Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Do you ever have a difficult time deciding what kind of wine to serve with Thanksgiving dinner?  Of course you do….more than half of your guests like red wine and we all know white wine is the appropriate wine to serve with fowl.  Should it be a strong Malbec or Cabernet?  Or perhaps a Pinot Noir or Zinfandel?  And what white wine should you serve?  Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Chablis, Sauvignon Blanc?   Well you can see it’s really a conundrum, so I suggest you stick to Apple Cider.

Apple Cider, the traditional Autumn harvest drink, is the perfect non-alcoholic beverage to accompany your Thanksgiving feast.  I see these cocktails being served before dinner because I think the traditional Thanksgiving meal is on the sweet side.  I try to keep the sweetness to a minimum; No marshmallows on my sweet potatoes, even my cranberry sauce is tart;  I make it with grated ginger and sherry vinegar.  

Which one of these cider concoctions will you be serving this year?

1. Cider & Pomegranate Margaritas:   Coarse salt,  1/2 oz. simple syrup,  1/2 oz. fresh lime juice, 2 oz. tequila,  2 oz. pomegranate juice,  4 oz. apple cider. Dip the rim of the glass in water, then in the salt.  Combine all ingredients and ice in a cocktail shaker.  Shake vigorously, strain.

2. Citrusy Cider Scotch & Lavender:  1 sprig fresh lavnder,  lemon wedge,  1/2 oz. simple syrup,  3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice,  2 oz. scotch,  4 oz. apple cider.  Combine main ingredients and ice in a cocktail shaker.  Shake vigorously.  Garnish with the lemon wedge and lavender.

3.  Cider Dark & Stormy: lime wedge,  4 oz. ginger beer, 1/4 oz. fresh lime juice, 2 oz. dark rum, 2 oz. apple cider.  Combine the cider, rum, and lime juice in an ice-filled glass.  Top with the ginger beer. Garnish with the lime wedge.

Don't Forget the Mint Sprig

Don’t Forget the Mint Sprig

4.  Gingery Cider with Tequila:  1 spring mint, 1 small piece sliced fresh ginger, 1 strip lemon zest, 1 TBS fresh mint leaves, 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice, 1 tsp agave, 2 oz. tequila, 4 oz apple ciderMuddle mint leaves, ginger, lemon zest and agave in a cocktail shaker.  Add cider, tequila, and ice.  Shake vigorously.  Strain over crushed ice and serve with the mint sprig.

5.  Cider Shandy:  1 orange slice, 6 oz. lager, 6 oz. apple cider.  Combine the lager and cider.  Serve with an orange slice.

6.  Smoke & Spice Cider:  1 sprig mint,  3 slices jalpeno, 1 TBS fresh mint leaves, 1/4 oz. simple syrup,  3/4 oz. fresh lime juice, 2 oz. mescal, 4 oz. apple cider.  Muddle the mint leaves and jalapeno in a cocktail shaker.  Add remaining ingredients and ice.  Shake vigorously and pour into the glass. Serve with the mint sprig.

Apple Cider Champagne

Cider Bellini

7.  Cider Bellini: 1 spring fresh rosemary, sparkling wine like Prosecco,  1/2 oz. apple cider. Pour the cider into a champagne flute.  Top with sparkling wine.  Serve with the rosemary sprig.

8.  Fall Cider Sangria: 1 sliced apple, 1 sliced pear, 1 sliced orange, 8 oz, apple brandy, 1 bottle white wine, 32 oz. apple ciderCombine all ingredients in a large pitcher.  Chill at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

9.  Spiked Cider Tea:  2 thin lemon slices, 1 black tea bag, 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract, 2 oz. gin, 8 oz. apple cider.   Bring the cider and vanilla to a boil.  Remove from heat and add the tea bag;  steep 3 minutes. Remove tea bag and stir in the gin.  Serve with a lemon slice.

10. Rum & Pineapple Punch: 1/2 sliced fresh pineapple, 1 oz. fresh orange juice, 1 oz. simple syrup, 1 1/2 oz. lemon juice,  2 oz. brandy,  4 oz. rum,  16 oz. apple cider.  Combine the pineapple, cider, rum, brandy, lemon juice,  simple syrup, and orange juice in a punch bowl.   Chill at least 4 hours and up to overnight.

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BLACK FRIDAY is one crazy, clever retail gimmick.  Get up at 4:00am to push your way into an overheated department store so maybe you can snag what? – the sought-after toy of the moment? REALLY??  The day after Thanksgiving IS the day to go shopping for Christmas presents according to a popular manipulative tradition dreamed up by the retail community.  This day which is orchestrated to create consumer frenzy is a store’s way of making up money lost through the normally slower summer season.  Add the proximity to the Christmas gift-giving holiday and you have the makings of a retail perfect storm.  They hope to end up in the black and you might just end up in the red.

Personally, Black Friday holds no appeal to me and never has.  I haven’t shopped in a Mall for a present or for that matter myself in a very long, long time.  Of course when you live in New York City, going to a mall is not really an option but I stopped shopping for Christmas presents in a mall years ago.  I like to give either really unique personalized gifts or unusual gifts.  I don’t buy sweaters, hats, ties, shirts etc as gifts.  I assume most people buy their own clothes, their own perfume and for the most part their own jewelry.  However,  jewelry is the exception to the rule;  I might purchase a ring, necklace or bracelet for someone but it won’t come from a department store and it probably will be vintage.

Tomorrow, I’m going to Walmart ONLY because it seems to be the ONLY store in my area that carries an item I need, not want but actually need. It’s not a gift, it’s a repair item.  Other than that one foray into a retail store, I hope to avoid the maddening crowds. 

English: DC USA, Target, Black Friday

Target, Black Friday (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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MEMO to Self:  Make sure you ask what the price per pound is before you order!!! I learned a lesson today that I WILL NEVER forget.    

English: A picture taken of a Turkey.

English: A picture taken of a Turkey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two weeks ago when I was in the Delicious Orchards store buying those delicious soup mixes I checked out the price per pound on their fresh-killed turkeys.   I have a thing for fresh-killed turkeys, never been a Butterball fan with the pop-up timer and having to thaw the damn bird in my refrigerator for days.   The prices vary slightly depending on whether the turkey was organic and/or free range.  I don’t exactly remember what the actual price per pound was at Delicious Orchards but it couldn’t be too much higher than Wegman’s.  Now they are selling turkeys for $2.49 per lb. and organic free range fresh killed turkeys for $4.99 per lb.  I don’t even want to tell you that when I was a young married, you could get turkeys on sale at Thanksgiving for .59 cents per lb.  Can you believe it?  And right now I want to go on record that I resent the fact that the cent sign has been removed from keyboards.

I thought we were going to be 3 AND I swore this would be sooooooo simple a meal so I decided to just roast a turkey breast.  After all we love the white meat… sounded like a good idea to me.  I made that decision about 10 days  ago when I was in NYC and called Delicious Orchards to place my order for a Bell & Evans full turkey breast.  Bell & Evans produces really fine poultry.  I don’t know if they are just regional or national, but around here, their reputation is excellent.

Well today was my shopping day and after I went to Wegman’s to pick up all the other ingredients needed to make the sides, the salad and the dessert, I drove to Colt’s Neck to the Orchard to pick up my turkey breast and pumpkin pie and just a couple more things. The store was beyond crowded and it is NOT laid out like a regular grocery store. There are no real aisles, omg the carts were circling and weaving everywhere.

They had extra check-out counters manned so I was able to step right up and put my 1 red pepper, 2 navel oranges, a bottle of blue cheese dressing, about 6 apples, a soup mix package, a half gallon of cider, a dozen eggs,  a pumpkin pie and my turkey breast on the conveyer belt.  I had $93. with me and assumed  I had plenty of money to buy my items and then some.

YOU CAN ONLY IMAGINE MY SURPRISE WHEN SHE ANNOUNCED THE TOTAL WAS $106.23! Are you f_____g kidding me?  I was so taken aback, I actually repeated the number and muttered to myself, “wow”.  Luckily I had my American Express card with me and after I paid the bill, I hurried out to my car.  It was raining so I quickly put the bags in the back seat.  I just sat in the car talking to myself about what just transpired.  After a moment or two, I picked up my cell phone and called the store from the parking lot.  

“Please connect me to the meat dept”.  “Hi, I wonder if you could tell me how much it cost per pound for a Bell & Evans turkey breast”?  “The reason I’m asking is because I just picked my order up and the turkey breast was rung up for $62.37″.  He replies, “Let’s see, the price per pound is $6.49″ .  OMG! I had been so hoping he was going to tell me it was  an error and this turkey breast did NOT cost $62.37!  “Thank you” I choked out the words.


Well I am taking this platinum-plated bird breast out tomorrow and am going to inject brine into it.  This is only the second time I ever brined a turkey.  The first time I was convinced not to do it again because it was so salty. This time I am making the brine and controlling how much I put into the breast.  Then I’m going make a garlic and herb paste that Emeril and Martha made and put it under the skin.  It goddam better be friggin’ delicious! 

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English: A slice of homemade Thanksgiving pump...

English: A slice of homemade Thanksgiving pumpkin pie served on a glass plate (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tuesday is shopping day for me.  I’m off to Delicious Orchards to buy a Turkey Breast, a pumpkin pie and some apple cider – AND anything else that jumps off the shelf into my basket.  I know I will get sucked into buying some of the produce and ingredients there WHEN I know I will be paying more there than at Wegman’s but I can already feel the deep-bone tiredness that comes from store hopping and grocery shopping.  

Each year I tell myself not to overdo it and that it isn’t necessary to make every dish from scratch.  Intellectually that works right up until shopping day.  For the past several nights I have been cruising around the  Martha Stewart, Real Simple and Cooking with Nonna web sites and for every dish I eliminate, I add yet another.  I really love to make special dishes and prepare meals like Thanksgiving.  It’s not like I am creating dishes necessarily of my own, since if you read this blog, you know I pick out recipes that I think will be delicious.  Over the years I have compiled a large Thanksgiving recipes folder.  It’s filled with several different root vegetable soups, lots and lots of side dishes, salads, a good number of stuffing recipes and of course a bunch of ways to prep and season the turkey.  I even have pie recipes in there but I have to admit once I discovered Delicious Orchards, I haven’t made a Thanksgiving or Christmas pie.  However, lest you get completely disillusioned, let me state that I do make desserts, such as a cranberry trifle, a pumpkin cheesecake (to die for) and this year I making a chocolate ricotta mousse.

My grocery list is now a page and half and I have one day to do it all plus a few everyday errands;  You know the dry cleaner, Staples and the liquor store.  I can’t imagine cooking tomorrow night or Wednesday night, sounds like take-out Chinese!  

We’ve invited 4 guests so it will be six of us which is 3 more than originally planned.  So all of my OCD planning, recipe-reading, list making of what needed to be purchased for each recipe HAD to be revised so each dish will feed that many.  

Now if I can only find those plates!! I can’t believe I’m in this predicament, me who has no less than 4 sets of dishes in my New York apartment  cannot find the china plates for the cottage. This sounds weird I know, but here’s the deal;  The cottage has a 1950’s kitchen theme and motif so all of dinnerware and service pieces of Melmac or Bootonware or one of the other plastic dish wares of that era.  I have turquoise plates, pink plates, bowls in both colors, green service pieces, Jadite mugs, all of my glasses are from the 50’s – I just love it! I even have vintage cookware;  who remembers CLUB pots and pans?  Mine are turquoise.  However, as much as I love my dishes, I would like to serve Thanksgiving dinner on china plates and somewhere I believe there’s a set of Martha Stewart plates.  But where?  This is a teeny tiny cottage and  I know they are not in here, maybe the garage….

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I said I was going to make it and I did but not tonight (Sunday).  I made it last night because we weren’t all that hungry for a big meal as we had taken a trip to the local turkey farm to check out what we might want to order for Thanksgiving.  The Hincks Turkey Farm, established in 1938 has a quaint little outlet shop/restaurant in Mannasquan, NJ.  We treated ourselves to turkey sandwiches.  I had the Russian Turkey and Peter had the Flaming Turkey.  Mine, you can probably guess the ingredients but his?  His had hot cherry peppers in it!  This late lunch took place close to 3:00 so as dinner time approached, we weren’t very hungry.  

Chicken Pot Pie Soup Mix

Chicken Pot Pie Soup Mix

I switched menus and made this hearty soup.  The problem with posting about it is that I didn’t make if from scratch so I don’t have a recipe to blog about.   When we were at the Orchard a few weeks ago, I spotted the soup mixes and remembered that I had made one last year and it was beyond “souper”.  The brand is Cherchies, and they make several different kinds of hearty soup mixes.  I think I paid $6.99 for the package;  You add cooked chicken to it and dumplings if you want to really make a meal of it.  And we did! I trimmed all of the meat off of the roast chicken  we had on Friday night and used it in the soup (love getting two meals out of something)  and I made dumplings with Bisquick.  What a delightful meal!  

I also purchased their Mushroom Chowder Mix so as soon as we have another nippy evening, I might make that one. 

I like to think of myself  as a good cook and love posting recipes of dishes I’ve made so I hope I haven’t disillusioned my followers tonight.

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The frost we had earlier this week pretty much killed off most of what was left of summer’s glory.  The pink begonias were black and the remaining basil turned brown.  I had already cut back the peonies and the day lilies and today I cut back the peppermint and we put covers on the patio furniture and the grill.  With Thanksgiving around the corner it’s a little strange to see the last few geraniums blooming by the back door and have a gourd and maize arrangement in the living room.  The seasons may be merging, global warming notwithstanding.  I can remember Thanksgivings that were bitter cold and some years we had snow.  Not sure what’s in store for us this year weather-wise and wonder if there will still be some “color” left in the yard besides the leaves from our neighbor’s tree.  FLASHBACK TO FORWARD.


Shades of September

Shades of September


Ghoulish October

Ghoulish October


YES Geraniums in November

YES Geraniums in November


Gourdish November

Gourdish November

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Bad Day At Black Rock, I’ve used that phrase for years and didn’t actually know where it came from until the other day. I didn’t realize it was the title of a 1955 movie starring Spencer Tracey.  Although not so much used now, the phrase which means the worst day ever, was quite popular.  I guess it’s now relegated to the likes of me, women of a certain age.  Of course if you live in Manhattan and use the phrase, people might think you are complaining about working at CBS – oh no that’s just “The Rock”, oh well…. Ah Hah! A correction from my friend, Gail – CBS is known as BLACK ROCK after all.

When I was in Florida last month visiting my daughter and the grandkids, I really got a taste of living in Gulf Stream;  It is a  very small section of Delray Beach in the historic section and I think there are about 800 families.  The school, Gulf Stream Day School IS the heart beat of the town.  It seems as if all the kids go there, dressed in their neat preppy uniforms in khaki, white and navy.  The line of cars dropping off and picking up was pretty impressive.  Then there’s The Ocean Club, where we went for a Friday night barbecue and it was deja vu all over again.  I wrote about that in a previous post; see Sun and Sand, Sangria and Surfing plus Salmon, It’s Saturday-DAY 6.  However the point of bringing that up is that by Friday I  had observed just how small this little town was and remarked to my daughter that, “This place has all the makings of a Peyton Place“.  I said this in front of her and about 4 of her friends.  They just looked at me!  Uh, what’s a Peyton Place?  You’ve got to be kidding me!  Forget the TV show, what about the movie?  Forget about it, they were clueless and I’m getting really old!

COLD TURKEY:  Did you think the phrase Cold Turkey could ever have had a meaning other than the rigors of drug withdrawal?  Yes of course it did or it wouldn’t be in this post, lol.  Turkeys loom large in American psyche and are the starring entrée at every Thanksgiving Day meal.  The phrase talking cold turkey means talking no nonsense and getting done to business.  In the early 20th century, the phrase evolved into talking turkey and also going cold turkey – just getting it done.

As I get older, the list of phrases and words lost to Generation X and Y just gets longer and longer.   But their day will come soon enough.  I’ve already noticed that what I thought was GREAT, they think is AWESOME and the Millennials think it’s SICK!  

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Friday after Thanksgiving, green day, Christmas shopping

Shopper Mania

Personally I’m not a mall shopper, never have been and certainly never for Christmas!  I like unique, personalized, customized presents or in my case PRESSents which is my own custom-created gift business.  More about that soon.  So when my friend  Gail sent me this video, I thought it would be great to share with my readers in case they had not seen it.

I love IMPROV EVERYWHERE and have a secret (well not so secret) desire to perform in one of their events.  Come to think of it I could have been in this one!  Check it out, you’ll be smiling in no time.

Black Friday Prank at a Dollar Store



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Peter Coddles, wooden frog

Doesn’t everyone have a wooden frog sitting on a vintage Peter Coddles game in their dining room?

Last week, it was recipes for Thanksgiving dinner dishes, this week it’s photos.

My last post was about Peter’s collection of vintage Peter Coddles games. Those 7 are just the tip of the iceberg!  Murray took those photos and while he and Peter were setting up the shots, Murray wandered around and snapped a few random pictures here and there as something caught his eye.  We have stuff, no doubt about it.  Only one photo is of a collection and I’m sure you’ll be able to pick it out (and I’ll give you a hint anyway).

living room

A window sill in my living room. Plants, African art, carved figures, vintage lamps, sand dollars, stained glass, an antique kaleidoscope, vintage bottles and paperweights, and….

Chair monkeys-IF they had hats they could live on the bed

dopey, the seven dwarfs

My own personal Dopey collection. Aren’t they cute? Peter stuck Bashful or Happy in there to keep Dopey company.

Alessi, toothpick holder,

I love Alessi! This cute rabbit is a toothpick holder.

building blocks, nostalgia, Bill Ding clowns

Mini Bill Ding and his clowns stand guard on a dining room window sill. Along with a several other things!

Well that was just a peek into the collective madness of the collections that reside in our New York apartment.  Here are few random photos taken by Murray as he was wandering around Bryant Park, Grand Central Terminal and vicinity.

Bryant Park, Christmas booths, Christmas fair

It’s easy to shop for your pets in one of the City’s Christmas Fairs.

Grand Central Terminal Food Market-Murray’s Cheese Shop

Sephora cosmetics, midtown

Sephora Cosmetic Store

animal hats, Bryant Park Christmas fairs, childrens hats

Grgghhhh – Animal hats for sale in Bryant Park

Christmas ornaments, Christmas fair, Bryant Park

Christmas ornaments for sale in Bryant Park


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Place cards for Thanksgiving dinner 2008.

Place cards for Thanksgiving dinner guests

So if you’re not cooking, you are either dining out or better yet invited to share the annual feast at someone else’s dinner table.  Either way, the end result is still the same because you….

  1. Do not have to spend hours grocery shopping for myriad ingredients for dishes you make only once a year.
  2. Do not have to spend 3 x what you normally spend at the grocery store each week, buying weird items like persimmons, figs, chestnuts, turnips and a 14 lb bird.
  3. Do not have to pull the giblets out of the cavity of an ice cold turkey and then clean its inside  and cut off its rear end also known irreverently as the pope’s nose.Do not have to pull the giblets out of the cavity of an ice cold turkey and then clean its inside  and cut off its rear end also known irreverently as the pope’s nose.
  4. Do not have to get up at the crack of dawn to stuff the turkey and put it in the oven so it is ready at 2:00pm
  5. Can actually go to the Parade if you wish or leisurely sit in your living room with a cup of coffee all warm and cosy and marvel at the balloons and how cold everyone seems to be at the Parade.
  6. Can have breakfast with the family instead of peeling potatoes.
  7. Don’t have to wonder how you are really going to get everything baked and cooked with 1 oven and only 4 burners.
  8. Will have time to get appropriately dressed  without an apron and even be able to put on makeup.
  9. Will probably be offered some leftovers to bring home for tomorrow’s supper (bring your own containers)
  10. BEST of all, you won’t be in the middle of any unresolved sibling or parent-child issues from your own family!!


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