It’s sad I suppose that summer is on its way out and well Labor Day is the punctuation mark that heralds the end of the season.

Did you know that in a galaxy long ago and far far away that there was this rule that you mustn’t wear white after Labor Day?

So what’s on the menu for your Labor Day picnic – fried chicken, two maybe three kinds of potato salad, sandwiches and lemonade? In that case, these recipes are sure to please.

And don’t forget the cocktails

If  you’re planning to stay home and do some serious binge watching on Netflix or Amazon Prime, check out Ray Donovan, Bosch, Luther, Gilmore Girls Reboot, House of Cards, The Man in the High Castle, all the Star Trek iterations and more…

If you want to get out and about and live in the L.A. area check out the top weekend events, fairs, festivals, fun in the sun and lots of eats

Or just stay home in your jim-jams and read a good mystery

Whatever you plan to do or not do as the case may be – be well, be happy, and be safe.

And say a little prayer for our firefighters out here in CA, presently working 24/7 to knock down the La Tuna Canyon fires – and our friends struggling with the havoc of Hurricane Harvey.



Things you didn’t know about the nectar of the gods…

In case you are confused, I’m talking about coffee. That glorious, dark, rich liquid that wakes us in the morning, picks us up in the afternoon and seemingly kicks our brains into high gear at any time. At least, for writers…

Did you know that…

  • According the the USDA (from 2016-2017) worldwide demand for coffee is expected to be 156 million bags. Which is about 10 million tons of coffee beans. No shock but most of that coffee consumption will be in Europe and the US. Like, how many barristas does it take to make that much coffee?
  • Brazil is actually the coffee capital of the world, Viet Nam is #2, and Columbia is #3 – who’d a thunk? Sorry Juan Valdez but the truth hurts.
  • According to historians, coffee showed up in Ethiopia, circa 850 A.D. However, it took a little time to catch on – it wasn’t until 1100 that the black gold was popularized in Asia. However, it wasn’t until 1515, that Europe got a taste of this magical nectar.
  • Attention barristas – the first ever café opened in Constantinople in 1475. I wonder how you say latte in turkish? By 1675, England had over 3,000 cafes offering our beloved café au lait.
  • There are two types of coffee plants harvested for coffee production: Arabica and Robusta. The Arabica plant originated in the Middle East and the Robusta from the Congo. Arabica beans are known for their premium quality and 75% of the world’s commercially produced coffee comes from them. On the other hand, Robusta coffee beans are hardier than Arabicas AND contain 50% more caffeine.
  • Throughout history, coffee was officially banned three times. The first time in Mecca in the 16th century, though no one seems to know why. The second in England when Charles II banned the drink and coffee houses because he suspected coffeehouses offered a perfect opportunity for plotting sedition and treason among the population. The third time took place in Germany in 1677. Frederick the Great prohibited his people to drink coffee because he was worried about money leaving his country for imported goods rather than being spent on his own country’s goods, such as beer and ale. Ironically, despite his ban, he continued drinking coffee himself.
  • Coffee grinds are a fabulous and cheap fertilizer for your garden. Coffee grinds are rich in nitrogen, an element that all plants need to grow and especially seedlings and young plants. Many Starbucks still offer home gardeners bags of used coffee grounds free just for the asking.
  • Coffee grounds are also helpful in repelling snails and other hard-shell insects from your garden – they hate the taste.
  • World famous spas offer coffee grind wraps, facials, and skin treatments to reduce the look of cellulite, loss of skin elasticity, and under eye bags – and to promote improved skin firmness.
  • Coffee grounds can also be used as an all natural dye or stain for fabric or wood.
  • Coffee grounds also make an excellent drink that can be consumed hot or cold with milk or without – and even the beans can be covered in chocolate and eaten.

What’s your favorite use for coffee? Have any secret recipes or tips on coffee? Feel free to share them in the comments below.

How’s your relationship with food?


With the holidays upon us, there is some serious food in our not too distant futures. In fact, for many of us, it’s already started. The gift baskets are rolling in, the office break room is the busiest spot in the building, and since you’re making Christmas cookies for everybody, you might as well toss back a few too.

Where I come from, food is love. We never had much money or material possessions but there was always room for one more at the dinner table – and don’t get me started on my mom’s cinnamon coffee cake.

I started cooking at an early age and have always loved it. Have always loved feeding people, I guess it’s the way I care for people. It’s an easy way to comfort and create all in one delicious package.

But the flip side of that is that maybe I love food a little too much. Weight gain has been a problem for me most of my life and find myself loving/hating food regularly. I make lists in my head of the good foods and the bad foods. Naturally I love the bad foods and don’t love the good foods. I can’t eat a piece of cake, pie, candy or anything else without issuing a silent admonition to myself. Followed by a vow/promise that I will clean up my act later. Next week, next month, next year. And so it goes…

A new approach to your relationship with food?

Somewhere in my travels, I stumbled upon The Psychology of Eating website. According to them, you have two brains, the one in your head and the one in your gut. It sounded interesting, so I signed up for their free video series to check it out. I have to say, what these folks had to say made sense to me. So much so that I ordered the book, The Slow Down Diet, and look forward to reading it.

This is the book blurb:
The Slow Down Diet takes on all other diet books. Marc David presents a profoundly new way to look at how you eat and how you can master your metabolism in a life-changing 8 week program. You’ll learn about the hidden metabolic powers of relaxation, quality food, pleasure, awareness, rhythm, a positive inner story, and a deeper relationship with the sacred. You’ll hear cutting-edge research on body biochemistry as well as success stories from Marc’s own nutritional counseling practice that can help you find your natural weight, increase your energy, enhance digestion, and feel rejuvenated and inspired about your body and your relationship with food. Drawing on more than 30 years of experience in clinical nutrition and the psychology of eating, Marc David offers readers practical tools that will yield life-transforming and sustainable results.

I don’t know if this is something that will help me with my bad relationship with food but I’m hopeful. If it does help, I’ll probably do a follow up post about it. At any rate, I just thought I’d pass this along for anybody who may have similar problems.

In the meantime, enjoy your holidays and your many blessings.


The Mashed Potato Diaries – #TaterRage #iluvtaters

mashed potatoes

Creamy, dreamy fluffy mashed potatoes – there is no better comfort food in the world. Seriously, starch and fat all folded into a billowy mountain of goodness just can’t be beat.

In fact, about a week ago, one of my Twitter friends bragged about being awesome at making smashed spuds. I couldn’t take that lying down and mentioned I was pretty damned awesome at making them too. Then another mashed potato fan joined the fray. It was probably the most animated conversation I’ve had on Twitter. Not sure what that says about me, but I do love me some mashed taters, so who cares?

We mused about having a contest but got stuck on how to compete in the virtual world. So, for those who are interested here’s my best recipe:

2 pounds whole Yukon gold potatoes
1 stick of butter
2 cloves of diced and lightly sauteed garlic
½ cup warmed half & half
½ cup sour cream
2 TBSP of mayo
Salt & pepper to taste

Peel and quarter potatoes and steam in steamer for approx 20 minutes until just tender.

In a saute pan, saute the garlic until golden, not brown or it will be bitter.

In a large bowl, add potatoes, sauteed garlic, butter, salt & pepper. Work the butter into the potatoes with a masher. Slowly fold in sour cream and mayo. A little more mashing to blend. Pour in warmed half & half, as you blend with hand mixer on low. Mix only long enough to create a fluffy mound. Don’t over mix or you’ll end up with a gelatinous mess. Sprinkle with paprika and serve hot.


For a mashed potato meal, add a ladle of chili for chili-mash

For a California flair, add shredded jack cheese and ripe avocado slices

For a classic American kick, add shredded sharp cheddar and real bacon bits – heat under broiler for a couple of minutes for a nice crusty top.

For Midwestern mashed potatoes, instead of gravy top them with creamed corn.

For dirty mashed potatoes leave the skins on.

If that isn’t enough for you, here are 50 mashed potatoes recipes to check out.

What’s your favorite smashed tater recipe? Feel free to share below in the comments.

Writer Chick

Copyright 2014

Is it soup yet? Writing and eating a winning weekend combination


While I’ve been busy banging out the third book in my series, I haven’t paid much attention to anything else. I am actually starting to name the dust bunnies, that magically appear under the bed, in the corners of my room, the kitchen…I may have even seen one in the car (that reminds, must take car to car wash).

However, no matter how single-mindedly focused I am on finishing this dang book, I still have to eat. And since the weather in sunny California has gone from brain cell destruction hot to lovely fall weather I started hankering for soup.

Soup is good. Soup is fun. Soup is a meal in a pot. Plus you can eat it with one hand, while typing with the other. So between chapters I whipped up a giant pot of my Roast Beef Veggie Soup. Technically I used the crock pot because the oven is on the fritz but it came out great.

In case you’re hungry for soup, or just hungry, below is the recipe. I like to let it sit for 24 hours so that the flavors marry nicely, but last night I didn’t wait. It’s good no matter when you eat it.

Roast Beef Veggie Soup

1 – 3-5 lb roast (any type will do, although one with marbling, like chuck roast gives it more flavor)
1 – large bell pepper, chopped
1 – large yellow onion, chopped
3 – cloves of garlic minced
½ lb of sliced fresh mushrooms
3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or 2 tbsp dry)
3-4 sprigs fresh oregano (or 2 tbsp dry)
3-4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1- large can of tomato sauce (29 ounces)
4- cups of water
1- small can of tomato paste (5 ounces)
1- bottle of cheap red wine (Trader Joe’s “2 Buck Chuck” works great)
1 can of beef broth (16 ounces) or 4 bullion cubes in 2 cups of hot water, dissolved
1- 2 lb bag of mixed vegetables
2 lbs of chopped seasonal vegetables of your choice (no potatoes)

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Remove roast from wrapper, rinse and pat dry. Tear fresh oregano into small pieces, pull leaves of rosemary from stems and put in small bowl with garlic, olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper, mix well. Use this mixture as a rub and rub into roast thoroughly. Place roast in shallow roasting pan, top with chopped pepper, onion, mushrooms and any remaining rub mixture. Pour ½ to 3/4 of the bottle of red wine over roast and vegetables. Seal with aluminum foil and place on center rack. Roast in slow oven for 4-6 hours until fork tender. Note: do not check roast frequently, if at all as it will dry the roast out if you do. Once the aroma of the roast beef has filled the kitchen, it’s probably ready. Check with fork, if it cuts easily, it is ready, if not, reseal and cook for another 45 minutes and continue until roast reaches fork tender stage. (Note: you can also do this step using a crock pot but you won’t get the same caramelization on the roast and veggies.)

Once roast is done, remove from oven and remove aluminum foil. Let roast sit for 15-20 minutes. With a fork, shred beef and allow drippings and marinade to be absorbed by meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove beef from refrigerator, and set aside. In a large stock pot combine the remaining red wine, tomato sauce, tomato paste, beef broth and water. Bring to a simmer. Slowly add in roast, including all drippings, and savory vegetables it was prepared with. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Add frozen vegetables to broth, stir well and bring to a simmer. Add fresh vegetables to broth and bring to a simmer, stirring well. Adjust seasonings to your preferences, if broth is too thick, add water or more red wine to your consistency preference. Cook soup on very low heat for 4-5 hours. Once soup is done, I suggest you let it sit for at least 45 minutes so that the flavors marry. Ideally, you should let the soup sit for 24 hours (in the refrigerator), for the most flavorful results.
This soup is very hearty and needs only a good crusty bread or crisp green salad to make it a meal. I promise it is the best beef vegetable soup you’ve ever had.

Writer Chick

copyright 2014

Yummy Christmas Food


If you’ve ever celebrated Christmas you know how good food can taste.  Here’s a little bit of a different recipe (for me anyway) to consider for Christmas dinner or a holiday bash.

French Canadian Trifle

4 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
2 egg yolks
2 cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1  8” x  4” pound cake or sponge cake
2-4 tbsp. marsala, rum, or brandy
1 cup strawberry jam
2 cups fresh raspberries
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp. sugar

1. For the custard: Mix together sugar and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Add egg yolks, and whisk to combine; then gradually whisk in milk. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until custard thickens to the consistency of thick cream, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, and add vanilla. Cover surface of custard with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 2 hours.

2. For the trifle: Cut cake into 2” X 1” pieces. Arrange a layer of cake pieces in the bottom of a large trifle or glass bowl. Sprinkle cake with some of the marsala; then spread a layer of strawberry jam over the cake; then scatter some of the raspberries over the jam. Pour some of the custard over the berries.
Repeat layering, ending with custard. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Remove trifle from refrigerator about 1 hour before serving.

3. Just before serving, put heavy cream and sugar into a large, well-chilled mixing bowl. Beat cream with a whisk or an electric mixer fitted with whisks until cream holds soft peaks. Do not overbeat. Decorate trifle with large dollops of whipped cream.


Wow, I think I gained 5 pounds just reading the recipe.



Thanksgiving Recipes

I can scarcely believe that Thanksgiving is a mere couple of weeks away – but it is. I don’t know about you but I love the traditional foods eaten at Thanksgiving – still, I also like to try new things… So in the spirit of something different, why not give one or two of these a try for Thanksgiving?


2 tbsp. butter
1  onion, chopped
1  potato, pared and diced
3 c chicken broth
16 oz can pumpkin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp white pepper
1/2 pt heavy or light cream
Croutons or chopped chives

In a large pan over medium heat, saute onions and potatoes for 5 minutes in butter. Add chicken broth and cook to boiling. Cover and reduce heat until vegetables are tender. Ladle 1/2 of vegetable mixture into blender; blend until smooth.  Add remaining mixture and repeat. Return mixture to saucepan. Add pumpkin, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Over high heat, heat to just below boiling. Cover; reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes. Stir in cream; heat through.  Ladle into  soup bowls and garnish with croutons or chopped chives.


2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp  cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ginger
1 c softened butter
1 c sugar
1 c canned pumpkin
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 c chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and allspice. In another bowl cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, with electric mixer at medium speed. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla; beat for 1 minute.  Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed until well combined. stir in chopped nuts. Drop by large tablespoons onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. flatten lightly using the back of a spoon.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool.

1/2 c sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 eggs
1 lb cream corn
13 oz can evaporated milk

Oven at 350 degrees. Lightly grease medium baking dish. Combine sugar and cornstarch in medium bowl. Add eggs, corn and milk and mix well. Turn into baking dish and dot with butter. Bake until center is almost firm, about 1 hour.


2 boxes frozen green beans
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp grated onion
1 c sour cream
1/2 lb grated cheddar cheese
Parmesan cheese

Melt 2 tbs butter, add 2 tbs flour. Cook until it forms a paste over low heat – remove from heat. Stir in sugar, onion and sour cream. Fold in cooked green beans. Place in 2 quart casserole. Cover with cheddar cheese. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees until cheeses bubble.


1 qt water
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp coriander seed
2  cinnamon sticks
2 qt cranberry juice cocktail
2 c pineapple juice
4 c grapefruit juice
1 c raisins

Combine the water and spices in a large saucepan, bring to a boil, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the juices and bring just to boiling. Remove from heat and serve.


1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into slices
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a saucepan, heat up the cream with thyme, chopped garlic and nutmeg. In a buttered casserole dissh place a layer of potato in an overlapping pattern and season with salt and pepper. Remove cream from heat, then pour a little over the potatoes. Top with some grated Parmesan. Make 2 more layers. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes.


2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1/3 cup  flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbs butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 450. Lightly grease a 24-cup mini muffin pan. In a medium bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, mix the onion, milk, eggs and butter. Fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture until  just moistened. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the batter into each of the muffin cups. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the hush puppies are firm to the touch and golden brown around the edges.

You Know You’ve Gotten Too Fat When…

fat lady

Way back when I wrote this post, “You Know You’ve Gotten too Fat When…” It was very popular (go figure). Due to technical difficulties, among other things, the original post was lost. I try here to recreate it:

You know you’ve gotten too fat when:

1. Your closet is divided into fat clothes and skinny clothes and the skinny clothes are pretty dusty.
2. All your jeans have elastic in the waist and even those you can’t button.
3. The dishes rattle when you walk into the kitchen to get a snack.
4. Your room mate has put a padlock on the fridge and won’t give you the combination.
5. The lady at the airport check in counter gives you two boarding passes – one for you and one for your ass.
6. Your ass has its own zip code
7. When you attend dinner parties, the hostess always waits until you leave the table to offer seconds.
8. Your nickname is Godzilla
9. Cleveland won’t allow you entrance anymore because they are afraid you will eat it.
10. You’re ambidexterous – also known as a two-fisted eater.
11. Your ‘baby fat’ could supply enough fat for ten babies.
12. As soon as you get into your car it becomes an instant ‘low rider.’
13. At the last 5K run you registered 2.5 on the Richter Scale.
14. When you wear your yellow dress, people mistake you for a school bus.
15. The employees at Home Town Buffet cringe when you walk in the door because they know they don’t have enough food.
16. You’re on the McDonald’s ‘watch list.’

As usual, feel free to add to the list.

Writer Chick

Holiday Eating Tips from Zelda

more xmas cookies

So, Zelda sent me these tips and I thought I’d pass them along.


1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they’re serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It’s rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It’s not as if you’re going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It’s a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It’s later than you think. It’s Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That’s the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they’re made with skim milk or whole milk. If it’s skim, pass. Why bother? It’s like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people’s food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year’s. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you’ll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don’t budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They’re like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you’re never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don’t like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it’s loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don’t feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven’t been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!”

Have a great holiday season!!

Christmas Recipes, Tips & Tricks…

xmas table

I know everybody has their favorite recipes for Christmas and here are two of mine. The first one is for pumpkin bread – not to dis pumpkin pie but I’ve been hooked on this stuff since I was a kid and it’s super easy to make and tastes great hot, cold, a la mode or au naturelle. Try it, you’ll love it. And my favorite dressing for roast turkey. The sweet and savory blends quite nicely, especially if you have something like garlic mashed potatoes to go along with. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread – (from Fanny Farmer’s cookbook)

1.5 cups flour (1/2 white 1/2whole wheat)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar (1/2 white 1/2 brown)
1 tsp baking soda
1cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vegetable oil (1/2 veg oil 1/2 applesauce)
2 eggs
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Sift together flour, salt, sugar and baking soda. Mix pumpkin, oil, eggs, water and spices. Then combine with the dry ingredients but do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in the nuts and raisins. Pour into a well-buttered loaf pan (9x5x3). Bake 50-60 minutes until straw comes out clean. Turn out of pan and let cool on rack. For muffins, baking time is about 40-45 minutes. You can easily double this recipe and give the extra one away as a gift.

Apple & Raisin Cornbread Stuffing

1 Box (12 ounce) of Mrs. Cubbison’s Cornbread Stuffin’ (I always use this brand but you can use another if you prefer it)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tart green apples, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup raisins
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup melted butter

Melt butter in heavy bottomed fry pan over medium heat, add onions, celery, garlic and apples – cook until slightly soft, add chicken stock, bring to a boil.

Pour dry stuffing mix into large bowl, add chicken stock mixture to and toss – moisten with orange juice as needed and desired – making it as moist or dry a dressing as you prefer. Stuff your bird and truss her up. If there is any leftover stuffing, turn into buttered loaf pan or casserole dish, moisten with orange juice and bake in over for last 40 minutes of turkey roast time. When removing dressing from turkey cavities mix with baked stuffing to get a nice not too wet, not too dry dressing. Trust me.

Tips and tricks:

First of all, for those of you making your first turkey this year or for those of you who have always had a hard time turning out a good turkey, I highly recommend following the instructions in the Fanny Farmer cookbook. The book is a goldmine of good solid American recipes with very clear and easy to understand instructions.

If on the other hand you are an old hand at roasting turkeys – try this for the juiciest turkey you’ve ever had. For the first 1/2 hour of cook time, set oven at 500 degrees (or highest temp on dial) this quick sears the skin and seals in all the juices as well as evenly browning the turkey. You will have the prettiest turkey in town, I promise. After 1/2 hour turn the temp down to normal cooking instructions and cook based on weight which is generally 15-20 minutes per pound.

My own special basting sauce recipe:

1 cup chicken stock
1 cup white wine
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup melted butter

Melt butter in heavy bottomed sauce pan, add white wine, chicken stock and orange juice and cook until heated through. Baste turkey every 45 minutes, keeping basting sauce warm on stove top on low temp.

Making gravy is practically effortless, just add water, thickening agent of your choice, a dash of coffee and about 1/2 cup of milk or cream to drippings and scrapings from roasting pan – best if made in the roasting pan itself – whisk until thickened – salt and pepper to taste.

Personally, with this meal I don’t really bother with salads or veggies, since it’s really about the starches and meats for me. So I usually bake both white and sweet potatoes, rather than bother with mashed or casseroles, get some great cranberry sauce at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods and we’re good to go.

Those are my favorites, what are yours?