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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Tonini

A Thanksgiving's Day Preparation

Updated: Jan 23, 2023

A caramelized onion tart with a ricotta and cream cheese base.  All found on a crisp puff pastry crust.  Serve with a delicious small glass of pinot grigio or a sauvignon blanc.
Onion Bacon Galette makes a great Thanksgiving Day opener.

Here we are in the year 2021 and November is upon us. We have made it through the festivities of Halloween and Thanksgiving Day is now in all of our thought's. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays with all of the scents of Fall and the aroma's of the delicious Thanksgiving foods. I can't seem to stop considering all the variations of one can make with Pumpkin Pie. I have already made two, okay three and each is delicious and full of the pumpkin flavor we all love. I have made it through the pumpkin patch and our excursion in Bryan, Texas was a successful one; choosing the best pumpkins and gourds for the porch and inside the house. My husband I found the pumpkins we liked and have placed by the front door for any guest see and enjoy. I also find the cause that this pumpkin patch supports, Habitat for Humanity, to be a great way to give.

Stephanie Tonini and her husband Dr. Ross Tonini at Habitat for Humanity Pumpkin Patch


Bryan, Texas

Many questions are asked about Thanksgiving; When did it start? Why is it the day that it is? What are the traditional foods served at Thanksgiving? Here are some answers to a few commonly asked questions.

Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States, Thanksgiving this year, 2021 falls on Thursday, November 25. Thanksgiving is always the the fourth (4) Thursday of the month of November. Starting in 1621, our Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans shared an Autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of Thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn't until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.[1]

A traditional Thanksgiving dinner consists of roast turkey, turkey dressing/stuffing, sweet potatoes. mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, corn dinner rolls, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. You may find a few additions to this list at your Thanksgiving dinner such as the addition of Ham, apple pie, pecan pie, spiced cake and a second type of stuffing or dressing available on the buffet. My family even enjoys a first course of French Onion Soup, a specialty of my husband, Ross.

Now here is the scoop on this Thanksgiving season. As usual, COVID has been real trouble maker. Causing a recession and inflation we will find that our holiday grocery bill will be a bit higher by 3.7 % (American Farm Bureau Association). Many factor's are causing this increase in prices: labor shortages (we really need for women to go back into the workforce, CBS News, October 26, 2021), higher transportation costs and supply-chain disruptions. There are way's to help beat the cost like checking out your local Dollar Tree's and Dollar Stores and looking for store brands. The best suggestion I can give is to start early and plan ahead. Buy your pumpkin puree's, stuffing mixes (on sale), cornbread mixes ahead of time; spread this expense out. We also have a Turkey shortage happening this year says the Us Department of Agriculture (USDA) possibly making it difficult to find the appropriate sized bird, meaning Turkey Farmer's have less production and have fed the Turkey's more feed, meaning bigger birds in the supermarket freezer. Experts say that there will be a turkey shortage of smaller frozen and fresh varieties, which means if you celebrate thanksgiving on your own or host smaller gatherings due to COVID-19, you are more likely to be affected than, say your aunt who has a 24 pound bird for her 30 guests every year. ( This is not perhaps a bad thing, we just may need to get more creative in the kitchen with turkey meat leftovers. So, bring on the mammoth bird, we will do just fine. thank you very much!

There are alternatives to the Turkey bird if you cannot find one. Ham, duck, Cornish hens and roasting hens (chickens) can be a truly delicious alternative transition. Try the Spatchcocked Chicken.

Spatchcock Chicken with roasted vegetables

Spatchcocking is process where the backbone of the bird is removed. Your butcher can assist you with this, if needed. This process "butterflying" also ensures a truly juicy bird. Whereas, whole bird roasting can make our breast meat a bit well done because the dark meat takes longer to reach proper eating temperature. This style of roasting has our bird all done at the same time and give us juicy breast meat.

You can follow my recipe for Seasoned Roasted Chicken at The New Bake in the Dinner Section.

1 (5 pound) Roasting Hen

2 garlic cloves, minced

Salt and Pepper to taste

8 tablespoons of butter, softened

1 tablespoon fresh thyme or Herbs de Provence

Zest of one large lemon about 2 Tablespoons

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 shallots, halved

2 large celery stalks, cut into 3 inch pieces and halved

3 carrots cut into 3inch pieces and halved or 18 baby carrots

I lemon sliced into 1/4 inch slices

  1. Clean Roasting Hen well and be sure cavity is clear of neck and liver.

  2. Remove backbone of bird or have your butcher prepare for you (the preferred method).

  3. Salt and Pepper backside and outside of bird.

  4. Combine your butter, Thyme or Herbs de Provence, lemon zest and lemon juice. These butter mixtures are called compounds.

  5. Rub butter onto outside of bird, using all of the compound.

  6. Layer vegetables into roaster and place roasting hen on top.

  7. Bake chicken in 450 degree F. oven for 10 minutes.

  8. Reduce heat to 400 degree F. and bake for 40 minutes.

  9. Let bird rest for 10 minutes and carve.

The best way to decorate at Thanksgiving along with all those fabulous pumpkins and goards are the use of tiny white lights and dried wheat grass (available on ).

The Thanksgiving table should show us all of Fall's Grandeur; it's gorgeous colors of deep red, sunset yellows, the glow of orange and the light of sage green. A cascade of the changing Fall leaves has landed on the table. The traditional cornucopia is always a lovely choice, showing us the first share of harvest and the bounty to follow ("May next year be as good to us as this one!", Lord, hear our prayer.). Gorgeous flower arrangements displaying Fall's colors and candles. Big Bowls or a cake pedestal of mixed fruit, different colored apples, lemons and tiny cutie or tangerine oranges with candles. Candles in your favorite candlesticks 2, or 4 or even a mix of tall and short. Whether your table is in classic style or you take a more simple approach it's always yours and will always be beautiful because you are with your family. Even if it's just you and your fur baby or bird, make it special; bring them right up to the table and celebrate. Put on the Macy's Parade, make some great to eat and take care good care of you!


A Thanksgiving Table


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