Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Take THAT Black Friday!!

Black Friday

So here I sit writing this post this morning on the ever so famous, dare I say “holiday”, Black Friday. No I’m not in a tent waiting to buy another television I don’t need, or standing in line like an Olympic sprinter waiting to bust through the doors when they open. Nope. Just me and the dogs on the couch in my p.j.’s.

I received a newspaper in the driveway yesterday (which I don’t even subscribe to) and I could swear every store in town had an advertisement in there. I didn’t order that paper but I was going to get it whether I wanted it or not. This time of year makes me very sad when so much focus is put on buy, buy, buy! The public is bombarded with sales pitches like a political campaign. Do we REALLY need to go shopping on Thanksgiving Day just so we can save 50% on socks? Ask the sales clerk at the store and I’ll bet you’ll get your answer.

Thanksgiving in our home has become quite the affair over the years. I’d say we have a pretty big family already having 4 children, and then when you add their spouses and my parents etc. it can be quite the crowd. But every year our family numbers get added to as we invite friends, co-workers, room-mates. I love that my children know our policy is that anyone is welcome and they invite freely. This year we topped out at 24 – oh and don’t forget the 5 dogs. It was a beautiful mess! People think we are crazy when we move all of our living room furniture outside and set up a sea of tables and chairs in the house making our house look like a small restaurant.

Thanksgiving is about loving on people, not fighting them to buy a stinking toaster.

Thanksgiving Collage

To accomodate our big family’s holiday schedules, we celebrated this year on the Sunday before Thanksgiving leaving us with no real plans on Thanksgiving Day, so our daughter Nicole said she was coming over and was going to cook US dinner. To my fellow parents out there, I know you can appreciate what an amazing feeling it is when your kids want to do something for you. Our kids are all adults now, but I was just as excited as when they were 7 and wanted to make me a lumpy pancake breakfast in bed.

Nicole's Thanksgiving

Well let me just say dinner was amazing! London broil, twice baked potatoes, squash-zucchini au gratin, roasted asparagus and sweet potato casserole.

Nicole took this photo and posted it with the caption, “Nothing makes me happier than making food for the people I love. ❤️ happy thanksgiving!!!” I gotta say, I would have loved it just as much if she made those same lumpy pancakes.

Family Thanksgiving

As we transition from Thanksgiving and into Christmas, it’s easy to get caught up in the shopping craze and want to put ourselves in debt to buy that perfect gift. (I have yet to get a Lexus with a enormous red bow on it in my driveway.) Taking a stroll through the mall will verify that the love of “stuff” is all around us. We are encouraged to buy more, drink more, do more regardless or our financial situations. This subliminal message of consumption can bring about undo stress and anxiety for many and can rob us of the true joy we should be feeling. I don’t want to sound like a bah-humbug, I’m not suggesting you go burn all your wrapping paper on the front lawn and boycott Christmas. I am suggesting however, that this year we all think outside the box. Let’s think of ways to show love for each other that doesn’t always come wrapped up with a little bow. Let’s enjoy this season stress free, debt free and full of love and lumpy pancakes.


Secret Family Turkey Recipe

 Brown Bag Turkey Header

Thanksgiving is here again which means it’s time to once again prepare our turkey with our secret family recipe. Does juicy, tender turkey falling off the bone sound good? Of course it does! There’s nothing worse than choking down dry, bland turkey. My grandmother actually is the one who got this recipe from a chef from the Waldorf Historia in New York and the secret is not so much the recipe itself, but actually the way the turkey gets cooked. Our family has been making turkey’s like this every year for the last 80 years! Paul, can I get a drum roll please? The secret is…………..

a brown paper grocery bag!

Yes, really. I know, you think I’m crazy, but we’ve already established that long ago. This recipe is really quite simple and the paper bag actually roasts the turkey making it golden brown and extremely juicy. You pop that bad boy in the oven and don’t touch it until it’s ready to eat! Seems too good to be true but it’s not. Let’s get into it.

Inside Bird Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 2 parsnips or carrots
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 large red apple
  • Fresh rosemary, sage and thyme

Seasoning/Cooking Ingredients:

  • Butter flavored Shortening
  • Poultry Seasoning
  • Brown Paper Bag
  • Roasting Pan (I prefer disposable)


Preheat oven to 350° degrees.

Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey, rinse inside and out and pat dry. Cut the apple, celery, onion, garlic, herbs and carrot or parsnip into large pieces and stuff into the bird cavity. (This is just for flavoring and will be thrown away after cooking.)

I usually put on a pair of gloves for this part. Rub down the entire turkey with butter flavored shortening while whispering sweet nothings. I’m just kidding about that second part, sort of. Also rub down the entire inside of a brown paper grocery bag as well, then set the bag aside. Sprinkle the entire turkey with poultry seasoning, then slide the turkey into the bag breast up. (If your turkey is very big, you may need a bag at both ends.) Now place the bag in a large roasting pan, close and tuck the end of the bag under the turkey. I then place the roasting pan on a cookie sheet that has sides. This is just to provide extra support when moving the turkey to and from the oven.

Place turkey in the oven making sure the turkey sits in the middle of your oven so it cooks evenly and does not touch any cooking elements. (don’t worry the oven is not hot enough to burn the bag.) Cook the turkey at 350° degrees for 15 minutes per pound.

Brown Bag Turkey

Do not open the bag at all during the cooking time, there is no basting needed with this method.  I mean it, no peeking! This cooking method will produce A LOT of juices. Your roasting pan will overflow if you don’t check on it, so peek in on it every so often and suck out some of the juice into a large pot with a turkey baster and use all that wonderful juice for your gravy. Don’t remove too much liquid though, the turkey needs it for the cooking process.

When your timer goes off, pull out the turkey insert a meat thermometer, the temperature should read 165-170 degrees. Let the turkey sit for 20 minutes. When done, pierce the bag near the bottom to allow any extra juices to flow out then, the big reveal…. tear open the bag and listen to the oooh’s and aaah’s! The turkey is so tender it will practically fall off the bone. Once you make your turkey this way, you may never cook it your old way again.

Don’t forget those juices! Take some turkey meat chunks and shred them up into the drippings and add cornstarch and simmer until thickened. Keep adding a little cornstarch at a time until desired thickness.

Oh, Paul is ready to serve it up, gotta go – Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Paul Carving