something from nothing

My dad is normally the one who takes on the duty of “cleaning” out the leftover turkey or chicken.  He patiently plucks out each and every last piece of juiy meat from the bones.  Leaving nothing to waste—absolutely nothing.  Supposedly he picked this trait up from his mom (my Memere.)  She had the knack for making something from nothing.  For example, after a lobster dinner (lobster was cheap back then, you know) she would take any “throw away” lobster shells, clean them out further, and produce a mouthwatering lobster stew for the following day.  And so, from one generation to the next, this trait has been passed down. 

This past Thanksgiving, I felt quite honored to take on this highly important task of cleaning out the turkey.  And aside from asking the obvious question—why is there a whisk on my head?there was also the question of what to do with the leftover bones and those bits of meat that refused to come off the bone. 

The answer?  A homemade turkey stock, of course.

The bones—and those last peices of stubborn meat—hold a whole lot of flavor.  Together they make a broth that will wow your tastebuds, making you wonder why you ever bought chicken stock from the store in the first place.  Oh…right…probably because there isn’t always a bunch of chicken bones just sitting in the freezer at any given moment.  But this just gives you good reason to make a homemade stock whenever you can, so that you’ll always have it on hand for that opportune time. 😀 

The nice thing about making a broth from scratch is that you have complete control over what goes in and what stays out.  Personally, I like to keep things simple with the basics.  Garlic.  Carrots.  Celery.  Onions.  A few seasonings.  When all is said and done, after the broth has been drained and just the juices remain, you have the liberty of creating whatever soup suits your fancy. 

Since there was a big bag of leftover turkey meat, turkey stew seemed like the obvious choice.

With a whole wheat rosemary scone (click for recipe) on the side. 

These are quick and easy to make, and are wonderful served warm with soup or toasted and spread with butter and jam.

So there you have it.  The last of the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers.  With a closing reminder to always hold on to those scraps of meat which might normally face the trash.  You just never know how they might get put to use. 😉

Turkey Soup

This is a two step process, but you can definitely make the stock ahead of time and freeze for later.  It’s really nice to have homemade stock on hand, whether you decide to use it in a turkey stew or as a flavored broth to cook your rice, quinoa, or homemade stuffings. 

Some people will freeze their stock as icecubes so that it can be used in smaller amounts.  I tend to freeze it in bags of 2-4 cup servings depending on what recipe I plan on using. 😀


  • leftover turkey or chicken bones with some meat still attached
  • onions, sliced
  • celery, cut into large slices
  • carrots, cut into large slices
  • a few clove of garlic, crushed or minced
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • pepper or a small handful of fresh peppercorns
  1. Place all ingredients in a large pot.  Pour enough water to cover at least 3/4 of ingredients.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and continue cooking for 1-2 hours.
  2. Take off the heat, allow to cool, and either use immediately or refrigerate/freeze for later use.


  • turkey or chicken stock
  • carrots
  • potatoes
  • cooked turkey meat
  • oregano, thyme, garlic, and other seasonings
  1. Place stock, carrots, potatoes and preferred seasonings in a large pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender but firm. 
  2. Add turkey meat and continue cooking until heated thorough.
  3. ENJOY! 😀

Question: Are you meticulous about putting anything and everything to use?  What are some of your favorite ways to use up the last of the last of the leftovers?


turkey day

Speaking of traditions…

My Dad and I carried on our Turkey Trot tradition.  It’s been a yearly ritual for at least the past 3 or 4 years.  This morning, we headed out for a breezy 3 miles.  FUN! 😀  And a great way to start the holiday.


The day before an important holiday always involves a whirlwind of activities.  My house is filled with every warm and comforting smell that you can possibly imagine.  Warm, buttery rolls.  Sweet and tangy cranberry sauce.  Spicy pumpkin pie.  Sweet gingerbread frosting. 

I love it.  All of the smells.  All of the activities.  All of the cooking!! 

When I was a little girl, I used to love watching my Memere and my mom bake bread.  Even more than that, I loved unraveling a hot crescent roll and biting into a warm roll of dough.  French Canadians know how to make bread. 😉

French Canadians also know how to make desserts.  My mom deserves credit for these!

Pumpkin Pie

Cherry Cheesecake

Most of the cooking was done yesterday, which meant today was reserved for last minute cleaning and table setting.

And with that complete, it was time to e-a-t!

The Menu

Homemade Stuffing with Fresh Herbs
Broccoli Casserole
Sauteed Green Beans
Smashed Turnips
Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots


Everything was amazing.  I’m pretty sure I could have made a meal out of Nicole’s broccoli casserole alone. 😉

But, of course, it’s always necessary to save room for dessert.  I look forward to Mom’s Cherry Cheesecake every year.  Smooth and luscious, with just a hint of fresh lemon.  It’s lovely. 😀 

I love Thanksgiving for all of its simplicity.  A time to see family and to eat good food. 

I also love Black Friday.  And with an early morning in my future (4am!), I think it’s time I say good night. 😉

Hope you all had the most lovely Thanksgiving!

Question: Do you go Black Friday shopping?

it’s a tradition

Many of my favorite memories revolve around the holidays.  Things like…

  • Driving with Dad to pick up the Chinese food every New Years Eve, for as long as I can remember.  Sometimes through a blizzard!
  • Running a 2-3 mile Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning.
  • Watching Memere laugh and tease my Dad because “that’s not how you carve a turkey!”
  • Eating fruit cake for breakfast on Christmas morning. 
  • Making a complete mess of the kitchen with flour and cookie dough, while listening to Christmas music the night before Thanksgiving. 

By the way, it’s totally okay—maybe necessary?—to have a messy kitchen on the night preceding a major holiday. 😉

My sister and I look forward to this tradition of cookie decorating every single year.  I find it to be one of the most quintessential parts of the entire holiday season.  It’s just not Thanksgiving until there’s either a batch of sugar cookies or gingerbread men baking in the oven.  

I may have failed to mention this very important part of myself in previous posts, but there’s something you should know: gingerbread cookies are my favorite cookies.  Ever. 

What is it about the gingerbread cookie that I love?  First, there’s the thick, sweeter-than-life molasses swirled throughout.  And then there’s the spices.  Cinnamon.  Ginger.  Cloves.  Sea salt.  They all combine to form the most perfect cookie known to man.  I like to think they’re autumn’s cookie of choice.

In other words, I simply love them.

 Martha Stewart’s recipe for gingerbread men.  It’s a no fail recipe. 😀

However, the decorating is another story. 

Each year, my sister and I being our decorating endeavors with the determination that we will make the most beautiful cookies.  People will ‘ooh’ and ‘aww.’  The plate will go untouched for hours, just because they’re “too pretty to eat.”  People will pause midstep just to glance at them one more time.

And—each year—we end up in hysterical laughter because nothing wernt as planned.  Mr. Gingerbread Man has a goatee instead of a scarf.  Mrs. Gingerbread has one big eye, one small eye.  Or maybe only one eye at all.  We try our best, but we’ve a long ways to go.  Lots of practice needed.

This year we decided to prepare ourselves by looking at some online designs…

We even went so far as to draw the designs out on paper!!  If that’s not hardcore determination, I don’t know what is.

There were some minor difficulties found in getting the parchment paper to fold together for piping purposes, but it all worked out in the end. 😉

Moving on…

…time to decorate!

Studying the online images and designs seemed to help some…

…but then we still ended up in hysterical laughter.

And there were still some cookie “flops.”  You know.  The ones that look “okay” but not good enough to bring anywhere outside of home.  It’s okay though.  We took care of them. 😉

The rest of the decorated cookies will find their way onto a cute holiday plate. 

One plate for Pepere.  One plate for Aunt Marie’s.  One plate to add to tomorrow’s dessert spread at my house.

And, in the end, it really doesn’t matter how the cookies come out at all.  What matters is that we practically die laughing.  That I’ll wake up feeling like I did a Jillian Michael’s ab workout.  That our conversations are filled with excitement and plans for Black Friday shopping.  That we put thought into which cookies go on which plate. 

That my sister and I carry on the tradition of decorating cookies together every holiday season.  Because traditions are what make the holidays so special.  So fun.  So unique.  And that’s what matters.

From my home to yours, I wish you the most Happy of Thanksgivings!  Enjoy, and take the time to be thankful for all of life’s simple blessings. 😀

Martha Stewarts’ Gingerbread Cookies

These cookies puff up quite a bit, so don’t be afraid to roll them on the thin side.  You’ll still get a deliciously chewy gingerbread cookie.

These gingerbread cookies are exactly what gingerbread cookies should taste like.  Spices and sweet molasses will hit you on the very first bite.  There’s no such thing as “subtle.” 😉  I truly consider them to be my go-to gingerbread recipe, and I highly recommend them. 😀

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon finely ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsulfured molasses


  1. Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder into a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until fluffy. Mix in spices and salt, then eggs and molasses. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Divide dough into thirds; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to a 1/4-inch thick. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes.
  4. Bake cookies until crisp but not dark, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks.
  5. Store cookies between layers of parchment in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.

Question: What is your favorite holiday tradition?