Holiday Cooking Hints: Open Forum!

Hey, Sweet Things!

Last night I was helping a younger woman with a few hints for roasting her first Thanksgiving turkey. It caused me to think someone else might need a couple of tips so I threw some things I’d told her on Twitter. Then, I got enough responses to wonder if I should open up a forum for questions and helps here on the blog today. I talked to Jan Morton, one of our most beloved Siestas and the owner of one fabulous kitchen, and she promised she’d pitch in this afternoon, too, so LET’S DO THIS! It’s perfect timing since we’ve still got a few days and, if it turns out to be too late for some of you, keep in mind that all of this applies to your Christmas cooking as well.

Now, listen. I am not a stellar cook. I really am only fairly proficient at country cooking and meals like rump roasts and gravy and smothered steak and gravy and pork chops and gravy and fried chicken and gravy and, okay, anything at all with gravy. (And, no, I surely cannot eat that way all the time which is why I don’t cook much.) What I am is a women’s teacher/tutor and I think this is a perfect time to help some women out in the kitchen and it’s Biblical, after all.

Do you remember what Peter said to the beggar at the Temple gate in Acts 3? “Silver and gold have I none, but that which I have, give I thee!” (I love it in the KJV.) So, I don’t have mad cooking skills but, what I have, I give thee. Because I love thee. And because few of us are flat-out gifted in the kitchen. Most of us have to learn and that means somebody needs to teach us. SO, calling all teachers!!!

Since I lack a lot in the kitchen myself, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m opening this up for you less experienced cooks to ask questions and you more experienced cooks to read through the comments and answer as many of them as you can. If you see that someone else has already answered the question but you still have something to add, go ahead and leave an additional comment. I really need you seasoned cooks in our community to jump in here and help me because I won’t have the opportunity to answer them all myself. You also don’t have to wait for a comment in order to offer a tip. Go ahead and share some things you learned from other good cooks. Things that come in handy for holiday meals. It’s just wide open, Girls. Teach and be taught on here today.

I’ll get us started with a few things I threw out there last night and I’ll be able to explain a bit more in this format.

If you’re baking a turkey this year for the first time or you’ve done it many times but can’t get it consistently tender, consider using one of these: (You can get it and most of the other items on this post at your basic grocery store like Kroger.)

Just follow the directions exactly and it will tell you how long to bake your turkey according to its size. Even though most of them are basted these days, I can’t resist slathering them down with at least a half stick of melted butter, generous salt and pepper and minced garlic. Then I stick it in the oven bag and bake it just like it says. Girls, be sure and reach in your turkey and pull out the packet in the inside cavity before preparing the turkey. Don’t be embarrassed about not knowing those kinds of things. You can’t know what you don’t know. The size of a turkey means that you usually end up wallowing the thing all over the sink and counter before you finally get it in the bag SO this is a really good time to use a Windex or any other kind of counter spray that includes antibacterial.Remember to spray down things like the handle on the refrigerator. Use your antibacterial on anything the raw turkey touched or your hands touched before you washed them.

After your turkey is completely done, set it out on the counter and start allowing it to cool off. (NOTHING smells better than a turkey roasting.) Girls, turkeys take quite a while to cool off. This actually comes in handy since most of us only have one oven and we can’t fit any of our casseroles in it at the same time our turkey is roasting. Even if you have to wait an hour before your dressing or other casseroles are baked, it’s no big deal. As long as you don’t slice the turkey until the last minute, it will stay warm. You might just lay one piece of aluminum foil over the top of it.

Now, for a few gravy hints. The drippings to a turkey are absolutely divine. After you’ve let the bird cool off enough to work with the drippings, tear open your roasting bag and use a cup or ladle to pour a generous amount into a measuring cup exactly like this:

See how the spout is at the bottom? The fattest part of the liquid will rise to the top after just a few minutes. You only want to use the bottom part to make your gravy or it’s too greasy. Set the filled measuring cup to the side until it’s time to make your gravy. Do you girls have iron skillets? They are best for making gravy but not imperative. You want it to be one of the last things you do before serving your meal. I’m going to tell you how to do basic gravy rather than giblet gravy so you’ll know how to make it from any roast whether beef, pork, or bird. I’ll leave giblet gravy to one of the other cooks on here.

Go back to your measuring cup of drippings. Pour that lower (less fat) half of your liquid in a skillet. Heat it up to a rolling boil. Depending on how much liquid you have in your skillet, put about a heaping tablespoon of flour (not into your pan yet!) into about a fourth cup of warm water and stir it up really well until the lumps are out. While the liquid in your skillet boils, pour in the flour mixture and stir constantly for at least several minutes. After it’s well mixed, decrease your heat to a low boil. Add some salt and pepper if the liquid needs it. (You can’t be afraid to taste it in process or it won’t be well seasoned.) The liquid in the skillet will all begin to thicken. Keep it boiling until it looks like gravy. Grin. And add some water – just a little at a time – until it has the consistency you’re looking for. Especially with any of my bird-gravies (chicken or turkey), I like to add no more than a dime-size of this:

It simply adds a little color. For those of you with access to a Williams Sonoma, however, this is absolutely FABULOUS (this is the only thing on here today you can’t get from a regular grocery store):

You can forget all the trouble of making gravy from scratch and only use the jar (according to the directions, of course – you whisk it with milk) OR you can make your own gravy like I prefer and simply whisk in about a fourth of a cup of the jar to it. When I add the Williams Sonoma gravy base, I do NOT use the Kitchen Bouquet. Each one gives good rich color and a little extra flavoring. Don’t use both.

If you’re like me, you love yeast rolls for holiday meals but they’re often too time consuming to do from scratch. (I did it for years and it’s still the best way but so much is going on in the kitchen at once on Thanksgiving and Christmas, I have to give something up. I only have one oven and in a fairly small kitchen.) Sister Schubert Rolls are so good and they require no thawing and only about 15 minutes of baking time. They’re in the freezer section of almost any decent grocery store. I don’t have mine yet so I can’t add a picture but they come in round foil pans. And don’t you dare put margarine on them. B.U.T.T.E.R.

Okay! Those are a few of my tips! They are basics as you can see but a lot of our women need to know the basics. No shame here! I hope our better cooks tell you lots of other things you can put to great use this holiday season. So many women out there can leave me in the dust in the kitchen and we need to hear from them today! (And, yes, ladies, you are welcome to post recipes. Just try to use some that aren’t profusely long.)

And just because it’s Thanksgiving week, I’ll add this picture IF you think you can handle it. Annabeth at her Mother’s Day Out Thanksgiving Feast last week. She then visited the ministry in period costume and we all fell so in love, we were worthless.


Come on, questions and cooks! It’s a kitchen free-for-all in Siestaville today!

Surely you know by now that I love you. Grin.


PS. You girls made me so hungry, I had to get up and spread me a peanut butter and jelly just so that I could keep moderating the comments!



557 Responses to “Holiday Cooking Hints: Open Forum!”

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  1. 151
    Eleanor says:

    After reading this Facebook post from a friend, I thought it was quite appropriate to post on here…:)

    “Ok, people, I’m going to give advice about how to cook the PERFECT look, if you don’t follow my advice, don’t be comin’ on FB complainin’ that your turkey is too dry or this and here it is…: Wear a cute every time.”

    I have my cute apron ready, do you????

    • 151.1

      Oh yeah! Got my cute apron out just a few minutes ago! lol I got it on clearance many years ago. It was one of those “kits” that you cross-stitch on a printed pattern that tells you what color to put where. It’s the horn shaped basket with all the fruit and stuff spilling out but I can’t spell that word! ha (It starts with a “C”) The only time I ever wear it is on Thanksgiving Day when I cook dinner for all our kids and grandkids. I love it. All of it. πŸ™‚

      Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

      Marilyn…in Mississippi

    • 151.2
      Michele says:

      Haha that and the fancy plates!

      Hey Eleanor did you tell everyone about the newest little Siesta?

  2. 152
    Patti says:

    Natalie, your poem is absolutely beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes!

    • 152.1
      Natalie Hare says:

      Thank you so much Patti….It was completely a God thing as I am not writer. It was written during a very tough time and I must say…I’m beginning to see my promised land! God Bless!!!

  3. 153
    Sarah says:

    Oh, thank you for this post Mama Beth!!! Loved the little pilgrim! I can’t believe how big she’s getting!!! I recently watched the study where you brought her out just a few days old and she was decked out in pink with cute little “ballet shoe” socks!!! Oh, how they grow!!!

    Am traveling for both holidays this year, so am not “in charge” of anything other than a side and a few pies. I feel so blessed to be at the bottom of a long line of GREAT cooks!!! My grandma can cook and bake her socks off and send everyone into a turkey coma with a smile on their faces!!! My Mom is able to do the same (minus the pies). πŸ™‚ Have so enjoyed reading all the wonderful suggestions, we truly are blessed! My cup overflows!!!

  4. 154
    Deb S. says:

    Thank you Beth. I’ve been married 28 years, had a WONDERFUL Christ loving mother and I still learn something new every year. Maybe we more “experienced” wives/ mothers should start a blog for the newer or more humble so we can continue to help each other out. I think we should also lobby the turkey companies to stop putting those bags IN the bird, what a crazy idea. We all have a story about those bags!

    Happy Thanksgiving. Thanks to your ministry for all you do.

  5. 155
    Tammy-Columbus OH. says:

    Two things: When making the deviled eggs, use Marzetti slaw dressing. If you like your eggs a little more tart then sweet, add some mustard to it. Also, the last minute thing of mashing the potatoes, making the gravy and browning the rolls gets rushed so I make my mashed potatoes ahead of time, butter down my crock pot and add them to it and let it stay on warm. You can add some cream cheese to your mashed potatoes to make them creamier too. Happy Thanksgiving.

  6. 156
    Tammy-Ohio says:

    Hey Beth, while in Columbus you mentioned your CornBread Stuffing recipe was to die for, how about sharing??

  7. 157
    Lori says:

    Several years ago, I found myself actually planning ahead for the Thanksgiving meal . . . because it was the first one our family would host. I am not a naturally organized person, so to be sure that everything would be ready to eat (cooked AND hot) at the same time, I made a list and a schedule. Maybe this is a no-brainer for some of you . . . but for those who find themselves in the same boat I was in, here’s my tip. Make a list of each food item you are preparing . . . even the veggies and dip. Beside each item on the list, estimate the time it will take you to prepare the item. In a separate column, write the cooking time. Once you have your list put the items in the order that makes the best sense, based on prep and cooking times. Now, you can make your schedule for the day. Working backward from the time you want all food on the table or the buffet, set a time to start your preparation for each item on the list and a time to put your oven items in the oven. When you get to this step, you will see opportunities for combining some preparations (if you are having a veggie plate, and you need celery for your dressing, cut your celery sticks and chop what you need for dressing at the same time). You will also see what items can be prepped while what other items are cooking. By the way, I am about to sit down and do this now, so it is not too late if you are hosting Thanksgiving this week! Happy Thanksgiving!

    • 157.1
      Jennifer says:

      When cooking solo for a crowd one year, I did this–including steps like “take the ____ out of the fridge” and “turn oven temp down to _____” made the day brainless and stressless! Everything was ready on time πŸ™‚

    • 157.2
      Sandy Bowers says:

      This is exactly what I do. I have a little mini-journal that I decorated with holiday paper. I have my schedules, menus, some recipes, even Christmas present lists from the last 5 years. Love it! Then I can see what I did last year and when, etc. Nothing wrong with lists! Happy Thanksgiving Siesta!

  8. 158
    Another Beth says:

    I have never touched a naked turkey and hope to keep it that way. Thanks to my husband who loves to cook and loves me!

    • 158.1
      FloridaLizzie says:

      I baked a turkey only once in my whole life, a few years ago. I feel just like you. The sight of that big decapitated skinned dead creature on my counter gave me the creeps. Following the advice of seasoned cooks, I did just what they said and it took hours and hours and the pop-up timer just wouldn’t pop up. When I was done, there was stuffing everywhere–then everybody told me don’t put the stuffing in the bird. It was the color of my counters and floor, and it looked like a bomb went off. I had to mop 3 times. I cook some great side dishes, but as God is my witness, I never want to bake a giant dead bird again!

  9. 159
    Diane Rogers says:

    I no longer buy cranberries in the can. The Oceanspray recipe on the bag of fresh cranberries is simple. I just add about 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and some chopped walnuts or pecans and it’s delish!! I like Sandy’s idea of adding blueberries too! My stomach is growling…

    • 159.1
      Nita says:

      Wish I would have thought to notice the recipe on the back of the cranberry bags I threw away. I was too set on the recipe from a magazine. My cranberry sauce was an epic fail. Not in taste but consistency. It did not set! Oh well. My mom is bringing canned sauce to our meal. Praise God for family arriving at my house today for our annual Thanksgiving weekend. Love it and them.

  10. 160
    Jean says:

    Thank you thank you so much for telling me how to make gravy! The only thing I need to know is how much of the turkey dripping do you pour into the skillet? A cup – more, less?

    I bought some of that William Sonoma gravy mix last weekend – so glad to know how to use it. πŸ™‚

    This is a great post. I am recovering from knee surgery earlier this morning so I will sit here and read the other cooking tips since a cook I am NOT! Happy Thanksgiving!!

    • 160.1
      Jennifer says:

      Use all the drippings but the grease πŸ™‚ There is no such thing as too much gravy, and any extra freezes wonderfully! I put a tablespoon or two of gravy in each freezer packet of leftover turkey–when it is reheated later, the turkey does not dry out! Same can be true for stuffing, though we rarely have leftover stuffing. πŸ˜‰

  11. 161

    Hey ya’ll,

    If you’ve never made caramel apples, these are always a hit and so much fun to make with the kiddos. I’d love to say I have some mah-velous recipe, but I don’t. Pioneer woman is my go to girl on this kinda thing. Here’s the webpage for her tricks! (ya’ll the salted caramel apples are SO good!!) Something about caramel apples this time of year really works for me. πŸ™‚

  12. 162
    Sister Lynn says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Siestas and Siesta Mama!

    Just wanted to say HI! We are just moving back into our newly renovated monastery after 18 months out of it! Thanksgiving dinner will be our first meal in the new space – fitting yes?

    Know you all will be included in our prayers of Thanksgiving!! We love you!

    Sister Lynn

    • 162.1
      Jennifer T says:

      Sister Lynn –
      That is AWESOME news and a wonderful first meal in renovated space! My kids and I were revisiting Psalm 100:4-5 as William Brewster led the Pilgrims in Psalm 100 when they sighted land on Nov 9, 1620. I can just picture you and the sisters entering into renovated gates with thanksgiving and renovated courts with praise! Enjoy your day and please thank the sisters for their prayers. Praying thanksgiving for you and ALL the SIESTAS (and of course our Siesta Momma) today!!

  13. 163
    Sandy Bowers says:

    This is my favorite holiday recipe and one that reminds me of my sweet mama. So yummy — even folks who don’t like sweet potatoe’s…like this.


    3 cups mashed sweet potatoes (about 4-5 good-sized) (Canned is OK, but not as good)
    1/2 cup butter or margarine
    1/2 cup evaporated milk (if I have a little over 3 cups of potatoes, I’ll use a small can which is a little more than 1/2 cup)
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. nutmeg
    1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. vanilla

    1 cup brown sugar (a little less)
    1/3 cup flour
    1/3 cup melted butter or margarine

    Cook and mash potatoes with hand masher or big fork; add butter while hot. In a separate medium bowl, beat eggs, add evap. milk with mixer, add sugar, salt, spices and vanilla with mixer; beat into potato mixture. (You can prepare up to this point the night before and place covered in refrigerator if desired.) Place in buttered casserole dish.

    For the topping: Combine flour & brown sugar first. Mix these together good and THEN add the melted butter. Stir well and pour or spoon over top of casserole.

    Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes. This does not β€œraise” like a souffle.

    • 163.1
      Rena says:

      I tried this sweet potato recipe on Thanksgiving, and it was a hit!! Everyone loved it! Thank you for posting it!

    • 163.2
      Carol says:

      I didn’t get this all read last week, but hoe there’s other like me who will see the add-ins. If your family likes pecans, chop some to put in the topping for the sweet potatoes. Mmmmm.

  14. 164
    Deanna says:

    Hey Ladies, I know I am late here but, I just so appreciate your helpful hints and uplifting comments. I am truly thankful to have found this group of Siestas!

    I am wondering if anyone has any advice for me – I don’t want to sound vain or anything but, I am a pretty good cook. I have been cooking since the tender age of 8 and have become quite proficient over the years. I am recognized as an excellent cook in my family, our chuch and our community. The problem is this: my mother-in-law likes to keep my “hands tied” so to speak when it comes to holiday cooking. Whenever I ask her what I can bring she usually says something like “salad – just lettuce” or, “pickles and olives” or any number of other things that require zero cooking or skill. However, she assigns my sisters-in-law dishes like dressing, desserts, and such even though, by their own admission, they don’t have nearly as much cooking skill as I do.

    I have a fairly good relationship with my mom-in-law, and yet I cannot help but feel hurt that she tries to handicap me in this way at family functions. My husband (and other family members) theorize that she does not want to be shown up by me at her own home. This does not help me feel better. I want to fully participate in family meals and be able to share one of the talents that I actually do have. I am not new to this family, we have been married for over 13 years – longer than anyone else in the family. I don’t want to feel badly about this, I just want to feel appreciated for who I am and not hindered or controlled. Any suggestions, especially from you mothers-in-law out there?

    • 164.1
      Alicia Fannin says:

      What if you bring what M-I-L asks and then bring a dish you have cooked as well? Make something you know SHE has an affection for, her favorite desert or casserole, that way she will know you were thinking of her and trying to do a kindness.


    • 164.2
      Trisha says:

      You are a precious daughter of The King. Will anything you cook make a difference 100 years from now? Just Be Thank-Full. : )

    • 164.3
      Jennifer T says:

      Deanna –
      I am sitting here loving you and totally feeling your heart on this one!!! I’m married 13 yrs next month. I have a solid relationship with my MIL. I am NOT, however, ‘gifted’ as a cook. I can make a mean dessert, but am happy to defer to others for the main course and such. My MIL kinda dictates what is going to be made and by whom and, more often than not, I am invited with the encouragement to “just come with the kids.” I have no idea what is going on in your situation ‘under the radar’ but I have decided to guess that my MIL is trying to bless me. She honestly may not be at all. I’ve decided she is hoping to give me a break at family gatherings and she also doesn’t want to presume to tell me what to cook when it’s far easier to direct her own flesh and blood. Sometimes I ‘beat her to the punch’ and just call a good couple weeks ahead and say “HEY! I can’t get POTATOES out of my head so I’m bringing/cooking them at ___, okay?” She has never refused my offer and I have learned to do this little thing EARLY as these precious ones can seriously plan the menu in September for Thanksgiving. My family remembers it’s Thanksgiving weekend on Wednesday. I kinda blew it this year as it seems no one like NO-ONE is making anything sweet potato. Can anyone cry with me on this? I’m dessert girl and my husband is king of Turkey so I can’t sneak a casserole dish loaded with orange joy in the menu. Anyway, this is too long a comment. I LOVE YOU, DEANNA! A wise woman (his mother) once told my pastor “you have a choice during every hard time… will I allow this thing to make me BITTER or BETTER?” There are a thousand guesses you can make about your MIL’s heart. Choose mercy. And love her to death over whatever in the world she makes with less skill than you! πŸ™‚ Praise God your hubby and kids get to eat your meals so often!!! Wish mine could (eat yours).

      • Maryann says:

        Thank you for your wise words…about BITTER or BETTER. I am the MIL with a new DIL, who seems to make it quite clear that I will never be close to her. It is so painful, as I have my daughter is gone, my mother is gone, and I only want to just be considered. BUT, I will keep on, keeping on! God bless.

      • Deanna says:

        Thank you Siestas! As is usually the case, there is more history to this relationship than I can share here BUT, at your encouragement, I celebrated this year by trying to not feel hurt and instead enjoyed not having to do the work of preparing a meal. Thank you for all of your kind and uplifting words – you girls are great!

  15. 165
    G.J. says:

    I have had the best time pouring over this post. I got some good dessert recipes down. Y’all are a blessing and I love our Siestaville. πŸ™‚

    Thankful for YOU all!

    • 165.1
      Jennifer T says:

      Georgia Jan – Huge Siesta smooch for that comment! My little cyber ears perk up when I see stuff from YOU and so many others. I need the wisdom and FUN that this community provides. Y’all (I’m pretending… I’m a military brat and raised by New Yorkers, so y’all isn’t really in my vocab) keep pointing me to Jesus and I LOVE HIM SO. Praising Him this day for how He led me to this little pocket of joy and the women who live here!

  16. 166
    JerrieH says:

    It’s also fun to serve cold sparkling grape juice for thanksgiving dinner in fancy glasses or goblets. It tastes so good, especially the red sparkling grape juice. And, of course, it is alcohol free, just carbonated grape juice. Can be bought many places, including Walmart and Walgreens. πŸ™‚

  17. 167
    mercy4Drew says:

    Food Network’s Good Eats Roast Turkey is the BEST turkey I have ever eaten (or cooked). The turkey is brined overnight.

  18. 168
    Kim Safina says:

    From a Pilgrim in California πŸ™‚

    I am busy in the kitchen preparing 2 TURKEY’S,
    YES,”2″!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! + dressing, mashed potatoes, yams, homemade rolls, petite pea’s, green beans, cranberry,apple crisp casserole, and pies, YES, pumpkin,pecan, chocolate pecan, and a NEW chocolate pie recipe that a darling girl, who works in the pharmacy, gave me today as I was picking up my HORMONE PATCH as 30 hungry mouths will be coming to our home on Thursday!!!!
    I will be smiling to open the cans of olives and cranberry sauce that I don’t have to prepare!!!! WeLL, I am preparing cranberry sauce on the stove but prefer the canned ~ I promised a family member that I would make it!

    I think I am the biggest Turkey for agreeing to this!!!! I want to gobble, gobble my way to my sofa, put my feet up and have a big bite out of the peanut butter sandwich that our Precious Beth is teasing me with!!!


    “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31

    I will have to do that after I shop BLACK FRIDAY with my precious “M”om starting @ 5:00 AM!!!!
    STARBUCKS TAKE ME AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. 169
    Jeni says:

    I use the Turkey bags, Kitchen bouquet, and measuring cup – haven’t tried the Gravy from Williams Sonoma but will check it out. Loved the little Pilgrim. Great idea posting cooking tips – enjoyed reading the other posts and recipes. Loved Natalie’s poem too.
    Had this Pumpkin Pie Crunch at church and it was absolutely delicious!
    1 pkg yellow cake mix
    1 (16 oz) can solid pack pumpkin
    1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
    3 eggs
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 cup pecans, chopped
    1 cup butter or margarine, melted
    Whipped Topping
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, grease bottom of 13X9X2 ” pan
    Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in large bowl. Pour into pan. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over pumpkin mixture. top with pecans. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake 350 degrees F for 50 to 55 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely. Serve with whipped topping. Refrigerate leftovers.
    IGNORE THE CALORIES….It’s Thanksgiving!!!!

  20. 170
    Debra says:

    I have always called myself a survival cook but i’ve taken notes on all of this. The only thing I missed seeing was white gravy with sliced eggs. Is that just a strange tradition or does anyone else have white gravy. Btw. Where do u get a measuring cupi like that? V
    Beth my oldest daughter and family moved to Houstin and have gone to your son- in- loves’ church 3 times. She has the red red headed little two year old daughterand a 6 month old baby. They are going to bring me to ya’ll’s Christmas eve service! I ask her if she’s told her I said hi Nd she rolls her eyes!! Magen and Jonathn ! They love the Lord and your felliwship!!! Happy Thanksgiving siestas!!! I’m thankful for Siesta hood

  21. 171
    Kathy says:

    HELP! My mother has been diagnosed with a severe level of dementia and I am her care taker- she expresses herself in a MEAN manner due to the type of disability or however we want to excuse such behavior…. I have to repent, I’m going off toward the victim mode- not a good response, honor is where we need to stay put….-

    I am most GRATEFUL to have this blog site and LPM as a part of my walk with our Father- I will be purchasing all those Thanksgiving goodies to keep my sanity this special weekend- Loved reading and “dreaming” that I might be the homemaker in the kitchen- a little fantasy is good…. Lots of love and blessings to you and yours

    • 171.1
      Kathy B says:

      Praying, Dear! I’m so, so sorry. In a not too disimiliar situation, my husband often reminded me, “It’s not her, honey. It’s not her fault.” But it still hurt. What a very tough battle you’ve been placed in.

  22. 172
    Karina says:

    I LOVE the oven bag. I used to pour boiling hot water into the cavity before stuffing the turkey and sticking into the oven in an attempt to even out the cooking… because mine is always thawed pre-frozen turkey… and let me tell you it works… BUT the bag is a lot simpler and works every time.

    And, I’m hoping I’m not too far down in the line to ask… Ms. Beth. When I saw your post, I was half expecting the recipe for your famous delectable dessert you mentioned a month or so ago. The pie that always grace your Thanksgiving table? The name escapes me. (Can I use my excuse that English isn’t my first language, or would that not count? he he) You had sort of said the recipe was forthcoming…

    Here’s hoping…. (hint, hint) P.L.E.A.S.E??? Siesta Mama!

  23. 173
    Janel says:

    Hey, ladies! I could actually use a tip for Thanksgiving – we’re in Florida, and what we miss in snow we make up for in beach! This year, we’re cooking ahead and taking everything to the beach for a Thanksgiving like we’ve never had! We will have a camp stove and a grill at our disposal, so we can heat or reheat most of our food. I cannot figure out how to reheat the turkey without turning it into something the seagulls won’t even eat! Any suggestions? Wishing many blessings for you all this week – happy Thanksgiving!

  24. 174
    Becky says:

    Annabeth is adorable. And totally agree with the turkey bag.

  25. 175
    Stacy Schill says:

    I am not one who could be considered a great cook, but with a mom who was a cooking teacher, here is her best advice on mashed potatoes: Mash completely with real butter, salt and pepper FIRST–BEFORE adding the milk. Then, add the milk. The less milk, the better the consistency. This will leave you with perfect mashed potatoes every time. They won’t be “gummy, lumpy, or soupy.” I like to add a lot of butter–half to a whole stick for 1 or 2 pounds. I also buy the frozen russet potatoes in the steam/mash bag from Ore Ida. Microwave ten minutes and mash. It doesn’t get any easier than that.

  26. 176
    Melinda says:


    The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him and He delivers them.
    Psalm 34:7 (NIV)

  27. 177

    Hey Beth! Happiest Thanksgiving to you and Siestaville!:) Thanks for the cooking tips. I have never done a turkey yet, but I did earn a free one from my local grocery store this month for spending so much money there. It’s big and frozen in my freezer in my garage right now:) Now I know how to make it! I’m in charge of cranberry sauce this year among other things. I found a great recipe. It is Cranberry Pomegranate sauce-perfect for women i should add-it smells like one of those candles from a fancy candle place,

    Here’s the recipe:

    1/2 cup unbleached sugar
    1 bag fresh cranberries
    1 small can jellied cranberry sauce
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1 tbsp fresh grated orange peel
    1 1/4 cup pomegranate juice

    You mix them all together (all but the can of jellied sauce), let it come to a boil, then let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Then you add the can of jellied sauce, blending it in with the rest of the mixture. Let cool and serve. Smells fantastic! I love you all at LPM and in Siestaville.

    • 177.1
      katiegfromtennessee says:

      Oops, I forgot, you have to use a stainless steel saucepan, not cast iron or Teflon, because of the acidic juices of the cranberry, pomegranate, and orange!

  28. 178
    Shannon Costanzo says:

    Hey Siestas,

    Thanks for all the great tips. I love cooking for the holidays.
    I soake my turkey in a brine for a while. Then I place a cheese cloth soaked with melted butter & white wine on top of the turkey. I stuff my turkey with Rosemary & thyme. It is delicious. I do recall the first time I used a cheese cloth. I thought the bird caught on fire.. The cloth will turn brown and some steam will rise from it. I hope that prevents anyone else going into a panic. Live & learn.
    Well ladies I am so thankful & blessed to have you all in my life. I love Siestaville.
    Thank you Siesta Mama!!

  29. 179
    Cristal says:

    I am always asked to bring Maw Maw DuBee’s Corn Casserole to all gatherings. It is wonderfully delicious! And SO EASY!! Enjoy…Here’s the recipe:

  30. 180
    Bethany says:

    Another non-lumpy gravy trick: Make a rue using 2-3Tbs. of butter. Melt the butter over medium heat, add 1-2Tbs. flour and whisk until smooth. Don’t cook too long or the gravy will not thicken properly. Then whisk in broth and seasonings and cook til thickened.

  31. 181
    Heather Smith says:

    HOW FUN and mouth watering and spiritually encouraging all in one giant post! πŸ™‚
    My life is so busy right now… I sure enjoyed the last 5 minutes soaking in some of this!
    Happy Thanksgiving to all!
    Heather from Lewiston

  32. 182
    Amber says:

    This is not a recipe or cooking tip but is my absolute FAVORITE Thanksgiving tradition and it involves a can of cranberry sauce. After eating Thanksgiving dinner, everyone at the table is given a thick slice of cranberry sauce to carve! I tell everyone what the theme is for the year and they carve away! (Could be Indian, pumpkin, etc.) This is fun for all ages!! For little kids you can even let them use a plastic knife. This year I’m mixing it up a bit and everyone is getting a whole can of cranberry sauce so their carving can be in 3D! Did I mention my sons are 23 and 26 and they even have fun participating every year? We take pictures and vote on a winner. Happy Thanksgiving everyone….keep it fun! (We also lauch our Easter eggs after coloring them in a small water balloon launcher, but that is for another blog.)

  33. 183
    Jennifer T says:

    I am on here in the dark hours of the night as everyone sleeps and I can work in the quiet. It’s sacred time. Don’t know if LAVONDA is still on here, but, Siesta, the dip you gave us LAST year is teetering on the top shelf of my fridge flavoring to perfection! My sis-in-law (on my sid – sniff… won’t be with my side today) is making it, too. I named it “Siesta Lavonda’s Crazy for Jesus Dip” since you didn’t name it and now at least two kitchens I know of are serving it during football. It’s simply divine and I want you to know, Lavonda, folks will be thinking of “Crazy for Jesus” and I will be thanking God for yet another benefit of this community!

    • 183.1
      Jennifer T says:

      And, Momma Beth, if you’re still reading – Annabeth makes an ADORABLE pilgrim! My princess turned 3 last week and I can’t imagine her putting anything on her head. I L-O-V-E Annabeth’s costume! Thanks for sharing that pic and for sharing your heart in all you do. Love you forever.

  34. 184
    Toni says:

    One of my top cooking tips for Thanksgiving, or any other time you are entertaining is this: Don’t get so lost in preparations that you forget the people. Guests might remember a special dish you made years from now, but they are sure to remember if they felt loved and welcomed, looked at and listened to in your home.

    As I prepare food and clean, etc. when guests are coming, I try to use that time to pray for them by name. I pray for known needs in their lives and I ask God that each guest will feel refreshed and loved by their time in our home.

    Happy Thanksgiving y’all! I pray you feel God’s tender, gracious and overflowing love toward you today!

  35. 185
    Amy says:

    Please sharenLavonda’s crazy for Jesus dip recipe for us newbies! Thanks so much!

  36. 186
    WendyB says:

    Oh, my gravy! Best Thanksgiving dinner ever. Making the mashed potatoes the day before was AMAZING. Tried the cooking bag for the first time, and the turkey was the most tender ever. And despite the fact that there’s no Williams Sonoma in Germany, my homemade gravy was yummy. Thanks to all of the Siestas for the fellowship. We’re an army chaplain family, and were privileged to have 11 soldiers and missionaries serving away from their families at our table today. I miss my own family but am so thankful for my Siestaville fam!

    • 186.1
      Lynn says:

      Hi Wendy, my husband and I were stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base in Germany, now we’re at Lakenheath in England. I am so grateful for the chaplain community overseas. I know many were blessed at your home for Thanksgiving!

  37. 187
    Lynn says:

    My daughter hosts our Thanksgiving dinner at her home. She buys a Butterball turkey and follows the package directions for roasting. It always turns out moist and delicious. I make deviled eggs, cranberry-orange relish, and a pumpkin pie (frozen). Now that I’m an empty nester, I don’t cook much.

    I’ve been trying to think of a few general tips. When making jello cranberry salad, add an envelope of Knox gelatin when you stir the powdered jello into boiling water. It won’t affect the taste, and the salad holds together better.

    When trying a new recipe, make notes on how it turned out for future reference. Was it too dry, too spicy, etc.

    When sharing a recipe, always give specific measurements and sizes. A can of this or a bag of that can be confusing; cans and bags come in difference sizes. If the ingredients are hard to find, it’s thoughtful to state where they can be purchased.

    My late mother-in-law had two special dishes she always prepared for holiday meals. One was cheesy potatoes, and the other was kidney bean salad. Getting her to share a recipe was difficult; not because she wanted to keep it a secret but because she never measured anything. “How many potatoes?” I would ask. “That depends on how much you want to make.” It was actually potatoes au gratin, but her kids grew up calling it cheesy potatoes. She insisted that only Kraft mayonnaise (real, not lite or fat-free) be used in the kidney bean salad.

  38. 188
    Sally says:

    We always have a big group over for Thanksgiving. My husband and I are involved in a campus ministry at Ohio State that reaches out to international students. We had 23 international students join us this year. And every year my husband and I have the same debate, whether to have the turkey ready for carving and let the students try their hand at carving it, or whether to forgo that, and have the turkey presliced and ready to serve. This year we hit upon a good solution, I got two smaller birds, 17 lbs. each. Prepped one a day ahead, and then had it sliced and ready in the roaster. That was much more time effective in serving our guests. BTW, we always use the Food Network roasted turkey brine recipe…..delicious and moist!!!!

  39. 189

    I just posted on Jan’s wall that this blog community is the epitome of Titus 2. Older women helping Younger. I also believe it is the reverse. The younger girls have given great tips too!

    I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was great with all the fun recipes that were posted.


    • 189.1
      Jan says:

      Stacie – So glad you stopped by Gran Jan’s JOY and yes I will try to remember to tweet when there is a new blog post each time. I took pictures Saturday while I roasted a chicken and it turned out GREAT, so I’ll get to that soon.

      I just love that Beth has a heart for this blog community and I love that it is so real. I am so thankful for the women that poured into my life and I’m committed to doing the same.

  40. 190
    glenwood says:

    A spoonful of jelly (any flavor) will moisten a cake. A home ec student told me she got this tip from her mother, a home ec teacher,who kept a jar of left over jelly in the refrigerator for this purpose.

  41. 191
    karenzach says:

    Beth: Have you met Sister Schubert yet? She is a lovely, lovely woman with quite a story of her own. I interviewed her for Doublewide, there’s a chapter called The Sister. She says about her rolls, They may not be the best rolls you’ve ever eaten — your granny’s might be better — but they are the best store-bought rolls you’ll ever eat.
    I love her orange rolls.

  42. 192

    Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  43. 193
    Geri says:

    I know I am way late on the comments here but praise be to God that you told me how to make gravey!! Seriosuly the best tutorial I have seen, even better than food network. And I know because I really cant cook to save my life and this thanksgiving I chickened out again on not making the turkey because I didn’t want to mess it up again. But now with your instructions in my hand Im going to make me a turkey WITH GRAVY!!!

    LOVE you for taking the time to do that. Will you do some more recipes when you have time or need a break… you will surely bless us women who have two left hands in the kitchen.


  44. 194
    Womens Uggs says:

    I have learn several just right stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much attempt you place to make one of these magnificent informative site.

  45. 195

    Thanks for this. I will definitely be checking back here before Christmas. I’m hoping by then I can talk my husband into letting me do at least a little something for Christmas dinner. I know we’re broke, but we’ve gotta eat anyway, and turkey can’t be that expensive! We won’t be going to my parents for Christmas, and his mom doesn’t really celebrate Christmas, so we’ll be doing our own Christmas for the first time ever. I finally had to set some boundaries with my family and their bullying, and as of now my mom is choosing to ignore the problem and not talking to me, so I’m thinking I may have been disowned without being told I’m being disowned. We’ll just have to see what happens. If I don’t even get any Christmas packages for the kids, I’ll pretty much know she’s done with me and my kids. I promise I was calm about it. I didn’t yell or scream, I just said that I’m not going to put up with being bullied by my brother and sister.

  46. 196
    Billie Parton says:

    Micah 6:8
    He has told you, O man what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?


  47. 197
    Glenda Arnold says:

    Proverbs 3:5

    Trust in tahe Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.

    My group of awesome sistas from Royse City Texas are coming to Houston!! Yeah!!! We have made awesome shirts!! We have loved God more and been in His word more since taking this journey. Thank you God!

  48. 198
    Sarah says:

    Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by pwr of Holy Spirit”

  49. 199
    Judy - Lucas, TX says:

    “You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will
    trample the great lion and the serpent.” Psalm 91:13

  50. 200
    Jennifer Rott says:

    “May the God of your HOPE so fill you with JOY and PEACE in believing (through the experience of your faith)that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound and be overflowing with HOPE.” <3 :)(Amplified Bible)

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