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A Homesteading Family Thanksgiving

by | Nov 21, 2020 | Podcast

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Thanksgiving is almost here and that means food and lots of it! Prepping a big Thanksgiving feast can be challenging, but having a good strategy in place can make all the difference between being thankful or being stressed in the kitchen. 

In this episode of the Pantry Chat, Josh and Carolyn share their own Thanksgiving menu, plus a few of their fun annual traditions, and some tips that can help you plan ahead to create a memorable and blessed holiday with your family. 


In this Episode

  • Get some of Carolyn and Josh’s favorite holiday recipes as well as Carolyn’s “go-to” pie crust. 
  • Why is Thanksgiving Josh and Carolyn’s favorite holiday? 
  • Why is sharing and giving thanks so important during this time? 
  • What is “Mayflower Night” and some of the other family traditions that Carolyn and Josh have every Thanksgiving?  
  • Why it’s OK to have pie for breakfast (Josh has a good reason!) 
  • What is on the menu for Thanksgiving this year at Josh and Carolyn’s house? 
  • Why you should write out your entire menu first and start by working backward?
  • The importance of having extra butter on hand. 
  • What to plan for dinner for the night before and what is a good breakfast option for Thanksgiving morning? 
  • Why BYOD (bring your own dishes) is a great alternative for reducing waste. 
  • Find someone you can bless and invite them to dinner this year.   
  • Question of the day: Annette asks, “do you have a preferred supplier for all your jars?” 


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Josh: Hey guys, this is Josh-

Carolyn: And Carolyn.

Josh: ... with Homesteading Family. And welcome to this week's episode of the Pantry Chat, Food for Thought.

Carolyn: Hey! Thanksgiving is coming up and I'm going to give you some of my top tips for preparing a large family meal, lots of people dinner.

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Josh: You guys excited? We're excited.

Carolyn: We're excited. We're always excited.

Josh: We love Thanksgiving. It is our favorite holiday of the year.

Carolyn: Absolutely.

Josh: But we'll get to that in a minute.

Carolyn: If you're new and you don't want to listen to all the upcoming chitchat, you want to jump right ahead to the main topic, check the timestamp.

Josh: Absolutely.

Carolyn: And you can hop on down to the main topic.

Josh: Alrighty. So today the main topic is Thanksgiving.

Carolyn: It is Thanksgiving.

Josh: And kind of our traditions, and I think you've put together a menu [crosstalk 00:02:15]-

Carolyn: Yes, we have our menu.

Josh: Our menu this year.

Carolyn: Well, it's pretty standard. We have a pretty standard-

Josh: We do. We have a few-

Carolyn: Standard for us.

Josh: We will have one major rotation this year though.

Carolyn: We do, we have a major change-up.

Josh: The meat is a major change-up, not our normal.

Carolyn: Yeah. So we'll get to that.

Josh: So you've got our menu on there and we're going to talk about some of our traditions, some of our family traditions that we've started with you and I and our family.

Carolyn: And I'm going to give you some of my top tips for preparing a large family meal, lots of people dinner.

Josh: Very cool. All right. So hopefully give you guys some ideas and just share our Thanksgiving with you. So before we get into that, though, what's going on with you? How's your week been-

Carolyn: Oh.

Josh: ... and what's up?

Carolyn: The week has been great. This time of year, I like to be bulking up on a lot of the things that I'm making bulk. That's kind of a funny thing to say. I like to get a lot of pie crust into the freezer. I like to make sure that my convenience food shelves are filled to the top before we hit holidays. All sorts of fun things.

Josh: Those pie crusts tie in big to one of our family traditions around Thanksgiving. So hang on for that.

Carolyn: Slowly getting back to that.

Josh: I'm excited to hear that.

Carolyn: Oh, I'm going to tell you right now, because I'm sure we'll refer to it later, but we put together a link for you with a special printable document with some of our top favorite holiday family recipes and my favorite pie crusts. My go-to pie crust is in there.

Josh: And so these are just things we use for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Carolyn: Christmas, kind of our family holiday [inaudible 00:03:58].

Josh: Wow. Cool. That's going to be cool.

Carolyn: It's a good one.

Josh: I haven't seen that yet.

Carolyn: It's got some good stuff in there. So, that's what I've been doing. Lots of pie crusts and beans, canning beans, chili, all that kind of stuff. So lots of good canning.

Josh: Very cool.

Carolyn: What about you? What've you been doing?

Josh: Oh man. It's just still mostly all about winter prep right now. We're trying to get mom and dad's house. If you guys know, we're building them a house and trying to get that dried in. It's almost there.

Carolyn: Almost there. We had a couple of questions on how it was going, some people were asking.

Josh: Yeah. It's going well. I should try to get a photo up or something, but it's going well. So in the last stage, it's not a finishing, we'll have to finish it out over the winter, but just getting it completely dried in with your garage doors and a few things that we need to do before we can put the garage doors up.

Carolyn: What is your completion hopeful date? It's a construction project. It's a hopeful date. Do you say that out loud? Mom and dad might be watching.

Josh: I know. Hopefully, mom and dad, the end of February is the goal.

Carolyn: The goal.

Josh: We have a little longer than that before they need to be in there. But that's the goal, is the end of February, because we have some other plans we're considering.

Carolyn: It looks really good.

Josh: Cool. I think so. I feel like I really need ... the guys who have been working on it have been doing great. So working on that, I'm finishing up the barn prep. We finished the garden prep and got that all done. And a little more firewood to get in, and Tristan and I got out hunting. So my first day out hunting this season and took a good hike. And I saw a little bit, didn't get anything yet, but that's about it.

Carolyn: There's more season left to go.

Josh: Absolutely. So, doing good and just really looking forward to Thanksgiving. Taking a little break, a lot of good food and family.

Carolyn: Absolutely.

Josh: Though, going to miss some of our family this year. Oftentimes we have a lot of family and our own direct family, besides us, aren't ... nobody's going to be here this year. So that's a little unusual-

Carolyn: It is a little unusual.

Josh: ... for us. So we're going to miss you, mom and dad, granddad, grandma Jeanie, [inaudible 00:00:05:59], if you're out there seeing this.

Carolyn: Absolutely.

Josh: Alrighty. Question of the day?

Carolyn: Question of the day.

Josh: Question of the day is from Annette Gilmer. Hi Annette. She's asking about jars, actually. There's a little interesting discussion going on about jars and cans. Maybe in the near future we're going to talk about those two terms and interesting discussion there. But, do you have a preferred supplier for all your cans? And she means jars. Do you have a preferred supplier for all of your jars?

Carolyn: No, not one that I can tell you, because it really changes from year to year. And my best advice on this is to go to your local hardware store, like your small town hardware store, probably not your big Home Depot or Lowe's. I don't even know if those places carry canning supplies-

Josh: Never looked.

Carolyn: I don't even know, Ace Hardwares, or something like that.

Josh: Do it best, Ace.

Carolyn: Your smaller one do it best. They will-

Josh: For value.

Carolyn: ... also ... they will often have the best deal on canning jars that I have been able to find. Now, my best recommendation though is to go there, figure out your average per jar price for a brand new jar. And then start going to yard sales, go to thrift stores, put the word out in the community that you're looking for canning jars. Even if that means just dropping it in the community Facebook group or something like that.

Carolyn: Let people know that you're looking for jars. Now, you always want to make sure they don't have chips or nicks anywhere. And you want to make sure that they sound, really good quality. I probably have a canning jar within reach here. Here we go. They sound like they're not cracked. They don't have any hairline cracks. So make sure you're always testing that. But if you know your per jar price that you can get a new one for, you can often find them for cheaper at a thrift store, a yard sale. But it's really important to know that per jar new price-

Josh: I was going to say, but not necessarily.

Carolyn: Because-

Josh: Sometimes somebody's got them and they're expensive.

Carolyn: Even at thrift stores, even in yard sales, I've seen them for double what I can get a brand new jar for and, no, thank you. I'll just buy a brand new jar for that. Especially if there's any cleanup to do. If they're a wreck, I won't touch it unless it's really a cost saving. So-

Josh: Cool.

Carolyn: ... look local and look for used is really going to be your best option.

Josh: Alrighty. Sounds good. Thanks, Annette. We hope that helps you out. And we've got a lot to cover. So we are going to dive right in to Thanksgiving.

Carolyn: Thanksgiving, yay!

Josh: So we get excited about this time of the year. It's our favorite holiday. And so I guess the first thing to cover is why. Why is Thanksgiving your favorite holiday?

Carolyn: Oh, I guess it feels like the culmination of the year, of a year of hard work, in one way. And we get to celebrate, one, the year, but also ... we put those seeds in the ground in the garden and we hope that they grow. I mean, we do our best. We work ... well, we prep our soil, we do everything, but there's so many things that can go wrong from putting that seed in to the end. And so it's just this moment of thankfulness to God for making it grow, to just the year, to the hard work to everybody involved. So I guess to me it just feels like the culmination of a lot of hard work.

Josh: Cool.

Carolyn: So I really like that.

Josh: Very cool.

Carolyn: What about you?

Josh: Well, I would ditto that. Absolutely. But I also love it that they just, whoever they is, haven't figured out how to commercialize, overly commercialize Thanksgiving. And it just feels pure to me. It's a time to celebrate our faith, to thank God for Jesus, what he's done for us, to thank him for what we have in this life, for family. And to really come together in a way that just doesn't have all the distraction of a lot of our other holidays like Christmas. And Christmas is wonderful. I love Christmas. And there's awesome reasons why we celebrate Christmas, but Thanksgiving just doesn't have a lot of the pressure and a lot of ... it's just food, family, thankfulness and some good fun.

Carolyn: There's only so many turkey-shaped platters that anybody can sell.

Josh: And we were joking earlier because I think it's been so hard for them to commercialize. Now, all they can do is just start selling Christmas stuff now-

Carolyn: Before Thanksgiving.

Josh: ... weeks before Thanksgiving, because they really can't. And I love that. It just feels untouchable to me. And it's just kind of a pure holiday, as far as our biggies, that we celebrate. Really, really like that.

Carolyn: So I have another one. Any time that we get to get friends and family together are special, special times to me, especially sharing a meal. I can almost not even say that without tearing up. I love those moments when we all get to be together, big table, lots of people laughing and sharing and just enjoying each other's company. To me, that's about as close to heaven as we're going to get on this side of [depth 00:11:02].

Josh: Well, and we really picked that without these other things so much in consideration long before we were producing our own food or even thinking about commercialism too much, we decided to take over Thanksgiving for the family early on, our first couple of years of marriage. And so it has been that time for us to bring in-

Carolyn: Having people-

Josh: ... as much of the family over and having large, fun gatherings around the table. So just a really, really special time. Let us know, what's your guys' favorite holiday and why? Be cool to hear from some of you.

Carolyn: It'd be really cool if we could have all of you guys with us too, we just need a whole lot bigger table.

Josh: Convention center.

Carolyn: There you go. That sounds good.

Josh: You want to do that one thing, silly?

Carolyn: Yeah.It'd be fun.

Josh: Could you imagine the table? That would be a long-

Carolyn: That'd be a long table.

Josh: ... table.

Carolyn: It would have to be a potluck. Everybody would have to bring some food.

Josh: Absolutely. Boy, how many recipes we'd get to try. That'd be a lot of fun. All right. We better keep going. So what's important to us during Thanksgiving, I guess we're kind of covering that a little bit already, but what do we try to focus on a little bit?

Carolyn: So one I know for us is connecting, maybe a lot for me, but connecting friends and family, getting people together.

Josh: Absolutely. Me too.

Carolyn: Gathering together.

Josh: And included in that is often giving someone else a place to be. We often, besides family, try to open up a seat or seats, if God's put anybody in our life that we see needs a place to be.

Carolyn: Yeah. People who don't have that chance to connect with their friends or family on Thanksgiving, we want to make sure they have a place to be.

Josh: Yeah, absolutely.

Carolyn: That's really unfortunate.

Josh: And sharing in Thanksgiving, just thanking God for all that we have. [crosstalk 00:12:42]-

Carolyn: Sharing and giving thanks.

Josh: Sharing and giving thanks.

Carolyn: While sharing in Thanksgiving.

Josh: All right. It's also a time that we like to think about our faith a little bit. And of course, as Christians, obviously Christmas and Easter, or I like to call it resurrection day, are big for us. But again, Thanksgiving just has that moment to do that without all the other things that come with it a lot of times, all the other distractions. And so I enjoy that with our family and friends and with you and our family, just thanking God, in that part of our faith for this life-

Carolyn: Absolutely.

Josh: ... and all he's done.

Carolyn: Another one for us, another thing that's really important we try and do during Thanksgiving is to connect our family, ourselves and especially our children to history. So both our cultural country's history, pilgrims and Native Americans and-

Josh: Right. The founding-

Carolyn: ... the first Thanksgivings.

Josh: ... of our current culture and country and the sacrifices that were made for that.

Carolyn: Absolutely. But also our family history. And we have a few traditions that play on that.

Josh: I was going to say, that leads right into some of our traditions and one that ... well, you you've actually started several of these. So Mayflower, tell everybody about, we have a Mayflower night the night before Thanksgiving.

Carolyn: So, we've done it the night before, but I think general consensus is we need to move it a few nights out, because it's just too much work, I guess, a big meal. But oftentimes, the night before Thanksgiving, we do what we call Mayflower night. We all go sit in a spot on the floor, some hard floor, turn down the lights, have a candle or a lantern flickering. I even have a soundtrack with an old wooden creek ... ship creaking-

Josh: Creaking, creaky ship-

Carolyn: Creaking ship.

Josh: ... in the ocean.

Carolyn: And we sit around real tight and we eat hardtack and some version of what they used to call salt horse and meat, dried out meat, some dried out cheese. And we really get to enjoy-

Josh: Warm ale. That's what they drink.

Carolyn: ... warm ale, warm flat ale. It's not good.

Josh: It's disgusting.

Carolyn: It's so awful. Once-

Josh: Sorry some of our English friends. I know some of you like warm ale. That's a one time of year only. But it's a good reminder to point to the history and some of the foundings, and it really goes past the pilgrims just into the history and that people paid a price to have the freedoms that we have today.

Carolyn: It's kind of an example of the discomfort. Not that sitting in our living room on the hard floor is that uncomfortable, but it's more comfortable than sitting in the dining room in cushy chairs, and the sacrifice of having less. And so we have a very kind of meager type meal that's not so palatable. And then that leads right into the Thanksgiving feast on the other side. And so it's just a good way to point to our kids some of the history there.

Josh: And it's the one time of year that you can get the kids excited about eating dry, stale food. They love it.

Carolyn: They're excited.

Josh: They are, till they're eating it, but ... So we've got to keep moving here.

Carolyn: Okay, keep moving.

Josh: So another tradition is the family tablecloth.

Carolyn: Oh, this is so cool.

Josh: This was so awesome.

Carolyn: Years ago, right when we first started hosting our Thanksgiving, we got a couple of really big, nice cotton tablecloths. Just white tablecloths. And every year I get fabric pencils and we have everyone write in their own writing, every guest to Thanksgiving, to complete this sentence, I am thankful for. And then you write what you're thankful for and you put your name and your date.

Josh: And you make it as long of a paragraph as you can.

Carolyn: You've got five words or less.

Josh: Because-

Carolyn: Because then I take all of those and embroider all of them. And then year after year, we use the same tablecloth. And it has become so special because we are preserving the actual handwriting. And the thoughts of people, and many of our family members are no longer with us.

Josh: They've passed. And many of our guests that have come and gone-

Carolyn: Guests that come and go.

Josh: ... over the years.

Carolyn: And it is a bit of a labor of love on the other side, because sometimes we have over 30 people at our table.

Josh: And you hand embroider all of that.

Carolyn: The people who are little, too little to write, we do the hand outlines.

Josh: That's fun.

Carolyn: And so we have a lot of little hands, that people then sit down, and people do funny things. People do serious things. Occasional guest or two won't listen to me and puts in whole poem versus. But it's really fun. It's fun to look back on.

Josh: It is. It's beautiful. And they're just going to be a wonderful heirloom piece for the kids' time and part of their heritage and their culture.

Carolyn: Yeah, it really is.

Josh: So we've got two more here. Shooting. We love to shoot, usually between the meal and dessert, and no matter what the weather, we try to go out and the girls try to ... well, they don't try, the girls show up on the handguns, which were usually just shooting handguns because we're not getting too elaborate that day. But we just like to go out and shoot a little bit-

Carolyn: That is a lot of fun. I [crosstalk 00:17:59].

Josh: ... and several years, you and Jess, some family friends of ours that come over regularly, often just lay down. You haven't picked up a pistol sometimes since the year before. And so that's fun. That's a lot of fun.

Carolyn: It's always fun.

Josh: Make a little noise.

Carolyn: That's good.

Josh: And of course-

Carolyn: Okay, this one's yours. You implemented this one and you can take all the responsibility for all the sugar comments we're about to get.

Josh: Yeah. Well, there's a time, there's a season for everything. And there is a season for pie.

Carolyn: Pie.

Josh: So every year I encourage everybody to bring or make a whole lot of pie for Thanksgiving because in our house, we get to eat pie for breakfast every day after Thanksgiving until the pie is gone.

Carolyn: It used to be when we had fewer children that that could drag out-

Josh: It actually lasted a week or longer.

Carolyn: It used to. And now we're-

Josh: They last about as long as the pies would last.

Carolyn: Right, exactly.

Josh: Now, I got to clarify, that's not only having pie. It's having pie with breakfast. We don't go totally off the deep end.

Carolyn: Mama insists on some good protein.

Josh: So it's pie with breakfast. But that's just a lot of fun. I don't know, somewhere after a few years of having leftover pies, I thought ... well, we did. We had a lot there-

Carolyn: We had a lot, but-

Josh: ... in the early days. A lot of people brought pies and there was a lot and we had them for breakfast just for fun to use them. And I said, "You know what, I like this. This is cool."

Carolyn: Thankfully, there are some really good pumpkin pie recipes where you can really decrease the sugar. And that's what I go for, is the ones with a little bit less sugar in the morning. For me personally. I don't mind if the kids have it for a couple days.

Josh: I burn it off. Usually the last couple of weeks of November, I'm hunting, hiking, hunting a lot. That's the best time-

Carolyn: Lots of firewood.

Josh: ... to do hunting. So I burn it off pretty well.

Carolyn: Yeah, I'd say you're good. Anyways.

Josh: Cool. All right. So that's a few of our traditions and, guys, love to hear some of your traditions-

Carolyn: Oh yeah.

Josh: ... leave us a few comments and it's just always fun to see what you're doing. So share a little bit with us about your Thanksgiving, if you would.

Carolyn: And if you don't have any, find a tradition. Just start doing it every year. You don't have to have a big family consensus, just start doing it. And it becomes a tradition really quickly.

Josh: Oh, and it just bonds the family.

Carolyn: It really does.

Josh: These things are made to hopefully carry through, some things to pass back and-

Carolyn: [crosstalk] generations together.

Josh: ... some things to just give us a reason to need to have some good new year's resolutions.

Carolyn: Okay, moving on. So we're going to talk about our menu this year.

Josh: All right. That's awesome. And you're going to share-

Carolyn: Are you ready?

Josh: ... our menu. Yep. Dive in. Let's go. Now, you got to keep it moving though. So, there's a bit here-

Carolyn: I've got to keep it moving.

Josh: ... it's a big meal.

Carolyn: We're going to go through it. We are going to have, as we often have, these different-

Josh: Is this going to be posted? Are we putting this in the ... to give people ideas?

Carolyn: I did not have this posted anywhere, but I could do that.

Josh: We can put it in the description.

Carolyn: I could put it in the description. So we're going to have an ancient wheat sourdough Parker House rolls. I'll be using kamut, because that's my favorite ancient wheat for people ... for baking with, especially when we have guests over. Okay, move faster. Mashed potatoes, of course.

Josh: With gravy.

Carolyn: Well, with gravy.

Josh: It's down the line.

Carolyn: It's down there.

Josh: [crosstalk 00:21:12].

Carolyn: Great grandma Ruthie's green beans.

Josh: Ooh-

Carolyn: Those are good.

Josh: ... that was my grandma.

Carolyn: Green beans with a lot of bacon. It's good.

Josh: Yeah, that is an old Mennonite recipe, I think. It is just really, really good.

Carolyn: It's really good. Fermented cranberry sauce. Now we have a video out on that one. So you can search that one and that is so good. That's my favorite favorite cranberry sauce. Chestnut and herb stuffing.

Josh: Have you ever had Chestnut stuffing? The place we live for ... that we leased for many years before we bought our home here had Chestnut trees. And so we had good ...oh, Chestnut stuffing is wonderful.

Carolyn: It takes it to a whole new level. And chestnuts all by themselves, I don't think are that spectacular-

Josh: Really, but ...

Carolyn: ... but you stick it in stuffing and it's like, it's just amazing.

Josh: If you haven't tried that and you can get access to ... you can buy them. I mean, we don't usually just go buy them, but you can, I think.

Carolyn: You can, but you may have to go talk to your grocery store and ask them to special order them. But you can get them.

Josh: Really, really good.

Carolyn: If you're going to go buy them anyways, get them in the freezer section where they're already peeled because that's the worst part of Chestnuts. So if you're going to buy them, just get them easy. I may be the only one who eats this because nobody else likes it, but it's in my family tradition to have some pea salad.

Josh: It's growing on me over the years.

Carolyn: Well, and we have our very own peas-

Josh: We do.

Carolyn: ... this year.

Josh: I know.

Carolyn: And so I am-

Josh: That's even more special.

Carolyn: ... not foregoing my pea salad.

Josh: Absolutely not.

Carolyn: Oh, one of our favorites is our roasted root veggie mix. So carrots, parsnips, beets, whatever we have, potatoes. And the kids love it. Last minute, I throw some chopped apples in there. It just adds this great flavor to it.

Josh: Ooh, very good.

Carolyn: Really, really delicious. Big change up this year.

Josh: Well, so for the Thanksgiving menu, it says goose or turkey. It's not usually goose. Usually it would be a home-raised turkey. However, with the transition this year-

Carolyn: We didn't home raise any turkeys.

Josh: ... and settling into the new place, we didn't raise any turkeys, and we had the best flock of geese we've ever had. Eight geese. So we are doing probably two, I'd imagine. We need to do-

Carolyn: Finton and Gerdy-

Josh: ... at least two geese.

Carolyn: ... had 11 goslings this year.

Josh: Is it 11?

Carolyn: Or do we have 11 total?

Josh: No, we have 11 total. They had eight.

Carolyn: We have too many geese.

Josh: Because we have the bachelor. I don't remember his name.

Carolyn: So we're not only going to have Christmas goose, we're going to have Thanksgiving goose-

Josh: Thanksgiving goose.

Carolyn: ... this year as well.

Josh: Which is great. That's awesome. I'll miss the turkey a little bit. Some years we do a turkey and large prime, depending on who's here, but we don't have our beef in yet. And so we're going to go with a couple of geese, goose, and that will be great.

Carolyn: Gooses?

Josh: Gooses. Geeses. But there's something that's not on here that has to go with the goose.

Carolyn: Oh.

Josh: That's obligatory that you make that goes with the goose. The compote.

Carolyn: Ooh-

Josh: I know you have it. Pretty sure I've-

Carolyn: I made it.

Josh: ... seen it on the jars.

Carolyn: Yes. It's sitting-

Josh: The compote.

Carolyn: ... right there, actually.

Josh: Here, you got to-

Carolyn: You can grab that.

Josh: ... check this out.

Carolyn: But I did not give them this recipe. So now we're going to get ... Yeah, right there. That's it. It's dark. This year it's dark. Cranberry, orange-

Josh: Cranberry, rhubarb, orange compote. If I'm saying that, right?

Carolyn: Compote, yeah.

Josh: If you're going to do something like a goose or even duck, this is-

Carolyn: It's really good with the turkey too.

Josh: ... wonderful.

Carolyn: Instead of just cranberry-

Josh: It is.

Carolyn: .. sauce, this is what we've gone to. And it is so good. And I can it every year when the rhubarb is out in the garden.

Josh: Cool. Very [inaudible 00:24:31].

Carolyn: Yeah, you're right. I missed that one. Gravy. We've got our elderberry mead. It's going to be-

Josh: Better get a bottle.

Carolyn: We got to get a bottle.

Josh: It's been wrapped for a while.

Carolyn: Yeah. It's ready to go on the bottle. Of course, some pumpkin spice tea lattes and espresso lattes, because we're always going to have a latte somewhere. And then some homemade sparkling cider. It is so easy. I love that stuff. It's just apple juice with a little whey of some sort of added in-

Josh: It gives it a little bubbly.

Carolyn: ... the day before. Ooh, you got to watch it, that stuff gets explosive. So make sure it's in a plastic container so you can see it swell and you can burp it. But-

Josh: What's going to happen if you just let that sit? With the whey, what's it going to turn into? Is it just going to go to a vinegar?

Carolyn: It's going to turn into a bomb.

Josh: Well-

Carolyn: It's going to explode all over your kitchen.

Josh: Well, don't tell the boys that.

Carolyn: That stuff's explosive.

Josh: But I mean, if you just, you vented it and everything.

Carolyn: Oh, yeah.

Josh: I know fermenting in other ways, but with the whey and the apple juice, is that-

Carolyn: Oh yeah. That's a good question. I don't-

Josh: Is that going to ferment into a cider?

Carolyn: ... know. It will-

Josh: Or into a vinegar?

Carolyn: I would actually imagine it'd go alcoholic first. As long as-

Josh: It's probably minor.

Carolyn: ... you didn't get-

Josh: Interesting.

Carolyn: ... any airborne stuff in the yeast in there, that would make it go to vinegar then I think.

Josh: You'll have to experiment with that. Just gives me some ideas just about used sources, because we're always looking for more naturally used sources.

Carolyn: And then, of course, a ton, a ton of-

Josh: A ton of pies.

Carolyn: ... pies. Pumpkin pie cake-

Josh: Have you ever had pumpkin pie cake?

Carolyn: Pumpkin cheesecake.

Josh: This is-

Carolyn: Rachel's cranberry apple tart that she makes. Oh my goodness. We have so much good food.

Josh: But if you haven't had pumpkin pie cake, at least the way you make it. I mean-

Carolyn: You don't want-

Josh: ... I love pumpkin pie.

Carolyn: ... to know the recipe. It is so bad for you. I don't even want to publish that because you shouldn't eat it, but it is so good.

Josh: It is so, so good.

Carolyn: So once a year, one time a year.

Josh: All right.

Carolyn: Moving on.

Josh: We're getting there on time, and you were going to give everybody tips-

Carolyn: My tips.

Josh: ... for prepping for a large meal.

Carolyn: Okay. Prepping for a large meal. First of all, write out your entire menu and then work backwards with your schedule for whatever you can make as far out as you can make it. Get pie crust in your freezer a week, two weeks ahead. Get some of those early things that you can get done. Get those done as far ahead as you can.

Carolyn: And then spread out the other things that need to be done on the week of Thanksgiving. But start a couple of days out with things that can be totally pre-prepped and move in. You always need to have a little bone broth gravy. There's always something. The stuffing you need to have that. So those are great things to have ahead of time-

Josh: Okay. That's what I was going to say, give people a few ideas people ideas of what they can do ahead and what things really need to be left for the day of.

Carolyn: Right. The pie crust can be ahead in the freezer. The bone broth can be ahead a week in the fridge-

Josh: Pie filling.

Carolyn: Pie fillings-

Josh: You should be done.

Carolyn: ... a lot of those can be either canned, like your apple pie filling. So those should have been done a couple of weeks ago anyways in the fall, or could have been done. And of course, you can have your pumpkin all ready and in the freezer, if you have it all pureed and ready to go. There's a lot of things that you can do out early.

Carolyn: If you're not making a sourdough bread to go with it, if you're making a regular yeasted bread, you can get that made and frozen. The dough frozen. So it's really easy to make last minute. But then you have other things that can be made the day before and things that have to be made the day of Thanksgiving. Those things, whatever prep you can do the day before, make sure you do it. Chop your veggies for the stuffing even though that needs to be actually cooked the day of Thanksgiving.

Josh: And I have one to add, because I do do the meat and we like to leave them on the hoof, as it were, leave them on the foot. And wait. But it's best to process your bird the day before, not the day of. I've done the day of, and we get it done, but it can get a little stressful.

Carolyn: You don't need any added stress.

Josh: So if you do it the day before, in most places you're going to live, I mean, if it's really warm, then you can't do this, but you can prep the bird the day before and just put it in the fridge or have it in a cool place. And it's all ready to go for you the next day.

Carolyn: Yeah, that's a great [crosstalk 00:28:48]-

Josh: We eat early, so we've got to have it in the oven early, because we do long and slow. But do that the day before if you are harvesting your own which I highly recommend. There's just nothing like-

Carolyn: Oh, it's so good.

Josh: ... a Turkey or a goose that hasn't been frozen.

Carolyn: I guess some of my notes I've already actually covered.

Josh: Cool.

Carolyn: I'm on it.

Josh: You're doing good. [crosstalk 00:29:10].

Carolyn: Make sure you start your fermented cranberry sauce about two days beforehand. Two to three days if you're going to make that. Chop everything you can early. Always get extra butter or have extra butter ready. You always need more butter than you remember. You need it for the table. You need it for the pie crust. You need it for everything. Mashed potatoes suck up butter like nothing else.

Josh: You need it for the guy that likes a little bit of roll with his butter.

Carolyn: Right, exactly. So you need a lot of butter. Just get-

Josh: That's me.

Carolyn: ... double the amount you think you need and get that. Make sure you plan an easy dinner the night before. Big pot of chili, something really easy that's not going to take a lot of work.

Josh: And-

Carolyn: Plan a-

Josh: ... the other side.

Carolyn: ... casserole for Thanksgiving morning and get it in the fridge beforehand.

Josh: Carolyn has-

Carolyn: Really important.

Josh: ... some great breakfast casseroles. I'm sure we'll have a link in the description for ideas on that. And even a couple of them, get you a couple of days out, you can have casserole and pie. Don't forget the pie.

Carolyn: Casserole and pies. Good. We really like the Amish breakfast casserole. And that is in that link you can grab, because that's really meaty and really carries you until that Thanksgiving meal.

Josh: Now, here's one that's not so much a time-saver, but that is important to us and to a lot of people.

Carolyn: In past years we've just used paper plates because there's just so much going on, so many things happening and we are starting to forego the paper plates and just use dishes. Ask your guests to ... Excuse me.

Josh: Get everybody to pitch in.

Carolyn: I guess I'm nervous for that. Yeah. Ask your guests to wash dishes.

Josh: We don't want to do the waste. Over the years, we try to find more and more ways to reduce waste in that. It's a convenience. It's a nice convenience, but it's a lot of waste and it's not necessary.

Carolyn: It really is. It just takes a few minutes to wash dinner dishes, honestly.

Josh: Yeah, especially if everybody pitches in a little bit.

Carolyn: Yeah. And if you don't have enough dishes, which is often the case, ask your guests to bring some of their own plates. Make it a BYOP.

Josh: Yeah. And with that, just to start wrapping this up, just want to encourage you guys if you're at home, if you're not traveling and you're hosting Thanksgiving, find somebody to invite, if you can. Find somebody that's not just your immediate family or friends and give somebody a seat at a table and bless them.

Carolyn: Yeah. Maybe it's a neighbor. Maybe it's somebody from the local [inaudible 00:31:34]. That would be really nice.

Josh: Yeah. And have a wonderful Thanksgiving. We'll look forward to seeing you soon.

Josh: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Pantry Chat, Food for Thought. If you've enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, rate and review.

Carolyn: To view the show notes and any other resources mentioned on this episode, you can learn more at

Josh: We'll see you soon.

Carolyn: Goodbye.

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– Carolyn and Josh 


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