Let's Talk Turkey - Lost jobs and the art of shopping Blog at Allrecipes.com - 290080

Lost jobs and the art of shopping

Let's Talk Turkey 
Nov. 19, 2012 10:43 am 
Updated: Dec. 3, 2012 7:02 pm


As an Allrecipes Brand ambassador, I was asked to blog about my favorite Thanksgiving. For the life of me, I could NOT think of a favorite turkey day. In the middle of a restless night it finally came to me. I have had no favorite Thanksgiving days because every year, I am so excited about trying to pull off the perfect feast with new tricks and tips and maybe a new recipe to make it all even better than the last Thanksgiving. After cooking over 30 of these extravaganzas, I have found some real gems to help me get the task done earlier and sometimes better than the last one. 

I have already made my pie crusts (two weeks ago) and they are layed out in the pie pans resting in the freezer ready for baking day on Wednesday. If you read my Thanksgiving Pie Crust blog last year, you already know the drill. If you didn't read it, here is the link. 


The $2000. pie crust featured in the blog is flaky and tender and only needs a little practice in putting it together. Here's the recipe.


One of favorite pies for Thanksgiving is Pumpkin Crunch Pie. I got this simple recipe from a lady who baked pies for a local restaurant years ago and I think of dear Frances (the creator) when I make this lovely recipe every year. Here is the link.


I also have most of my homemade roll ingredients measured and ready to rock and roll......no pun intended, on Thanksgiving Day. I make a butter crescent that has been handled down from my grandmother Danish grandmother Lillian. They are very easy to make, but it sure helps to be ready on TDay :) BTW My family would boycott Turkey Day if I didn't include them.

I stumbled upon a great recipe for make ahead gravy on Allrecipes last year and it is a real winner. I made it last week and it is now in the freezer waiting for reheating in the crockpot on Turkey Day.


I have never been lucky enough to have two ovens. (except for one time in Maui and wouldn't you know, one of the double ovens didn't work) Last year I started looking for a way to roast my turkey while sparing my oven for other dishes. I found this technique on YOUTUBE and this worked great. I added a handy step so that I could safely remove the bird while reserving the drippings. I bought three disposable roasting pans that fit in my gas grill with the bird and enough headroom to close the grill. I poked holes in one of the disposable pans with an ice pick. I then set the "holy" pan inside another pan, insert turkey and roast as directed on video. When the bird was done. I removed the bird with "holy" pan while allowing the drippings to drain into the bottom roasting pan and set the bird and pan into the reserved fresh pan to rest. This worked like a charm and I am ever so grateful to free up oven space for baking rolls, sweet potatoes and stuffing.


BTW I make my stuffing separate from the bird . I do a very typical bread stuffing (Betty Crocker recipe) and add  a generous amount of toasted and finely chopped pecans. I am now (monday) off to chop my celery and onion in the food processor and it will await in ziplocs in the frig. for sauteing and dressing assembly on wednesday. My potatoes will be peeled on Wednesday and covered with lightly salted water, ready to cook on turkey day too. Tuesday I will be making my cranberry sauce. As you see, I will have quite a few steps done by turkey day:)

These are just a few of my tips and recipes. I hope that one of these tips will help you "streamline" your preparation of this beautiful feast. I wish you all a wonderful dinner with family and friends. As I search for the perfect Thanksgiving dinner recipes and prep, I will take great comfort that I still have my precious family to surround me on this lovely day. Happy Thanksgiving and warmest aloha all!

I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com. Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Julie McCuiston aka Mauigirl. That being said, my husband says i am the queen of everything and I KNOW what I am talking about.....and that is why we have been married for 41 years :)

Pumpkin Crunch Pie
Photo Detail
Out of this world Turkey Brine
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$2000. Pie crust ready for the freezer:)
Photo Detail
Rich Make Ahead Gravy
Photo Detail
Butter crescent roll ingredients
Photo Detail
Nov. 19, 2012 11:11 am
Great Blog Julie. I am a lot more excited for your Thanksgiving than I am mine this year. Maybe I'll get around to writing my Thanksgiving blog sometime closer to Christmas. And don't get me started on the AR Blog Tools. I can't get a good working cut & paste going anymore to save my life. I wear bi-focals and still can't get to wear I can read what I originally post. RESPECT THE BIRD !!!
Nov. 19, 2012 11:19 am
Thanks Doug. I finally got my links to work.....only to have all the text shrink to teeny weenie print ARGH! Respect the bird!
Nov. 19, 2012 12:01 pm
I forgot to add that I splurged on an organic bird to see if they taste more like the birds I loved in our youth. We think today's birds are not very tasty :(
Nov. 19, 2012 12:33 pm
You are so far ahead of me, mauigirl! Yesterday I took down the street to my son's refrigerator (our old one in their garage--which I wish I had!) two 11 pound turkeys. One had been in the fridge for a whole day thawing out, the other came straight from the freezer. My DIL called this morning to tell me that the fridge door was left open all night, and they were throwing away the two turkeys because one was warm, and the other they didn't want to chance. So that's my story! I DO have all products purchased! Otherwise, tomorrow I will start cooking!
Nov. 19, 2012 12:38 pm
Well, I WAS going to get some chopping done today but I do have the gravy done. DH won't eat pie crust so no point in making one. I have to use grahamn cracker crust for my pumpkin pie. I hope your bird tastes good. It really should because the difference between storebought eggs and my girl's is light years. Enjoy your holiday!
Nov. 19, 2012 12:49 pm
Oh Marianne......how disgusting :( I would have a cow if my too expensive organic bird went bad! Hope you can find some fresh birds to replace the tossed ones.
Nov. 19, 2012 12:51 pm
Hi Cat. The $2000. pie crust is the only one that my family will eat. If we have a store or restaurant made pie crust, they pick out the filling and leave the rest. Happy T Day kid! Gobble....gobble :)
Nov. 19, 2012 1:11 pm
I will be doing Thanksgiving at a friends house this year. We are shopping tonight. I'm so grateful for YOU my friend. I love you and hope THIS is the Best Thanksgiving EVER!!
Nov. 19, 2012 1:37 pm
Hi LadySparkle. I am so happy you will be with friends this turkey day. They are indeed lucky to have you as a cook. Thanks for the kind sentiments....I feel the same about you! Love from Las Vegas!
Nov. 19, 2012 1:46 pm
Holy cow! I have to go buy a turkey! Nice post. Gotta run! *whoosh!*
Nov. 19, 2012 1:50 pm
Aloha Doc, Didn't mean to light a fire under you LOL! Happy Thanksgiving kid!
Nov. 19, 2012 2:27 pm
Isn't it nice to have so much done already? That make ahead gravy is great. My turkey is waiting for me - I have to go check and make sure the fridge is shut. BRB....
Nov. 19, 2012 2:40 pm
Agree, mauigirl, it's about the process! Thanks for the links--the pumpkin crunch pie sounds particularly interesting!
Nov. 19, 2012 2:47 pm
'Fraid mine won't eat the regular pie crust no matter how good it is. Deep sigh! Since I do have one that works ever so well for me, I will just stick with it. The DH just won't eat pie crust or an excellent broth with homemade noodles. What can I say? Again, deep sigh, made excellent homemade noodles yesterday. DH left ALL of the broth in his bowl. His dear, dear friend whom you have met here just picked up the bowl and drained it. Sent the friend home with a to go carton.
Nov. 19, 2012 2:48 pm
Forgot to mention that same friend loves any of my pies and breads. I always send both home with him when he is here!
Nov. 19, 2012 3:13 pm
Love, love, love your pie crust! Have a blessed Thanksgiving, sweet lady!
Nov. 19, 2012 4:57 pm
Forgot to mention this too, must have been in anticipation of the workout :{ Excellent suggestion with the pans and turkey!
Nov. 19, 2012 5:36 pm
Nice blog, Julie! I love make-ahead sides and start tomorrow with cranberry sauce, cranberry relish and mashed potatoes. I've been doing these 3 sides early for years and it sure cuts down on the rush. I reheat the potatoes in my 7-qt crockpot, works like a charm, freeing up precious stovetop space. Then I simply bring the black crock to the table. It looks fab with my white porcelain serving pieces. Also love the tale about eating the filling out of store-bought crust. I always did that, too!
Nov. 19, 2012 5:40 pm
GREAT BLOG!! Thanks MG! I am Thankful EVERYDAY for the life God has given and Blessed me with:):) Love your photos! Swear I can smell that turkey!! Lol
Nov. 19, 2012 6:11 pm
I'm thinking I might have to give that pie crust a try. Might have to take some allergy meds first since I am allergic to rolling pins. Dough and I do not get along. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Nov. 19, 2012 7:33 pm
Boy, Magnolia Blossom, I thought my allergies were strange (= I'm impressed, mauigirl! I just got back from a long, scattered trip to the grocery store with babyxray and her family. I am nowhere near as organized as you are!!!
Nov. 19, 2012 8:15 pm
I can totally vouch for the $2000 Pie Crust. It's the only one I make now. I just wish I could be as organized as you are Julie. You've made TG (with your make ahead tips) a little less stressful. Thank you for sharing. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Hugs
Nov. 19, 2012 10:19 pm
Hijacking ALERT!! Candice, saw your thread on my post or is a your post on My thread? Huh? Lol Anyway, I can't Wait to meet you either!! Marianne is right, I get all choked up. I will try and control my tears:) Hugs:) MG, you can have your blog back now!! Lol, love you! Thanks!
Nov. 19, 2012 11:29 pm
Baking Nana....I am only trying to keep up with you kid :) You inspire me!
Nov. 19, 2012 11:31 pm
Bibi, The first time I made the pumpkin crunch pie, they were all eyeing it suspiciously. Suddenly the whole thing seemed to disappear and the only pumpkin pies left were the plain ones. Now they insist on this pie. (along with a few others) Happy TDay Bibi!
Nov. 19, 2012 11:33 pm
Cat Hill, I would eat anything you cook kid. I can't believe a grown man is so picky :) That turkey thing worked great. The grill is indeed a handy oven :) Happy TDay sweetheart!
Nov. 19, 2012 11:35 pm
What's for dinner mom....Thanks so much for the accolades. I know the lady who won the $2000. must smile down at me every time I share her terrific recipe.Enjoy turkey day with your precious family.
Nov. 19, 2012 11:36 pm
lucylove, Maybe I should try the mashed potatoes too. Do you have to add anything to reheat them? Happy TDay!
Nov. 19, 2012 11:37 pm
PattyCakes, I am so grateful to call you friend and I can't wait to see you soon!!!!!! XO
Nov. 19, 2012 11:40 pm
Magnolia Blossom, I would make crust for you if they would hold up in the mail, but these are too tender. Now my mom's crust....that's another story. I could send that ground delivery and it would be perfect looking (& tough) when it arrived in IL :)
Nov. 19, 2012 11:41 pm
gammaray, Have fun with the kids this Tday. I know you are going to have a very special Thanksgiving Day indeed grandma :)
Nov. 19, 2012 11:42 pm
Candice, Thanks for the thumbs up. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and see you in about 10 days. YIPPEE!
Nov. 20, 2012 12:34 am
You have got it all down to a science. Your turkey day should go very smoothly. Great tips. I'm intrigued by the make ahead gravy. May have to give it a try ... Next year. My pie crusts, courtesy of Mom, are resting in the freezer. Stuffing is in the fridge along with the cranberry sauce. I might try the mashed potato trick too. That would certainly save time and dishes on T-day! Nice blog. Thanks for sharing.
Nov. 20, 2012 4:15 am
Happy Thanksgiving Julie! Your blog is inspiring and I'm off to look at that Betty Crocker stuffing recipe. I have made the Rich Make-Ahead turkey gravy the last two Thanksgivings and I'm making it again today. I have totally blown it trying to make gravy in a rush as the dinner clock counts down and never want to go there again...the definition of Lumpy Gravy! This year, my brother is bringing the turkey...after he cooks it on his grill! Lucky me, not to have to worry about the bird. Enjoyed the blog!
Nov. 20, 2012 8:06 am
Cookin Up A Storm, That gravy is excellent and I am excited to NOT have to get the gravy on after the bird is ready. I was wondering about the mashed potatoes too???? Anyone have any tips on that? Miss you both here in Vegas kid. Happy Thanksgiving to your family......I know you will have an amazing dinner. PS I just set up the ironing board to iron the tablecloth and napkins. My least favorite task :(
Nov. 20, 2012 8:10 am
Wyattdogster, Your review and photos sealed the deal for me. If you like it, I knew we would too. One year my sister and I could not get the gravy to thicken for the life of us as everyone was patiently waiting for a too late dinner. My sister died 10 years ago and whenever I make turkey gravy I think of her. Now that I discovered this gem of a gravy recipe, I wish I could tell her that I found the secret of turkey gravy success. Hopefully she knows it and she is smiling down on me right now:) Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
Nov. 20, 2012 8:12 am
PS I went back and read my 2011 pie crust blog and it still cracks me up. Check it out for a little levity....especially the comments bwahahaha!
Nov. 20, 2012 1:14 pm
LOLOL! I remember those crusty comments. I can't believe a grown man is so picky either. Thank heavens my DS takes after me. Uh, for the most part. He will at least eat regular pie crust and he does like homemade bread. But our pumpkin pies must have grahamn cracker crusts.
Nov. 20, 2012 4:10 pm
I can't wait to try your gravy recipe! Until I read all the blogs, I was hoping you would answer a question for me about mashed potatoes, but I'll ask anyway :) I read that you can peel and cube the potatoes the night before, cover with water, then the next day, drain off water, add new water and cook. Have you heard if this works? It would help so much with the hectic Thanksgiving day activities. Thank you so much.
Nov. 20, 2012 4:14 pm
oops, guess I should have read the whole blog first - you do what I asked!! I just got too excited about gravy! Thanks again.
Nov. 20, 2012 4:39 pm
Cat Hill,Score one for son's future wife :) XO
Nov. 20, 2012 5:12 pm
Great blog Mauigirl! Great tip regarding the bird. Last year I did 3 sides in 3 slow cookers which worked out great because we were running about 30 minutes late and the sides stayed warm until we were ready to eat. This year my sister is doing the cooking and she has two ovens.
Nov. 20, 2012 5:26 pm
MG - For the potatoes, just make them as you normally do. I heat them on warm all day, it's gentler than low. Mine have never gone dry. If they did, I'd grab something creamy and fattening from the fridge and stir it in. Cream, butter, sour cream, mayo, whatever. It's all good!
Nov. 20, 2012 7:31 pm
CAT Sorry I missed your question. I do peel and cube the day before. Just make sure they are fully submerged in lightly salted water. Keep them cool too.
Hella from Moorea 
Nov. 20, 2012 9:23 pm
Hello Julie - after reading all the above and all the work that is involved, I'm so glad we don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Tahiti!! However, all that food sounds delicious and I wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving. Eat an extra slice of pumpkin pie for me please.
Nov. 21, 2012 3:38 am
Sounds good Mauigirl! The pumpkin crunch pie sounds wonderful! I saved the recipe.
Nov. 21, 2012 6:57 am
Occasional Cooker, I am starting my sweet potatoes today and I am going to put those in a crockpot too. Wishing you a lovely Thanksgiving with those you love XO
Nov. 21, 2012 6:58 am
lucy love.....If you say it works, I'm in. Will let you know how it turns out kid. Happy Thanksgiving!
Nov. 21, 2012 7:04 am
Hella from Moorea, I know that you folks from the South Pacific have some wonderful celebrations featuring local foods. In Hawaii, pumpkin pie is really popular. (year around) Is it popular in Tahiti too? If so, you have to try that pumpkin crunch recipe cuz it is so ono. Thanks for stopping by. Warmest aloha!
Nov. 21, 2012 7:06 am
luv2cook, Nice to see you kid! That pumpkin pie recipe is delicious and usually the first pie gone:) Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours XO
Nov. 21, 2012 2:18 pm
My Mom has always done Thanksgiving, all I had to do was bring a few dishes. She fell a few weeks ago and broke her upper arm and had surgery, and for the first time in 50 years admitted she can't do the dinner. I already had a planned week long trip with my DH right before the holiday and find myself at last min. doing the dinner for over 15 and now maybe 20 people. I didn't have the time this year and have to admit I bought on sale the gravy, but I may have to do this again next year and I am saving this blog. Thanks for your tips. I want to enjoy the day and not work the day. :)
Nov. 21, 2012 5:11 pm
Sherri, I hope your mama is going to recover soon. No worries about cooking it all when time is tight. Buy what you can and try to enjoy your day kid. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. PS I think your mama deserves a rest from all the holiday prep :)
Hella from Moorea 
Nov. 21, 2012 10:28 pm
We have lots of pumpkins in our garden and I make pumpkin bread often for the family. The Tahitians make a wonderful pumpkin poe - it is mixed with tapioca starch, fresh vanilla, some sugar and baked in the oven. Once it comes out fresh coconut milk is poured all over it and it is cut into squares. It is even better when it is cooked the traditional way wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in an earth oven.
Nov. 21, 2012 11:53 pm
Hella....OK Game on! I want that recipe :) Email it to me when you get a chance......Pretty Please????
Nov. 22, 2012 9:29 am
I have a large electric roaster so I roast my turkey in it and have my oven (which has a warmer drawer)free for other dishes. I have a hard time cooking ahead, as I work every weekday, with the end of the month on automatic overtime. Time off around the holidays is at a premium and only certain people get those. Also, I am limited to the number of days I have off each year; which I save for trips to see my son and his family. However, my turkey is done; the pies are done, and I don't cook my stuffing in the turkey anymore.all is ready and waiting to be put together; but I still have 5 hours.
Nov. 22, 2012 9:56 am
Mary, you are one organized lady. My grandmother used to bake hers in one of those large roasters. Maybe I will break down and buy one the next time I see them at Costco. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours......and take it easy tomorrow :)
Nov. 22, 2012 10:05 am
Julie, how did your make-ahead gravy turn out? I'm still on a quest to find one that WOW's me. This year, I tried Chef John's recipe, but I really had to doctor it up for it even to be acceptable to put on the table. I tried another recipe on the AR site last year, and it was OK but nothing that I'd call great. So still looking..................
Nov. 22, 2012 9:31 pm
lutzflcat, we enjoyed the rich make ahead gravy but I did add a little more turkey drippings to it when I finished the bird. Dinner came out terrific....but I tried to figure out my husband's grandmother Gertrude's stuffing (the best I have ever had) and I still haven't figured it out :( I have her old recipe card, but it is so darned vague that I have NEVER been able to duplicate it :( Hope you kids had a good holiday. I am sure your spread as top notch XO
Nov. 23, 2012 1:35 pm
Mauigirl, just want to thank you for the gravy idea. This is a WOW recipe. I blended the veggies up and used them in the gravy also. I got about 3 qts of gravy, then I also put the make a head gravy into all the turkey drippings. MY OH MY!! Many happy happy gravy loving people used as much as they wanted to. PLUS, there was no last minute rush to make the gravy. Very good flavor. Just a little left over for today. Thanks a
Nov. 24, 2012 8:59 am
Andrea, Isn't that great discovery! I found it last year through AR and Baking Nana and I wish I would have had this years ago. It would have saved me so much angst at the last minute "get the turkey on the table!" moments :) Happy Holidays kid!
Nov. 24, 2012 8:59 am
Andrea, PS I am going to try your tip for blending in the vegis next year. Great idea!!!!
Nov. 27, 2012 11:54 am
I love these kind of tips...definitely going to try the make ahead gravy next year. I always forget that is something I'm overlooking til the last minute. Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!!!
Nov. 28, 2012 8:24 am
Can't wait to see you beautiful 1st lady!!!!!!
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About Me
I have been married for 43 years to the most amazing man on the planet. He is quiet and deliberate and I am NOT. We have one grown son (and his partner) that we adore. Because they work for the airlines they drop in on a flight frequently and we feel so lucky for that. We retired after 30 years at our careers from our native Olympia to Maui and now most recently retreated to Las Vegas to try to ride out this horrendous economy. We bought a small home here and I gutted it and am putting it back together, so I spend most of my time fine tuning the decorating and now I am plunging into a full tropical landscaping to remind us of our beautiful Maui. I miss the PNW, but NOT the weather. Miss the razor clams and the wild beaches of Washington and Oregon. Miss my friends too. Happy to have my friends from Allrecipes though. The four legged critter you see on my profile is a five year old yorkie/bichon who is the greatest little (9 lbs) girl ever. Quiet and calm, but so excited about life.
My favorite things to cook
I love to cook just about anything...just mostly like the art of cooking and baking and sharing my art with friends and families. Love the smells that emanate from my kitchen and the familiar memories that come flooding back. The scents from my kitchen are probably my favorite thing in the house.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mother used to like to make a big deal out of almost any holiday, so I have followed through with that tradition. Valentine's Day, Christmas, St. Paddy's day, Thanksgiving, Easter, Oscar night are just a few of my favorite cooking traditions. Birthday parties for all my loved ones are something I love to do too.
My cooking triumphs
The first time I mastered sauce bearnaise, or raviolis from scratch or my first perfect cheesecake or my first wedding catering job or meeting Julia Child (about 25 years ago).
My cooking tragedies
(See above) Well....Julia was so cranky and rude it ruined my love of her.....so I sold all my Julia Child cookbooks (some of them signed) at a garage sale for $1.00 apiece. Now I wish I would have kept them of course. I guess Julia was just having a bad day:( & I was foolish of course.
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