Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo from Baptist Bible Hour
Mr. T and I would like to wish all of our friends a blessed Thanksgiving!  We trust that wherever your circumstances find you today, you will take some time and thank our great God for His marvelous blessings.

I would like to share a couple of links that I am finding particularly meaningful this Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving Pie, by Aunt Ruthie at Sugar Pie Farmhouse, is worth the read, with beautiful pictures and graphics.  Go ahead and scroll on down; the first part of the post is referring to a giveaway winner, but the rest goes on to talk about Thanksgiving pie and, especially, about the importance of thankfulness.  Aunt
Ruthie shares some helpful tips for nipping unthankfulness in the bud.  It is well worth your time to read this, so if you have a few minutes later today, you will want to do just that. 

Cultivating a Heart of Thankfulness is a post from  It is a real blessing and reminds us that even if things in our lives are less than ideal, or even very, very difficult indeed, we still have so much to thank God for.

This past week I refreshed my memory of Psalm 100:
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing.
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.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto  Him, and bless His name.
For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.

Another passage that has blessed my heart in recent days is Psalm 107:21-22:
"Oh that men would praise the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!
And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing."

Happy Thanksgiving to You and Yours!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A repost: "Tried and True Thanksgiving Favorites"

The lace accent on the right is from Little Birdie Blessings.  Recipe and photo are family heirlooms.
 With Thanksgiving coming up soon, I thought I would repost this from last year.  In this post, I  shared a few links to some of my older posts which are filled with recipes and tips for Thanksgiving dinner.  If you missed this post in 2013, you may want to check out these links this year.  I've added in a little new information, but mostly this is the same post as last year.  Here goes!

I posted the following in 2012, and it includes a lot of the same links I'm sharing today, but it might be helpful to someone:  A Gathering of Thanksgiving Tips and Recipes.

For pies, which are the most intimidating part of the meal for many people, I offer these Helpful Tips for Thanksgiving Pies.  If pie crust intimidates you (as it does many others), then don't stress about it.  I give you a recipe for an easy oil pastry, but if you don't want to go that route, then the sheets of refrigerated pie crust one can buy (I've even seen them in store brands!) work very well.  You can even buy frozen pie shells that aren't half bad.  Or if you just don't want to make pies, you can buy some very nice pies from bakeries that specialize in them.

Some of our Favorite Thanksgiving Pie Recipes are included in this post.  Maybe you will find a new family favorite!

But what if you are avoiding wheat, or a family member who'll be at your table is eating gluten free?  No worries.  This Gluten Free Pie Crust is easy to make and very good.  It's a simple press-in-pan crust and so it really won't work for a double crust pie.  But anyone who has lived without wheat for any length of time will be so happy to have a pie they can eat that they won't care if it's just a single crust pie.  It works perfectly for pumpkin pie, for example.

Probably the next most intimidating part of the meal is the turkey itself.  If you have, or are buying a frozen turkey, the rule of thumb for thawing it is to allow 24 hours in the fridge for each 5 pounds of the turkey's weight.  I find this not quite enough, so allowing an extra day would be my advice.  Invariably if I follow that rule of thumb, the giblets are still frozen in place.  I bought my frozen turkey (21 pounds) on Thursday and put it right into the fridge to start thawing.

Cooking it in an oven bag is my best advice on roasting a turkey.  It shortens the time considerably and produces tender, juicy meat.

For years, I stressed about gravy.  People love it and expect it, but making it at the last minute can be very stressful.  Usually there are other people in the kitchen, helping out with other things, and that complicates matters (even though they are truly trying to help when they watch over your shoulder and give advice).  So for a few years I then turned to canned or jarred gravy, transferring it to a saucepan and removing the evidence of the cans and jars well ahead of the guests' arrival.  That was great, but I found the gravy packets made even better gravy.  And finally I found this recipe:  Easy Turkey Gravy.  It truly is easy and it makes lots and lots of gravy.  If you are feeding people who think there is never enough gravy, try this.  For once they will be satisfied and there may even be some gravy left to serve with the leftovers or to make hot turkey sandwiches.

Stuffing, too, can be a source of discouragement.  I usually use a bag of Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix, prepare it with celery and onion as the package instructions suggest, and also add dried cranberries.  In my tips and recipes post (link at top) I detail how I cook it in a slow cooker.  Just don't leave it in there for too long, as it will burn and dry out.

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes are my go-to recipe for making mashed potatoes for a lot of people.  This year I was seriously thinking of using the Idahoan instant mashed potatoes, which are actually very good and are only $1 per packet, but my hubby won't let me because he loves the make-ahead mashed potatoes so much!

Sweet Potato Casserole is our family's favorite sweet potato recipe.  I've made it with canned sweet potatoes and it comes out just fine.

Broccoli Casserole is another great side dish that always goes over well.

I tend to skip serving rolls when there is so much other good food on the table, but if your family won't let you, then try these: Homemade Dinner Rolls.  They're a homemade crescent roll and are really delicious.

If your family insists on creamed onions (as mine does), here's the recipe I use:  Scalloped Onions.  It uses the frozen small onions.  Life is far too short to peel those little pearl onions.  I always buy the frozen (unsauced) ones and make my own sauce.  I just made a big batch of these for our church harvest dinner which is tomorrow.

Cranberry sauce or relish can be purchased and is just fine.  If you want to make your own, try the Taste of Home site for some good recipes, or you may be able to find one here.

For a memory of my childhood Thanksgivings, you might like to read A Thanksgiving Memory for a little nostalgia.

And if you enjoy vintage things, you might like to take a peek at this Children's Book of Thanksgiving Prayers.  This was actually sold as a greeting card, I believe. 

For more Thanksgiving posts, click on the "Thanksgiving" label in the word cloud of labels in the right sidebar.  You may find some surprises I've forgotten about!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

40 days until Christmas!

Graphic from Old Design Shop
Unbelievable!  I received an email -- I think from -- this morning that reminded me there are only 40 days before Christmas.  I am so not ready, but am proceeding fairly well with my handmade gifts for the grandkids.  8 down and 4 to go!

With the Christmas season approaching so fast, I'd like to invite you all to visit my Christmas blog, Mrs.T's Christmas Kitchen!  During the past week or so, I've put up several posts concerning some of my Pinterest boards, and have featured a few links you might enjoy checking out:

Advent Calendars and Christmas Countdowns; my post about this board is here.

 Handmade Gift Ideas;  my post is found here and

Crafting for Christmas (my post about this board is found here.

 In the days ahead, I hope to feature a few more relevant Pinterest boards to whet your baking and crafting inspiration appetite.  Happy browsing and crafting!

Friday, November 14, 2014

My "Thanksgiving" Pinterest board

Photo by Baptist Bible Hour
Can anyone believe that Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away?  It is one of my favorite holidays, yet it always sneaks up on me.

If you could use a little Thanksgiving inspiration, you might like to check out my Thanksgiving Pinterest Board.  There are tons of ideas there for decorating, table settings, and even a few recipes.  

One link worth checking out is this one at Tip Junkie where you will find a wealth of Thanksgiving ideas.  Several of my pins came from Tip Junkie, and you won't believe the number of links she shares.

Now, here are a few other ideas I've pinned that you might like to take a look at:

This Thanksgiving blocks craft from Wait 'Til Your Father Gets Home might be a fun place to start.

Photo by Wait 'Til Your Father Gets Home
The sentiment she chose to use would actually be very appropriate all year round.

Another decorating idea is this “Thankful” banner by Centsational Girl.

Photo by Centsational Girl
I love seasonal banners, and this one is a real beauty.  I love the colors, and the interspersed leaves.

Printable art is always fun and easy for seasonal decorating -- you can just use the same frame and swap out the artwork.  Blooming Homestead has some lovelyThanksgiving printable art.  Here's one example:
Art by Blooming Homestead
Isn't it pretty?

And for another meaningful art piece, check out this idea: “Grateful” art at Catherina's Creative Corner.
Photo by Catherina's Creative Corner
I love this!  Believe it or not, she hand-wrote things she was grateful for to create the background.

For the table, here's a Thanksgiving tablecloth project from A Soft Place that looks not only gorgeous, but absolutely doable.
Photo from A Soft Place
It is made from a painter's drop cloth!

And lastly, to put on top of the tablecloth, here is a Thanksgiving tablescape from iCandy Handmade.
Photo by iCandy handmade
 Wait until you see how she created the pumpkin!  I can always use a little inspiration in this department, though soon enough any tablescape or centerpiece I create usually gets moved around to make way for the food!

Hope you have enjoyed this preview of my Thanksgiving Pinterest Board.  Happy browsing!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A lovely fall poem ~ Autumn's Appeal

The lovely graphic is from Baptist Bible Hour.
I came upon this lovely poem in an old issue of Country Woman magazine.  Even though the brilliant beauty of fall is past (at least up here), I thought I would share it with you all.

Autumn's Appeal

Swirling leaves of gold and crimson
Drifting on a chilly wind
Slowly settle in the meadow,
Heralding the summer's end.

Sunlight fades a little faster
With the passing of each day,
Crops wait ready to be gathered -- 
Nature's bounty on display.

Evening's song grows ever softer
As birds start their southern flight,
While the first fire in the fireplace
Warms a cold and frosty night.

Autumn days bring sweet contentment,
Time to slow life's hectic pace;
Time to linger in the beauty 
Of fall's majesty and grace.

Ruth Fiori Poynor
Boise, Idaho

Isn't that so evocative of fall?  Even though the pace of my life is still hectic, I can feel it slowing just a bit as the seasons change.  Hope all of you enjoyed reading this poem today.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

A delicious autumn supper ~ chicken stew and pumpkin biscuits

Photo from Taste of Home
This week I tried a couple of new-ish recipes and thought I would share, since they both came out well and we enjoyed them.

I am doing much more crockpot cooking these days as I try to get a lot of crafting done for Christmas gifts and try to keep my head above water with housework, caregiving, and all the rest.  For a few minutes' work filling the slow cooker, one can have a nice meal cooking all by itself.  If making a stew or soup, a loaf of bread baking in the bread machine at the same time gives you a complete meal!  This week I made a slow cooker meal for my dad, with plenty for our house as well.

Here's the recipe I tried: Chicken Stew.  The recipe calls for potato gnocchi but suggests one could also use rice.  I cooked some rice and added about a cup or a little more of the cooked rice to the finished stew.  I don't think I have ever cooked with parsnips before, but this recipe called for them and my dad loves them, so I did use parsnips in the stew.  Also, I didn't want to fiddle with bone-in chicken thighs (skinning them, then later deboning) so I used a couple of boneless chicken breasts.  (One large one would have been enough.  I ended up making the second, nicely cooked one into chicken salad.)  This stew turned out to be delicious and I will definitely make the recipe again.

To go with the stew, I made these: Pumpkin Patch Biscuits.

Photo by Taste of Home
Yes, they are made with a generous amount of real pumpkin!  I doubled the recipe because it said the yield was 6 biscuits.  With the double batch, I ended up with 16 biscuits!  But that was no problem because they were really, really good.  I only tasted part of one because they are not gluten free, but I think I will have to figure out a way to make them so.  These biscuits are not super sweet, nor do they taste like pumpkin pie (there is no spice in the recipe).  They are just slightly sweet, very moist and went very well with the  chicken stew.

Hope you enjoy these recipes if you try them!

Sunday, November 02, 2014

A Thanksgiving poem to set our hearts toward praise

I think I found this vintage image here: Vintage Holiday
In looking through some back issues of Country Woman magazine, I found a lovely poem by Elisabeth Weaver Winstead in the 1992 November/December issue.  I hope it inspires others as it did me!

Giving Thanks
When the frost has spread a silver shawl,
And the leaves have turned to gold;
When the fields of fruitful harvest
Are a glory to behold --

When dear friends and kinfolk gather 
For the feasting and the fun,
And the cheer of home and hearth fire
Fills the hearts of everyone --

Then it's time to count our blessings
For the wondrous gifts we share
Reflected in each joyous heart
With grateful praise and prayer.
~ Elisabeth Weaver Winstead
   Nashville, Tennessee

Isn't that lovely?  Our own Thanksgiving celebrations often include both dear friends and kinfolk -- and we find them even more meaningful because of that!