Nov 03

Crisp and Delicious – Deep Fried Turkey Recipes For the Holidays

Deep Fried Thanksgiving Turkey

Deep Fried Thanksgiving Turkey

When Thanksgiving gets a little closer, you may start pondering changing up your traditional turkey for a deep fried one. There are a lot of deep fried turkey recipes around the web, which reflects the popularity of this particular culinary approach to the ever-delicious turkey. Of course, what recipe you choose depends heavily on taste preferences. No matter what, however, there are some things you should know about deep frying turkey before you begin.

Advantages & Disadvantages

The good part about deep frying a turkey is that it’s very fast and very flavorful. If you happen to be a fan of crunchy skin – be ready to fight over every inch. Overall, deep frying makes for a tender, juicy turkey.

On the down side if you’re on a diet, deep fried turkey recipes won’t help much (mind you, I think holidays should be a time to give your diet a break!). Your turkey may taste oily if it’s not drained completely. Also improper use of a turkey deep fryer can be very dangerous.

Dry Rub, Injection or Both?

Some people swear by dry rubs as the key to their succulent deep fried turkey recipes, others prefer injecting marinade into the meat, while a third group says, “hey go for the gusto – do both!” I confess I’m in this group, being a big flavor junkie.

Having said that, a rub is a much safer route when deep frying your bird. Why? Because with an injection, you have to be certain to get the marinade into the meat, NOT under the skin. Any marinade under the skin will spatter when you fry, sending hot oil everywhere. And ending up with nasty burns on your face isn’t the best way to celebrate the holidays.

Safety Precautions

There are several details that some deep fried turkey recipes leave out– namely safety precautions you can take to make sure you get to enjoy this treat completely without incident.

o Make sure you have a big enough pot to fully cover your turkey with oil and have several inches to spare.
o Use good cooking gloves and goggles to protect your hands and eyes from spattered oil.
o Keep a fire extinguisher handy – you’re using a LOT of oil and should it boil over or splash just right, you can easily end up with a grease fire.
o Make sure your turkey is room temperature when you add it to the oil.
o Keep children and pets away from the area where you’re deep frying.
o Cook your turkey outdoors in a well ventilated area, away from any structures. Never make any deep fried turkey recipes in an enclosed space or a building!
o Make sure your fryer is on level ground (dirt or grass is best).
o When you’re done, leave the oil to cool completely before storing.

Sample Fried Turkey Recipe:

This is just one example of the many great deep fried turkey recipes you can try. Don’t be afraid to get creative with it!

Turkey and Rub Ingredients:
1 12 pound turkey whole
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. orange zest

Step 1: Defrost the turkey completely, cleaning it inside and out, then rub the outside of the bird with the spice mixture and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day let the bird come to room temperature while you make the marinade (about 45 minutes).

Marinade Ingredients:
2 tbs. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup orange blossom honey
12 oz. ale
2 tsp. garlic juice
1 tsp. onion powder

Whip these six ingredients in your blender. Using a meat injector, inject this mixture deep into the meat of the turkey (using most of it for the breast).

Heat your frying oil to 375 degrees F. When the temperature’s right, carefully lower the bird into the oil and cook it for 3-4 minutes per pound. You want the internal temperature of the breast to reach 180 degrees. Drain thoroughly cavity-side-down and allow to rest for about 10 minutes before carving.


If the idea of a crispy and perfect fried turkey is your version of heaven, check out my Deep Fried Turkey Recipes to read some recipes that will make you absolutely drool.

Karen Talavera is the turkey-obsessed creator of all of Divine Dinner Party’s Turkey Recipes

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Nov 02

Sausage Stuffing Recipe Ideas – Making Your Favorite

Homemade Thanksgiving Stuffing

Homemade Thanksgiving Stuffing

One of the classic side dishes for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is sausage stuffing. Do you have a favorite sausage stuffing recipe? Most people do, but do you know anything about stuffing as a historical tradition? Let’s take a quick look.

Gobbling Up History

A look through historical cookbooks reveals a variety of stuffing recipes that the even the ancient Romans enjoyed, including a pork stuffing that might have been quite similar to a modern sausage stuffing recipe. Pretty amazing! Originally this edible was named “farce”. It wasn’t until the Victorian Era that the words stuffing and dressing moved into the everyday English vocabulary.

Essential Stuffing Tips

Before trying your hand at making your own sausage stuffing recipe, there are some helps and hints that will insure your stuffing comes out perfect every time.

o First, you want to make about 3/4 cup of stuffing per-person. If you’re having several removes for dinner, you can make less but stuffing freezes really well so extra can be preserved for future cravings.

o From a health perspective it’s good to cook your stuffing separate from the bird. Putting it in the turkey’s cavity too soon or leaving it in too long after cooking can lead to food poisoning.

o If you want your stuffing to be rich with flavor mix it up the night before and let it sit in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook

o Cook your stuffing to just 160 degrees (any higher and it will dry out).

Fruited Sausage Stuffing Recipe

This is a lovely stuffing that’s playful and gives you a lot of wiggle room for personal tweaking (cooking is alchemy – it’s OK to play with your food).


1 lb of sweet Italian sausage
3 crispy apples, diced
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1 tsp each onion and garlic powder
Pinch of sugar
1 14 oz bag miniature herb croutons
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions: Begin by frying up the sausage and draining the fat off completely. Crumble the sausage when it cools. Next, gently sauté the apples, celery and onions in olive oil or butter (your choice).

Put the croutons in a large mixing bowl. Slowly pour in the chicken broth until the bread is moist. If you don’t have enough stock, water or a little white wine will do. Add the sautéed items along with the cherries and nuts. Mix well.

Pour the stuffing into an oiled oven dish baking at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Potential Alternatives: If you like spicy, try using a Cajun style sausage. Finely minced pineapple pieces can be used in place of the cherries. You can also try vegetable stock instead of chicken for moistening. Some people like to add a little extra butter to the frying process (this gets added to the stuffing for moisture and flavor). Finally eliminate the cherries and use a loaf of cheese bread for the base instead of croutons.


Got a turkey waiting to be stuffed? I’ve got an entire page dedicated to Sausage Stuffing Recipes.

Because she’s nuts for food, Karen Talavera has spent lifetimes slaving over Divine Dinner Party’s Tasty Turkey Recipes.

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Nov 01

How to Cook a Turkey – Three Popular Cooking Methods

Roasted Turkey Breast with Rosemary-Basil Rub

Roasted Turkey Breast with Rosemary-Basil Rub

Do you go into the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning dreading dry turkey? Have you ever wished you could discover how to cook a turkey perfectly? Then you’re reading the right article. The first thing nervous cooks need to understand is that there are 101 ways to cook a turkey – from traditional to cutting-edge culinary techniques.

You do not have to be a master cook to make a good-tasting bird, but knowing what options are available helps greatly. Ready to learn more about how to cook a turkey?

Three Methods for Cooking a Moist Turkey

1. Roasting

The most traditional method for how to cook a turkey is roasting. The average recipe calls for an oven temperature of 325 degrees. To prepare a turkey for roasting you want to rinse it thoroughly, season it inside and out with flavors your family enjoys, then put it in a roasting pan with water in the bottom. The water keeps the drippings from burning (you’ll want those for gravy).

Loosely cover the turkey with aluminum foil. For every four pounds of unstuffed turkey you’ll need about one hour cooking time. If you have a kitchen thermometer, place it in the thickest part of the turkey breast. The meat needs to be 165 degrees to be safe for consumption. Additionally, experts recommend that you keep the stuffing outside the bird (mix and put in an oven proof container, placed in the oven about 1 hour before the turkey is done). This is also a good moment to remove the aluminum foil so you get a nice crunchy skin.

Finally, the key to a good roast turkey is resting time. When you pull the turkey out of the oven let it sit untouched for about 20-30 minutes before carving. This keeps the turkey moist.

2. Oven-Bag Roasted Turkey

In deciding how to cook a turkey, turkey oven bags are a great alternative to traditional roasting. Supermarkets carry plastic cooking bags safe for oven use. The temperature for your oven is now 350 degrees F. Note that your baking pan must contain the bird and the cooking bag completely – the bag expands during cooking and if it touches any part of the oven it will melt.

As with a roast turkey you should season your bird before placing it in the bag. Consider adding some onions, a peeled orange and other flavorful aromatics to the cavity of the turkey to give it even more flavor from inside out. Cook according to the directions on the cooking bag packaging.

The alternative to the oven bag is a good quality plastic wrap. You can pre-marinate the turkey, brine it, put butter and seasonings under the skin and/or season it then wrap the bird in plastic wrap. Follow with aluminum foil completely covering the bird.

Now you can cook the turkey one of two ways. Turn the oven up to about 375 if you want a steamed turkey or you can turn the temperature down to 250 degrees and slow cook the turkey (about 2 hours per four pounds of whole bird). In either case, you can remove the wrappings on your turkey 30 minutes before serving if you want crispy skin. If using the slow-cook method turn up the heat to 375 for that last amount of cooking time.

3. Oven Braising

Oven braising is similar to using an oven bag or wrap in that you’re steaming the turkey. Your oven should be preheated to about 340 degrees. Place the turkey in a covered roaster (stuff the bird with vegetables or aromatics as with method 2). The time required for cooking is similar to traditional roasting.

There are certainly many other options as to how to cook a turkey. These options include deep frying, grilling / rotisserie style turkey, marinated or brined, and smoked turkey. Each one creates a slightly different flavor profile and moisture level so a lot depends on personal tastes. Experiment throughout the year then use your favorite method come Thanksgiving (or Christmas, or… whenever!).


You’ll find actual recipes for all of the ways to cook turkey at Divine Dinner Party’s Holiday Turkey Guide. It has everything you need to learn how to cook a turkey!

Karen Talavera writes about turkey and Thanksgiving food because she loves to eat it!

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Oct 31

Rustic Pear and Apple Crumble For Thanksgiving Dessert

Apple CrumbleMany of us know Thanksgiving to be about abundance. We want to provide our families the ultimate five course meal and ensure that everyone can go back for seconds, with many leftovers to spare. To impress your guests and make use of seasonal ingredients, all without breaking the bank, try delegating different menu items to your guests for a potluck style feast, make your Thanksgiving basics from scratch or save on your ingredients with grocery apps like Zweet that help you build cash back rewards for different items you buy that week. The free app, available for both Apple and Android users is a next generation model where shoppers merely snap a shot of their receipt, upload to Zweet’s mobile app and see savings accumulate in their account within 24 hours. Once they hit the $20 mark, they can request to have a cheque mailed.

This rustic and hearty apple pear crumble is a warm and comforting way to end your Thanksgiving feast without any of the fuss, effort or high cost.

Rustic Pear and Apple Crumble Recipe

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Total time: 1 hour and 20 minutes


For the filling:

• 2 Granny Smith apples

• 3 Macintosh apples

• 3 Bartlet pears

• 1 teaspoon cinnamon

• 1 teaspoon nutmeg

• 1/2 cup granulated sugar

For the topping:

• 1/2 cup flour

• 1 cup oats

• 1/2 cup pecans

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 3/4 cup brown sugar

• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter


1. Peel, core and slice apples and pears.

2. Toss fruit in a large bowl with sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, and pour into a baking dish.

3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, chopped pecans, salt, brown sugar and butter until the mixture looks like large crumbs.

4. Cover fruit mixture with topping and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until the top is brown.

More ingredient inspiration and grocery saving opportunities are available at

For more holiday dessert ideas, have a look at our favorite cheesecake recipes!

Oct 25

Fusion-Inspired Thanksgiving Side Dishes

A fresh caprese mozzarella tomato salad can be a delicious alternative to your traditional Thanksgiving salad.

A fresh caprese mozzarella tomato salad can be a delicious alternative to your traditional Thanksgiving salad.

The family’s gathered around the table. There’s a turkey – golden brown and set for carving. But this perfect holiday meal just isn’t complete without the Thanksgiving side dishes. After all, this festival of food is all about filling up the table to overflowing.

But in a lot of homes, exactly what side dishes must be eaten for Thanksgiving becomes a bit of a debate. Some want ultra-traditional fare, some want to try exotic new recipes, and others want a little bit of everything!

Fortunately, there’s room in any holiday celebration for a little innovation… and without losing any of your history or cherished customs. In fact, a marriage of tradition and creativity will often help with the menu-making process. And if you plan it well, this approach can also help you keep the price of your holiday meal within budget.

Fusion Fashion for your Thanksgiving Table

One of the easiest ways to dress up your Thanksgiving side dishes is Fusion cooking. Fusion cooking isn’t just mixing West with East – its West meets the whole world in wonderful ways. Fusion can also mean blending old with the new. In effect, Fusion techniques celebrate how food has changed our life, and how our life has changed the way we eat. Thanksgiving side dishes afford a great opportunity to try out your ideas.

Getting Started:

It’s always best to start with what you know then figure out a way to present that food differently. Here are some traditional holiday side dishes –ones seen on every Thanksgiving table– that may inspire novel recipe designs and adaptations:

o Traditional Green Bean Casserole: Children aren’t always fond of the onion topping on this dish. So how about making Asian style green beans with pork & Hoisin sauce? The Eastern flare is a nice flavor variance (and a little fresh ginger in the sauce helps clear the palate for your next serving).

o Cranberry Sauce: Rather than opening a can, try making fresh cranberry relish with orange and strawberries (one orange and one cup minced strawberries to one bag of fresh cranberries). You’ll need a food processor or grinder to get everything to the right consistency but its delicious, nutritious, and different from the norm. (And if you have leftovers you can make it into wine!)

o Mashed Potatoes: With a bazillion different kinds of potatoes out there and a ton of add-in ingredients, mashed potatoes are one of the easiest Thanksgiving side dishes to change up. One nice adaptation is adding butter, freshly roasted cloves of garlic, and shredded Asiago cheese. If you’re feeling really decadent – add some sour cream too!

o Bread n’ Butter pickles: Instead of just cucumbers and onions, add some fresh corn, white beans, and peas to the brine. If you like things spicy, add a dash of red pepper flakes, or even try soy.

o Sweet Potatoes: Don’t just mash or bake these wonderful tubers – do something special! Fry them up in thin slices with a dusting of honey powder, salt and chipotle (this is a great pre-dinner snack too). Or sauté in garlic and red pepper and toss with sesame oil, sesame seeds, and ginger for an Asian flair.

o Salad: If you want to keep your Thanksgiving side dishes interesting, don’t go for nutrition-empty, tasteless iceberg lettuce. There are so many different salads you can create – mixed green, endive, Greek, garbanzo, rice, lentil, barley. You get the picture. To make a delicous grain salad, cook up your favorite rice, grain, bean, etc., chill, and add green onions with a soy vinaigrette. Fast, tasty, and very simple.

o Another salad that’s a refreshing accompaniment to your Thanksgiving side dishes is a tomato-mozzarella salad. Slice large tomatoes to 1/4″ thick. Also slice fresh mozzarella into the same thickness. Place together on a platter with fresh basil leaves and drizzle with balsamic and extra virgin olive oil.

The Bottom Line:

It’s easy to see where all your family Traditions have the potential to become all kinds of gourmet Thanksgiving side dishes that may even turn into annual favorites.


Sure, ideas are great, but you need recipes! For great recipes for side dishes, visit Thanksgiving Side Dishes for your classic favorites and some new recipe ideas.

Karen Talavera is the Thanksgiving-obsessed editor of Divine Dinner Party’s Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes .

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Oct 25

10 Ways to Make Thanksgiving Dinner Delicious and Easy

Homemade Thanksgiving Turkey

Homemade Thanksgiving Turkey

I love to cook. And I love to have a day off of work. But, despite the fact that preparing Thanksgiving dinner recipes is relatively easy, I’m ashamed to admit that sometimes, I dread the work involved. I just want to hang out with my family and friends, have time at some point during the meal to take a stroll on the beach boardwalk, and not have to work hard getting even a simple meal on the table. So, over the years, I’ve developed a handful of strategies that have made my Thanksgiving dinner preparation a bit easier. Hopefully, these will make your Thanksgiving dinner recipe preparation a little easier too!

  1. Don’t stuff your turkey. While stuffing the turkey really makes the stuffing moist, there are ways to recreate the same result without stuffing it in the turkey. Who needs to worry about scooping out all of the stuffing? It just delays the meal.So, when you trim the fat from the turkey neck and other areas, keep the fat and lay it over your stuffing and cook your stuffing in a separate casserole dish. You’ll get the benefit of the fat flavor and it will also keep the stuffing moist while it bakes.
  2. Make gravy ahead of time using the turkey’s neck and early drippings from the bird.  There is no need to wait for the bird to finish cooking before you make your gravy. I learned how to make gravy from the Executive Chef at one of the restaurants I worked for and he made exceptional gravy. Brown chunks of carrots, onions and celery with the turkey neck in a large pot. Add stock (chicken stock is fine) bay leaves, peppercorns, sage and other spices you like. Make a roux in a separate pan using basted dripping from the bird or you can even make it ahead of time as early as you like (even the day before) by browning butter with flour (in our home, I use potato, rice and corn starch because my son must eat gluten -free). Add the roux to the broth, continue to reduce and strain completely right before serving.
  3. Use or create a second oven.  If you don’t have a toaster oven, buy one now. You can find one for as little as $30 and it can work as a second oven for baking pies, side dishes etc… Along those lines, it’s fine to microwave vegetables (asparagus take about 8 minutes microwaved in water), and to make as many dishes as you can on your stovetop.
  4. An elegant cheese tray can make for a simple and delicious side at Thanksgiving.

    An elegant cheese tray can make for a simple and delicious side at Thanksgiving.

  5. You don’t have to cook the entire bird.  I went to a dinner party once where the hostess who was also a chef roasted several turkey breasts and a batch of turkey legs. She sliced up the breasts in no time and served the legs whole and it made an easy, quick, interesting presentation on the table.
  6. Roast your vegetables tossed with a little oil.  Roasted vegetables are so delicious so why muddy up their flavor with sugar, flour and other ingredients? Some easy examples: Acorn Squash cut into halved rings and roasted with butter and brown sugar, Brussel Sprouts roasted with Seedless Grapes and Walnuts, Roasted Carrots with Butter and Herbs du Provence, Asparagus roasted with Fresh Thyme and Truffle Salt. Even Broccoli can be roasted with exceptional results – just simply scatter grated Parmesan and Lemon Zest on top after roasting.
  7. Make mashed potatoes with red rose or gold Yukon potatoes.  No peeling required!
  8. Make as many recipes as you can ahead of time.  Corn Pudding, Wild Rice Salad, Cranberry Relish, Pie etc…
  9. Let people bring a dish and let people help with cleanup.  You don’t have to do it all. Let friends and family bring a dish. Good options: Salads, sides, dessert and wine. Guests love to help. Last year, I went to a dinner at a friend’s house and she had 60 people over for a buffet dinner. Usually, she brings in help. This time, she opted not to. At first I thought, “Wow, no help tonight”, but she made everyone aware that she had no help, and several of us happily pitched in. With that many people available to help, clean up was a snap.
  10. There is no need for fancy, filling appetizers.  No one will be hungry for dinner if you serve too much upfront. Put out simple but interesting cheeses, cut fruit, olives, cornichons (mini-pickles), crackers, cut vegetables and nuts.
  11. Set up a pre-dinner drink station away from the kitchen.  Before I started doing this, everyone always came into the kitchen when I was just starting to get my groove on orchestrating the meal. As they arrived, I’d have to stop what I was doing and get each person a drink one by one. Now, I let them serve themselves by putting the drinks (wine, punch or other) and the glassware outside of the kitchen. It’s also a great idea to put out glass “charms” which identify whose glass is whose as this cuts down the number of glasses you’ll have to wash at the end of the meal.

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful, American tradition and I am really looking forward to it.

I’m Anastacia Byrne-Gibbs. Everyone calls me Stacey or Stace – but Anastacia looks better on a business card. Work is sometimes hard. Recipes should always be easy.

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Sep 25

Fun with Science: Thanksgiving Funny Bones

turkey bonesFor many of you, Thanksgiving is still a month away but for Canada, Thanksgiving will be here in only a few days. There will probably be tons of turkey, and all the fixings that goes with them. People will eat and be thankfully and then at the end of the meal, they will scrape the meat from the turkey bones and toss the rest.


You could take a few of those turkey bones and create a science experiment with your kids. This is a lot of fun and kids are always amazed by how it works.

What you need:

  • Turkey Bones (the thinner the better. If the bones are too thick this experiment will take the better part of a week and you lose the excitement for it before it has even finished.)
  • Vinegar
  • A jar or glass. (I prefer a jar since I can close it.)


Day One:

  1. Clean off all the excess meat from the turkey bone.
  2. Talk to your children about the bone, have them touch the bone and discuss if it is hard or if it is soft. Discussion is key to every experiment.
  3. Pour vinegar into the jar.
  4. Place in the bones and leave overnight. If they are thin enough, the experiment should only take a day but if they aren’t really thin, it will take about two or three days.
  5. Make sure everyone washes their hands.

Day Two:

  1. Remove the turkey bones from the vinegar. They should be soft and bendable.
  2. Discuss what has happened to them. Allow your children to touch them and bend them.
  3. Tie the bones into knots. You can tie them together or simply place knots in each bone. Sometimes the bones will slide out of the knot so I find just placing a clip on either end keeps them secure.
  4. Place in a high cupboard out of the way (especially if you have any cats that might be tempted by a bone)
  5. Leave the bones overnight (this should only take one night but check the bones before you pull them out for the last stage.
  6. Make sure everyone washes their hands.

Day Three:

  1. Take out the bones and explore them.
  2. Remove any clips if you used them.
  3. The bones should be hard, and back to normal except that they are now knotted.

The science behind it all:

Like everyone knows, when you become a parent all the secrets of the world are not revealed to you, although at times you wish that they were, and you might be just as stumped by this experiment as I was the first time I did it and my kids asked, “why?”

So just so you can explain to your child(ren) what has happened, let’s look at the science behind this experiment.

Obviously, the main answer is that we are dealing with a chemical reaction when we do this experiment. Bones contain a substance called “calcium carbonate” and it is this substance that causes the bones to remain hard. When you add vinegar, which is a acetic acid, the chemical reaction occurs.

Carbon dioxide is created and you should see it in the vinegar as tiny bubbles. The carbon is taken from the bones and they begin to soften. When there is no longer any carbon in the bones, the bones can be bent and tied without fear of breaking them.

Now for the really interesting part. Since carbon is in the air around us, it is very easy for the reverse reaction to occur. When you leave the turkey bone out for the night, the calcium that is still in the bone takes the carbon back into the bone. This makes the bone hard again and since you had reshaped it, it will harden into whatever shape you created.

So in essence, you get two reactions in one experiment and a whole new way to look at turkey dinner.

– Sirena Van Schaik

Looking for more children’s craft ideas?  Visit our Crafts section for more Crafts for Kids!

Sep 23

Craft Projects: A Cornucopia of Thanks

Harvest cornucopia - click for larger image

Harvest cornucopia – click for larger image

I know, Thanksgiving isn’t for another few months, well actually it isn’t for a month for those celebrating it in Canada, which is part of the reason why I am starting to post a few craft ideas.  This always seems to be the busy time of year when everyone is scrambling around for the first day of school, followed by Halloween and then Thanksgiving, or vice versa in Canada.  There never seems to be any time before you are launched into one holiday or another.

Over the next few months, I will be sharing some Halloween crafts and some Thanksgiving Crafts.  Today is for Thanksgiving and it is a very simple craft that any child could do from infants up to school-agers.  You may change up a few things for each age group but that’s up to you.

What you need:

  • construction paper (several different colors but make sure you have brown and green)
  • large piece of construction paper (a fall color)
  • glue stick
  • scissors
  • markers
  • (optional: beads, sticker or anything else that can be glued down and has a Thanksgiving theme)


  1. Help your child draw out a Cornucopia in the brown construction paper.  Cut it out.  Older children should be able to cut it out themselves but you will want to do the cutting for them.
  2. Draw out fruit and other items that you would like to put in the Cornucopia. Cut them out.
  3. Have your child glue the Cornucopia to the larger paper (leaving enough room for the fruit on the page)
  4. Glue down the fruit and other items inside the Cornucopia.  Don’t fix the fruit if it doesn’t land anywhere near or even on top of the Cornucopia. Remember art is an expression of self so it does not have to fit into the cookie cutter crafts.  If she wants to stick the Cornucopia under the fruit, then by all means, allow it.
  5. With markers, a pencil or a pen, have your child write something that he or she is thankful for on each piece of fruit.  You could have the child write it on a separate piece of paper that she folds and glues one side to the fruit to keep the “thanks” hidden until Thanksgiving or it can be there displayed to all.
  6. Finish decorating if you are using optional items.

With younger children, you probably won’t put on things that they are thankful for but you can make it into an excellent cutting and gluing activity for them.

If you are not artistically inclined, you can always print out a Cornucopia to color with markers or to trace the outline onto the paper.  Below are a few sites where you can find printouts.




Sirena Van Schaik

Nov 27

Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Dinner

Every family has their own traditions, whether it is a yearly trip to Uncle Sam’s Fried Chicken Hut or a reunion up at the cabin, it is just a tradition but one holiday that seems to be filled with tradition is Thanksgiving.

Over the years, I have noticed a lot of traditions that my own family has, ones that I was never really aware of it. Thanksgiving always blooms early and bright. I can’t actually remember the last time I had a cloudy Thanksgiving and I am up getting the turkey read. My children will come and help with the stuffing and then they scamper off so I can handle the “gross” stuff of cleaning out the turkey.

As strange as it seems, this is a tradition I remember from childhood when I would do the exact same thing to my own mom. From there the day is spent playing games, smelling roasting chicken and just being a family. Sometimes in-laws come, sometimes they don’t but all the times we just have fun being together.

I know that it is not much when it comes to traditions, we don’t go out to a turkey farm and hunt our turkey and there is nothing that would scream tradition but it is often the simple acts, the things that you don’t notice that produces the strongest traditions that seem to last for generations.

Even with these unnoticed traditions, many families have traditions that are much more apparent and seem to occur in many different households. These are the conscious traditions that we do every year and we often look forward to them as the holiday approaches.

Making Way for Christmas:

It may seem strange to start thinking about another holiday while you are celebrating another but many families’ view Thanksgiving as the holiday before the “real” holidays begin. Preparations are made for Christmas and this can be as simple as gathering up everyone’s Christmas list for the following season.

Of course, other families will go a few steps further and start drawing names for their secret Santa. In my family, since we celebrate Thanksgiving in October, we generally leave the name drawing until my son’s birthday, which falls in November. However, if you don’t have a November birthday or Thanksgiving is in November with black Friday only a day away, drawing those names becomes an almost necessary tradition.

The Game:

We have all heard that football goes with Thanksgiving like ice goes with ice Hockey. You can’t have one without the other, okay you can but it just becomes something a little different. Not every family makes football a Thanksgiving tradition but many do. This can be anything from watching the game to playing a great game of football outside before dinner.

Being Thankful:

Being thankful is probably what Thanksgiving is all about now and many families make a tradition of it. This can be anything from sitting around the table and taking turns saying one thing that they are thankful for to saying a prayer of thanks. There is no right or wrong way to be thankful and every family will have a different way of showing it.

The Food:

Good food, family, friends; ah, it must be Thanksgiving. Yes, food can be a tradition and many people have a hard time eating anything but turkey on Thanksgiving Day. I remember one year when I suggested a spiralled ham, the looks I received, the gasps of surprise, the mutterings of outrage sent me rushing to the store to purchase that turkey. My husband and son both insisted that it was just because my turkey is so good but I think it just doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving without the traditional food that your family prepares. For my family it is the turkey and although they will allow some creativity with the other dishes, the turkey is a tradition that is here to stay.

So, now that we have looked at some of the Thanksgiving Day traditions, what are some of the traditions that your family celebrates?

Oct 22

Thanksgiving Recipes: Sweet Potato Pie

Tempting and healthy holiday treats

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

(BPT) – The holiday season is a fun and festive time. It’s also a time when many people take a timeout from their daily routine to enjoy those tempting treats at family gatherings and office parties. This holiday season, end the year on a high and healthy note with the help of registered dietitian, Lyssie Lakatos.

“If you know desserts at holiday parties are a downfall for you, bring a dessert that uses nutrient-packed ingredients,” says Lakatos. “Show guests that nutritious can be tasty and don’t be afraid to test out unconventional ingredients like sweet potatoes, beans or zucchini.”

Here are a few tips from Lyssie on how to eat, drink and be healthful during the holidays:

* Pre-game with mini meals: One rule of thumb is never show up to a party famished. Have a protein packed snack like a light soup or Eggland’s Best Hard-Cooked and Peeled eggs before arriving to prevent hunger pangs. Eggland’s Best eggs are a good source of protein and also contain more than double the omega-3s of ordinary eggs. Evidence has also shown that those who eat soup prior to a main course are less likely to overeat during the rest of the meal.

* Cheers to your health: Alcohol can lower your inhibition and increase your hunger at the dinner table. Pay attention to your portion sizes and know your limit. When it comes to wine, remember that one serving is only five ounces. Those being served by someone with a heavy hand can oftentimes end up drinking up to eight ounces or more per pour. If you want to make your drink last twice as long, add sparkling water and ice to your glass and use the “every other” tactic – alternating alcoholic beverages with calorie-free drinks.

* Think outside the cake mix box: If you’re in the mood to bake a pie, cake or brownies, try swapping out flour for ingredients like sweet potatoes or black beans, which are good sources of magnesium to help lower stress and are rich in fiber to help flush those holiday indulgences for a flatter-appearing tummy. Also, instead of baking with ordinary eggs, use a nutritionally superior egg like Eggland’s Best which have 10 times more vitamin E and 25 percent less saturated fat.

You can find great recipes, including this Eggland’s Best Sweet Potato Pie, at or

Sweet Potato Pie

Serves 10


* 2 Eggland’s Best eggs (use Eggland’s Best because they have four times more vitamin D, which is an important vitamin to have during the dark, winter months)

* 3 small sweet potatoes, roughly 3 ounces each

* 2 tablespoon butter, soft

* 1 tablespoon brown sugar

* 1/2 cup skim milk

* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

* Oil in a spray bottle or non-stick cooking spray

* 1 9-inch unbaked pie crust

* Nonfat whipping cream (optional)


Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Using a fork, stab each sweet potato several times in separate spots. Place in the microwave for about 6 minutes (depending on your microwave) or until very soft and a knife can easily go through them. Once fully cooked, allow potatoes to cool for roughly 5-7 minutes or until they are not too hot to handle. Using a potato peeler or knife, remove the skin from the potato and cut the potatoes into chunks. Place potato chunks into a medium bowl and add Eggland’s Best eggs, butter, brown sugar, milk, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Using a fork or whisk, mix the ingredients together completely. Prepare pie crust according to directions on package. Spray the bottom and sides of the pie pan with non-stick cooking spray or oil and place pie crust in pan. Using a fork, prick bottom of the crust in 3 separate places to prevent bubbles from forming. Pour the sweet potato batter on piecrust evenly. Place in oven for about 20 minutes. Remove pie from oven and stick toothpick or knife in center. If it comes out clean, remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool. If batter still appears on toothpick or knife, place back in the oven for 5 minutes at a time until toothpick or knife comes out clean. After the pie has cooled, slice it into 10 pieces. If you desire, add whipping cream. Enjoy!

For more holiday dessert ideas, have a look at our favorite cheesecake recipes!