Thanksgiving Traditions

Posted by on Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Today is a contest day! I know this is a busy time of the year and as much as I would have LOVED to have many more traditions submitted, here’s what we have. Now, the rules to WIN PRIZES were this: Each person that submitted a tradition will have the opportunity to win the $20 gift card from Wal-Mart (WooHooo! FREE shopping money!) and then, all of you that COMMENT on today’s (ONE comment per person please, to be fair) post will be eligible to win the world’s MOST wonderfullest coffee – my personal favorite: D&D baby!

Tradition #1 – submitted by Shannon:

Mom’s Cornbread Dressing

I think I am one of the only people that do NOT like dressing. The rest of my family LOVES it and thinks something must be seriously wrong with me since I don’t. Growing up every Thanksgiving and Christmas the EXACT same thing would happen. My mother would always put some dressing on my plate, I would go and sit at the “kiddie” table and cry because I didn’t want to eat it, and then my grandmother (who was the sweetest lady EVER), would come in and eat my dressing for me so I wouldn’t get in trouble. Finally I think my grandmother got tired of eating both her dressing and mine, so she asked my mom why in the world she kept making me eat something year after year that I obviously did NOT like. My mom said that because she loved it so much, she just couldn’t understand me not liking it and kept thinking that at some point, if I ate it enough, I too would grow to love it. That never happened but I do make it every year for my family. The year my mom finally stopped making me eat the dressing, she began a new tradition.  She knew how much I loved the cornbread that was used in the dressing recipe so she would save me a piece and I would eat it hot out of the oven.  Every Thanksgiving and Christmas morning you’ll find me enoying a piece of cornbread for breakfast.

1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced white onion
1 double batch of Nana’s Cornbread (see recipe below)
10 eggs
turkey broth (I have no idea how much- I just pour until it looks right)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray. Crumble up cornbread in prepared pan. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Mix in diced celery and onion with hands. In large bowl beat 10 eggs. Pour over cornbread mixture. Carefully pour turkey stock into pan until all cornbread is well moistened. You do not want your cornbread mixture floating in the stock. Salt and pepper dressing and place on a cookie sheet and carefully place in oven. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until set.

Nana’s Cornbread
1 cup white cornmeal
1 t salt
1 T baking powder
1 egg
1/2 cup flour
3/4 t baking soda
1 T sugar
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a tablespoon of cooking oil in a cast iron skillet and heat in oven. Mix all dry ingredients together. Stir in egg and buttermilk. Pour into hot skillet. Bake for 20-30 minutes until nicely brown.

Tradition #2 – submitted by Becca:

My mother in law and I both love sweet potato casserole. But in my attempts to get a little bit healthier this year, I am going to be tweaking our sweet potato casserole. Here is to hoping that it becomes a tradition…and yes I do love marshmallows!

We started with this mouthwatering casserole and modified the toppings to satisfy lovers of crunchy pecans and cornflakes as well as marshmallows.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Makes 6 to 8 servings


* 4 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes
* 1 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup milk
* 1/2 cup butter, softened
* 2 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/4 cups cornflakes cereal, crushed
* 1/4 cup chopped pecans
* 1 tablespoon brown sugar
* 1 tablespoon butter, melted
* 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows


Bake sweet potatoes at 400° for about 1 hour or until tender. Let cool to touch; peel and mash sweet potatoes.

Beat mashed sweet potatoes, sugar, and next 5 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spoon potato mixture into a greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish.

Combine cornflakes cereal and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle diagonally over casserole in rows 2 inches apart.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Sprinkle alternate rows with marshmallows; bake 10 additional minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Tradition #3 – submitted by Jen:

Our tradition is to alternate Thanksgivings between my family and my husband’s family. (This year it is Trav’s family’s dinner.)
The in-laws prepare a Swedish dinner complete with Lutvisk (fish soup,) Patata Karv (potato sausage,) and Ustakaka (cheesecake made with curdled milk.)
Yeah, so you all just go on and eat your turkey and dressing while I munch on carrot sticks from the relish tray and go hungry!

Tradition #4 – submitted by April:

We’re probably like most folks, one thing we do is try to incorporate something different each year, we eat the traditional Thanksgiving meal, turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, pies…We usually will throw in a new recipe or two, like making our own cranberry sauce, frying the turkey, etc. During the meal we usually try to go around the table and tell what we’re thankful for. Football is of course on, naps are taken, board games are played, and a mess is made!

Tradition #5 – submitted by Becca:

Mitch brines the turkey according to a recipe by Alton Brown from the Food Network, and it is so tender and juicy. He always carves. The kitchen is usually his domain, not mine. This Thanksgiving we are working on doing some over all healthier recipes and that has meant tweaking and searching out quite a few tricks to turn our recipes into things that would make the meal not so bad for me.

Thanksgiving is usually spent with either Mitch being on call, which he will be and us home, and this year it is with the the in laws here, or us traveling to California to be with his family. Or in the off year we are totally alone here at home. And you know, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He has a 3 day work week that week and it is usually lighter than the norm so we get a lot more time together.

Tradition #6 – submitted by Meg:

Thanksgiving to me…usually means I’m sick. Seriously. In 45 yrs, I’ve only had maybe a dozen that I didn’t have a cold :-(
In our family, it was sparkling apple cider, pecan pie, & the annual debate over gravy with or without giblets.
We’ve also had the family traditions of herding all the strays- people with no family nearby or a place to have dinner- to the giant dining room table for Thanksgiving. After dinner, but before dessert, each guest has to perform something for the group– a song, a joke, a story, whatever they wish.

Tradition #7 – submitted by Shannon:

One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is watching the movie Miracle on 34th Street- the original version. For as many years as I can remember, Thanksgiving afternoon was spent snuggled up with my sweet mother watching her favorite movie of all time- while the males in the family napped or watched football. It always signifed the beginning of the holiday season and is something I still do to this day.

Tradition #8 – submitted by Becca:

We usually just hang out and talk about ancestry stuff and dig into the family background after Thanksgiving dinner. Mitch has learned much about my grandfather on my mother’s side, far more than I would have ever known through my own mother. Too bad they (my nana and gramps) are no longer living. I think that Mitch would have really liked them!

This year, I am going to wrest the remote control away from my father in law so that he doesn’t turn up the television to volumes that should be illegal. I don’t know if it is an age thing or what, but I cannot take a volume so loud that it drives me out of my own living room! ;-)

Tradition #9 – submitted by Thotlady:

Our family does not have any Thanksgiving family traditions. We just eat and watch football.

Tradition #10 – submitted by Becca:  (She really put her thinking cap on for this contest! Thanks Becca!)

I am making this tomorrow morning so that it sets up and is one more thing out of the way for Turkey Day!

Spiced Red Wine Cranberry Sauce

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup cabernet sauvignon, or other dry red wine
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 (12 ounce) package fresh cranberries

Combine all ingredients except for cranberries in medium saucepan, bring to a boil. Simmer for 3 minutes.

Add cranberries, simmer for 12 minutes, or until cranberries pop and mixture thickens slightly.

Remove from heat, cool to room temperature. Cover and chill (mixture will thicken as it chills).

And yes you read this right, I am going to make something, me, Becca, is going to cook. Mark your calendar, and watch your news that no kitchen out west explodes! :P

Tradition #11 – submitted by Jean:

On Thanksgiving, we all get together, eat too much, then the men “group nap” in front of the game, while the women all play games.. like zilch, aggravation, Yahtzee… whatever, and visit and catch up!

Tradition #12 – submitted by Guinevere:

Our family traditions have changed so much since my grandparents have all passed away. For my side of the family, Mom and Dad always have dinner at their house. There’s always TONS of food…we’re always reminding Mom that 200 people are not going to mysteriously appear to eat it all! lol And the menu is always the same:
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Homemade Egg Noodles
Mac ‘n’ Cheese (for my picky niece)
Cranberry “Salad” (my dad’s favorite…and also mine…YUMMMM)
Orange Tapioca “Salad” (another YUMMMMM)
Homemade rolls
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Roll

I’m sure there are other things that I’m just not thinking of right now. The one trick I learned a few years ago is that I do not eat meat on Thanksgiving. It fills me up too fast and then I can’t enjoy pumpkin pie as much for dessert. I can always eat leftover turkey later. ;o)

After we eat, the guys usually disappear to the living room for their nap while the girls sit at the table and talk…sometimes planning Christmas. lol Later, everyone snacks on leftovers…most of the time, dinner consists of a roll with a little ham or turkey. :o)

Then we play Pitch.

That’s our family tradition on my side of the family.

Tradition #13 – submitted by Guinevere:

On Muftak’s side of the family, his grandma has her dinner the Sat. before Thanksgiving…usually. Sometimes it has to be another time because of everyone’s schedules. This year, it was Nov. 8. lol Most of my family lives fairly close, so it’s no problem, but Muftak’s family is scattered to the four winds. The menu at this dinner is pretty much the same as at my parents’ house, except for the two fruit salads…and at Grandma’s house (Muftak’s grandma, but I call her that too), there are TONS of desserts…but very rarely pumpkin pie, unless I bring it.

Everyone scatters to eat lunch. She has a small house, so some are in the kitchen dining area, some are in the dining room, and others eat in the living room. This year, as most years, Muftak and I ended up at the “kid’s table” with the teenagers. It’s a hoot! We don’t get to see his nieces much, so when it’s a family dinner, we spend time talking and joking with them. They’re so much fun. One is 5 days older than Nitro and the other is 2 months younger than Aravis, so it’s fun to get them all together. The oldest 2, his nephew and niece both live in TX now, close to Muftak’s parents and sister’s family.

Sometimes we play Pitch at Grandma’s house too, but sometimes not. It just depends on who shows up. It’s just fun to hang out…and that’s what’s important to Grandma. She’s amazing! She’s in her mid-70s (I think) and she does ALL the cooking for these family dinners. She refuses to give it up. (I say more power to her!!!) And it’s wonderful EVERY year!

Tradition #14 – submitted by Scarecrow aka The Dad:

The tradition is to go to the movies on Thanksgiving night with the girls. We’ll be seeing Bolt, and then try and sneak into a second movie. :)

Now – get busy commenting – one entry per person please! The winners will be announced on Wednesday!

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Filed in NaBloPoMo,Randomness,Weirdness in my world | 10 dorito bits so far

10 Dorito Bits to “Thanksgiving Traditions”

  1. Shannonon 25 Nov 2008 at 7:46 am 1

    I love Guinevere’s idea of not eating meat on Thanksgiving. I may have to try that on Thursday- to leave room for all the other good stuff.

    And excuse me but………where is your tradition?

  2. Stacyon 25 Nov 2008 at 7:56 am 2

    I don’t really have any traditions other than watching the Macy’s Day Parade.

    It was great reading about all of the different traditions out there. I so wish that we had some.

  3. Jenon 25 Nov 2008 at 8:11 am 3

    Like Scarecrow, we usually go to the movies after dinner. I am not sure what we will see this year – I haven’t looked at the cinema lineup yet. The kids have already seen Bolt, so we will probably go to something else.
    Good luck everyone & thanks to Dory for such a neat contest!!

  4. Guinieon 25 Nov 2008 at 8:26 am 4

    lol It sounds weird to say that I don’t eat meat on Thanksgiving, but, Shannon, it’s soooo true and helps with that “wow, why did I eat so much” feeling! :o)

    Yes, Dory, where is your tradition? Hmmmm…. ;o)

    I loved reading everyone’s traditions! I’m going to bring some games for the girls to play at the table while the guys nap (per Jean’s tradition). That would be fun! And I’m sure my daughter and niece would love it too.

    Oh, another thing that usually happens (weather permitting) on my side of the family. My uncle brings over his 4-wheeler and the kids spend the afternoon running through 2…sometimes 3…tanks of gas. He just keeps filling it up. lol

  5. SCARECROWon 25 Nov 2008 at 11:00 am 5

    Holy friggin’ Coronary Batman! I don’t know what I want to stuff my gullet with more, Nana’s cornbread, Becca’s Cranberry concoction, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, or pick at my mom’s sausage stuffing right out of the bird. You people make me want to wake up early on Thursday, (after a night of drunken revelry), get into the kitchen, (like Mitch, it’s MY domain), and cook my arse off, even though I have no one to really cook for this year. Then I want to stuff myself by noon, pass out with my hand down my boxers while watching the Cowgirls get beat, wake up, eat some more, put on a pair of sweats, (because my pants are now tight), pick up my kids, drag their butts to the movies and make them sneak into another, (just because), all while getting sugared up on Mike & Ikes, Raisinettes, Junior Mints, Sour Patch Kids and sodas. By the time this day is over I’ll have to double up on my Lipitor, fish oil & fenofibrate, as well as swallow half a dozen Tums and I’ll still need to use the velocicraptor in the middle of the night, (and quite possibly a high colonic), just to wake up on Friday and eat turkey, stuffing, cranberry, cheese, with mayo on rye sandwiches all day. Thank God I am off. I should just move a small fridge and TV into the bathroom.

    And Guinevere…NO MEAT ON THANSGIVING? Are ye daft woman! Pilgrims lost their hat buckles to give us this pleasure.

    Take Care,
    S as in STUFFED!

  6. megon 25 Nov 2008 at 2:01 pm 6

    Okay, I’ve had my calorie overload for this week- all those goodies sound great!
    Dory must be saving her traditions to share on Thursday- right?

  7. Franceson 25 Nov 2008 at 3:49 pm 7

    Dory what wonderful contest results!
    I enjoyed them all, but I tell you I can see Shannon and her mom snuggled up on the couch watching TV on my mind’s screen.
    Thanks for visiting my Sunday Scribble.

  8. Guinieon 25 Nov 2008 at 4:40 pm 8

    LOL Scarecrow, I know I know! You should’ve seen my dad’s and my husband’s faces the first year I decided no meat. My husband actually said, “Ok. That’s it.” He turned to my dad and said, “Want her back?” lol But you gotta save room for pumpkin pie!!!! :o)

  9. Vonnieon 25 Nov 2008 at 4:54 pm 9

    What great traditions! We go to church, watch what’s left of the Macy’s parade , and stuff ourselves at lunch. I liked Shannon’s tradition of watching “Miracle on 34th St” what a nice memory to have of her mom. Happy Thanksgiving Dory! Hope we get to hear your traditions too.

  10. Jeanon 26 Nov 2008 at 3:45 am 10

    LOL We’ve got some good ones!! I LOVE thanksgiving.. it’s just like Christmas, except you don’t have to freak out about presents!! It’ll be different this year, because my aunt won’t be with us anymore.. but we’ll make the best of it, and think of her, and tell stories about her while we play games.. One of her favorite pictures I took one year, was at her house.. ALL the men were in the living room “watching” the game.. all in the same position with their eyes closed!! It’s hilarious.. We used to go back and forth every other year, but we’ve been having it up here for several years, now.. so it’ll be different not having her..
    Stacy.. start making your own traditions now!! They don’t have to be long traditions!!
    Dory, tell yours, too!!

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