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I hope your Thanksgiving celebration was filled with LOVE and a smashing success! We all have so much to be thankful for. Please tell me what was your favorite part or dish.

We were lucky enough to have both of our boys home and got to have both girlfriends with us too. It is so about being together, cooking together and even cleaning up together. I come from a very large family – six kids – and when my parents were still alive and we all came home (to St. Louis) with our spouses or mates, it was absolute mayhem – all in a good way. Everyone was doing something from building a fire, to arguing about the music being played, to making a new cocktail for everyone, to complaining that someone doesn’t do any work but just supervises, to figuring out where to put all the food and wine, and I remember my mother just shaking her head and trying to continue to move through everyone to do her cooking. Although we have only two boys, we created the same thing! At one point on Thursday, I looked at my husband, right before dinner and I was like, OMG, we created a mini version of my family all over again. It’s a good thing but it really made me laugh – it can even happen with just two kids!Thanksgiving turkey, beautifully roasted and garnished with parsley and lady apples.

My turkey was too big – 19.5 lbs. I had asked our farmer for a 16 – 17 lb. bird but somehow he had something larger in mind and just those 2 – 3 extra pounds made a difference. I have no doubt we will eat all the leftovers but when it’s that big, the legs are really tough on these free range birds. The thigh dark meat was delicious but the legs, not so much. It looked gorgeous! And some of the outer white meat was a wee bit dry in order to cook the whole thing through. So I think the 17 lb. mark is the max. If you need more, buy two smaller birds.

For those of you who purchased my e-cookbook and made some or all of the recipes, I hope you found it helpful. Please send me any comments to make it even better for next year.Small bites made up of gouda cheese cubes with radishes, green pepper, olives,  yellow pepper and cherry tomatoes on toothpicks

My birthday was Tuesday and my younger son and his girlfriend were at our house upstate, greeting us when we arrived with appetizers and dinner prepared. I told you I was lucky and had a lot to be thankful for! For appetizers, we had local gouda cheese cubes with olives, radishes and cherry tomatoes. Dinner was braised chicken legs, with tomatoes, onions, garlic and olives served with a crusty baguette to mop up all of the delicious sauce, and some roasted zucchini. They were so sweet and you have no idea how special it was to arrive to a warm glowing, terrific smelling house with dinner all ready! And it was really yummy!Braised chicken legs with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and olives on slices of a French baguette and roasted zucchini on a brown pottery plate.

Tonight, all four of them are cooking up my “real birthday feast. “ They won’t tell me what they’re doing and I was told to vacate the premises. They have plied me with some hot rum apple punch and I am out in my art studio staying out of the way. They say it will be a complete meal with appetizers, dinner, dessert and even entertainment! Stay tuned and I will let you know what happens.

I hope you all continue your celebrations and have a great rest of the weekend!