Friday, November 27, 2020

A Simple Thanksgiving

Although I dearly love a gathering at Thanksgiving, there is an advantage to having Thanksgiving dinner with just Sweetie. The menu that we started the day with kept getting simplified and simplified so that by dinner time we had just what we wanted. I won't say there was no work involved, but it was still a much easier meal than usual.

Last year I had to eat only soft foods for Thanksgiving due to oral surgery, so this year I was determined to have a roast turkey...which we did. I roasted a ten pound fresh turkey in a Brown-in Bag, which makes it really simple to do and the results are always moist and delicious. I sprinkled salt and pepper and poultry seasonings over the bird and put a little white wine in the bottom of the bag. That, plus some stuffing in the cavity, is all I did. The oven did the rest while we took Pi on a walk at the Laguna.

For the stuffing I used my Mom's classic recipe, with a little corn bread thrown in and a half of a Granny Smith apple, chopped, mixed in at the end. Sweetie and I prepared everything but the apple and broth the day before so on Thanksgiving it took hardly any time at all to mix those two ingredients in and to stuff handfuls into the turkey cavity, while putting the rest of the stuffing mixture into a baking dish to bake on the side.

Originally the sides were going to include roasted butternut and delicate squash from my garden, a new green bean recipe with lemon and pecans, and a green salad with my own salad dressing. Instead we kept it simple by having just the salad. Even that was pared down to a handful of fresh raspberries and a half an avocado scattered over a mesclun mix. We did get the toasted the salad.

I made the cranberry sauce a day before to let the flavors meld. It was the kind of recipe where you cook part of it, taste, add something else, taste, add something else, taste, and so on until it is the way you like it. I prefer mine pretty tart, but you may want to add additional maple syrup or some brown sugar if you like it sweeter.

Without mashed potatoes, I decided to skip making gravy and just spooned some of the turkey juices over the stuffing and slices of turkey. It was all delicious and lighter than our usual Thanksgiving meal, but still seemed like a feast to me.

Last, but not least, was the pecan pie. I baked two in the for us and one for our neighbors who lend us their sheep. Since Sweetie had two helpings of stuffing and I had a lot of salad, we decided to have our pie for breakfast this morning...and it was great that way. A tip to make the pie look professional, after you pour the pecan mixture into the pie shell, turn all the pecans so that the curved part is up. It takes a few extra minutes, but looks great. I also added about two tablespoons bourbon to my filling this year.

Hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, too, even with all the troubles that beset the world at this moment in time. Thankful for you and praying for peace, good health, and prosperity for each of you. 

Fresh Cranberry Sauce for Two

1 cup fresh cranberries
1/3 cup apple cider 
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
zest from 1/2 an orange
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons maple syrup

Put the first three ingredients into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn to low and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes, uncover, stir and add the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Turn off heat, cover and let sit for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings and sweetness to taste.


  1. Hope your small Thanksgiving was cozy and lovely. Mom and Dad did a turkey in a paper bag this year for the homeless folk in the encampment in the next town - apparently the paper bag method gets quite tender. (She thought she would burn the house down.) We ended up with too much food at our house, despite trying to simplify - I cannot seem to scale down mac and cheese! Oh, well. I'm grateful this year that we're all as well as we can be, anyway!

  2. Never tried turkey in a paper bag...I was always worried it would catch on fire before the bird was cooked through. Nice that your Mom and Dad made turkey for the homeless. I understand about too much food. With only two, a whole pecan pie, delicious as it is, seems like a lot of pie. We ended up eating it for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving and then enjoying it for days with afternoon tea. We still have plenty of turkey, too. Hard to believe there can be too much mac and cheese! So glad that y'all continue to be healthy. Let's hope that 2021 is healthier and a touch more normal! Stay safe!!