We had such a laid back Thanksgiving and it was awesome!  Just having one guest over takes almost all of the pressure off.  Not that we didn’t make good food, but we just made a few simple things and it was delicious.

I mentioned to Hannah if she wanted me to make biscuits and gravy for breakfast and her eyes lit up and said “yes please!”  I have made these mile high biscuits before – they are from Cook’s Illustrated and they are super tall, moist – simply amazing.

Well I didn’t have any buttermilk, so I did the trick of adding vinegar to regular milk to make my own.  Not sure if that was the fatal error, but they turned into buttery hockey pucks.

So back to the drawing board!

Baking Powder Biscuits


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons shortening
  • 3/4 cup milk


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. In a bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the shortening and mix until in little pieces. Add milk a little at a time and mix until it forms a ball.
  3. Roll out on floured board to 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick. Cut out in desired size and dip in melted shortening. Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for 12 to 15 minutes.
  5. Variation: For shortcakes add 2 tablespoons for sugar to the dough and roll dough out to 1/2 inch thick.

These turned out very good (although a couple rings below the mile high ones!).  To make the gravy, I used some of Christina’s Dad’s breakfast sausage (I used the other 3/4 for my sausage muffins later in the day).  So about 1/2 cup crumbled sausage, add 1/8 cup of flour to the pan and slowly stir in 1 cup of milk, until it’s nice and thick.  This step takes about 6-7 minutes, because you don’t want the gravy tasting like flour.  Add lots of cracked pepper and some salt.

I am submitting these biscuits to Christina’s Friday First!

I made our favorite shrimp cocktail for one of the appetizers:

Then Hannah’s favorite – bacon wrapped water chestnuts with a teriyaki glaze.  I just marinated 2 cans of water chestnuts overnight in about 1/3 cup of bottled teriyaki sauce.  Every time I went in the fridge I tossed them to coat well.

We used 1/4 of a slice of bacon to wrap each one.  With the remaining sauce in the bowl I added 1 teaspoon of brown sugar and a tablespoon of ketchup and mixed well.  I baked the chestnuts for 20 minutes without the glaze, then another 20 minutes with the glaze.  These are seriously addicting!

And any holiday table would not be complete without deviled eggs.  The two that are slightly green have pesto added to them – they were delicious. 😀

Hannah was in charge of her favorite side dish to make – tater tot casserole.  I am not exactly sure how she makes it, but she defrosts tater tots, mixes them with cream of cheddar and cream of chicken soup, milk, and cheese – tops them with corn flakes and bakes it.  I think this is the third year in a row she’s made it – its so good I had two servings of it!

I also made sausage stuffing muffins.   A took about 1 cup of crumbled breakfast sausage, mixed with 6 cups of stuffing mix, 3 cups of chicken broth and mixed well.  You want a pretty soggy muffin.  Put in muffin tin and bake for 30 minutes.

So Tony and I picked up what we thought was the same type of ham we got last year.  Last year we bought an uncooked ham.  It had lots of fat on the outside and took about 4 hours to cook.  It was salty and pink and tender when we sliced it.

last years ham
our picnic ham on the grill

Tony scored the top of the fat and it kind of bathed the ham as it cooked.

When it was time to cut it up, it was grey on the inside like a pork tenderloin, not like a ham.  Still not sure where we went wrong on this one, but since it wasn’t salty like last years, we really didn’t season this meat at all.  It was tender, but had I known exactly what type of meat I had, I would have brined it or at the bare minimum, seasoned it with olive oil and rosemary and salt and pepper overnight.

Live and learn, right?  I plan on making North Carolina pulled pork with the leftovers 😀

our table simply dressed 😀
my plate + 1 more helping of tots 😀

And I had a piece of my apple pie for dessert which turned out really good.  But I had no idea how to adjust the insulin intake on that since it was made with artificial sweetener.  About an hour and a half after dinner I tested my blood sugar and it was 314!  Oops!  So Hannah and I bundled up and did a brisk 30 minute walk.  An hour later my blood sugar was back down to 134.

the sunset from our front deck
the sky from our walk

And thanks to Hannah for being my sous chef – I really need to take lessons from her – she was constantly in cleaning mode so the after dinner clean up took us only about 5 minutes.  Thanks Hannah!  And thanks for manning the ham on the grill Tony!  😀  And also thanks to our nephew Chris who was able to spend the day with us – hope you had a nice time!

Maybe Dave can shine some light on what type of meat we bought?

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  What is your favorite part of the holiday?  Mine is definitely spending time in the kitchen and enjoying good food with family! 😀