Blog 56-The Mommy Menu Thanksgiving Including Facts / Guide / Recipes / Prayers

Here Are a Few Thanksgiving Day Facts

Fact: Thanksgiving dinner is the largest eating event in the United States. People eat more on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year.

The centerpiece of contemporary Thanksgiving in the United States and Canada is a traditionally large meal.

The meal is generally centered on a large roasted turkey. It’s served with a variety of side dishes which vary from traditional dishes such as mashed potatoes, stuffing, and cranberry sauce.

Some of the side dishes reflect regional or cultural heritage. The majority of the dishes are in the traditional American version of Thanksgiving dinner. Some of the foods are made from foods native to the New World.

According to tradition the Pilgrims received these foods or learned how to grow these foods from the Native Americans. 

-Why We Eat Turkey on Thanksgiving? / When did We Start Eating Turkey? / Facts About the First Thanksgiving in 1621

Question 1: During the “First Thanksgiving” in 1621 did they focus the meal on the turkey?

Answer 1: During the “First Thanksgiving” in 1621  the Pilgrims and the Native Americans didn’t focus the meal on Turkey

Question 2: When exactly did the Turkey become the star of “Turkey Day”?

Answer 2: In 1863, Thanksgiving became an official American holiday with a presidential proclamation by Abraham Lincoln. A national mythology formed around it. An 1841, there were a collection of Pilgrim writings that referred to the meal described by Winslow as “The First Thanksgiving”.

Question 3: When did we started eating turkey for Thanksgiving?

Answer 3: William Bradford was a journal writer from England. He migrated to the Plymouth Colony on the Mayflower in 1620.

He was a signatory to the Mayflower Compact. After he arrived in the United States and went on to serve as Governor of the Plymouth Colony between 1621 and 1657.

He wrote a journal titled The Plymouth Plantation. It covered his experiences from 1620 to 1657 in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Bradford wrote how the colonists had hunted wild turkeys during the autumn of 1621. This made eating turkey  uniquely American.

It gained traction as the Thanksgiving meal of choice for Americans after Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863.

Introducing The Mommy Menu Thanksgiving Meal Prospective

I am a traditionalist when it comes to making a turkey and stuffing.  I have found that my traditional cooking style has produced the best outcome (taste and texture) for me and my family.

November is Turkey Month!

November is here and that means it’s time to prepare and cook turkey.  My defintion of the Thanksgiving meal means serving up a classic dish that tastes amazing. I love that the consistency of the taste brings back great family memories for me.

My favorite memory as a child and as a mom was eating Thanksgiving dinner at my parent’s home. I always felt connected, warm, loved,  relaxed and happy.

Every year was predictable happiness….

There Has Been a Paradigm Shift in Food Over The Last 10-Years

The Negative Change: I believe that in the past 10-years many cookbooks, online recipe content, chef videos and food shows on cable have gotten away from teaching and promoting proven great tasting traditional recipes.

The Positive Change: The Internet, Cable TV and online cooking videos have introduced cooking and food to a whole new generation.

Online access has dramatically improved interest in food and cooking. More people are talking about food because of easy access to food education, cooking tutorials and recipe distribution.

Today chefs and cooks are TV and online stars. Many have 4 and 5-star restaurants in Las Vegas.

The average person who cooks food knows more about everything related to food.

Whether its:

1. What food product is better.

2. Which kitchen food equipment is the best investment.

3. Access to global food recipes.

4. Instruction on how to cook anything.

5. Online access to food products globally.

I Started a Family and Cooking at 16-Years Old

I started cooking at 16 years old. I learned to cook by watching my ex-husband, grandma, and my mother. Making a Turkey dinner was one of the hardest meals to master.

I was blessed to have my ex-husband who was a truly gifted cook. He cooked in the United States Air Force.

He was so talented that the officers assigned him to be their personal chef.

I Make a Very Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner

On Thanksgiving Day, I really look forward to cooking a traditional meal. I have seen many chefs on TV and watched many videos on: www.youtube.com that include celebrity chefs making Turkey, Stuffing, Mash Potatoes and many other basics for Thanksgiving dinner.

There is a big difference between my traditional style versus the new-age online and cable TV progressive style.

The traditional style of cooking is based on proven recipes that are predictably good.

The progressive style of cooking is based on pushing the envelope.

It’s:

1. “Let’s try something new”

2. “Let’s combine food products and seasonings no one has ever thought of”

3. “Let’s break the unwritten rules of cooking, it will be fun”

Here Are Some Real-World Thanksgiving Examples: Some of these progressive chefs put all kinds of different foods inside the cavity of the turkey such as: onions, citrus fruits, fennel and ginger.

Another progressive trend is “brining”, its when you submerge the Turkey into water that is filled with seasonings.

I even read one recipe where they roast the Turkey over an open beer can.

Really?

None of these progressive recipes fit my traditional style.

I have tried brining a Turkey and I wasn’t a fan. The meat texture tasted processed to me.

Here Are Some Preparation Tips To Make This Great Thanksgiving Day Less Stressful!

Image result for a stressed out mom before thanksgivingCooking and hosting a Thanksgiving feast can leave you frazzled, especially if you have a big family. Any of these tips can help smooth out the wrinkles that come with planning a big family Thanksgiving and make the day more enjoyable. Give at least a few of them a try this year and see if they make a difference for you.

1. Make Accommodations for Extra Guests or Out-of-Town Family

If you have family coming to dinner who live too far away to drive home the same day, they’re going to need a place to stay. There are a few ways to handle this situation, but make plans as far ahead as possible to avoid last-minute issues.

-If you have enough room, you can offer to have them spend the night in your home. This could involve using a guest room, adding cots or air mattresses to the kids’ rooms so younger family members can bunk together, or putting a sleeper sofa to use. Having out-of-town family stay with you gives you more opportunity to spend quality time with them after everyone else goes home. You could warm up leftovers later on if anyone is hungry again, or you could even order pizza for a break from Thanksgiving foods.

-Check with other nearby relatives to see if they have room for extra family to stay overnight.

-Some family members might actually prefer to spend the night at a motel. You could provide them with addresses and phone numbers of nice establishments nearby. While it’s not necessary for you to cover the cost of their stay, you could offer to pay for a room or two if finances are an issue for them and it wouldn’t present a financial burden for you.

2. Avoid Running Out of Food

Image result for lots of thanksgiving food

Nothing could be a bigger disaster than running out of food before your entire family has had their fill, but it can be difficult to judge how much you really need.

Its recommended to use a 1-1/2 pounds-per-guest ratio to figure out how much you need when you’re buying a turkey. For example, if you were planning on 16 guests, you’d need a 24-pound turkey, which should yield about 8 ounces of cooked turkey per person once the bird has been carved. You might also consider purchasing and cooking extra drumsticks and wings to help meet your per-guest needs.

As for the rest of the dinner, plan on the following amounts of these Thanksgiving staples as the minimum per guest:

-3/4 to 1 cup of dressing

-3/4 to 1 cup of mashed potatoes

-About 1/2 cup of gravy

-1/2 to 3/4 cup of vegetables

-1/2 cup cranberry sauce

-1 to 2 rolls

-About 2 slices of pie

-1 to 2 glasses of wine per adult during dinner

-3 to 4 cups of beverages other than wine throughout the day

-Of course, Thanksgiving is traditionally a day of excess, so you may want to increase these amounts if your family likes to have seconds.

3. Cook Some Dishes the Day Before

Making cranberry sauce

Break up the joyous burden of cooking a large Thanksgiving feast by preparing some side dishes and desserts the day before.

-Bake your pies and cakes and put them in plastic carriers to keep them fresh.

-Cranberry sauce can be made the day before and chilled in the refrigerator until serving time.

-Candied sweet potatoes can be cooked ahead of time and then fully reheated before you create that delicious marshmallow topping.

4. Consider Renting Tables and Chairs

If you don’t think you’ll have enough seating for all the people on your list, you might want to check out your local party rental store and rent some tables and chairs. This will help you avoid seating guests at a hodge-podge of card tables and folding chairs, which will help everyone feel equally appreciated.

Ideally, you’ll want the rentals to arrive the day before Thanksgiving so you can set them up and do any rearranging necessary to make everything perfect. This also gives the rental company time to make corrections if they don’t bring exactly what you ordered.

5. Set Up a Buffet Table

Image result for thanksgiving buffet table

A Thanksgiving dinner table can be a sight to behold when it’s laden with a scrumptious turkey and plenty of side dishes, but it can be overcrowded when you figure in place settings and a nice centerpiece. Setting up a separate buffet table allows guests to serve themselves easily instead of passing around one dish after another as their food gets cold. Adding a power strip gives you plenty of places to plug in warming trays and crock pots to keep everything warm until dinner is over.

Extra tips for your buffet:

-The day or two before thanksgiving, get out all the dishes and platters you plan to use and put a sticky note on each one that says which food it will hold. Then practice arranging the dishes on the buffet until you feel you have the perfect setup. Make note of your layout so you can set up the buffet easily on the big day.

-Turkey is the main attraction, so either make it the first item your family will add to their plates before side dishes, or make it the center of attention and place the side dishes around it for a beautiful display.

-Ideally, it’s best to have room all around your buffet table so guests can work their way down either side. This helps the lines move more quickly.

-Consider having a separate small dessert table and a drink station if you have room for them. All of your buffet table needs can be figured into your table rentals if you’re going that route.

6. Tackling After Dinner Cleanup

The last thing you want to do after cooking a big Thanksgiving dinner is spend an hour or two washing dishes. Fortunately, there’s more than one way to lighten the burden and spend more time enjoying your family’s company.

-Using disposable dinnerware can eliminate most of the after-dinner dish washing. Party stores like Party City offer a wide array of plastic dinnerware at various price points to suit your needs.

-Consider having a “dish washing party.” Set up the kitchen sink for dish washing and have everybody wash their place settings. Older children can be drafted into helping younger children wash their dishes, and you could take care of drying dishes so they don’t pile up. This also gives you an opportunity to visit with each member of your family when it’s their turn, which should make the task more pleasant.

-You might consider hiring outside help to handle the cleanup. This is as simple as calling a local temporary employment agency or catering service and hiring someone to wash dishes and take out the trash.

7. Think Ahead About Amenities

Having numerous guests can present some unique issues. Put out extra tissue boxes around the house and stock the bathroom with:

-A fresh bottle of hand soap

-Extra hand towels

-Extra rolls of toilet paper

-A can of air freshener

You might even want to consider renting a port-a-potty if your group is very large and you only have one bathroom. This last idea might seem extreme, but it will help prevent line-ups.

8. Provide Ample Entertainment

The trick to keeping everyone entertained is to provide a variety of activities suitable for different ages and set them up in various areas around the house so no one feels crowded.

Board gamesHaving at least one working television is essential so guests can watch parades early on and then football games later. Two televisions are even better in case someone wants to watch holiday movies instead of football. Just make sure the TVs are in separate rooms so no one fights over volumes.

-Set out multiple decks of playing cards. Make sure each deck has a different pattern on the back so you can separate the decks easily if they are combined. Everyone loves card games like Go Fish, Rummy, and Uno.

-Provide board games that are suitable for a variety of ages. Cootie and checkers are old favorites that kids and adults can play together. Yahtzee is a fun game that’s good for multiple players of various ages. Just keep in mind that having too many players in one game leaves a lot of time for boredom to build up between turns, so you might need more than one set.

-Share family photo albums. Adults will enjoy the trip down memory lane, and children will get a kick out of seeing the adults when they were younger. In fact, you could even arrange old photos on a poster board and let everyone guess who’s who. Ask family members to bring photos marked with names on the back so no one is left out.

-Have coloring books or some Thanksgiving coloring pages along with crayons on hand for the younger kids. You can also keep young hands busy by setting up a card table to use as a craft station to make napkin rings that can be used at the table or taken home as a keepsake from the day.

-Make sure there’s a football available in case anyone wants to go outside and play touch football if the weather permits.

-Don’t forget to designate one bedroom as a quiet room where a guest can lay down for a while as needed.

Always Worth the Effort

Although it takes a lot of time and effort to create a fabulous Thanksgiving spread for a large family, it’s certainly time well spent. The memories you create will last a lifetime, so take advantage of these tips and spend more time enjoying re Are Some General Rules For Buying Turkeys & Guaranteeing a Great Outcome

1. Don’t go cheap, if it’s less than $40.00 dollars don’t waste your money.

Cheap turkeys:

-Shrink (lose a lot of size)

-Don’t smell good

-Don’t taste good

2. Look for a $2.50-$3.50 per pound price point. Less per pound usually means “lower quality / bad taste”. This is not the area to save money.

3. Select a bigger turkey because turkeys shrink, that means less white turkey meat for the ones you love. Less is not good on Thanksgiving.

4. Organic, more natural turkeys cook and taste so much better.

Here are some online options you might consider…

Option 1: Butcher Block’s turkey is a free range turkey straight from Diestel Farms in Sonoma.

Website: www.diestelturkey.com

Option 2: Lobel’s, Its Fresh, All-Natural Poultry from the Lobel’s, America’s #1 family of master butchers – Lobel’s of New York

Website : http://www.lobels.com/poultry/c/40

Option 3: Mary’s Free Range, Organic, and Heritage Turkeys

Website: https://www.marysturkeys.com/

I need to warn you that this type of turkey is a premium turkey ($$$$). Very Expensive but Delicious….

Brick & Morter Store Option

Free Range Turkeys can sometimes be purchased at Whole Foods. Call and see if they have them in stock before you get in your car.

5. Buy your Thanksgiving turkey 15-30 days before Thanksgiving. This gives you the option of ordering it online.

Buying early means less stress. You also don’t get subjected to higher prices based on last-minute turkey shopping.

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THE TURKEY 

DICTIONARY

Get educated so you can make a better more informed Turkey buying decision next year.

1. Pasture-raised means that it has to spend its life on the pasture. It cannot be fed indoors. It’s 100 percent outdoors.

2. Free-range means 51 percent of the time, the turkey has to have the opportunity to go on the free range.

3. Organic refers to the feed the turkeys consume. But since adding hormones to organic poultry is illegal in the U.S., a promise of a hormone-free bird is basically meaningless.

The Turkey you purchase is a personal choice. Many consumers decide what Turkey they are going to buy based on what type of diet or lifestyle  they adhere.

Image result for a high quality turkey for thanksgiving

The facts in buying a Turkey is you do get what you pay for. It’s my opinion that the splurge is worth it. It is worth spending the extra money, for sure! It’s not that often you’re buying a whole turkey. So once a year it’s definitely worth paying more for a high-quality Turkey for your family this year.

Image result for the history of thanksgiving turkey

Let’s Get Organized 

Step 1: Decide What Food You Are Going To Make

Step 2: Buy The Food

Step 3: Prepare The Food

-Turkey, Stuffing, Gravy and Figgy Pudding 

Step 4: Preheat The Oven & Cook The Food

Turkey, Stuffing, Gravy and Figgy Pudding

Step 5: Eat / Drink  /Laugh

Step 6: Short Nap 

Step 7: Repeat Steps 5 & 6

Step 1: Decide What Food You Are Going To Make

Many side dishes are typically served alongside the main dish.

The Thanksgiving meal is traditionally an all day event. The meal is sometimes served midday or early afternoon to make time for:

1. Playing games

2. Watching movies

3. Watching Football

4. Enjoying Family

5. Doing outside activities

6. Eating dessert

7. Eating leftovers

8. Watching grampa sleep

9. Catching a quick “cat nap”

10. Catching up and reminiscing.

Thanksgiving preparation for the professional begins at dawn or days prior.

This is a quick list of some foods Americans prefer on Thanksgiving.

-Perfect Roast Turkey

-Stuffing and Dressings (here are also regional differences as to the stuffing or dressing).

-The traditional version has bread cubes, sage, onion and celery

-Southerners generally make their dressing from cornbread, while those in other parts of the country make stuffing from white, wheat or rye bread as the base.

-One or several of the following:

1. Oysters

2. Apples

3. Chestnuts

4. Raisins

5. Sausages or

6. Turkey Giblets

may be added to the dressing / stuffing.

Other dishes reflect the region or cultural background of those who have come together for the meal

-Cranberry sauce, stuffing or dressing, mashed potatoes with  gravy and brussels sprouts

-Winter squash and sweet potatoes (these are often prepared with sweeteners such as brown sugar, molasses or marshmallows), roasted Sweet Potato Casserole with Praline.

-Fresh, canned, or frozen corn, green beans, green bean casserole, cheese grits and corn pudding.

-Roasted sweet potato casserole with praline, riced potatoes, brussels sprouts, red pepper potato and celery root gratin.

-A fresh salad may be included, especially on the West Coast or an Avocado Salad.

-Bread, rolls or biscuits, cornbread or dinner rolls.

-For dessert, various pies are usually served, pumpkin pie, apple pie, mincemeat pie, sweet potato pie and pecan pie are often served as well.

Step 2: Buy The Food

Here is a list of West Coast Stores I use to buy my Thanksgiving food and extras.

Image result for smiths grocery stores

-Smiths Grocery Store

-Vons

-Albertsons

-WalMart

-Costco

-Whole Foods

-Trader Joes

-WinCo Foods

-Sprouts Farmers Market

-The Market (on Fremont Ave)

-International Marketplace (S Decatur Blvd)

I am sure I left out a couple but these are the major stores on the West Coast.

___________

Advice on Buying The Turkey

Step 3: Prepare The Food

-Turkey, Stuffing, Gravy and Figgy Pudding 

The Mommy Menu Way of Cooking a Thanksgiving Turkey

PREP WORK FOR THE TURKEY 

-Remove the neck and giblets from the cavity

-Wash the turkey thoroughly inside and out underneath the sink.

-Pat the turkey dry with paper towels let it dry out completely, then season underneath the skin and inside the Turkey.

THESE ARE THE INGREDIENTS THAT I PUT UNDER THE SKIN & INSIDE THE TURKEY

In a small mixing bowl, combine butter and seasonings

-Add 1 stick of unsalted butter softened

PLEASE NOTE: Larger Turkeys may need more softened butter and an increase in the amount of seasonings.

-3 teaspoons of sea salt (sea salt with unsalted butter is a luscious pairing for flavor).

-4 teaspoons of dry thyme.

-¼ cup of fresh sage leaves along with 4 teaspoons of dry ground sage.

-1 to 1 ½ teaspoons granulated garlic powder (for turkey granulated powder is better than regular garlic powder).

-BEWARE: Adding too much Garlic can overpower the taste , NOT GOOD!

-3 teaspoons of onion powder.

MY TURKEY SEASONING DEFINITIONS… 

Financial & Budget: Fresh herbs often cost more because they’re perishable and must be refrigerated.

Taste: When herbs are dried, their flavor becomes more concentrated, which means a tablespoon of a dried herb tastes much stronger than a tablespoon of a fresh herb.

Less Sustainable: Herbs that are more fragile lose their flavor more easily when exposed to high temperatures, which happens in cooking but also in drying when heat is used to evaporate moisture. Other herbs are more stable, so their flavors remain largely intact through either process.

Question: When should you add herbs during cooking?

Answer: Fresh herbs should be added close to or at the end of cooking because you want to preserve their delicate, fragrant qualities (ex. parsley on pasta or mint on meatballs).

It’s not as important in cold dishes like salsa and ceviche, though cilantro will look and taste brighter if added closer to serving time.

Add dried herbs earlier in the cooking process so the whole dish is infused with their flavor. If you add them at the end, their flavor won’t have time to permeate throughout your dish, so it won’t be as strong or consistent throughout.

For Example, if you’re making a soup, be sure to add the herbs before it starts to simmer.

THE MOMMY MENU CEO SEASONING STRATEGY DOES NOT INCLUDE POULTRY SEASONINGS

I do not use poultry seasonings in my stuffing or on the Turkey.

The Bell’s and the McCormick Poultry Seasonings are top of the line products.

I respect that other people’s tastes are different than mine. I don’t care for ginger or nutmeg on Turkey. I have found that most of the top poultry seasonings seem to have either ginger or nutmeg.

Read Ingredients Below!

Bell’s:  rosemary, oregano, sage, ginger, marjoram, thyme, pepper

McCormick:  thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper, nutmeg

Step 4: Preheat The Oven & Cook The Food  (The Turkey)

How to Make a Great Tasting Turkey on Thanksgiving!

STEP ONE: When Cooking The Turkey Preheat the oven to 375 degrees 

ONCE THE OVEN REACHES 375 DEGREES, Begin… 

STAGE 1 / The First 60 Minutes: I cook the Turkey roast at 375 degrees.

STAGE 2 / The 60-75 Minutes:  Turn the temperature down between 350-325. The general rule I have always follow is cooking each Turkey pound for 20 minutes.

Other Variables Are:

1. The age and quality of the cooking oven.

1. The type of Turkey (pasture-raised, free-range, organic and commercial).

2. Brand (Diestel Turkey, Lobel’s, Mary’s Free Range, Butterball and Plainville) of the Turkey.

2. The quality ( under $2 dollars a lb, under $3 dollars a lb and over $3 dollars a lb) of the Turkey.

STAGE 3 / Pay Attention To:

1. Oven Temperatures

-The temperature will vary so please stay close to the oven. Checking more is a better strategy than checking less.

2. The Stove Clock or a Timer

-Watch your clock and timer closely.

3. The Turkey Thermometer

-Insert the thermometer in the meatiest part of the thigh. When the internal thermometer registers a steady 165 F its done!

Another way to visually tell when the turkey is done is when the juices run clear and the leg is a little loose.

Image result for foil tent to cover turkey

Prevent The Turkey From Getting Too Brown: Sometimes a beautiful brown Turkey isn’t fully cooked inside. This is when you need to protect the outside of the Turkey.

Try these three steps to allow the inside of the Turkey to catchup with the outside.

1. Covering it with your tin foil tent.

2. Pull the rack out and turn the  Turkey.

3. Turn the oven heat down for the remaining  cooking time. This depends on your oven.

-New and highly functional ovens turn down the temperature to around 325.

-Older ovens turn down the temperature around 350.

Don’t forget, check the turkey more not less….

PLEASE COVER YOUR HANDS

Please be careful when taking the Turkey out of the oven. Please use thick gloves or designer rubber gloves when taking the turkey out of the oven.

How About Basting The Turkey? I don’t baste the Turkey because it makes the Turkey soggy.

Not a fan…..

Removal Instructions: Remove turkey from oven, let the turkey sit for 30 minutes or more of resting time. This resting time for the turkey is very important.

Next Step: If your Turkey is stuffed, taste the stuffing, remove stuffing, serve the stuffing and enjoy!

Image result for preheat oven at 375

Even though we have already covered cooking times. I wanted to provide you with two reference tables. 

Table 1: Approximate times for roasting a Stuffed Turkey

Turkey Weight Time To Cook
6-8 lbs. 3 to 3 1/2 to hours
   8-12 lbs. 3 1/2 to 4 1/2
16-20 lbs. 5 ½ to 6 hours
20-24 lbs. 6 to 6 1/2  hours

Table 2: Approximate times for roasting an Unstuffed Turkey

Turkey Weight Time To Cook
6-8 lbs. 2 ½ to 3 hours
8-12 lbs. 3 to 4 hours
12-16 lbs. 4 to 5 hours
16-20 lbs. 5 to 5 ½ hours
20-24 lbs. 5 ½ to 6 hours

Step 4: Make & Cook The Food  (The Stuffing)

Image result for beautiful thanksgiving turkey stuffing

Mommy Menu Stuffing

Your stuffing is a such a delicious part of the Thanksgiving meal

Lets start with “the end in mind”.

Your stuffing should be moist without being soggy or dry.

The amount of broth will vary. It depends on how much stuffing you make.

The bread should absorb the liquid without leaving a puddle at the bottom of the bowl.

Also know that those juices are for both texture and flavor in the stuffing.

_____________

A Quick Note From The Mommy Menu

There are a couple things you want to think about when deciding whether you should stuff your Turkey on the inside.

The main reason to stuff your turkey is if you really like the texture, juices and flavor you get from roasting the stuffing inside the Turkey.

Keep in mind it takes 30 to 60 minutes to roast your turkey if you’ve stuffed it.

As the turkey roasts all of those juices are absorbed into the stuffing and it’s just delicious.

You can also use the stuffing as dressing on the side and bake it outside of the turkey if you want to control the time and the texture of the dressing.

It really just comes down to personal preference if you do decide to stuff your turkey.

____________

-Bread is the foundation of your stuffing

My Three Favorite Bread Choices

1. Good Choice: White sandwich bread

2. Better Choice: The  Artisan sliced bread. Taste delicious but it does cost 3x more than regular white but it tastes delicious.

3. Best Choice: Arnold bread. Amazing for stuffing and more expensive than White. It’s also very hard to find at traditional grocery stores.

Dry out the bread without allowing it to go stale.

Drying out the bread guarantees that the stuffing won’t end up soggy!

Different Choices on How To Dry Out Your Bread

-Option 1: Break the bread into cubes. Leave  the cubes of bread out on the counter uncovered.

You need to continually check on it so it doesn’t become stale. Because the bread is in cubes it will harden quicker.

-Option 2: You can also break the bread into bread cubes. You then put it on a baking sheet. Put your oven at 300 degrees. Leave it cooking for about 20-30 minutes.

Keep checking every 5 minutes after the 15 minute mark.

Caution, stuffing must be cooked at a minimum of 165 degrees to be safe of salmonella.

TIME TO MAKE STUFFING 

-Use 2 loaves of high quality bread.

-For every two loaves use one egg.

Get out a small mixing bowl and beat and scramble the egg and add a little (teaspoon) water. I don’t want the egg taste to overpower the stuffing. The purpose of the egg is to help bind the stuffing.

Add These Ingredients

-Chop 6 to 7 large celery stalks (the ratio is 6-7 celery stalks per one loaf)

-1 1/2-2 large diced onion

-1 1/2 cups of butter.

(if you use salted butter omit salt)

-2 teaspoons of salt.

-2 teaspoon ground black pepper.

2 1/2-3 1/2 teaspoons of dry sage.

(Depends on how potent you want the mint / sage flavoring to be)

-Option 1: Use 3 to 4 cups chicken stock. I prefer using my homemade stock. If the Chicken Stock smell is to potent, add a little water to dilute.

Or

-Option 2: You can purchase a low sodium organic stock.

-Pour in slowly and use your judgement on how much is too much. If unsure, less is better than more in this process.

COOKING THE STUFFING INSTRUCTIONS

-In a frying pan, saute the onion and celery in the butter for 10-12 minutes, or until the onion and celery are tender.

-Place the bread cubes in a large bowl. Pour the butter, onion and celery mixture over the breadcrumbs and mix. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

-Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Put the stuffing in the prepared pan.

-Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

-If stuffing turkey, stuff loosely right before putting it in the oven.

Step 4: Make & Cook The Food  (The Gravy)

Image result for beautiful thanksgiving turkey gravy

THE GRAVY INGREDIENTS

-3 tbsp. butter

-3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

Or

Gold Medal Wondra Flour (it’s a much finer flour, made specifically for gravy’s and sauces).

-1 cup. turkey pan drippings

(Having more pan drippings is a good thing!)

Mommy Menu Rule : You can never have enough drippings, because you can use the extra drippings for the gravy.

This allows you to reduce the amount of broth needed.

If usure, always remember that drippings taste better than broth. Trust your judgement!

-1 to 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth (or homemade chicken or turkey stock)

-Salt is optional when using regular chicken broth.

-1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper (I personally love pepper).

DIRECTIONS

-In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook between 1-2 minutes.

-Next, whisk in pan drippings.

-Bring mixture to a full boil, then reduce heat and simmer gently until slightly thickened.

-Stir in fresh herbs if using at this time. Next whisk in 1 cup broth or more if needed and return mixture to a simmer.

-When you season with salt and pepper keep tasting it for right amount of salt and pepper.

-Simmer for 10 minutes.

-Add broth and some water if gravy is too thick.

-Adjust seasoning for final taste.

-Be careful not to add to much salt because broth contains sodium.

-This takes about 15 minutes. After 2 or 3 cooking trys you will easily master this. It will taste delicious everytime once you know your favorite amount of each seasoning.

NOTES FROM THE CHEF 

-Keep your wire whisk right by your pan, keep stirring it because its the best way to avoid lumps.

-Be very careful not to dump all the flour into hot stock all at once. I use a mesh strainer and dust it over the liquid slowly. I whisk in the flour little by little. It will start to thicken naturally preventing lumps.

-You can use quick mixing flours like Wondra when making gravy it comes to gravy the flour is much finer and blends easier making your gravy smooth.

-Make sure you allow the gravy to come to a full boil.  This will take between 1 to 2 minutes.

-This process will cook the flour better, so the gravy doesn’t have a starchy flavor.

-Those bits in the bottom of a roasting pan are little gems.

-Scrape them all up to start your gravy. You can always strain gravy later if you like your gravy to be smooth.

-Sometimes the gravy ends up tasting bland and lacking flavor.  You can add extra ingredients to spice it up. It will only take about 15 minutes to improve it. Don’t panic, it’s recoverable.

Step 4: Preheat The Oven & Cook The Food  (The Figgy Pudding)

Check out This Link For More Details on Figgy Pudding:

http://www.couragecardsforgirls.com/blog59/

Image result for figgy pudding

The Mommy Menu Figgy Pudding 

 I have enjoyed eating Figgy pudding. There are many ways to make Figgy pudding.  I have a unique recipe. You will enjoy it!

To  learn how to make a great Figgy Pudding go to Blog 59.

http://www.couragecardsforgirls.com/blog59/

Great Thanksgiving Day Prayers

Family praying before Thanksgiving dinner

These traditional and original Thanksgiving blessings are Christian prayers for sharing at your table. Consider saying these simple and straightforward blessings with your family on Thanksgiving Day and enjoy a beautiful meal with friends and family.

Psalm 100 from the King James Standard Bible

1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

5 For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Thanksgiving Table Blessing

by Patricia Gore

Thank You, God
For the food we are about to eat,
For those who are here
To share these blessings,
For the generosity of our hosts
That make this possible.
Bless those who are here
And those who are in our hearts,
And all those who are not
As fortunate on this day.

Amen.

Moravian Blessing

This oft-cited translation of a traditional Moravian thanksgiving blessing is short and simple.

Come, Lord Jesus, our guest to be
And bless these gifts
Bestowed by Thee.
And bless our loved ones everywhere,
And keep them in Your loving care. 

We Give Thanks to You

by Ethel Faye Grzanich

As we bow our heads to pray, we give thanks to you God, for this Thanksgiving Day.

We thank you, Father, for our families, friends, and for all the blessings, both big and small, that you pour out on us each day.

We give thanks to you for this food and for the hands that have prepared it.

We ask your blessings upon this meal: that it will nourish our bodies and refresh our souls.

We give thanks to you for this wonderful time together, and for each one present here today.

We ask you, dear Lord, let each one of us feel your love, comfort, and presence in our lives today and every day.

Let us not forget those who can’t be here with us today. We give thanks to you for them, too. We miss our loved ones, Lord, but we are thankful for all the good times that we had with them.

We know, Lord, that this life is not all there is; that the best is yet to come if we live for you. So, help us each day to live our lives in ways that honor and please you. And we’ll not forget to give you all the praise and glory.

In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

I Thank Thee

“I Thank Thee” is a beautiful Thanksgiving prayer. This Christian poem was originally written by Jane Crewdson (1860) as a prayer of thankfulness to God for all things in life, both the good and the bad, the bitter and the sweet. The poem has also been put to song in a hymn. Alternate titles for this work are “O Thou, Whose Bounty,” and “At All Times.”

I Thank Thee
O Thou whose bounty fills my cup,
With every blessing meet!
I give Thee thanks for every drop—
The bitter and the sweet.

I praise Thee for the desert road,
And for the riverside;
For all Thy goodness hath bestowed,
And all Thy grace denied.

I thank Thee for both smile and frown,
And for the gain and loss;
I praise Thee for the future crown
And for the present cross.

I thank Thee for both wings of love
Which stirred my worldly nest;
And for the stormy clouds which drove
Me, trembling, to Thy breast.

I bless Thee for the glad increase,
And for the waning joy;
And for this strange, this settled peace
Which nothing can destroy.

Bless the Food Before Us Wall Decal

We Thank Thee

by: Ralph Waldo Emerson

For flowers that bloom about our feet,
Father, we thank Thee.
For tender grass so fresh, so sweet,

Father, we thank Thee.
For the song of bird and hum of bee,
For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

For blue of stream and blue of sky,
Father, we thank Thee.

For pleasant shade of branches high,
Father, we thank Thee.
For fragrant air and cooling breeze,
For beauty of the blooming trees,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

For this new morning with its light,
Father, we thank Thee.
For rest and shelter of the night,
Father, we thank Thee
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Image result for lots of thanksgiving food

Thank You Kelly Roper for the Thanksgiving Content

Thank You

Thank You Christian Gollayan for your article contributions.

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This blog was extremely difficult but so rewarding. It took over 190 revisions.  This post took me over 24 hours of note taking, journaling, writing, correcting and improving to complete.

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I want to thank my girlfriends and my son for encouraging me and motivating me to write down these precious  Thanksgiving recipes. At times, this process was extremely frustrating. Version 190, is much better than version 1. I am blessed by GOD for giving me such a beautiful brain and memory to complete this blog post.

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I know it’s still not grammatically perfect. I know all the fonts still don’t match.

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I can tell you that writing out every step and every personal thought processs was very time consuming. I am not a professionally trained cook. I grew up watching and learning through trial and error. I never even used measuring tools. That’s why it took so long.

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I am very proud of this blog post because I know that in years to come this post will help and positively impact many people’s Thanksgiving day.

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I hope and pray that my work and wisdom helps you and your family have a blessed and delicious Thanksgiving  dinner for many years!

Love The Mommy Menu CEO….

“Food is Love”

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