It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I have to say it's probably my favorite holiday when it comes to food. It may be obvious to all of you that comfort food is my favorite and fall is my favorite time of year. Oh heck, I have to admit it's the time of year football starts, my birthday "month" arrives and the cooler temperatures call for warm comfort food!

It is also a hectic time of year with the Christmas holiday right on the heels of Thanksgiving so therefore thinking of preparing Thanksgiving Dinner can be a challenge for all of us.

In this issue I've given you some recipes for traditional, yet out of the ordinary Thanksgiving side dishes and dessert. The stuffing is one I've been making for years. In fact, I got the original recipe year ago from the Live with Regis and Kathie Lee show - back in the day when I was able to watch morning shows! The others are recipes that I've gathered over time watching the Food Network or reading cookbooks, getting ideas, and then switching them up a little to meet my food desires.

I also added a different idea for dessert as an alternative to pie. I was given this recipe by a co-worker - Anne Farrell. Anne brought this cake to work and it was absolutely delightful! I wanted to eat the whole thing all by myself. I suggest you make this cake real soon. Thank you Anne!

I hope you find these recipes helpful for last minute ideas!

Julia's Child

On the Side

Not so Traditonal Stuffing with Cranberries, Raisins and Pecans


1 stick of unsalted butter

1 small onion, chopped

1 cup celery, chopped

1 bag of unseasoned bread cubes (15 oz bag)

1 tsp. oil

1 cup of chopped pecans

1/2 cup of dried cranberries

1 cup of dark raisins

2 tsp. ground sage

1 tsp of thyme - I also add a tsp or two fresh thyme if I have any on hand.

2 tsp marjoram leaves (don't worry if you don't have any - just leave it out.)

2 cups of chicken stock

Salt and Pepper to taste


In a small frying pan add a small amount of oil and the chopped pecans. Slowly, and I mean slowly toast the pecans. Watch these closely and don't let them burn which I have done almost every year. Yes, every year while I make the stuffing on Thanksgiving morning I talk on the phone to my cousin Patrick Kane (I have to blame someone, right Pat?) and inevitably I burn the pecans! Have some extra on hand in case you do the same or don't talk on the phone while making. :)

After the pecans are toasted in a large pot melt the butter and add the onions and celery - salt and pepper and fry until they start to appear transparent. Slowly add the bread cubes and fold into butter and the onions and celery. Add in the raisins, cranberries and pecans to the mix. Start to add some chicken broth a little at a time. At this point I also season with the sage, thyme, and marjoram leaves and more salt and pepper as needed. Continue to add the chicken broth until the cubes are softened. Don't overuse the broth or the stuffing will be mushy, however don't make it too dry.

When complete transfer to a baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes just before ready to serve.

This is a great alternative to traditional stuffing.

Sweet As Can Be!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes


5 sweet potatoes

Olive Oil

Fresh Rosemary

Salt and Pepper


Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into quarters. Place them in a large baking pan and coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary. Bake on 375 until potatoes are crispy yet soft in the middle.

Sweet Potato Puff


4 medium sized sweet potatoes

1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup light cream or milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 bag mini marshmallows
Bake or boil the sweet potatoes
Drain or remove from skin
Place the potatoes in a bowl and mix in the 3 TBSP butter, light cream or milk, orange juice, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon. Mix with an electric beater until smooth.
Melt the remaining butter in a bowl and mix in brown sugar. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potatoes and bake on 350 degrees for about 30-35 minutes. Take the potatoes out of the oven and place mini-marshmallows on top and cook until marshmallows are slightly browned.

Roast It Up!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts


You'll be surprised what a hit Brussels sprouts can be! Even the kids love them cooked this way!

Brussels Sprouts - fresh from the produce department - about 1 to 2 dozen
Red Onion - 1/2 medium onion
3 pieces of Bacon
Olive Oil
A dash of Garlic Powder

Preheat oven on 375 degrees
Clean the Brussels sprouts - cut off core, peel any loose or damaged leaves, wash and let dry
Cut the sprouts in half
Chop the onion
Cook bacon and set aside
In a baking dish cover the bottom with the olive oil - 2 or 3 turns of the dish, add Brussels sprouts and onion, a pinch of salt, pepper and garlic powder to the baking dish and bake until caramelized and becoming soft. (Approximately 20-25 minutes).
Remove Brussels sprouts from the oven, crumble the bacon over the top for the last few minutes of baking.

Move Over Pumpkin Pie There's a New Pumpkin in Town

Recipe provided by

Anne Farrell

Pumpkin Cake


2 cups sugar

1 cup oil

4 eggs

2 cups flour, sifted

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cloves

2 cups canned pumpkin


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend sugar, oil, and eggs. Combine dry ingredients. Add to sugar mixture and mix well. Add pumpkin and stir until well mixed. Bake in two 9 inch layer pans for 30-35 minutes or in a 9"x13" pan for 35-40 minutes. Frost with cream cheese frosting and sprinkle with chopped pecans if desired.

Cream Cheese Frosting


3 oz. package of cream cheese, softened

1 tbsp. milk

1 tsp. vanilla

21/2 cups confectioner's sugar


Beat together cream cheese, milk, vanilla with electric mixer. Gradually add sugar and beat well. Add milk or sugar as necessary for spreading consistency.

Anne states that she doubles this recipe to have enough to generously frost the cake, especially in layers. Us the leftovers for graham cracker sandwiches or to frost cookies. Good idea Anne! In fact, bring some of those graham cracker sandwiches to work :)

Thank You!

Many of us certainly have plenty to be thankful for in that we are able to provide delicious and hearty meals on the table this Thanksgiving. If you are able please remember the Food Banks in your area who are helping those not as fortunate as many of us. They could always use our help not only at this time, but throughout the year.

Wishing you and yours a very safe, happy and food and family filled Thanksgiving!

Denise Mironti
Julia's Child
Did You Know

Did you know these safe facts about thawing your turkey:

Refrigerator Thawing Times

  • 4 to 12 pounds .....

1 to 3 days

  • 12 to 16 pounds .....

3 to 4 days

  • 16 to 20 pounds ....

4 to 5 days

  • 20 to 24 pounds .....

5 to 6 days

So get Tom the Turkey out in time to have him ready to pop in the oven Thanksgiving morning!

Did you also know that if you thaw the turkey in cold water it is best to leave it in the wrap so it doesn't get water logged - who knew?!