter what, or where, there’ll be stuffing, because even the fragrance of it and roasting turkey makes me swoon with happiness. One Thanksgiving, Jonathan and I decided to skip it, because we had no plans, but then, the day before, I couldn't stand it and raced to the grocery, and got EVERYTHING! Yum. 

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Oh, Jenn, that does sound like a perfect day! I’m having a delightfully easy one as well - going to a friend’s house, which means I only have to cook a side dish and bring a bottle. The Sailor and Veronique are staying in Virginia, which also takes some of the usual work load off me, as I won’t have to prep for any overnight guests. (Youngest is coming home from university, of course, but she gets her own previously messed up room.)

We tend to rotate Thanksgiving; hosting one year, traveling to DC for a family holiday the next, and guesting with friends the third. I must say I LOVE the last; it means I get to watch the Macy’s Parade and the Kennel Club show once every three years!

DEBORAH CROMBIE: I will be just one day home from London, still jet-lagged, so happy not to be cooking. We will go to my my Finnish aunt, who took over our big family Thanksgiving years ago when my mom got too overwhelmed by it. She does everything ahead except the turkey and gravy--much more organized than I am! I'll bring wine, and my signature cranberry relish if I can manage to make it. We'll have turkey, gravy, cornbread/sage stuffing (dressing, we say in the south!), sweet potato casserole, and hopefully some other veggie sides. The last couple of years my daughter's sauteed Brussell's sprouts with shallots have been highly requested. Hopefully afterwards we'll get in a visit with my in-laws as well, as they are only a few blocks from my aunt.

HALLIE: So where will you be and what will you be eating? (And Debs, hope you'll post your cranberry relish recipe!)


  1. We’re having a family gathering; everyone brings a dish to share and we have a wonderful time visiting with each other. I’m making deviled eggs and a pumpkin spice cake. [It’s such an effortless recipe; I made it a few years ago and ever since that’s what everyone wants me to bring. I feel a bit guilty because it’s so easy . . . .]

    Wherever you’re celebrating, I hope you have a wonderful day. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Staying home alone, on purpose. Church in the morning then oyster dress (large bread cubes in oven drying out) cranberry relish (finished and eating in the fridge), roasted Brussel sprouts and pear/app!e/cranberry turnover. I'm skipping the bird this year I can't find a breast or thigh small enough. Enjoy the parade, families and snow everyone.

  3. I love Thanksgiving and host every year! Am up starting on my bread stuffing and then making two pumpkin pies and an apple. Our long-time friends (only three this year!) will come at two bringing sides to go with our spatchcocked turkey, roasted garlic smashed potatoes, and roasted Brussels Sprouts. No sons or little ones this year, alas. Next year for sure. Have a great feast, everyone.

  4. I am here to tell you that Deb's cranberry relish is delicious! Like Deana, I'll be blissfully at home by myself today, roasting a chicken with stuffing, steamed broccoli, cranberry from a can, and some dessert I haven't decided on yet. Maybe lemon pound cake. Maybe mincemeat pie. On the other hand, it's cold and rainy here, so I may just opt for homemade chili.

    I'm off work until Monday, and I ran all my errands yesterday, so there will certainly be naps and reading in the day's mix, plus the National Dog Show because it is my border collie Zoe's favorite thing on TV. She watches the dogs with rapt attention, but sleeps through the commercials.

    Have a wonderful day, whatever you're doing!

    1. Border collies are the best!

    2. Cold and supposed to be raining here too, I hadn't thought about chili, Whole Foods is open until 2..... Nope, those people should be home too.

  5. No Thanksgiving up here on the Canadian prairie, but I wish all the Reds and their readers and fans a happy day with family, friends and food!

  6. From Quebec, Happy Thanksgiving to all my Americans Reds friends !
    Alone, with friends or family, enjoy your day and vacation !

  7. Happy Thanksgiving to all! I'll be having dinner at my son's house so it will be wonderful to spend a little time with my grandchildren. No idea exactly what we are eating but who cares!

  8. Happy thanksgiving Red Readers--we are all so grateful for you! xo

  9. Hallie, I think we were separated at birth. Your Thanksgiving menu looks exactly like mine, including the rutabagas and Pepperidge Farm stuffing. Unfortunately, we aren't having rutabagas this year, butternut squash instead, because I bought three before our roadside market closed for the season, and I needed to roast them. I didn't think about making soup. Note to self -- get more squash.

    We are going to one of the brothers today, therefore I roasted our turkey a la Hallie on Tuesday. We have one niece who is vegan, so I'm bringing my signature beans and greens for her. A big pot. The last time I did this, at the family Easter, everyone wanted some and vegan niece had to fight for her share. Who knew.

    I'm also making sausage rolls at the last minute for the carnivores. I'll get them out of the oven just as we are leaving so they will be still warm when we arrive.

    So it's the parade this morning, and family this afternoon. And somewhere in there I hope we can watch the Cowboys-Bills game. I like the sound of football on a winter holiday!

    1. Hallie, I love custard pie. My grandmother made it, and she always made a gooseberry pie to go with. She served a slice of each. They are perfect together, custard sweet and creamy along with the tartness of gooseberries

  10. Shalom Reds and fans. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I am single and my close family lives at a distance. I’ve been living in Bucks County for more than 25 years. During that time, I have been a regular attender of one church or another. So one or another of my friends would invite me to their family dinner. This year, we are going to change it up a bit. Two churches which I have a connection to, are jointly hosting an open dinner to anyone in the community who would show-up. I, my roommate and another neighbor are planning to be there. No idea what will be on the menu, but I suspect the focus of the affair will be turkey.

    After that, in the late afternoon, I will spend time with one of my closest friends and his family for coffee and pie. The kids, who were toddlers, when I first met them are now adults starting families of their own. I don’t have children, so these are my kids vicariously. They also have a Corgi, who treats me like family, which means she ignores me unless I am eating. I don’t generally give my friends dogs table scraps, but I am inclined to break the rules on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    The temperature has been mild here for the past few days. But today, a fierce wind has scattered the leaves that had been raked into nice piles by the curbs. I am a renter so I don’t have to rake leaves. I hope, however, they are vacuumed up by the borough before the first hard freeze or snow.

  11. Happy Thanksgiving to all! Turkey, Louisiana sweet potato and pecan casserole (Hallie, I can't imagine adding apples to a dish that's already perfection), green beans, Pepp Farm sausage stuffing, apple pie. My producer daughter is in charge of project basement. We're ahead of schedule, so she's running the Cincinnati 10K this morning with her dad and husband. I suspect the runners will spend the day watching the dog show and football while I search for the elusive pink Care Bear. Cincinnati Zoo lights last night.

  12. Our family Thanksgiving is on Saturday, a tradition my mother started years ago when marriages and jobs added scheduling stress. Our dinner is pretty traditional (turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, roasted Brussels sprouts with apples and bacon, fruit salad and, at last count, four kinds of pie). Every year, we talk about changing the menu and every year we decide to keep it the same (although the choice of pies may vary).

    Today, I'm home alone (happily) and will be getting house ready for the Saturday invasion. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


  13. Happy Thanksgiving you wonderful ones! Xxx

  14. Debs, I think I was a teenager when I learned that not everyone made cornbread dressing. LOL

    This is my first Thanksgiving with Celiac disease. I was horrified to learn that grocery story turkeys contain gluent (probably in the seasoning). I was torn between tears and wondering where to find the nearst Amish farm when I found that the grocery story DOES carry gluten-free turkey breasts. Whew!

  15. For the first time ever we are attending a vegan Thanksgiving at my Buddhist Center. I am not a fan of vegan (vegetarian yes). So my daughter and I are hedging our bets and roasting a turkey. I finally decided to avoid the overcooked/under cooked turkey meat by cutting up the turkey before roasting. Right now my daughter is cooking the breast. all hers. We try not to binge on holidays by breaking up the feast into daily portions/ soup on one day, stuffing on another and so on. It stretches out the prep time making it less tiring for me. My offering for the vegan meal is brussel sprouts with shallots and oyster mushrooms sauted in EVOO and cooked in an Instant Pot. One hopes it will be consumed.

    May y'all have a peaceful joyful day celebrating as you wish. With or without the bird.

  16. I'm heading to my brother's family dinner, which is a potluck surrounding the typical turkey and dressing fare. I'm taking my "famous" Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower with Rosemary and Garlic.

    Happy Thanksgiving, all!

  17. We'll be home, just my husband and I. Last year we had hot dogs (hub's request) this year we are doing full on tradition. Turkey, Pepperidge Farm stuffing, creamed spinach, hasselback potatoes (never made 'em before, but hey, why not). Made the cranberry sauce and cherry pie yesterday.

    Childhood thanksgivings were similar, but different. My mother always made a broccoli cheese casserole and a corn pudding casserole. In the spirit of the 1960s, both contained soup as a main ingredient, and candied yams were a must. I can't find the broccoli or the corn casserole recipes, discarded them in my anti-soup days, but I admit I'd like to taste them again.

  18. We are at my mother-in-law's house (because at age 91, travel is difficult for her.) I am doing the cooking, and there will be 20 of us. The menu is a blandly traditional carb-fest, which is exactly what the family wants. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, honeyed peas and carrots, corn pudding, green bean casserole, cranberry salad, Asian salad, tossed salad, and dinner rolls, with pumpkin pie for dessert.

  19. Hallie: I put on my librarian hat. Here are 3 links to sweet potato apple casserole that I think were popular back in the day. 1. 2. 3.

    Hope one of them evoked nostalgia.

  20. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, Reds and fellow Readers! We're having a quiet Thanksgiving--turkey breast, potatoes au gratin, broccoli with bacon, sweet potato casserole with pecan topping that my sister made, corn, rolls made by my brother-in-law, and pumpkin pie also courtesy of my sister. I'm trying a sort of pumpkin mousse parfait with crushed gingersnaps this year, too.

  21. I'll be at home this year with just The Hubby and the kids. We dialed way back this year: turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, beans, gravy, cranberry jelly, and apple pie (although I'll make a pumpkin over the weekend).

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

  22. Happy Thanksgiving to all the wonderful Reds and friends here on the Jungle Red Writers Blog! I'm watching some Macy's Day Thanksgiving parade, right now in the living room, but I will be going to the kitchen in a few minutes to start getting the meal geared up. My daughter Ashley and her family are here at our house, my son Kevin, and mother-in-law coming over later. All I have to cook this morning is the scalloped oysters and corn pudding. The rest will be warming up what is already fixed. Our meal will consist of:
    Mashed Potatoes (final step of baking in oven today, Kristi Belcamino's recipe)
    Scalloped Oysters
    Corn Pudding
    Green Beans
    Canned Cranberry Sauce
    Pecan Pie
    Pumpkin Pie

    Last night we had our pre-Thanksgiving meal of Baked Spaghetti, Salad, and Rolls.

    Happy eating everyone! xoxo

  23. A happy Thanksgiving to all, a pause in our hectic, full, worrisome lives. One daughter is hosting, and we are splitting the cooking. One elaborate turkey in her oven, one simple one that my husband cooks in his rotisserie ( he loves gadgets). And I do use Pepperidge Farm for the stuffing too! The very first Thanksgiving meal I made, nervous, I thought it would be the easy way, and it tasted so good I've never made it from scratch in all the decades since. I love to make different cranberry sauces but my family is happy with canned. And they'd like a Jello mold ( I blame my mother-in-law for that one.She always insisted on it) This holiday is all about nostalgia. Kids would come home from college and ask for a childhood fave - chocolate pudding pie with Reddi Whip. I draw the line there! Some years I do make a "real" chocolate tart; this year it's traditional apple pie. And maple-pecan blondies. And Persian Jeweled Rice instead of sweet potatores. Dinner will be somewhat potluck, and that's fine.All 3 grandkids, in-laws, and a couple of people far from home. Perfect! Wishing all of you the same, however you define it.

  24. I'll be at the same family friend's house that has invited me the past couple of years. Since the passing of my mom, we don't do the family gathering here at the house. Believe it or not, I actually did most of the Thanksgiving cooking for the last few years before my mom died. Yep, the biggest cooking day of the year and I did the majority of the meal. Try not to faint from this tale of me putting in effort on something.

    So I'll be at the family friend's house and it will be the same kind of stuff that most everyone else will be eating. Turkey, potatoes, some kind of vegetables, cranberry sauce or apple sauce, gravy, rolls and lots of desserts. I'm bringing an apple pie to add to the mix.

    And with the anticipated plate of leftovers I'm sure to bring home, I made sure I bought the one thing I'll need for that meal-to-be: A jar of turkey gravy!

    But that's not until this afternoon. In the meantime, I'm on a 4 1/2 day break so I'm trying to write one music article a day, plus do some reading, catch up on a TV show I'm behind on and do all the regular stuff I normally do around the house.

  25. Sitting down to take a breath here and ease my back. Of course it started hurting last night! Frank is smoking a turkey outside. I just put together the cornbread dressing to bake in a while. Bought a jar of gravy because I don't do gravy! It will be me and Frank, son Adrian, his daughter Julianna, my little brother, and our next door neighbor this year. Little brother is bringing a couple of pies to share. We have an apple pie we got from the Boy Scouts; this is one of their fund raisers and they do a good job. Julianna just made a chocolate pound cake loaf. What else? She is going to make her other grandpa's famous mashed potatoes. I'm baking some sweet potatoes right now that I will serve as is. Frank will get a spoon and eat them right out of the skin. I decided I was too stressed this year to make the infamous green stuff (do it at Christmas) or the raw cranberry orange relish. I bought a can of cranberry stuff instead since the granddaughter likes it. I bought a couple of bags of steam-it-in-the-bag veggies so something would look healthy. My neighbor was assigned bread or rolls and she will no doubt bring a bottle or two of wine. There will be wine! I will probably forget something at the last minute and find it later, but that's how it goes. It's cloudy and in the upper 60s with a 20% chance of rain. My neighbor and I may adjoin outside for our occasional ritual of porch wine. We sit on the porch, drink wine, and gossip. Don't do it nearly often enough. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  26. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

    This (and Halloween) is my favorite, because​ it's all about friends and family, without crass commercialization. It's also our big family holiday, since my daughters usually have other plans for Christmas. They all come from their faraway homes, and I love having them all under one roof. This year we have three daughters, two sons in law, a giant grandson with a newly deep voice, and two huge dogs: a chocolate Lab and a Bernese Mountain dog. Seven more family members and two neighbors are joining us.

    My turkey is in the oven, the giblets are simmering on the stove, and blackberry, pumpkin and pecan pies are made, along with fresh cranberry relish. Others are providing bread, wine, green salad, sweet potato casserole, stuffing (my kids prefer Stovetop), roasted Brussels sprouts, more pumpkin pie, and banana pudding. I am thankful for this bounty.

    I wish you all a safe and warm holiday.

  27. Happy Thanksgiving to all of the Reds Writers and Readers! Just husband and me today celebrating all we have to be grateful for. Turkey breast, dressing, twice baked potatoes,sauteed garlic green beans, rolls, cranberry sauce (must have those ridges that only the can provides!), Pumpkin pie (thank you bakery). Children and their families have been rolling through here for the last week at different times. This has resulted in a lot of cooking on my part even before today, including a big pot of chili with cornbread, barbecued salmon with brussel sprouts and salad, pizza, takeout sandwiches, all on different days. Happy to have a quiet rainy day here today with just us two and looking forward to all the leftovers!

  28. Everyone's Thanksgiving menu sounds delicious!!! I know there will be turkey and fruit salad at my relative's for Thanksgiving. We are going over today. I will find out what else there are. I think herb rolls and pumpkin pie / apple pie / blueberry pie? Since dairy and wheat does Not like me, If I see something I love like bread stuffing, I will take one bite. Hopefully one bite of something with dairy or wheat should be harmless.

    Love the gravy, which is funny because I never like gravy except once a year at this relative's for Thanksgiving.

    Happy Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving everyone!


  29. Since I had two Thanksgiving dinner at church already, senior club a few weeks ago and potluck last Sunday, I just had an omelet between washing, decorating the Christmas tree, and watching the Macy's parade. Still have the Disney Parks Parade tonight. Happy Thanksgiving to all! Your meals sound wonderful.

  30. Worked today, I work in the kitchen of a nursing home so we prepared food for all the residents and their guests. Turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, gravy, squash, coleslaw, pumpkin or peach pie & whipped cream, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls.

  31. Reading this the day after Thanksgiving and smiling! Love and happy holiday to you all ... and now leftovers for breakfast!

  32. yes, I'm reading after Thanksgiving as well, Hallie! Yesterday was spent doing last minute cooking then with family, and I didn't look at phone or computer all day. So nice to read about everyone's days here today! My daughter made a spiced rum pumpkin bundt cake which was a huge success. Maybe I'll post the recipe Christmas week! Along with my cranberry relish!