November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu 2008

Posted in Journal, What's for Dinner tagged , , , at 5:52 pm by Jenn



The big day is right around the corner and thankfully I had two packages arrive today with ingredients that I need to make a couple of the items I plan to serve with Thanksgiving dinner (Chex Party Mix and Pecan Pie).

This year we have a little larger crowd than last.  I think the total I need to feed is 13 (plus 2 kids).  This is what I have planned. 

Thanksgiving 2008 Menu

Oven Roasted Turkey with Bread and Celery Stuffing

Slow Cooker Cola Ham

Giblet Dressing

Easy Giblet Gravy

Mashed Potatoes

Gourmet Sweet Potato Classic

Grandmas Green Bean Casserole

Red Currant Sauce 

Meesie’s Refrigerator Rolls

Pecan Pie

Perfect Pumpkin Pie 


Pumpkin Bread

Chex Mix

This year I am linking to the recipes that will serve as my guide.  I had so many requests for recipes last year that this year I decided that I will just refer people to my blog.  These recipes will get them in the ballpark anyway.  I usually find the recipe that has the best rating on, read the reviews and then modify the recipe based on my tastes and preferences.  I’ve found this to be very successful and have created some must have again dishes using this website.  Last year dinner was a huge hit so I figured I would just duplicate that effort.

I really LOVE the website.  I went on the other day, modified the recipes to the number of servings that I needed and then placed the recipe in my shopping list.  After I had added all the recipes, I print the shopping list and there neatly organized were the items that I needed to prepare the whole meal.  It gave me the amount of potatoes, flour, spice, dairy ingredients etc.   I love that feature.   Print, click and go.

I took my turkey out of the freezer on Saturday night and hopefully it will be thawed and ready to go on Thursday morning.  I made the cranberry saucered currant sauce yesterday (thinner than I’d hoped, but YUMMY!).  This evening I’m making the Chex Mix and prepping the sweet potatoes. Tomorrow I will do most of the sides,  and make the corn bread for the stuffing and dressing.   That leaves the turkey, ham, dressing, mashed potatoes and rolls for the day of.  Not so bad!  And hopefully with the lessons I learned from last year I’ll be able to have dinner ready to go on time.

I bet you are wondering what about dessert right?  Well two of the girls that Scott works with want to learn how to make pumpkin pie and cheesecake so I told them that they could come over on Wednesday evening and I would show them.  So we’ll make the desserts during Pie/Cake 101.

I just realized that I don’t have a pickle/cheese tray but that’s easy enough to throw together, a few jars of pickles, a couple kinds of olives, some chunks of cheese, tooth picks, crackers…done.  I also needs plates, cups, utensils and napkins but I’ll pick those up tomorrow on my way home from having my morning latte at the coffee shop!

All those food classes that I had to take in college really pay off around the holidays.  I really don’t feel stressed out about this at all.  Of course Thursday night I may need a straight jacket and a rubber room, but for now I’m good.  Alrighthy then, off to make the Chex Mix!




November 27, 2007

Sweetened Condensed Milk Substitute

Posted in Journal tagged , , , , at 1:13 pm by Jenn

Thanksgiving dinner was a huge success!  We had 10 guests and 4 “to go” plates, including one for “old guy” who came out of his booth to kiss me he was so excited.

I am so glad I managed to pull that whole dinner off on my own.  It was a lot of work, but well worth it.  Everyone really seemed to enjoy the meal.  I think the thing I am most proud of is pulling off Pumpkin Pie without Sweetened Condensed Milk (SCM).  Here is the recipe for Sweetened Condensed Milk Substitute…it WORKED!  I was a little nervous so Scott and I sampled the pie the night before and I was amazed how good it was.  I will use this instead of SCM for all my future pumpkin pies.

I also ventured off the “safe” path and tried this Pecan Pie.  No Karo syrup and it was FABULOUS!

So with that said, soups on!  Today is turkey soup day.  Scott is sick so it is perfect timing!

Recovery mode

Posted in Journal tagged , , at 11:28 am by Jenn

This was a very different Thanksgiving weekend for me.  Instead of the usual decorate for Christmas and spend way to much money Christmas shopping on QVC I went to Warsaw, Poland with a friend for the weekend.  She was taking her daughter and daughter’s friend for the weekend and asked me if I wanted to tag along.  That took about 1 minute for me to answer.  SURE! 

We left Friday morning and returned Sunday evening.  It is about a 6 hour drive from Minsk to Warsaw.  The Belarusian roads were better than the Polish roads so most of the trip thankfully was through Belarus. 

We stayed at the Sheraton in Warsaw.  A very nice hotel with extremely expensive restaurants.  Saturday morning when we came down for breakfast we were told it would be 99 zloti (which is about $40).  Needless to say we passed.  Dinner the night before for the four of us was 671 zloti (tip not included).   It was good and I didn’t mind paying it, but I certainly didn’t want to pay $40 for breakfast!

Saturday we spent the first part of the day walking and making purchases in local shops.  There was an awesome glass shop where I purchased a few handpainted Chirstmas candle holders.  I wish I had made a few more purchases there.  I also really liked the quaint little tea shop that we went in to.  I bought several different kinds of tea and a few for gifts.  Most of these stores closed around 3 or 4 in the afternoon so we decided to head to pottery store and then mall. 

Parking at the pottery was probably the best story of the trip (other than the $40 breakfast).  The man at the parking lot did not speak English and we did not speak Polish.  Alexandra (daughter’s friend) is fluent in Russian so we had her give it a go…no luck.  We did get that we could park in the lot for 24 hours for 20 zloti, but what we wanted to know is if we paid him 20 zloti, would he be there at 7:30 to open the gate and let us leave.  After about 15 minutes of pointing, talking slow, talking loud and finally deciding to give up a man who spoke English and Polish came in and saved the day.  THANK YOU~English speaking Polish guy.

The pottery store was nice, but nothing screamed out for me to buy it.  The patterns were pretty, but not “me”.  The mall was very overpriced  (75 zloti for a MAC lipstick…um, I love MAC and faithfully wear it everyday, but can see paying $30 for my $14 lipstick) and I just enjoyed walking around, people watching and actually entering a store where hundreds of people could shop at the same time.   I did by a pair of knee socks (yes, knee socks) at H&M.

Here is a picture of St. Alexander’s Church in Warsaw, it is just up the street from the Sheraton where we stayed.  Right behind this church is the Burberry store where I discovered the tie that I wanted to get for Scott was $160 – sorry (I didn’t buy my $500 scarf either)!  Prices in the states are much better than in Poland.

St. Alexander’s Church

Dana and I agree.  The next trip to Poland should be during the week rather than a weekend with more time spent in the quaint shops in town rather than “the mall”.

November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving menu

Posted in Journal, What's for Dinner tagged , , , , at 10:31 pm by Jenn

We are hosting Thanksgiving for 8-10 people this year.  I’m doing all the cooking.  Here’s what’s on the menu: 

Turkey w/stuffing


Mashed potatoes w/gravy

Sweet potato casserole w/pecan topping

Green Bean casserole

Mixed greens

Cranberry Sauce

Homemade Rolls

Apple Pie, Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Bread

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