The Twelve Days Of Thanksgiving!

Nope, you haven’t read the title wrong. When planning any gathering you need to give yourself plenty of time to organize and prepare. For Thanksgiving I think twelve days of organizing makes for a smooth and lovely Thanksgiving Day Feast!

1. On the Twelfth day before Thanksgiving, this year that would be (today!) Sunday, November 16th, you should prepare your guest list and head down to the Butcher to order your fresh Turkey. The Butcher is  offering Fresh Bell & Evans Turkeys as well as Fresh Organic Turkeys from Dartagnan. Turkeys come in size ranges such as 8-10, 10-12, 12-14 and so on. You can figure on needing a pound per person, and five pounds for leftovers.

2. On the Eleventh day before Thanksgiving ( Monday November 17th) it would be helpful to decide on a menu. Think of past family traditions and dishes that you can include at your gathering. You may also choose to vary it this year, and try something new. Either way, it helps to get a plan of action written down. I will post a  simple menu that you may want to use.  It will include, Fall Sangria, Pumpkin Bread,  Pumpkin Ravioli Soup, Autumn Salad, White Wine and Herb Roasted Turkey, Sausage Cornbread Stuffing, Grandma’s Sweet yams, Mom’s Cranberry Relish, Garlic & Olive Oil String Beans and Apple Berry Crisp!

3. On the Tenth day before Thanksgiving (Tuesday November 18th) visit the grocer! Yes, it’s too early to purchase any fresh items, but there are certainly many things such as dry goods, paper goods, drinks, and pantry items that can be purchased today, alleviating a lot of last minute lugging!

4. On Wednesday November 19th, which is the Ninth day before Thanksgiving, take the time to look over the serve ware and dishes that you plan to use. Most of us only use these fancy dishes at the holidays and they may need to be rinsed or brought down from out of the way storage. Make sure that the silverware is polished and that you have enough place settings to suit your gathering.

5. On the Eighth day before (Thursday November 20th ) take the time to decide on linens and napkins. Look over the seating and make sure that you can accommodate a sit down dinner. Otherwise think about serving buffet style.

6. The Friday before Thanksgiving this year November 21st, is the Seventh day before the holiday. Today is the perfect day to head to the liquor store and purchase the wine and any special liquors that you may need. Also head over to the beer distributor and pick up some local harvest craft beers.

7. On the sixth day before Thanksgiving ( Saturday November 22th) Check to see that you have all of the cooking utensils and items. Important things to have on hand are,

  • Large pan for roasting the Turkey!
  • Large Spatula
  • Large Fork
  • Electric Knife for carving the Turkey
  • 2 cup measurer
  • Kitchen string
  • Turkey baster
  • Sieve for making gravy
  • Parchment paper-foil-food wrap
  • Blender ( if you plan to make soup)
  • Plenty of dish towels and pot holders

8. On the fifth day before Thanksgiving,(Sunday November 23rd) send an email to your guests. Include the time your gathering will start as well as the menu. This will firm up your headcount and let you know of any last minute changes. If there are any dietary issues amongst your guests, the menu will give them a heads up!

9. On the Fourth Day before Thanksgiving ( Monday November 24th) clean your house! You can also take this day to organize all of your cooking supplies and brush up the last minute shopping list.

10. Three days before Thanksgiving ( Tuesday November 24th) head out early in the morning to the food store. Pick up any items that on your fresh food shopping  list. Notice I suggest shopping on Tuesdays, I think this is the best time to visit the stores which seem less crowded. Stop at the florist and pick up a bouquet of flowers or centerpiece. Today you can also do some baking and prepare the simple cranberry sauce included on my menu.If you are feeling super ambitious, you can also set the table today!


11. The day before Thanksgiving ( Wednesday November 25th ) be sure to stop by the Butcher and pick up your fresh Turkey. You can come right home and prep it before placing it in the fridge lightly covered ,overnight.  Today you can also:

  • Make the Sangria
  • Make your place cards
  • Prepare the stuffing
  • Prepare String beans and place in ziploc bag.


12. Thanksgiving Day! Wake up early! Pre-heat your oven, and be sure to remove the Turkey from the refrigerator about an hour before you plan to put it in oven.  Today you can :

  • Peel and prepare your sweet potatoes or any other fresh veggies.
  • Prepare any appetizers, or soup this morning
  • Get that Turkey into the oven early enough, giving yourself plenty of time to heat the side dishes. Oven space is at a premium, so think ahead.
  • Now that you have taken twelve days to plan your gathering, you will also be lucky enough to have time to sit down for an hour and watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade! It doesn’t get any better than that!
  • Enjoy your family today, and remember to” Give Thanks”!

The Butcher and I wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Sage & Sausage, Cornbread Stuffing


We have roasted the Turkey, and The Butcher has demonstrated how simple it is to carve. The recipe for pumpkin bread will be a delicious starter to your meal, and Mom’s fresh cranberry relish, a fantastic accompaniment. It’s time now to master the stuffing recipe! This side dish could be my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner, although it’s just so hard to choose one:)

Continue reading

Mom’s Fresh Cranberry Relish




Make this simple Cranberry Relish and you will never serve it from the can again! Fresh cranberries, pineapple, walnuts and sugar combine to make this beautiful dressing…it is the perfect compliment to a roast turkey.

One 10 ounce can of crushed pineapple
Three cups of fresh cranberries
Half cup of granulated sugar
Half cup of chopped walnuts
Juice of one lemon

Click through the gallery for step by step directions:

Pumpkin Ravioli Soup

Fall is the season for delicious veggies. It’s also a great time of year to simmer up delicious soups and stews.


This time of year the Butcher carries a wonderful Pumpkin Ravioli, brought to our market from a local pasta shop. Pastosa Ravioli makes these sweet and savory Ravioli especially for the fall and they are irresistible. This recipe combines fresh pasta, with a beautiful pumpkin soup. It doesn’t get any better than that!

The link to the soup recipe below is from the author of my new favorite cookbook, “A Kitchen in France”. Combine it with the delicious Pumpkin Ravioli from Pastosa for a delicious appetizer or first course this Thanksgiving.

Click through the photos below for step by step directions:



How to Carve Your Turkey!

Carving the Turkey will be simple if you follow these few essential tips!

** Be sure that your Turkey has “rested” about 20-30 minutes after it is removed from the oven.
** Using an electric knife, which can be purchased at the home store for about 15-30 dollars will make your life so much easier!
** Prepare enough hot gravy to keep the slices of turkey moist until it is served.
** Have a large enough platter on hand!


Be sure to have a large enough platter on which to place the sliced Turkey.

If you plan to use a fancy platter for serving sliced turkey, be sure that it is large enough, or use two smaller ones. This one is 18 inches long by 14 inches wide and was the perfect size to fit the entire 19 pound turkey that the butcher sliced up!


By having a rimmed platter with a little bit of a well, you can pour gravy between the turkey slices which will keep the meat juicy and moist.

It helps to use a large platter with a deep center. I prefer to pour hot gravy over and in between each slice of turkey as it is carved. This is a great way to keep the meat moist. No matter how juicy and tender the bird is, after it is carved the meat tends to dry out…This method seems to do the trick! If you are having company that prefers the meat without gravy, then keep a couple of slices on the side.


It helps to have all of your tools on hand…the most essential tool here is the electric knife! If you don’t already have one be sure to pick one up !

Having all of your carving tools ready to go, will ensure that the process goes smoothly! The Butcher’s favorite tool when carving a roasted turkey is an electric knife. This will keep the slices smooth and even. Be sure to have a large enough cutting board with a towel placed underneath to prevent slipping and catch any extra juices. A large chefs knife and a small paring knife will also help to carve the breast meat off of the bone. It’s also helpful to have several pairs of cooking tongs on hand.
IMG_4013After you have spent so much time roasting the turkey to perfection… the task of carving can seem monumental! Don’t stress, the Butcher will show you exactly how to carve the bird to perfection.
Watch the how to video below, there are two parts:

If you haven’t seen the recipe for this Wine and Herb Roasted Turkey you can find it here

White Wine and Fresh Herb Roasted Turkey Recipe


( A NOTE ABOUT THIS RECIPE POST WHICH WE WROTE IN 2014! The Butcher has found that he prefers the D’Artagnan All Natural Turkey to the one that we used in this recipe…so R&S Meat Market will exclusively carry the All Natural No Hormone…No Antibiotic Fresh Turkey from D’Artagnan…the Recipe and other ingredients remain the same!)…Happy Cooking!

Even a seasoned cook and entertainer gets butterflies at the thought of roasting an entire Turkey. Every year, thoughts are that you will remember exactly what was done last year to make the bird taste so delicious…and of course, when it comes down to it, you are racing for the cookbook or searching online for last minute instructions.

In searching the web and looking over many recipes, my favorite, due to flavor and simplicity was this one from The Splended Table. I put my own spin on it but the original recipe can be found here

Click through the gallery for step by step photo and instructions:
Detailed directions are listed below the gallery-


From the Butcher you will need to order:
One Fresh Bell & Evans All Natural Turkey

You will also need:
A large roasting pan
One or two bottles of dry white wine
2 lemons; halved
One large bunch of fresh parsley; chopped
Several stems of fresh sage, rosemary & thyme; chopped
2 shallots; skinned and halved
3 whole carrots; peeled
1-2 sticks of softened butter
Fresh ground salt and pepper
One 32 oz box of chicken stock
Meat thermometer
1-2 tablespoons of cornstarch to thicken gravy

Additional tools that will come in handy-
Kitchen twine
Turkey baster
Kitchen timer
Soup ladle with long handle

Plan to prepare the first several steps of this recipe the night before you roast the turkey. It helps with timing but also produces a delicious, crispy skin.

To prepare the Turkey:
Place a large pan or piece of parchment paper in the bottom of your sink. Remove the turkey from the wrapping and rinse with cool running water. On each end of the bird you will find a cavity. Reach inside each end and remove the innards. You can keep these to flavor your gravy or simply discard. Rinse inside these cavities as well.

Pat the turkey dry with paper towels and place breast side up, in your large roasting pan. Even though the Bell & Evans turkeys are already trussed, it would be helpful to add some kitchen twine around the legs. This will keep them secure during roasting.

Rub the halved lemons over the entire skin of the turkey making sure to get in between the wings. Next smear the softened butter over the skin, pressing it in as you go. Also add several pats of butter inside the cavities. Season the entire bird, inside and out with fresh ground salt and pepper. Place the halved lemons inside each cavity.

Next you will mix the chopped herbs together and press them over the entire skin of the turkey. Add your halved shallots and whole carrots to the bottom of the roasting pan. At this point you can loosely cover the turkey with foil and place in your refrigerator over night.

Roasting The Turkey:
Remove the turkey from your refrigerator one hour before you plan to place it in the oven. This will allow the bird to come to room temperature and assure for accurate and even roasting.

Plan for enough time. You will need 4-5 hours to roast the above sized turkey, as well as resting time of about 20-30 minutes, and carving time which can also take about 20 minutes.

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit.

Pour 1/2 cup of white wine and 1/4 cup of chicken stock over the turkey. Place your turkey, uncovered into the oven and set your timer for 30 minutes. Baste the turkey with 1/2 cup of white wine and 1/4 cup of chicken stock every 30 minutes. Plan to rotate the pan every hour to ensure an evenly roasted turkey. About an hour and a half into the roasting time, you may need to cover the bird loosely with foil to prevent too much browning. Keep an eye on the time, and start checking the internal temperature of the bird at 4 hours. To do this, insert the meat thermometer between the breast and the thigh. When the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, remove the bird from the oven. Set the pan on the counter loosely covered with foil for 20-30 minutes. This will let the juices redistribute. In this time the turkey will also reach a temperature of 165 degrees. Now you can prepare your gravy!

For the Gravy:
Remove the Turkey to another pan or serving platter. Ladel or pour 2 1/4 cups of the pan juices through a sieve into a shallow sauté pan. I used 2 1/4 cups of drippings which produced exactly two cups of gravy. Bring the drippings to a boil, whisking gently. Add one tablespoon of cornstarch to the sieve and shake over the top of the boiling drippings. Whisk to produce a beautiful gravy that is lump free! Continue to whisk until the gravy is thickened. You may want to make two pans of this gravy. One for pouring over sliced turkey on the platter, and one for serving at the table.


(The reason I prepare two separate pans of gravy is that I find it difficult to thicken more than two cups of drippings at a time. It produces a really nice gravy when done in smaller quantities. )

In tomorrows post I will include a video of the Butcher carving this Turkey. Using an electric knife is so simple and will produce even slices.

For My Gluten Free Friends:
I used Kitchen Basics chicken stock which is gluten free, and cornstarch to thicken the gravy…so this turkey can be made … Gluten free!

Happy Roasting…and a Super Happy Thanksgiving!

If you’d like to see The Butcher demonstrate, how to carve the turkey… click this link

The Butcher’s Wife…Pumpkin Bread Recipe!

When I was a little girl, every October and November my mother would make Pumpkin Bread. This was a favorite in our house, and it was definitely always included on our Thanksgiving Day menu.

Over the past several years, every fall I would make this Pumpkin Bread to sell at the Meat Market. It’s always a huge hit, and would disappear off the counter in no time! The best thing about this recipe is that it calls for canned pumpkin, which is easy to keep on hand, and even easier to bake with. It also has a wonderful glaze that seeps into the bread and actually turns it into more of a dessert! It’s so simple…so give it a try!

This year, I am sharing my Mother’s recipe with you, so that it can be included in your Thanksgiving meal. People will fall in love with you, if you bake them this unbelievably delicious Pumpkin Bread….
(Yep! It’s that good;)

The full recipe and directions are posted below-
Click through the photo gallery for step by step instructions:

1 1/2 cups Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of Cinnamon
1 teaspoon of Baking Soda
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon of ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of Baking Powder
1/3 cup of Milk
1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla
6 Tablespoons of Butter
1 Cup of Granulated Sugar
1/3 cup of Light Brown Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 Cup of Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup Raisins
1/2 Cup of chopped Walnuts

For Glaze:
1 cup of Confectioners Sugar
1 teaspoon of Vanilla
1 tablespoon of very hot water

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit

Prepare four small loaf pans (5 1-2 to 6 inch size) with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
( You can also use one standard size loaf pan, but you will need to extend the baking time to 45-55 minutes)

In a nice size mixing bowl whisk together; flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg and baking powder.

Combine in a separate small bowl; 1/3 cup milk and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat 6 tablespoons of butter until creamy. Add in granulated and brown sugars and beat until crumbly.

Gradually beat in two eggs.

Add 1 cup of pumpkin puree and beat on medium speed until blended.

On a low speed blend in the flour mixture and milk/vanilla mixture. Mix until combined.

Gently blend in raisins and walnuts.

Divide batter evenly amongst 4 small prepared loaf pans and bake 30-40 minutes. It’s best to turn them once during baking time. Mine were done at 35 minutes…every oven is different….so keep an eye out and use the cake tester, or a toothpick inserted into the bread that comes out clean!

Let Pumpkin Bread cool completely on a wire cooling rack.

Glaze for drizzling:
When bread is completely cool you can whisk together 1 cup of confectioners sugar with 1 cup of vanilla and 1 tablespoon of very hot water. Drizzle over top and let set!

I like to leave the breads in the loaf pans until I am ready to slice and serve. You can also wrap them individually and use for gift giving!
Happy Fall:)



Herb Crusted Boneless Turkey Breast

Lately I have been “living” in the beautiful new cookbook, A Kitchen In France, written by Mimi Thorisson.
The recipes sound delicious and fresh and the photography of her farmhouse and the French countryside are just breathtaking. I’m learning that in French cooking, many fresh herbs and ingredients are used. Each recipe looks hearty and healthy. In France the Butcher and the Fishmonger are held in high regard, as they use their artistry to prepare items to be roasted, and sautéed.

Mimi prepares a whole roasted chicken with creme fresh and herbs…it looks absolutely delicious!

Here in the States, with Thanksgiving on its way, many of us will be preparing a fresh turkey.  For those who have never roasted an entire bird, it can sound overwhelming.

If roasting the whole bird makes you a little nervous, you could start by roasting this Herb Crusted Boneless Turkey Breast inspired by Mimi’s french roasted chicken. By starting with a turkey breast you will get the hang of  your oven’s temperature, and figure out  how to rely on the meat thermometer to test doneness. It’s easy to prepare, cook and carve, from start to finish!

This turkey breast could also be served alongside the whole turkey if you are having a large crowd that enjoys light meat. Continue reading

Recipe for Grandma’s Sausage and Peppers

Sausage and Peppers is a classic dish that will feed a crowd and seems to be an Italian favorite. The thing I find funny is that I have eaten this dish at many restaurants and at many parties, but it never tastes the same. Every cook or chef seems to have their own secret way of preparing it. I have to say, my favorite by far…is Grandma’s way.

Continue reading

Grandma Makes her Sausage & Peppers!


What is Home?
What does it mean to us?
A place of peace- rest- affection?
Of gaiety- and laughter?
The place we love- reverence- yearn for?
For which we are ready to work, and plan and strive?
Or does it mean confusion, inharmony?
Hour after hour of petty quarrels, differences?
Frowns and fault-finding?
Injustice and misunderstanding?

Home is first of all within ourselves.
The most stately of mansions, the richest draperies,
rarest rugs, furnishings will not make a home-
Unless there is Peace- Stillness- Unselfishness- within
Every Heart.
Home is not bounded by the four walls of a house.
It is the heart of Life.
To it Life comes.
In it Life is nurtured, ideals born, knowledge gained.
Upon it the strength of the nation is built.
It is the cradle of World Progress-

-An excerpt from Ida Bailey Allen’s
New Modern Cook Book
published in 1924-

Not until we start to have our own families can we really appreciate how special our extended families truly are. How wonderful our family traditions are, and how important it is for us to enjoy them and preserve them for the next generation.

The video of Grandma making her Sausage and Peppers speaks for itself, so I will leave you to watch it…but I will print the full recipe in my next post.

Below is the video of Grandma making her Sausage & Peppers. Be sure to watch all three parts:)




Gotta love cooking with Grandma!



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