Mastering Thanksgiving: Ten Tips Plus!

20171122_22405949441795.jpgLast week I wrapped up my ten tips to help everyone achieve perfection for Thanksgiving. As I compiled, researched and wrote, I asked my social network and AFBA (food blogger group) to weigh in with advice and links to other great Thanksgiving articles and recipes. So here’s one last post about Thanksgiving, starting with links to all ten of my Thanksgiving Tips:

  1. Gravy
  2. Brine Your Turkey
  3. Guest Contributions
  4. Day By Day Prep Schedule
  5. Smaller Crowds
  6. Feed the Beasts! Snacks
  7. Delegate Like a Pro
  8. Make Stock & Organize Leftovers
  9. Be An Awesome Guest
  10. How Much Food Per Person

Posts & Recipes from my Austin Food Blogger Alliance

Advice & Links from my social network: Okay so I dropped the ball. I had a whole mess of quotes from my facebook friends, and being that I over-booked my holiday week, I can’t find them. I’ll update the post when I do. Thanks to everyone who weighed in!

A few more thoughts:

I’m making my maple pumpkin pie as I write this. I’ll get the recipe out at some point. I’ve been making it since a year or so after I moved to New England, where maple is king. It is just plain better than the standard pumpkin pie, and I’m not alone in having that opinion. It smells great in my house right now, the night before Thanksgiving. I make a homemade graham cracker crust for it. Can’t beat that fragrance!

Oddly enough, the year I wrote up the big ten tips, we’re not hosting, and we’re not guests. My husband and I will be hanging out with our two hilarious and sweet lab mix dogs and smoking a turkey. I’ve already got a jump-start on the mashed potatoes (chipotle), and as I mentioned, the pie is baking.

This is a holiday associated with family, and so, of course we’re reflecting on the loss of Pa Brien, my grandfather in-law, to whom I dedicated my second cookbook (learn more here). He passed at the age of 94 a few weeks ago. He had a long and storied life, he was full of love and I will miss him forever. Knowing I hosted him for Thanksgiving brings good memories and gratitude. Look into the eyes of those at your table. Maybe it has been said before, but someday you might wish to go back in time to do so.

This year we also lost my dad’s sister Shirley. She was an incredible cook and had an eye for design and decor. Her daughter Linda had Shirley’s childhood dining table re-finished this year, and is serving Thanksgiving on it. My dad will be eating at his childhood dining table, as my parents are attending Linda’s dinner. This is the table, which had to be covered due to the finish on the table curing. I think Aunt Shirley would be honored by this. We all have loss, and we all have joy. I wish for everyone that lost someone to be comforted by the memories.


This year I participated in more charitable and community-based events than before. I encourage everyone to explore where and how to walk out into your world and see how to help. It changed me for the better to make the effort. Giving is awesome. It doesn’t have to be money. Time moves mountains. We all have something to give. This world needs us to acknowledge that.

If you’ve made it through this rather sentimental post, thank YOU!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone reading this, and beyond. I’m thankful for your support, and I hope to keep up my good work.

In the immortal words of Pa (Tom) Brien: “Good luck to you, and good luck to The Red Sox”







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