Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

(Or early, if you’re an American friend!)

I think I’ve recovered. I got the farmhouse ready last week and cooked Thanksgiving dinner for BOTH sides of the family, which was 12 adults and a baby. It seemed a little crazy to me, and it was definitely cozy, but we had a great time and I’m glad to know that we can FIT people in this way! My parents, brother, and grandparents came, and the Mr.’s dad, brothers & their wives, and our nephew joined us as well. Sadly, my mother-in-law is in England attending to the funeral of her mother. I missed her, and I’m thinking about doing a smaller version all over again when she returns (smaller! Did you hear that?).

I sent Cora to the groomer’s while I was cooking, partially to get her out of the way and partially because she was covered in mud from digging a hole or two earlier in the week. She likes to visit the horse in the field next to our yard… what can I say? Here she is looking both adorable and slightly absurd, waiting for our guests to arrive:

By the way, she weighs 50lb now!

Alright, this was the second Thanksgiving dinner I’ve done, and I feel like I’m starting to learn what I like and what I don’t, and what works best for me. Here are my Important Things to Remember. This year’s dinner went amazingly smoothly, and I’m looking forward to doing it again. Next year.

  1. Leanne Ely’s FREE Thanksgiving Menu Planner was helpful. I didn’t use all her recipes because I like our family traditions, but her turkey instructions were perfect. The turkey was moist and delicious, and I definitely preferred it to the in-a-bag turkey that I did last year. I did ours unstuffed, and I like that she offered options for seasoning the inside of the turkey in an “unstuffing” sort of way. I even followed her timeline on the FlyLady website, which really helped take any stress out of the day.
  2. Cola ham is delicious. I’ll follow up with the recipe that I used, because most of the others I see online use WAY too much Cola. We actually used Dr. Pepper – this was my husband’s choice, because he wanted to be able to tell people we were eating “Dr. Pepper Ham.” I admit, it has a ring to it. My Dad says it’s the best ham he’s ever had.
  3. Mashing the potatoes when I had time during the day and keeping them hot in a crock pot was a truly inspired plan. Leanne warns that some people’s crock pots may be too hot for this. Ours turned out perfectly, but that may have just been a stroke of luck.
  4. I used both crock pots and I can see a use for a third. Warning to my husband – I sense an obsession coming on.
  5. There MUST be a still-unpacked kitchen box somewhere! I thought we were done with them, but we need to go on a search. I’m missing my gravy boat, serving platters… and who knows what else?
  6. A cinnamon candle is always a good idea. I didn’t bake the pumpkin pies, but my house smelled like I did.
Dr. Pepper Ham Recipe:
Sometime I post recipes so that I know where to find them later. I hope that you might enjoy them, too. Here’s how I did the ham:
  1. Buy a smoked ham. Mine was a standard 2kg or so.
  2. Bring it home and wonder what to do with it. Find THIS recipe!
  3. Send husband to get a single-serve bottle of Dr. Pepper.
  4. Pour half the Dr. Pepper in a glass, over ice. Start sipping.
  5. In a small saucepan, mix 1/2 cup brown sugar with 1tsp. dried mustard. Stir in just enough Dr. Pepper to mix into a paste, and heat only until the sugar dissolves. Splash in more pop as needed and “oooooh” over the way it bubbles up when it hits the heat.
  6. Cut some diamond-pattern into the top of the ham. I don’t know why we do this, but it was pretty.
  7. Use a pastry brush to coat the ham with the sugar/mustard/pop mixture. Give up, wash your hands, and give it a good rub.
  8. Pour 1/4-1/2 cup more Dr. Pepper into the bottom of your crock pot.
  9. Put ham in crock pot and cover. Turn on Low. Cook for 6 or so hours. This is a pre-cooked ham, it just needs to heat.
  10. Sip more Dr. Pepper, play around on the internet, eat some lunch. Realize you still have a TURKEY DINNER to cook and get off the couch!
That’s it. It really was out of the fridge and into the crock in 5 minutes flat.
With two kinds of meat on the feast table, we have lots of leftovers. Expect a few foodie posts this week!


  1. Now I am hungry on top of very sleepy. Enjoyed reading this and now I am inspired to get my crockpot out for tomorrow morning’s creation. It’s Fall and Fall means soups, stews, and garden fresh potatoes, carrots, onions, and squash…ugh I need to stop now. Cora looks pretty cute 🙂


  2. Hi! My name is Danielle and I’ve been enjoying reading your blog [found the link through a mutual friend, Sara R.]. I use to work around cows and I’m out of that business now; reading your blog is an enjoyable link for me to many wonderful memories!
    Loved your instructions for the Dr. Pepper Ham! 🙂


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