Preparing turkey breasts instead of the whole turkey is a sure fire way to make sure everyone has the white meat they desire. It is also EASIER – no carcass or bones to mess with. AND it looks more elegant when served. No wait time while someone has to carve it is a real plus too! PLUS you still get enough drippings to make a GREAT gravy with.

I use one 3 pound breast per two people. This gives you enough for the BIG day as well as leftovers for sandwiches. I also use both a WET BRINE and a DRY BRINE.

For Thanksgiving I take the turkey out of the freezer on Monday and move it to the refrigerator. It will thaw in less than 24 hours generally. Then on Tuesday I submerge it into the wet brine. On Thursday I drain off the wet brine an hour before I want to roast it and bring it to room temperature.

3 cups WHOLE milk
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup sea salt

  • Whisk together until salt is dissolved.
  • Place turkey breast in large ziplock bag.
  • Place bag in baking dish or large bowl.
  • Pour brine in bag and seal tight.
  • Refrigerate 24-48 hours.

1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon orange peel

  • Drain wet brine for turkey breast and pat dry.
  • Combine ingredients in mortar and finely grind.
  • One hour before you plan to start roasting, rub turkey breast on both sides, lightly cover with cheesecloth and allow to come to room temperature.

3 pound half breast
2 carrots, washed and sliced (optional)
2 stalks celery, washed and sliced (optional)
1 SMALL onion, diced (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon COARSE Kosher salt
FRESH ground black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 450°. This will start the browning process.
  • Adjust oven shelf to low position.
  • Add any veggies you might be using to the bottom of the roasting pan. If using veggies I add a couple tablespoons of butter to the bottom so they don’t burn. Also if using veggies you can place the breast directly on top eliminating the roasting rack and another thing to wash!
  • Top with roasting rack.
  • Transfer DRAINED brined breast to a roasting rack.
  • Brush turkey with melted butter. Loosen the skin and brush a little butter under there also. Make sure skin is covering as much meat as possible. This helps keep your turkey moist.
  • Season with Kosher salt and FRESH ground black pepper.
  • Move pan to oven.
  • Reduce heat to 350° when you place turkey breast in the oven. This will slow down the cooking to keep the meat juicy. With no bones the turkey breast will cook much more quickly.
  • Roast 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 165°. Check every 15 minutes – NOT to baste, but to make sure your skin is no browning too fast. If it is, lightly cover with foil for the remainder of the roasting time.
  • Remove turkey to carving board, cover with foil and rest 15-20 minutes while you prepare the gravy from the drippings.
  • Prepare gravy.
  • Carve turkey.

NOTE: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container 5 days or frozen up to 2 months. LOL like any leftovers will last that long! I see serious turkey sandwiches ALL weekend long!


You would think this was an easy category.  Traditionally I make a pumpkin or caramel apple cheesecake with homemade caramel sauce, BUT I don’t think I’d call this my “FAVORITE”.


When I was a kid there was always at least 3 choices, almost always the same choices, apple, pumpkin and mincemeat.  As a kid I ALWAYS chose apple.  I’m still not a mincemeat fan, but I have acquired a liking for pumpkin.


So, I’m playing catch up.  BUT, I am determined to get ALL of BLOGEMBER accomplished.  Today’s prompt is to describe Thanksgiving using your five senses.

  • SIGHT – For me Thanksgiving starts with the first sign of Fall.  I LOVE the trees changing color as the season begins.  The yellows, oranges, reds, and even the brown colors of the leaves and the season get me in the mood for pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, yams, stuffing and turkeys.  Ironically, this is the time of year here that the wild turkeys seem to be more obvious along the roadways.
  • HEARING – Thanksgiving is hearing a house full of family and friends munching on appetizers, football games on the tv with armchair quarterbacking going on, cooks in the kitchen preparing the turkey and side dishes.  Oh and the desserts!
  • TASTE -LOL this is almost a redundant category.  My mouth waters at the thought of traditional recipes being prepared for Thanksgiving like a juicy turkey, daddy’s cornbread stuffing, glazed carrots, apple pie, green bean casserole, etc…
  • SMELL – Smell and taste really go hand in hand.  I always have a pot of cinnamon, oranges and cloves simmering for the aroma and the moisture in the air as well as candles in fall “flavors” burning.
  • FEEL – This doesn’t have to be a sensory or tactile “feel” for me.  Sometimes the “feel” is what is inside – the drive to help those in need; coats and blankets for the homeless or food for the food pantry because I feel empathy or the desire to bake special recipes friends and family.  Feel could also relate to the warmth of the a cozy blanket or a roaring fire.


ON THANKSGIVING, IT’S TRADITIONAL FOR MY FAMILY TO… start the day with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade while we eat a scrumptious brunch – usually a casserole I prepared the day before while I was prepping the sides, desserts and turkey.  I start the gravy base on low and let it simmer.

At some point the football games begin and the aromas start filling the house and senses triggering the mouthwatering desire to eat ourselves into a coma.   These days with my health issues dinner is done in stages throughout the entire day.  As the family gets farther and farther apart in miles, Thanksgiving gets smaller and smaller, which is actually okay with us.  

Whenever possible we watch Miracle on 34th street after dinner to kick off the Holiday season.  During the movie I begin the Christmas cards and start planning for Christmas.

The day after we avoid leaving the house like the plague!  We do start the Christmas decorating and package wrapping while chomping down on turkey sandwiches with homemade cranberry relish on extra sourdough bread or leftover dressing and gravy.


  1.  My biggest blessing is that I’m cancer free for almost 9 years now.  I’ve been thrown a multitude of other health issues to struggle through, but I wake up EVERY single day blessed to try and get past any new issues.
  2. I’m thankful that despite all the health issues and other road blocks that have been thrown our way I’m able to maintain my positive attitude and outlook.
  3. I’m thankful for my husband who has stood by my side through EVERYTHING.  My health has put us to the test of our wedding vows and through it all he has truly been my knight in shining armor.
  4. I’m thankful that my family is safe from all the fires that have been raging in California where 95% of them live.
  5. I’m thankful that the weather looks like it will be beautiful for the drive to the wedding next weekend. 😀


There are sooooo many memories, but one of my favorite memories actually revolves around some not so fun (at the time) events. 

This memory has different perceptions on the root cause of the issue, but the end event is what I remember most and cherish. 😀 I was super young so I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few things.  Thanksgiving was going to be at our house.  Lots of prep was going on in our tiny kitchen.  The table was set.  The appetizers were arranged in the living room.  The turkey was basting perfectly.  The side dishes were baking and steaming.  Desserts were ready.  The grandparents, aunts and uncles were all on their way.  AND then the unimaginable happened – the garbage disposal backed up!  Not your every day back up, but the oozy black sludge kind that won’t go away!  The kind that prevents you from using the kitchen sink until a plumber arrives.  This was also before cell phones so there was no way to stop the travelers from first arriving at our house.  Many were coming from long distances.

My grandparents only lived 3 blocks away.  The decision was made to move the day to their house, but ALL the food was at our house.  Ultimately, my grandfather brought over their station wagon and laid all the seats flat (one of the better features of an old Chevy tank).  My dad put down a blanket and my uncle and I climbed in.  All the food was then arranged around us so we could try and stabilize it on the ride over to grams and gramps. 

I don’t remember now if anything was too cold or even too warm, but I do remember that in the end we still had a fun Thanksgiving at grams and gramps house with the whole family and there was a HUGE mess to clean up the next day at our house 😀


I came up with a new way to keep my momentum on posting regularly.  Here’s my list for the first half of November.  I ended up choosing BOLGEMBER because the “ember” part made me think about a burning fire and harvest colors.

This is a tough category because there are SO MANY items, but I’ll narrow it down a bit.

  • BEING THANKFUL – I know it sounds cliche, but it truly is one of my favorite things about thanksgiving.  For one, it’s a non-religious holiday that is the most inclusive of our culture.  If you’re American, it is assumed that you celebrate Thanksgiving.  Setting aside time to give thanks for one’s blessings, along with holding feasts to celebrate a harvest, are both practices that long predate the European settlement America.  While Thanksgiving as we know it has adapted to fit what we like and shows very little resemblance to the original American Thanksgiving, the reason for it still exists.  It is the one holiday that is NOT really commercialized and is only about spending time with family and friends!
  • FRIENDS & FAMILY – MEMORIES – When I was a kid, most things were closed on Thanksgiving.  You’d find an occasional store open for last minute things like milk, bread and butter to put the finishing touches on your big dinner day, but for the most part EVERYTHING was closed and the day was spent at home with family and friends, eating yourself into comas, playing or watching football…
  • FALL SEASON – Since it is primarily a harvest celebration, the timing of the season is GORGEOUS!  The reds, oranges, yellows and ultimately browns of the leaves falling and the grasses dying for the season lend their “hands” to the gorgeous display of color.
  • AMAZING FOOD – When I was a kid my dad would start the prep days before for the BIG day.  He made the most amazing turkey and cornbread stuffing!  Over the years I have recreated his stuffing to my own Sourdough Herb version and added my own homemade cranberry relish to replace the canned stuff.  Personally, I’m not fond of the canned relish, but my son will eat nothing but! LOL 😀  The desserts used to be traditional pumpkin, apple and mincemeat pies, but I have adapted these also to add some homemade apple bread pudding, “regular” bread pudding (recipe below) and baked pineapple.  The gravy is still dad’s recipe minus the giblets. 😀  I see I need to get a few new pictures this year to update my recipes.

  • OFFICIAL START OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON – I have to start the day with the Macy’s parade while I’m bustling around the kitchen!  It is a tradition I’ve never grown out of.  It is also okay to officially start watching Christmas movies, though truth be told I do year round thanks to Hallmark 😀  There are also a handful of Harvest festivals and craft fairs to attend.



I found this fun for all, mixed-media pumpkin project over at Salvage Sister & Mister that uses wooden door frame corner rosettes to create vintage-inspired pumpkins to decorate your home. I fell in love with their simplicity, but still took it a step farther and made them three dimensional by giving them a front and a back and adding a bit more embellishment. They only took about an hour or so to complete my family of four. 😀 even with having to wait for the paint to dry, which was the hardest part! These make a great hostess gifts and look great throughout ALL the fall months, Halloween and Thanksgiving! 😀


  • Wooden Rosette Trim Block Molding Pieces – any size you like – I used several sizes to make a Pumpkin “Family”
  • Acrylic Paints – dark chocolate (I chose a metallic), 3-4 various orange colors ranging from bright to dark (I chose the medium orange as a metallic)
  • Ribbons – assorted scraps of green
  • Dollar Store embellishments – I used purple Tule, brown and black bells from door hangers, feathers from a Halloween boa and leaves from some fall flowers
  • Paintbrushes
  • Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
  • Scissors
  • Tree Branch from the yard
  • Garden Pruning Shears

Step 1

  • Paint the rosettes with a base coat of Dark Chocolate. Let dry.
  • Apply a second coat, if necessary.

Step 2

  • Randomly apply Weathered Wood medium with paintbrush. Painting it thicker and randomly will result in a variety of cracks on your finished pumpkins.
  • Allow medium to dry completely, about 30 minutes.

Step 3

  • Using a limited amount of strokes, apply a thick coat of orange paint with a very limited number of strokes and do not paint over the same area more than once. As the paint dries it will crackle.
  • Large cracks will appear where the medium was put on thick and small cracks will appear where the medium was put on thin.

Step 4

  • Using your glue gun put an even amount of glue on the back of one rosette along the outer edge.  Immediately press to the second rosette together.
  • Clean off any glue that has oozed out and allow them to dry completely.
  • Weigh them down with wood clamps, a brick or large book to press them together securely.

Step 5

  • Cut tree branch into 1” to 1 ½” lengths with pruning shears and then attach to top, the center of each pumpkin with a glue gun. Or use a selection of curled wired wood.

Step 7

  • Gather a variety of green ribbons, trimmed into 6” lengths and then knot in the center.
  • Attach at base of pumpkin stem with a glue gun.
  • Decorate as desired with spare bits and pieces from your craft room.


The term BLACK FRIDAY appears to have been coined in Philadelphia by the police, where it was originally used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic which would occur on the day after Thanksgiving. Use of the term began around 1966 and was used primarily on the east coast It began to see broader use around 1975. Later an alternative explanation began to be offered: that “Black Friday” indicates the period during which retailers are turning a profit, or “in the black.

I know many of you probably love to participate in Black Friday.  I for one, can’t stand it.  I like to enjoy my Thanksgiving weekend in its entirety!  That means sleeping in on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at least until 7.  I refuse to get up and go shopping at 3 AM for anyone or anything!
More importantly, at least to me, is that I don’t want to rush through an important family holiday just so I can get up at 3 AM (if I got to bed at all) and go stand in line all day to spend money.
Thanksgiving in the United States was observed on various dates throughout history, but by the mid 20th century, the final Thursday in November had become the customary day of Thanksgiving in most U.S. states. It was not until December 26, 1941, however, that President Franklin D. Roosevelt, after pushing two years earlier to move the date earlier to give the country an economic boost, signed a bill into law with Congress, making Thanksgiving a national holiday and settling it to the fourth (but not final) Thursday in November.
Traditionally, for me anyway, “Black Friday” has been spent sleeping in, eating turkey sandwiches, putting up the Christmas tree, wrapping gifts (because I am done shopping by Thanksgiving since most of my items need to be shipped), watching old movies, baking and any other thing that comes to mind.
So if you participate in black Friday, I hope it will be safe and enjoyable for you.  May I suggest next year though that you take it all a bit slower and enjoy the weekend long and leisurely?  Maybe take that weekend to make your gifts or holiday cards and enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday AND the beginning of the Christmas Holiday season with your family.


1 pound bacon, chopped
2 sticks butter
1 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup dry sherry
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup, chopped flat leaf parsley
3 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, stems removed, chopped
3 sprigs fresh tarragon, stems removed, chopped
15 pound turkey, rinsed, drained and innards removed and reserved for gravy
1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered
1 large lemon, rested and quartered
1 blood orange, quartered
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons fresh ground Himalayan salt
2 teaspoon fresh ground tricolor pepper
5 large carrots, washed and trimmed
5 stalks celery, washed and scraped

  • Pulse together the bacon, shallots, garlic, sherry, green onions, mustard, tarragon, thyme and rosemary until you have a smooth paste.
  • Refrigerate until chilled through. I like to make this part on Tuesday so it is well chilled.
  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Lower oven rack to bottom.
  • Arrange carrots and celery on bottom of roaster in a basket weave pattern.
  • Place onion, lemon and orange quarters in turkey cavity.
  • Tie legs with food grade twine or baking bands.
  • Whisk together the lemon zest, avocado oil, salt and pepper.
  • Carefully separate skin from the body without tearing or piercing the skin.
  • Insert the bacon paste between skin and meat, massaging into an even layer.
  • Coat the outside of the turkey with the oil.
  • Pat brown sugar over oil.
  • Place the turkey in the roaster on top of carrot and celery grid.
  • Tent loosely with foil.
  • Bake 20-25 minutes per pound or until turkey reaches 150° (in the thigh). Baste ever 20 minutes or so.
  • Remove foil and bake uncovered until skin has browned and temperature has risen to 160°. Continue basting every 15  minutes or so. You want the skin to crisp, but NOT dry out.
  • Remove turkey from oven, tent with foil and allow to rest 20 minutes or so.