Thanksgiving- It’s really easy honey

Preparing for the big day I pulled out an email my mom sent to me in 2005. Reading the email left me in tears however because I miss her so much. She passed away two years ago from breast cancer.

I have so many wonderful memories of cooking this meal with her. I was always in charge of cutting the bread for the stuffing.

Cutting the bread for stuffing. I think this was ’86. I wish my hair still had those highlights!

I have been struggling lately with how I keep the memories of my mother alive in my children. Ella was 3 when she died and Chloe was 6. They both remember her and Chloe especially remembers all the trips we would go on and remembers her love but for Ella I can tell it is just a glimmer.

I don’t want my girls to be sad about their Grandma Barb. I have been talking about her with them and just saying “remember when we went to Yellowstone with Grandma and the Bisson walked right by our car?” “Remember when you played hide and seek with Grandma?” “What do you remember?”. These have been nice chats.

I think I can also give to them what she gave to me. They are going to be helping me in the kitchen this year. We will have a blast.

Here is the email she sent to me on 21 November 2005, a Monday. It was the first time I was going to cook the entire Thanksgiving dinner for my husband’s family.

Hi Jen,

Couldn’t sleep.. a lot on my mind. Paid some bills and decided to get this off to you. Couldn’t remember exactly what you needed but I think this is it. Call me if I get it wrong.


  • Bread.. day old about one loaf. 
  • Onions (2) 
  • Celery (1 head) 
  • Butter
  • Poultry Seasoning

Fry onions and celery to soften in butter. Mix with bread crumbs. Salt, Pepper and poultry seasoning (about 2 tbs.) Stir up with hand. Put more melted butter in there. Also fry the liver, dice it up and mix it in. Put it in the back of the turkey. Put the rest in the neck. If you have more you can’t fit in the turkey throw it in a baking dish and cook it in the oven for about 45 minutes or so.


Remove the giblets from the cavity. Save the liver and toss the rest. Prepare a wash by mixing the juice from a whole lemon with two tablespoons of salt. Then rub the mixture over the bird, both inside and out. Let it sit for 30 minutes then rinse with water. The lemon and salt destroy the bacteria and take away the turkey smell.

After cleaning, let the turkey sit out for 2 hours basting every half hour with a marinade consisting of 1/3 cup Tamari (soy sauce) and 2/3 cup water. Letting your turkey slowly approach room temperature will ensure that it cooks evenly. Reserve marinade for basting while roasting. The tamari will give your turkey a golden color.

Call if you have any questions… it’s really easy honey. Hope it all turns out great!!!



This was around 1990. Don’t mess with her while she’s basting!

This is actually a really easy and classic turkey recipe that is good for first timers. Baste your turkey every 20 minutes and google how long you should cook it based on the weight you have.

I want to have fun this year, keep it simple and spend time with my kids and family.

I wish the same to you.

(Thanks for reading this post. I’m not crying anymore.)




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14 responses

  1. Jen, tell lots and lots of stories to your girls and incorporate lots of photos of those events if possible. The Story is how we pass things along from generation to generation.

    Lots of us have clearer memories when augmented with photos.
    Some of us think we remember things but its really the photos that make us think we remember.

    • That’s a good idea. I have a lot of the photos still. Some I need to get off her computer. But Stories. I should write them so I can remember them all.

    • I talked to Ella tonight about thanksgiving. She said she is thankful for me and hoping that no one takes her. What??!! She really is just a sweet little girl who is strong willed but also a little scared. I need to have more compassion for her I think.

    • That is so cute Jen! I always had the hardest time with my kids when they were 3 and 5; although Tristan has been having a bit of a tough patch lately, he’s always been most sensitive boy with the baby and not getting all the attention like he used to. He told me he was thankful for the Indians because they were the real reason white people made it in America. Is that not hysterical??!

  2. Thanks for that post Jen. :) I really like what you’re doing with your blog, your family, etc. I agree that telling them lots of stories will help. My sister and I loved hearing stories about family when we were kids. I usually don’t leave comments but I wanted to let you know I am reading. Thanks!

    • Thanks so much Iris. I knew you were subscribed to the blog so were reading it that way. I really appreciate the comment here. Yes, family stories. My brother is so good at telling stories and remembering these little details. I will have him tell the girls some stories the next time he visits.

  3. Your post has got me crying! I miss my mom so much. She is still with us but lives in Indiana. I moved for my (ex) husband and with three boys, it’s difficult to travel home. And the older she gets, the harder it is for her to travel. Your post reminded me of what’s important.

    • Thank you for reading it Bree! So glad you stopped by. You’re a fellow midwest gal like me. I visited your blog. No more Twinkie, hilarious.

  4. Thanks, Jen. Touching. And those photos! I love how you looked when you were little. My mother’s dad died when I was five. I have vague memories of having known him and loved him, and I will never forget going to my grandmother’s house after he died and going to the funeral with my mother. Photos do help, a lot. So does the applied philosophy that you’re going to give your girls. Don’t worry. They’ll remember.

  5. Really liked this post Jen. Very touching. Also thanks for the turkey tips! I might try out her recipe…will let you know how it goes if I do! Also, just as a general note, love the pics of your girls and glad to know you and Steve are doing well. :)

    • Hi Julianna! Thanks for stopping by! How did your Thanksgiving go? How many babies do you have now?? How is Christopher?

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