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Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Thanksgiving Recipes: Laura McHugh’s Grandma’s Stuffing

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

This week, we’ve invited a few of our authors to share their favorite Thanksgiving recipes with you. Whether they’re family tradition or the product of a frantic internet search, we’re excited to hear and share with you what these writers have on their tables on this holiday season. Today, Laura McHugh, author of The Weight of Blood, shares her grandmother’s recipe for stuffing (my personal favorite part of Thanksgiving!).

My grandma passed away just after I graduated from college, and I’ve now lived half of my life without her. That doesn’t seem possible, as she is with me each day in a hundred small ways, andmchugh_grandma[1]especially in the kitchen: her dented measuring cup; the rolling pin with the broken handle.

Every Thanksgiving we make Grandma’s stuffing, and we do our best to get it right. She never wrote down her recipe, so we work from memory. It is a group effort. My sisters and I hover around the stove like a team of surgeons about to perform a risky operation. Our brothers stand back, requesting status updates and begging us not to screw up. We remind each other to be generous with the sage, to mix in the egg with bare hands. We fret over turkey drippings. We always think we won’t have enough bread and we always end up with too much.

When it comes out of the oven, I take a test bite, hoping that it will transport me back to my grandma’s tiny kitchen in Keokuk, Iowa, where she let us tear the bread and crack the eggs. When the stuffing turns out right, there is nothing better. We serve it with reverence, like communion wafers. We rejoice as though we have done something miraculous. We eat the scraps left on our children’s plates—they don’t quite grasp its importance. When it is right, it is more than stuffing; it is a certain kind of magic, like Grandma is still with us at the table.

Recipe: Grandma’s Stuffing

1 loaf of dried or toasted white bread

1 small onion, chopped

1 stalk of celery, chopped

2 eggs

Turkey drippings

Dried sage

Salt and peppermchugh_stuffing[1]

Tear the bread into pieces and place in a baking dish (kids love to help with this part!). Sprinkle a generous amount of sage over the bread. Cook onion and celery until tender. In a mixing bowl,combine cooked onion and celery with two beaten eggs, more sage, and a little salt and pepper. Add this to the bread and mix with your hands. Pour turkey drippings over the stuffing, adding enough to make the bread moist, but not soggy. Feel free to sprinkle on some more sage, because Grandma was right, you can never have too much. Bake approximately 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Author Spotlight: Thanksgiving Recipe from Nancy Thayer, author of A NANTUCKET CHRISTMAS

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Thayer_Nantucket Christmas No Thanksgiving feast is complete without cranberry sauce! Nancy Thayer, author of the recent holiday favorite A Nantucket Christmas, shares her homemade cranberry sauce recipe. The recipe calls for: bourbon, cinnamon, cranberries, and sugar- all ingredients help you bring this fresh and essential item to your Thanksgiving table.

Nancy & David’s Nantucket Cranberry Sauce

1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 bag (12 oz) fresh cranberries, rinsed and dried
1 tsp bourbon
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp cinnamon

Combine granulated sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring contents to a boil. Add fresh cranberries and return to a boil. Reduce heat, add bourbon, and boil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Remove from heat, stir in spice and zest, and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until it’s time to eat. Makes approximately 2-1/4 cups.

© jessica hills photography

© jessica hills photography

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving recipe to share? We’d love to hear about it! Share with us on our Facebook page.

Author Spotlight: Thanksgiving Recipe from Lisa Van Allen, author of THE WISHING THREAD

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Allen_The Wishing Thread In a pinch for a savory side dish? Never fear! Lisa Van Allen, author of The Wishing Thread, shares her grandmother’s no-nonsense and humble turnip recipe. Enjoy!

I have to admit that turnips aren’t exactly a “sexy” food. I had a high school teacher who occasionally used the phrase “as dumb as a turnip.” And although I love the word “napiform,” I’ve never really been able to get away with using it in anything I’ve written because there aren’t too many opportunities to say “shaped like a turnip.”

But my grandmother’s favorite thing about Thanksgiving was turnips. And so they will always have a special place in my heart.

My grandmother was a no-nonsense kind of woman — she appreciated simple pleasures. So it will come as no surprise that the food that she loved most on Thanksgiving was simple and unembellished.

Here’s her recipe for turnips: She simply peeled, boiled, and then mashed together equal parts turnips and potatoes. That’s it! Humble and warm, just like my gram. Lisa-Van-Allen-this-one

Do you have a Thanksgiving recipe- sweet or savory- to share with us? Let us know on our Facebook page! We have one final recipe to share with you. Tune in tomorrow for a homemade Thanksgiving staple you won’t want to miss from Nancy Thayer!

Author Spotlight: Thanksgiving Recipe from Laura Andersen, author of THE BOLEYN DECEIT

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Andersen_The Boleyn DeceitFeeling stressed about making the perfect festive dessert for your holiday guests? Do you need something simple and delicious for those last minute people who decided to come to your home on Thanksgiving? Fear not! Laura Andersen, author of the recent Boleyn Deceit, shares both a special Thanksgiving memory and her favorite recipe with us today: Pumpkin Crunch Pie Cake.

It is an ideal dessert for any fall day, and, if you are anything like us, then you love pumpkin-flavored treats.

Thanksgiving Recipe and Memories

My favorite Thanksgiving food is Whatever Someone Else Cooks.

Do you respect me less now?

In fact, one of my favorite Thanksgiving dinners was served in a London restaurant at the end of a ten-day trip with my husband. Sure, I missed my children, but what was not to love about London and fish pie and steamed syrup sponge with warm custard? Not to mention no cooking or dishes. It’s the closest I’m ever likely to come to knowing what a Tudor feast might have been like for the nobility: all the work borne by others, all the pleasure mine alone. If it were up to me, I would spend every Thanksgiving Day in a London restaurant or visiting Hampton Court and its beautiful Tudor kitchens—or preferably both! Boleyn Deceit - Tower of London

All that said, there is one recipe I look forward to making multiple times every autumn. This year, I actually made it on September 1st, reasoning that autumn was near enough upon us as made no difference. Being me, it’s a simple recipe. If you can’t go to England this Thanksgiving, this is a tasty second-best.

Pumpkin Crunch Pie Cake

1 (29 oz) can pumpkin
3 eggs
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 yellow cake mix
1 cube butter

Mix all ingredients except cake mix and butter. Pour into greased 9×13 pan. Sprinkle cake mix over pumpkin mixture. Drizzle melted butter on top. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour (or until toothpick comes out clean.) Best served warm with whipped cream.

Boleyn Deceit - Tudor Kitchens Hampton Ct

Let us know if you try to make this recipe and share with us on Facebook!
Be sure to check back with us between now and Thanksgiving for more recipes. Next up: Deb Caletti!

Author Spotlight: Thanksgiving Memory from Melanie Benjamin, author of THE AVIATOR’S WIFE

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Benjamin_Aviator's WifeThanksgiving is officially two weeks away and, boy, we are really looking forward to the turkey, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie! While anxiously awaiting the delicious feast in our near future, we’ve teamed up with some Random House Reader’s Circle authors so they can share their favorite Thanksgiving recipes and memories with you.

Today, Melanie Benjamin, author of The Aviator’s Wife, jumps right to our sweet tooth and shares her grandmother’s Cherry Delight recipe:

Come Thanksgiving, there is only one item that my family really cares about. We could have pizza instead of turkey; French fries instead of mashed potatoes. But we must have my grandmother’s “Cherry Delight” dessert in order for the world to feel right and happy and jolly; in order for us to feel like a family, and not just a collection of individuals brought together to eat too much.

Aviator's-Wife---GrandmaBGrandma B – that’s what we called her, but she was really Grandma Blickenstaff. My parents always say that I remind them of her, and I’m not sure how; I don’t scrub my garage floor, like she did; I don’t iron my sheets, either. She was the quintessential German hausfrau. But I suppose I do see myself in her fierce tenacity; the way she had of marching through life with quick, determined strides, always in a rush, never willing to suffer fools gladly. In fact, it’s literally the walk that we share; that’s what my parents always comment about. I simply don’t linger; I have places to go, people to see.

Grandma B died in 2001; it was an autumn I’ll never forget. In quick succession, The Twin Towers fell, my son broke his arm playing Pee Wee football, and Grandma B died after a short illness at the age of 90.

But in time, we moved on. They’re building on the site of the World Trade Center. My son’s arm healed, and he gave up football and took up the drums. And I now possess Grandma B’s index file of recipes, as well as the responsibility of bringing the Cherry Delight to every holiday gathering. The index card I use is faded; the ink pale blue, the handwriting spidery. Grandma’s list of ingredients calls for something called “Oleo,” which I had to look up. It’s an old-fashioned term for margarine.

I use butter instead. But that’s the only change I’ve made to Grandma B’s recipe. Because some things shouldn’t change. Especially if they allow your family to recognize itself, despite the inevitable changes over the years.

Melanie-BenjaminGrandma B’s Cherry Delight

Mix Together:
18 Graham crackers, crushed (or 1 ¼ cup Graham cracker crumbs)
1 stick butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
Spread in 9X9 baking pan, well-greased

8 oz. Philadelphia cream cheese
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Spread on crust and bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven, let cool. Spread 1 can of cherry pie filling on top. Top with Cool Whip and refrigerate until chilled.

Do you have a favorite Thanksgiving recipe or memory? Share it with us on our Facebook page.

Be sure to check in with us between now and Thanksgiving for more recipes!
Next up: Laura Andersen.

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