Thanksgiving 101

It’s approaching. The holiday where we have to cook for large groups of people. People moreover, to whom we are related. Talk about nerve-racking! (At least it’s nerve-racking to a non-cooking introvert like myself!)

So all you other non-cooking introverts, take a moment and give thanks for the library, which has all the recipes, tips, tricks and  expertise to get us all through the Big Dinner.


thanksgiving-101Thanksgiving 101 : celebrate America’s Favorite Holiday with America’s Thanksgiving Expert / Rick Rodgers.
This book asks the important question: When was the last time most of us made dinner for such a big crowd?  Exactly! But whether you’re looking for new ways to cook turkey; traditional trimmings, chutneys, or chowders; a vegetarian entrée; or fresh ideas for regional classics, including Cajun-or Italian-inspired tastes, Thanksgiving 101 serves up a delicious education for novice and experienced cooks alike.


The holidays are a time for family and friends.  Thanksgiving can also be a time of stress, anxiety, and slaving over a hot stove.  No kidding! The editors of Fine Cooking magazine know all about the problems and pitfalls of preparing a full-course holiday meal…and they are here to help! This cooking survival guide presents all the reader needs to know to make things go smoothly, look great, and taste delicious. Phew!


jacket-aspxThanksgiving : How to Cook it Well / Sam Sifton
From the planning of the meal to the washing of the last plate, Sam Sifton says Thanksgiving poses more—and more vexing—problems for the home cook than any other holiday. (Let’s hear it for truth in cookbooks!) In this smartly written, beautifully illustrated, recipe-filled book, Sam Sifton, the New York Times’s former restaurant critic and resident Thanksgiving expert, delivers a message of great comfort and solace: There is no need for fear. You can cook a great meal on Thanksgiving. You can have a great time.


jacket-aspx2Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving / Michael McLaughlin
Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving offers easy-to-follow recipes, making it a fave on my list. In these pages, you’ll find inspiring first courses and a tempting variety of side dishes and desserts as well as some new ideas for the main course. This vividly photographed, full-color recipe collection will become an essential addition to your kitchen bookshelf.


jacket-aspxThanksgiving : Recipes for a Holiday Meal / Lou Seibert Pappas
This  book offers dozens of favorite traditional and contemporary holiday dishes including a variety of vegetarian options, organizing entries by course while sharing tips for staying organized, carving a turkey, and using leftovers. Any cookbook that tackles leftovers is a winner!


pioneerThe Pioneer Woman Cooks : A Year of Holidays : 140 step-by-step Recipes for Simple, Scrumptious Celebrations / Ree Drummond
Ree’s recipes are accompanied by fun instructions and hundreds of her signature step-by-step photos. Filled with creative and flavorful ideas for intimate dinners, group gatherings, and family meals this cookbook includes dozens of mouthwatering dishes (with nineteen recipes for Thanksgiving alone!)


chewThe Chew, a Year of Celebrations : Festive and Delicious Recipes for Every Occasion / edited by Ashley Archer and Jessica Dorfman Jones
This cookbook will guide you through the planning, cooking of the year’s most celebrated events. With a complete spread for each celebration, including drinks, appetizers, entrees, sides, and desserts, the guesswork is taken out of menu creation; all that’s left to do is prepare and enjoy the fantastic food. And Carla Hall’s Pumpkin Pecan Pie will finally eliminate the toughest Thanksgiving decision: classic pumpkin or classic pecan?


bettyBetty Crocker Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook : All You Need to Cook a Foolproof Dinner
Kudos to Betty Crocker who admits, “Thanksgiving can be the most challenging meal to prepare-even for the most experienced cooks.” Truth! However, whether you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time or have hosted this celebration for years, Betty comes to the rescue with this complete do-it-yourself guide to making Thanksgiving delicious. Here are the treasured recipes with all the trimmings that you grew up with, plus plenty of great new twists on the traditional.

Fiction for Thanksgiving – A Delicious List of Novels

Thanksgiving may not be as popular as Christmas for book settings, but there are  stories out there that take place during this lets-get-the-family-together holiday. All the joy, drama, tension, and hilarity that can ensue is captured for your reading pleasure. (Though I’ll have to admit, I was somewhat taken aback at the amount of murder mysteries that are set during Thanksgiving. It makes me wonder what authors think about as they are sitting around the family dinner table eating turkey!)

thanksThanksgiving by Janet Evanovich
When Megan Murphy discovered a floppy-eared rabbit gnawing on the hem of her skirt, she meant to give its careless owner a piece of her mind, but Dr. Patrick Hunter was too attractive to stay mad at for long. Soon the two are making Thanksgiving dinner for their families.

Bittersweet by Susan Wittig Albert
It’s Thanksgiving in Pecan Springs, and China Bayles is planning to visit her mother, Leatha, and her mother’s husband, Sam, who are enthusiastically embarking on a new enterprise—turning their former game ranch into a vacation retreat for birders. She’s also looking forward to catching up with her friend, game warden Mackenzie “Mack” Chambers, who was recently transferred to the area. Of course, murder interferes.

The Cat Who Said Cheese by Lilian Jackson Braun
It’s Fall in Moose County and the Great Food Explo is underway! As veteran journalist Jim Qwilleran, aka Qwill, takes a class on how to make a turkey, hosts a cheese tasting, and participates in a bachelor auction, he also must trace a killer who has stuck twice and doesn’t plan to stop! Funny, cozy, and endearing, this is the 18th book in the popular Cat Who series.

The Diva Runs Out of Thyme by Krista Davis
Few can compete with Natasha Smith when it comes to entertaining, but her childhood rival, Sophie Winston, certainly tries. Natasha may have stolen the spotlight and Sophie’s husband but Sophie is determined to rob her of the prize for the Stupendous Stuffing Shakedown. She just needs the right ingredient. But Sophie’s search for the perfect turkey takes a basting when she stumbles across a corpse.

A Fatal Feast by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain (A Murder, She Wrote novel)
Jessica Fletcher would like to relax as Thanksgiving comes to Cabot Cove, but she’s hosting a bountiful dinner for an ever-growing guest list. She couldn’t be happier with the results-until she stumbles upon a body with a carving knife stuck in its chest…

The Ghost at the Table by Suzanne Berne
When Frances arranges to host Thanksgiving at her idyllic New England farmhouse, she envisions a happy family reunion, one that will include her long-estranged father. Cynthia, her sister, however, doesn’t understand how Frances can ignore the past their father’s presence revives, a past that includes suspicions about their mother’s death twenty-five years earlier.

A Quilter’s Holiday by Jennifer Chiaverini
For the Elm Creek Quilters, the day after Thanksgiving marks the start of the quilting season. This year, in keeping with the season’s spirit of gratitude, Master Quilter Sylvia Cooper is eager to revive a cherished family tradition. A recent remodeling unearthed a cornucopia that once served as the centerpiece of the family’s holiday table. Into it, each person would place an object that symbolized something he or she was especially thankful for that year. On this quilter’s holiday, Sylvia has invited her friends to continue the tradition by sewing quilt blocks that represent their thankfulness and gratitude.

Strangers at the Feast by Jennifer Vanderbes
On Thanksgiving Day 2007, three generations of the Olson family gather. Eleanor and Gavin worry about their daughter, a single academic, and her newly adopted Indian child, and about their son, who has been caught in the imploding real-estate bubble.

ConnThanksgiving in Connecticut by May McGoldrick (eBook)
After a four year absence, Paige Coleman decides  the time has come to face up to her past when her quirky grandmother throws the mother of all Thanksgivings to celebrate her recent marriage to ‘younger man’ Ed Fenwick. But with former flame Stanley Fenwick, grandson of the groom, sure to be a part of every event, Paige must now protect her heart as well as retain her sanity, even as her matchmaker grandmother uses every resource at her disposal to rekindle old fires of passion.

10 Great Movies That Take Place in Autumn

Summer may be a time for huge blockbuster action flicks, but as the kids settle back into school, autumn is a time for more peaceful reflection.  Grab a cup of hot chocolate, some fresh-baked cookies, your favorite warm blanket, and curl up with one of these films that take place in the fall. You’ll be glad you did!

Dead Poet’s Society – Robin Williams as an inspiring teacher in a prep school. One of his best roles.

Rudy – Sean Astin in a true story about a boy who wanted to play football for Notre Dame.

On Golden Pond – Henry Fonda’s Oscar-winning role as a family tries to come back together before it’s too late.



The Four Seasons – an all-star cast leads this sweet Alan Alda film about a group of friends vacationing through a year.  Gorgeous autumn scenery set to a soundtrack of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Hannah and her Sisters –  Woody Allen directs this film about a family, beginning and ending with Thanksgiving.

The Big Chill – A group of old friends gather together for the funeral of one of their own, accompanied by a fabulous soundtrack.


Sweet November – a sweet little love story starring Keanu Reeves and Charlize Theron.

The Trouble with Harry – Alfred Hitchcock’s frightful comedy about a body that won’t stay buried.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – a John Hughes comedy starring Steve Martin as a man trying to make it home for Thanksgiving, when the world seems out to get him.

Far From Heaven – Connecticut in the fall of 1957, and the prejudices that existed.

Linda Reads: The Christmas He Loved Her by Juliana Stone

This is book two of the series The Bad Boys of Crystal Lake.  You can read about book one, The Summer He Came Home, here.

Jesse Edwards was killed in Afghanistan and his widow, Raine, is having a very difficult time coping with his death.  Having an equally hard time is Jesse’s fraternal twin, Jake, who served with Jesse and was there when Jesse was killed.  What complicates the situation even more, Jesse, Jake and Raine were best friends growing up together.  Raine loved both brothers in different ways, but chose Jesse to marry – leaving Jake heartbroken.   Because he can’t come to terms with Jesse’s death and he can’t face Raine, Jake stays away from Crystal Lake.  Eighteen months go by before he has the courage to come home for Christmas.

Raine Edwards is barely coping with her husband Jesse’s death.  She’s depressed and isolates herself from everyone.  Jake is her best friend and she can’t understand why he is avoiding coming home to help her through her grief.  When he finally does comes home, Raine is angry, hurt and confused.

This book is an emotional roller coaster that follows Jake and Raine from a childhood friendship to devastating grief and through every emotion imaginable until they find love.

The Christmas He Loved Her isn’t your typical Christmas story.  The grief and pain of these two characters tears at your heart.  Even though they are surrounded by family, friends and the whole town of Crystal Lake, their struggle is heart wrenching.  But love has amazing healing powers and their journey is a very enjoyable read!