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Twist on Thanksgiving

Had an interesting Thanksgiving dinner this last week. Not that anything unusual happened, only the way it happened. My family and I drove south this year to spend the holidays with his side of the family. My husband’s sisters and parents live within miles of each other in South Florida and we thought it would be fun to go “tropical.” However, since we didn’t give a whole heck of a lot of notice on our decision (my husband can be very spur of the moment), they didn’t plan on centering their focus on us.

One sister was celebrating with friends, one sister was celebrating with her son’s girlfriend’s family, the nieces (sisters) were working and celebrating together with a fried version of the bird and his parents? Well, let’s just say they bowed out of all invitations for a quiet day at home alone together. They’re eighty-three. Big dinners take a lot of work. Hmph. Now what?

mashed sweets

How about bring the dinner with you? And while you’re at it, add a few chairs, a table–heck, we have a lot of bodies heading into their small home with no place to put them! So that’s what we did. Packed up a turkey and all the fixins’ — including all the ingredients to prepare the entire dinner and dessert — grab a table and chairs and throw them back into the Suburban. We’re going on a road trip!

Not my favorite time of year to be on the roads, mind you, but turns out, our traffic wasn’t bad. Wednesday night we didn’t hit any trouble and for the return, we only hit a couple of snafus. I think the secret is to leave late. By the time we hit the road, everyone was already well on their way home, headed back up north. So all in all, not a bad drive. And what a great dinner! I put the turkey in the oven the night we arrived and it was ready to eat come three o’clock. Easy. Whipped up a few mashed potatoes, plate of stuffing, cranberry, gravy, rolls and poof. Thanksgiving dinner! It was our version of “Meals on Wheels.” For those of you not familiar with the group, Meals on Wheels is an organization dedicated to feeding our seniors by bringing the nutrition straight to the door of those with limited mobility.

All in all it was a great weekend. Good food, good company and even a spot of fishing and tennis. Definitely counting our blessings in the Venetta household!


Turkey Fettuccine Skillet Recipe

Looking for something to do with all those turkey leftovers?  Here’s a favorite of mine borrowed from one of my go-to cooking magazines, Taste of Home.  It’s great with left over pie. 🙂



  • 8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt-free seasoning blend
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup fat-free half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups cubed cooked turkey breast
  • 3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


  • Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large ovenproof skillet coated with cooking spray, saute the onion, celery and garlic in oil for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook and stir until vegetables are tender. Stir in the milk, seasoning blend and salt. Bring to a boil.
  • Combine cornstarch and half-and-half until smooth; stir into skillet. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Stir in Parmesan cheese just until melted.
  • Stir in turkey. Drain fettuccine; add to turkey mixture. Heat through. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Broil 4-6 in. from the heat for 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Yield: 6 servings.

What are some of your favorite recipes for holiday leftovers?

Where Did Thanksgiving Go?

“Black Friday, black Friday, everybody loves black Friday!”

Thanks to Kohl’s Department Stores, I can’t get that obnoxious little ditty out of my head.  As if I needed another reminder that today is the official start of the holiday shopping season. Yep, only 30 shopping days left.  Perhaps you’re one of the estimated 152 million people who’ve already been shopping this morning. Or last night. Maybe, you’ve got all your shopping done.  Yes, I know there are those people out there.  One in particular will call me this weekend to let me know of her superior, Martha Stewart like, shopping skills.

Except this year, I’m not going to let it get to me.  I’m taking a stand.  I’m clinging to the last vestiges of Thanksgiving. You know, the actual holiday we celebrated this weekend.

When did we lose Thanksgiving?  It wasn’t long ago the last Thursday in November was a restful day when family gathered to eat too much, drink too much, and watch too much football. (Note to husband:  I know you think there can never be too much football, but this post is geared toward women readers.)  Yep, Thanksgiving Day was always the boring, restful, reprieve before the frantic holiday season.

Now, the Thanksgiving holiday is simply a time to fill our bellies and plan our strategy for late night shopping runs.  We comb through ad circulars while stuffing the turkey.  We ready the car, not for the long trip home from Grandma’s, but to fill it with gifts. We nap after dinner, not because we’ve overindulged, but to ready ourselves for the melee sure to follow in a discount store parking lot later in the evening.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good bargain as well as the next gal.  I’m just not willing to get out of my pjs to get one.  Sorry kids. Nope, you won’t get me out among those crowds, especially when OSHA has to issue warnings to retailers to protect their employees from hordes of overzealous shoppers.  I’ll sit (or sleep) this one out, thank you very much.

Will I miss the deals?  Hardly.  Many retailers have begun to offer Black Friday prices BEFORE Thanksgiving.  In fact, you can shop on Thanksgiving Day if you want—22 million folks did last year. Forget about parades with hot air balloons and marching bands.  Forget about the tryptophan daze of a turkey dinner. Nope, all of that is relegated to second place when it comes to bargain hunting.  Soon, folks will simply snap up their turkey and sweet potatoes at a mall food court so as not to miss a good deal.

Oh wait—that’s already happening!  Bass Pro Shop was open all day yesterday, treating customers to turkey they’d deep fried out in the parking lot.  (Note to husband:  If you had gone—even for a little while—you’d be eating your Thanksgiving dinner there for the rest of your life.)  Walmart and several other discount stores were open yesterday as well.

And I think that’s kind of sad.

If you were out there among the millions shopping already this weekend, l hope you got everything you were looking for.  I hope the deals were outstanding.  As for me, I’m sleeping in and enjoying my post-Thanksgiving breakfast of cranberry pancakes with a side of leftover apple pie. For dessert, I’m going to enjoy George Clooney in The Descendants.  Tomorrow I’ll take advantage of Small Business Saturday and pick up some gifts. Happy Black Friday!  Shop til you drop!

How about you?  Do you miss the old fashioned Thanksgiving? What was the best deal you found out there?

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