Monday, November 23, 2009

I'll Turn On My Oven For This

We celebrate Thanksgiving with just our nuclear family. In 2005, we were married the Saturday before Thanksgiving and I shared my birthday with Thanksgiving day. As newlyweds, we had decided we would alternate years between in-laws for Easter and Christmas, and wanted Thanksgiving to be all our own.

That first Thanksgiving, my twenty-first birthday, I had bought two turkey legs, thinking we could not afford a whole turkey. I bought a box of stuffing and made my Grammy's recipe for mashed potatoes. Of course, my Grammy's recipe was to feed twenty, so I cut it in half. I opened a can of corn, dumped it in a bowl and popped it in the microwave. I also bought two of those individual pies, pumpkin flavored. I think I bought a can of refrigerator rolls, too.

This year's Thanksgiving menu looks quite different.

Turkey with gravy - The best sale we have here for turkey is for $0.40 per pound. I have bought two and already cooked one. We've eaten about half of it. I might buy a third. I just cook turkey according to the package directions, in the oven, but if you need help, you can call the Butterball hot line, 1-800-BUTTERBALL (1-800-288-8372).

Sourdough rolls - I'm using my regular bread recipe but forming the dough into rolls. I might get real spiffy and try crescents.

Sourdough stuffing - I'm making a regular loaf of sourdough bread and making it into basic bread stuffing. I'm taking out the water and poultry seasoning in this recipe and using broth, sage, thyme and parsley instead.

Crock Pot Applesauce - I'm making it from the rest of the apples from my mom's orchard, stevia, cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of cloves.

Corn - I went to Whole Foods and got some of their organic frozen corn for a special treat. This will be a GMO free Thanksgiving, except for the turkey's feed.

Mashed Potato - They will be mashed with my cream cheese and fresh grown green onions.

Blender Egg Nog - I sometimes get eggs from my step-mom, who keeps chickens, but if you're worried about consuming raw eggs, the cooked egg nog recipe doesn't look too difficult.

Pumpkin Custard - This is basically pumpkin pie filling without the crust.

Do you think we'll have enough?

Once again, we were offered a Thanksgiving basket from our church. This year, an elder graciously called with the offer, as opposed to last year when a lady we didn't know approached us telling us she had our turkey in her car. We didn't feel uncomfortable with the offer this year and are thankful to be loved.


crabcakes said...


Happy Birthday! Which day is it this year? Mine is the 27th :).

Anonymous said...

I scored our Butterball turkey for 19 cents a pound at Walmart last June. I hate turkey, but my hubby and son love it.

Emily said...

carbcakes, mine is tomorrow, and I'll be writing about it. Happy Birthday to you, too!

Anon, good deal! This Thanksgiving at Walmart, turkey has been at $0.98 per pound, and advertised as a sale. That's no sale!

S said...

I would just add a veggie... guess it is just me but I consider corn and potatos to be "carbs" and always try to have a green/orange veggies to eat too.
Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary!!!

Esther @ Whatcha Eatin'? said...

I'm I wrong but I thought sweet corn was pretty safe, rarely GMO. The frozen and chip corn are ok just not he everything else corn, corn syrup, citric acid....

Lindsey in AL said...

I was supposed to be born on Thanksgiving- my birthday is still 2 weeks away :D

Have you tried making applesauce without any sweetening? I made a ton last year (canned it even!) and it's just apples. It was awesome and my kids all loved it. For the record, their tastebuds aren't like your kids'. They insist on something sweet in their oatmeal.

Emily said...

S, I consider both corn and pumpkin to be vegetables. Some disagree, but I don't think pumpkin turns into not-a-vegetable becuase I put eggs, milk, herbs and spices into it. (:

Esther, I wouldn't consider it safe unless it said so. If you have info that it is safe, though, I would love to know.

Lindsay, I love the taste of the spices in applesauce, but I bet I could do without the stevia. I'll give it a try.

Linda said...

Wonderful menu and love the sour dough bread. Happy Birthday (tomorrow) and have a wonderful holiday with your family!

Early Modern Mom said...

Sounds like a delicious menu. I still don't know what we're going to do for Thanksgiving; there's yucky stuff in our life right now, and if I could put the holiday off for a week I happily would. God has his timing though, so I figure He knows I need to deal with it now, not later.

I found Jennie-O turkey for $0.35/pound at the Kroger's by my house, and the store brand was $0.27/pound. I'm tempted to buy two of them, but Mark and I are the only ones in our house who eat meat. I think the meat would be wasted on us.

I did buy some butternut squash last night, and while I don't know what I'll do with it yet, I'm looking forward to it.

Organizing Mommy said...

Wow! $.40 a pound if fabulous! I think the cheapest I've seen is $.79. I so appreciate your views on everything. I think you are doing the right things, and encouraging others to do so. You look so young--you ARE so young. How do you know so much? I am 40, and I have spent the entire 19 years of my marriage being a homemaker, and I still have so much to learn. I think the problem is that my husband made so much money when we were first married. Anyway, I'm learning now.

Clisby said...

Technically, pumpkin is a fruit, but why get nitpicky at Thanksgiving? And Happy Birthday!

crabcakes said...

We put green veggies on the table at thanksgiving, but no one touches them. One day a year to fill up on potatos and stuffing and gravy is no big deal. Yum!

I've got a quart of cranberry sauce I made all ready to go. (cranberry sauce is the easiest thing to make in the world really). And I'll be travelling "home" for Thanksgiving so all we need to do is make a pie or something.

Blessings to all!

Anonymous said...

My son's birthday is tomorrow as well.Happy Birthday--November babies are special!! May God continue to bless you and your family.

Patty said...

Just celebrated my brother in law and my father in laws birthdays this past weekend. My mom's birthday is Thanksgiving day this year. We'll be driving to see her that day.
I think it is great that you got the family to agree on Christmas and Easter and proclaimed Thanksgiving for yourself!!! Getting the families coordinated is a big task in married life.

Atheist Mama said...

Well, my thanksgiving will look a tad different than yours - considering I don't eat meat...but sounds good to me.

Like a few others said, I'd add a green veggie...I do think pumpkin & corn count - but I like color :)

We usually always have a side salad and/or brussel sprouts at our thanksgiving dinner...I love brussel sprouts so I eat those and take a little salad out of obligation, haha!

(It lets me feel a little healthier about gorging myself, lol!)

Esther @ Whatcha eatin? said...

This is all I found right off hand, after looking a bit more it looks like organic corn for us! This is a government document if that tells you anything:D

Simple in France said...

Emily, I love your idea for sourdough stuffing. I'll have to try that when I get back to France. Since I'm visiting family and they have tons of bread--even in the freezer--I won't be making any here, I think. But it sounds wonderful!

As for the green veggies, I don't see why one must eat green veggies at every meal. I always make green beans (boiled for 5 minutes, sauteed in olive oil and shallots and topped with lemon zest and nuts). I make them because my family eats them, though. We've decided to nix the green salad this year because no body ever eats it at Thanksgiving!

I think your feast sounds fantastic as is. I like the idea of applesauce at Thanksgiving--sounds good!

Happy Birthday and anniversary.

Anonymous said...

All (nothing's ever 100% is it?) vegetables and fruits are carbs. I would knock out the potatoes and corn and do a very small serving of the pumpkin for myself. And I do have cheap pumpkin from Halloween!

We have no idea what we're doing. I caught a vicious cold last week and am not up for Thanksgiving. My partner says he's going to do the turkey. I guess I'll do pumpkin, and that looks about it. -Cris

Rachel said...

Emily, I love that you set aside Thanksgiving for just your family. Wish I had done the same. My parents are divorced, and in order not to leave anyone out we have most holidays at my house, because everyone will come here. It is neutral ground I guess. But it does get tiresome.

My dad just found out that he is borderline diabetic. So I am having to make some changes in dinner, mostly just by adding a salad and a sugar free dessert. Since I am in the south our menu is a little different. We will have turkey, I am following a Southern Living recipe. It says that a 14 lb. turkey (which is the exact size I have) only needs to cook 2 to 2 1/2 hours at 350. That just does not sound like long enough to me, any advice on the time and temperature? My mom always makes the dressing. It is made from a pan of cornbread, chicken broth, seasonings, and chopped boiled eggs, the best stuff ever! We will also have what we call field peas, candied yams, creamed corn and english peas. My mom is also bringing a lemon cheesecake, this is not a cheesecake as you know it. It is actually a cake. It is white cake and has this very thin lemon icing on it. It's something the older ladies made years ago, and hardly anyone makes it today. I just hope I am over this sinus infection and feeling 100% better by Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

dust in the wind said...

Emily, Thanks for sharing. I am pretty excited about making my own eggnog now after seeing the recipes you included. We LOVE eggnog, but it is so expensive in the stores! I am loving this whole MIY movement. Thanks for inspiring me to make pickles and yogurt, sour cream, and cream cheese too! I've just started making tortillas from scratch and freezing them and they are WAY better then what we used to buy in the stores. Keep up the inspiring posts!

Also, have you tried making your own beauty products? I have started in on some stuff, am saving a ton, and am loving it. Face wash, shampoo, deodorant, eye makeup remover. I have been shocked by how easy it can be and how wonderful the results are. Makes sense I guess. People were cleaning themselves 300 years ago!

Stacy said...

There's a very good resource on the Environmental Working Group's website ( on the produce with the most and least pesticides. Corn is considered safe. The list that shows the rankings, least safe to most safe is at This has been very helpful to me in shopping wisely--buying the safe produce non-organic and the unsafe produce organic. Three that we eat often at our house turned out to be unsafe, so I always buy them organic now. Likewise, I've added new items to our menus that are safe--we get to try some different dishes and don't have to pay organic prices.

Emily said...

Org Mommy, necessity is the mother of invention.

Clisby, never would have guessed that!

Esther, thanks for the link.

Cris, I agree, everything that's not turkey will be carbs. I'll probably just be sampling everything but the pumpkin, which I'll help myself to.

dust, I have not tried many beauty products, but they are on my to list when we get through our current stock.

Rachel, the instructions on my turkey say cook at 325, a 14 pound turkey for 3 3/4 hrs, unless stuffed, then 4-4 1/4 hrs. 2 1/2 hours doesn't sound like enough, but it might be at 350.

Captain Cleavage said...

mmm thanksgivng...My hsband says i get a glazed look in my eye around the food and can be scary! lol. Question...I looove egg nog (didn't know it was made from raw eggs though) but Im guessing being pregnant I should try the cooked egg nog recipie right?

Anonymous said...

2 1/2 hours at 350 sounds about right. The best way to make sure that poultry is cooked is to make sure that the juices run clear. A lot of people insist on roasting the turkey for a long time at a low temp, which really isn't needed. A shorter cooking time at a higher temp works just as well, and is a lot less work.

Its also worthwhile to look for deals on free range birds. I got a free range, pasture raised turkey for $1.25 a pound. Not super-duper cheap, but a much higher quality, tastier bird than a .30 cent Butterball turkey.

Penny Saver said...


I got a free turkey for spending $100 on groceries earlier in the month, but I won't be using it this week. We're going to my parents' house this year. My mom is making turkey, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce. I'm bringing mashed potatoes, green beans with walnuts and balsamic glaze (fancy!), and pumpkin pie. Spread the work, spread the cost, share the day with people we love. Can't beat that!

Clisby said...

Atheist Mama: I love brussels sprouts, too, and that was always a part of my family's Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Sadly, I now have my own family of non-BS lovers, so I don't bother anymore.

We almost never have Thanksgiving at home - we go either to my brother's house (an hour away) or to our cousins' in Georgia (5 hours away) for Thanksgiving. This year, we'll be at my brother's house, and our job is to bring dressing. Because those *heathens* will not have dressing unless we provide it. I don't know what they're thinking. This year, it will be my husband's bread dressing. If I were making it, it would be cornbread dressing (much like Rachel's but no hard-boiled eggs, and add in chopped onion and celery). One year, we made duelling dressings - I won by a hair, but it was probably a cultural fluke since this was a Southern audience and we expect cornbread in our dressing. In Ohio, I'm sure he'd have won.

Emily said...

Captain Cleavage, I would go with the cooked one to be safe, and eggs are super good for your baby, so indulge!

Clisby and Rachel, I'm a litte confused about what dressing is. Is that like gravy?

Clisby said...

Dressing is the same as stuffing, but it's not cooked in the turkey - it's baked as a side dish. If we were making our own turkey, we'd stuff it. However, my brother fries his turkey, so it can't be stuffed. What would otherwise be stuffing is baked - it usually requires more chicken/turkey/giblet/whatever broth, because it isn't absorbing juice from the bird. Other than that, it's pretty much the same, except that I don't think you can beat the flavor of stuffing that's cooked in the turkey itself.

amulbunny said...

I got my turkey for $5 (14.30 lbs) when I shopped at Vons (Safeway) and spent 25$.It's defrosting in my sons fridge since I have no room in mine. Had to buy groceries anyway, so my mom also got one which is in my freezer. I'll be doing the gizzards and liver tonight to grind for the stuffing, which is bread stuffing with celery, onion and stock and spices. We'll have our usual green beans something, and yam balls, mashed potatoes and gravy. I'll make the fresh cranberries today and store them away in the fridge.

We're taking the entire dinner to my moms' since she is 85 and it's too much work for her. My daughter has to be at work at 1AM Friday morning so she'll eat and bail. I'm just hoping that my son can get off work a little earlier on Thursday so we can eat not too late.

Have a great day!

Rachel said...

Thanks for the advice on the time needed to cook the turkey. I honestly thought I would have to be up at the crack of dawn to get it in the oven, but looks like I can wait till the afternoon. We will eat around 5, since my husband has to work till 3:30.

Captain cleavage, my dughter gets that glazed look in her eyes as well. She loves Thanksgiving! She will be at her in-laws up in Georgia. I'm really looking forward to the day. When I was growing up there were always aunts and uncles, cousins around. Not that way anymore. Kind of sad.

Jen said...

Your Thanksgiving dinner sounds delicious Emily! We too declared Thanksgiving for ourselves. It will be me, my husband, and our almost 2 year old son. I will go overboard with the food anyway. :) We LOVE leftovers!

I really wanted to buy a fresh, pastured turkey this year, but I already have one in the freezer that needs to be used, purchased on sale last year. Today my husband's company gave him a coupon for a free turkey... so now I have two. Maybe next year.

I am simplifying our menu a bit though. We will have turkey and gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole (a tradition that I will make with no processed ingredients), a cheesy broccoli casserole, homemade dinner rolls, sweet potatoes and my husband's favorite... blueberry pie. YUM!!!

Stacy: the problem with non-organic corn isn't the pesticides, and whatever other toxic stuff they use on it. The problem is that it is almost certainly genetically modified.

Anita (Living, Loving and Learning) said...

40cents a pound is what we paid for our turkey too. Thankfully our local grocer ran a wonderful sale that gave me a great break on my Thankgiving meal.

I also wanted to let you know that I'm doing a series on my blog 10 Main Dishes for $5.00. My goal is to come up with 10 hearty main dishes that will cost less then $5 to make. It's something I'm challenging myself to do so I can make a frugal cookbook for my daughter who will one day become a wife and mother too.


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