Thanksgiving roundup

pecan pie

The problem I have with the endless emails and web articles I see about “16 Thanksgiving side dishes” and “10 million pies” and “what to make for Thanksgiving this year” is that, like many people, I like to make the same things for Thanksgiving every year, and I don’t use recipes for most of them. When I’m in charge of dinner, I generally make turkey, mushroom-sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, roasted sweet potatoes, creamed spinach, and pecan pie. And I don’t need other people telling me how to make those things, as I’ve already done them, thanks.

I was going to do a roundup of Thanksgiving recipes from the past three years of my blog, only to discover that I haven’t really written most of them down – for the above reason, that I don’t really follow recipes for this sort of cooking. I do use a recipe for pecan pie, but it’s pulled straight from Baking Illustrated so I don’t really want to reprint it here and have the fine folks at Cook’s Illustrated come after me with pitchforks. I have found a few good recipes to mention here – the fresh cranberry relish with a whole orange that I like so much, sweet potato dinner rolls, the spinach recipe that isn’t remotely healthy but tastes fantastic, and a cranberry tart that doesn’t replace pecan pie in our household but is still really nice.

My favorite cranberry sauce

Sweet potato dinner rolls

Aunt Mary’s creamed spinach

Cranberry tart

And, since I’ve been so lame on the Thanksgiving post front, here are some posts from other bloggers giving a nice range of holiday experience and planning from past years, many of whom avoided all kinds of stress by simply leaving out the turkey:

A Cook Local Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, Downsized

Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Local Style

Thanksgiving in France

Gobble, Gobble

Ix-Nay on the Urkey-Tay

Happy Halloween, and NaBloPoMo!


Here’s to a fun and safe Halloween evening – what’s everyone dressing up as? We’re doing something piratical, but details are still getting ironed out.

You may be interested to know that I have once again lost my mind and signed up for NaBloPoMo, so I will be posting every single day for a month, starting tomorrow. Stay tuned!

all-day braised lamb

holiday lights

After the usual holiday diet of chocolate, too much coffee and a lot of salami and cheese, it’s always a good idea to have something solid in mind for dinner. I can hardly imagine a more perfect dish for Christmas day than long-braised leg of lamb. Get it going after breakfast, peek at it occasionally throughout the day, pull it out in time for dinner. The only downside is that it takes up oven space that you might want for, say, baking pie, but the braise can easily be moved to the stovetop (which is what we ended up doing).


The lamb braises in a wine-tomato-stock mixture, but then you get to fill in the space around it with whatever veg you like. The original recipe recommends turnips, onions and carrots; we left out the onions and threw in parsnip and fennel. The long, slow braising makes the vegetables incredibly tender while still retaining their shape, so they can be scooped out of the broth and served alongside the meat.

braising lamb

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images from Christmas

holiday lightspaperwhites

Christmas is over and done with, and I would be back at work today if I weren’t home sick with a sinus headache and the sniffles. In my next post I’ll tell you about the six-hour braised lamb we made for Christmas dinner, but in the meantime here are some pictures from our weekend. Hope yours was fun as well!


the ponderosawinter light

sausage on the woodstove


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a dinner that couldn't be beat

Thanksgiving dinner

In case you were wondering, here’s what Thanksgiving dinner looked like (on my plate, at least – there were a few more marshmallows and schnecken on other people’s plates). My husband’s relatives always put on a tremendous do, and this year was no exception.

Thanksgiving buffet

I ended up with mashed potatoes, turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, challah, creamed spinach, stuffing, and a hefty spoonful of the roasted vegetables that my brother-in-law and I prepared earlier in the day (fennel, onion, mushrooms, beets, sweet potatoes, parsnips, and carrots).

the pie station

And, of course, there was pie.

the centerpiece

What goes on your Thanksgiving plate?