Vacations are more than just a wake-up call to take some much needed R&R. They are times to reconnect with family, check in with yourself and celebrate the joyful energy of the season. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! It’s gonna be a big one in my house and yours truly is cooking. I’m working until Wednesday night, but it is such a pleasure for me to host at my house this year. My family is flying in; I can’t wait to hang with my sister! It will be a blend of cultures and personalities that make the perfect family buffet.
I’m making a 25 lb. turkey, stuffing, sweet potato casserole and David will do his delicious scalloped potatoes. My pies are ordered (you know I can’t bake), and the wine cellar is filled with everyone’s favorite drinks!
Here’s my go-to brined turkey recipe, compliments of my Aunty Margo. Brining is getting more and more popular and will give you a juicier bird!
Williams and Sonoma Turkey Brine
I clean my huge turkey; rub it generously with olive oil and the dry WS turkey brine. Then I wrap Tom in a plastic bag and let him soak for two days in an ice chest in the garage. Come Thanksgiving I remove the turkey from the brining bag, rinse with cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Place the turkey, breast side up, on a flat rack in a large roasting pan. Let stand at room temperature for one hour. Then I’ll stuff his cavity with apples, onions and rosemary and bake him accordingly to his weight. I’ll baste him every 45 minutes and let him bake till golden brown.
The end of November marks the end of my days in the ballroom for a beat! The finale of Dancing With The stars is also the beginning of a new phase in my life. It’s like the start of the last chapter of 2011. I love the vibe of the holiday season and the opportunity to hang with family and enjoy the time off from school and work. My kids need a break as much as I do and we will wring out every moment ’til the year’s end!
Cinnamon candles are burning through the house and we are all excited to bring out the holiday decorations. Last night I made a great holiday playlist to set the mood in my home for the next few months.
Here are some of my favorite Christmas albums that I downloaded for a fresh holiday playlist:
- Frank Sinatra Christmas Album
- Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album
- Peanuts: A Charlie Brown Christmas
- James Taylor at Christmas
- Martina McBride
- Michael Buble Christmas
- Hear Something Country Christmas (various artists)
- Brooke White
- Celine Dion: These Are Special Times
I love everything about the holidays, but mostly the events that bring our extended family together. We celebrate it all! We’re a blended family with mixed religions and shared traditions. It’s really about the family bond and what time spent together brings.