Thanksgiving Recipes

It's Tuesday or "Day Two" of our Thanksgiving dinner preparations, and so far it is going great.  the goal here is to do whatever can be done to make Thursday a relaxing day.  If your family is like mine, they start showing up at the house on Wednesday, so I am trying to get everything I can do today.  

1.  Wash and iron linens.
2.   Make sure special dishes are ready.
3.  Make sure your final grocery list is complete ( I will make a late night run to avoid the crowds).
4.  Make Sweet Potato Casserole.....

Sweet Potato Casserole

8 to 10 Sweet Potatoes
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Butter
1 Can Evaporated Milk
1 + 1 Cups Brown Sugar
 2 + 2 Teaspoons Saigon Cinnamon
1 Teas. Vanilla
1 1/2 Cups Chopped Pecans

Peel and dice sweet potatoes into 2 inch chunks and place in a baking dish.  Sprinkle with olive oil and sea salt.  Bake at 350 degrees until the potatoes are fork tender.  Bring out of the oven and place in a large mixer bowl.  Add 1/4 cup of the butter, 1 cup of the brown sugar, 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, vanilla and evaporated milk.  Beat together mashing the potatoes and incorporating the ingredients together.  I personally like to leave some chunks whole in the mix to add a little "bite" to the casserole.

Spoon into a well buttered baking dish.  To make the topping, mix together 1/4 cups of softened butter, chopped pecans, the rest of the sugar and cinnamon.  Spread this mixture over the top of the mashed sweet potatoes.  Cover the dish with a lid or tin foil until Thursday.  

When you are ready to bake the casserole, heat the oven to 350 degrees and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  Just before you take it out of the oven, sprinkle a couple of cups of mini-marshmallows over the dish and place under a low temp broiler to melt and slightly brown the mallows.  It takes just a few minutes, so watch them closely.

Serves 15 to 20 people.

The other task for today is to chop the onions, carrots, celery, and herbs for the turkey and stuffing.  I place them in separate containers and refrigerate until needed.  I love doing this ahead of time because it saves time, and my boys don't get realize they are doing little bits of Thanksgiving Day dishes every day...instead of all at once.  It's a "mom" mind game!

My family's favorite appetizer on Thanksgiving is the Cranberry Cheese Ball.  Again, it is super easy to make and tastes much better when it is made a few days ahead of time.  

Cranberry Cheese Ball

2 Packages of Cream Cheese, softened
1 Bunch of Chopped Green Onions
1 Package of Dried and Sweetened Cranberries
2 Cups of Sharp Grated Cheddar Cheese
2 Teaspoons of Worcestershire Sauce
3 Cups of Chopped Walnuts

In a mixer add all of the ingredients except for the chopped nuts.  Using a cookie paddle, mix together the ingredients until everything is incorporated together.  Using a spatula press the mixture into a ball....you may need to use your hands to form a good ball.  For today, place the naked cheese ball in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap until Thursday.  Before serving, pour the chopped walnuts into a medium size bowl and roll the ball in the nuts, pressing the nuts into the surface of the ball.  Serve with crackers or crisp breads.

If you are serving a jello salad, today would be a good day to make it and get it in the fridge....mine is in there chilling till the big day.

Tomorrow is pie day!!!!!  I have a few of my grown-up kids coming to help...and I can't wait to spend time with them.  Get some sleep!

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Thanksgiving Preperations

Once a year we gather together with our dear families and close friends to celebrate Thanksgiving.  We share a meal and our expressions of thanks for the many blessings we have enjoyed the past year.   For us this year has brought us closer to dear family far away, a new daughter-in-law, a new grandson, and many memories together.  We feel truly blessed.

This year most of our children are away with their in-laws, so we will have a small group of 12-15, which will be easy compared to the 60 we usually feed when we are all together!  To make it a little easier, I try to follow a Thanksgiving meal schedule and make a few items each day leading up to the big day.   I will post a few of the recipes I use this week in hopes of helping you have a less stressful Thursday.

On Monday I make the cranberry sauce and rolls, and shop for the rest of the food..... 

To make the cranberry sauce, purchase a bag of whole fresh cranberries.  Wash them to make sure they are clean and there aren't any stems or mushy berries.  Place them in a medium sauce pan.  Add a cup of water, a cup of sugar, and a few slices of orange.  Bring the mixture to a boil.  Let boil for 15 to 20 minutes until everything pops and softens.  Remove the orange slices and pour the sauce into a bowl and place in the refrigerator.  Cover and keep until Thanksgiving Day...and the leftovers after!

Here is the recipe for the no-fail dinner rolls that are so super easy and yum!  I make them on Monday and place them in zip-lock freezer bags in the freezer until Thursday.  I thaw them out Thursday morning and heat them just before we eat.

No Fail Dinner Rolls

3 Cups of Warm Water
2 Tbsp.  Instant Yeast
4 Tbsp. Sugar
4 Tbsp. Oil
1 Tbsp. Salt
1 Tbsp. Liquid Lecithin 
7 to 8 Cups Flour

Mix warm water, yeast, sugar together.  Add the oil and salt and three cups of flour.  Mix for a few minutes together.  Add the Lecithin and the rest of the flour.  Mix together until the dough is formed into a ball and is moist to the touch.  Heat over to 375.  Let the dough rest for five minutes.  

Spray two muffin tins with non-stick spray.  Break off three small pieces of dough and roll each into a ball and place in one of the muffin cup tins.  Let rise for 20 minutes and then bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Brush with melted butter as soon as the rolls come out of the over.  Let cool and place in freezer bags until Thanksgiving Day morning.

Now that these two items are checked off the menu list, I am going to sit back and enjoy a cup of chai and my hubby's pizza.   

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The Years Last Loveliest Smile

I love the quote, "Fall...the years last loveliest smile."   A couple of days ago I had a day where there were no deadlines, no appointments, no kids to care for...nothing I had to do.  I felt a little lost.  I made myself a cup of tea and looked outside my window.  I couldn't help but feel that the sun pouring in the windows was a gift meant for me.  I decided to go out into the field and sit with my goats and soak up all that fall had left to give me....  Fall is truly the years last loveliest smile.  So of course I grabbed my camera so I could remember the day...


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Happily Ever After Begins Here

A couple of months ago we had the privilege of helping two true west sweethearts with their special day.  Wyatt proposed to Sarah on the ranch with a ring hidden in a stash...and a message on an antler.  We're not sure who "roped" who into this marriage...but for sure their happily ever after has begun!

We wish them many happy days together....and thank you for letting us be a part of your special day!

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