1 Dec

First of all, I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I did. I really think Thanksgiving is very sneakily starting to surpass Christmas as my favorite holiday, but I feel kind of blasphemous even typing that.

Trevor and I went to my brother’s house this year. It was just a small group of us: my mom, my brother and his girlfriend, me and Trevor. And the doggies, Zoe and Corduroy, of course. My mom taught me and Annette how to make her gravy – but I wasn’t paying very close attention. This happens every year. She attempts to teach me every year, and every year I’m too excitable to actually stand still and watch the whole process. But Annette actually paid attention, so I bet she knows how to make it now.

It’s the best gravy in the world. That’s little bits of chopped up turkey liver off to the left there.

All these years I just took those little savory bits in the gravy for unidentified meat pieces, and it never bothered me, I never questioned it. And this year I learned those little bits are turkey liver.

You know what? It’s still the world’s best gravy. If anything that turkey liver makes this gravy. I’d give you the recipe, but, like I said I wasn’t really paying attention.

What else happened?

My brother photo-bombed my mom, producing my favorite photo of the evening:

Trevor hung out with the dogs, which is what he usually does since all animals take to him like he’s Francis of Assisi or something. Here he is with Zoe:

I made him take a picture with me against his will (it’s usually against his will):

Then I took pictures of all the yummy food. We had sweet potatoes, two kinds of mashed potato, turkey (duh), gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, crescent rolls, and a green bean casserole. And dessert:

The boys played Call of Duty: Black Ops on Noah’s giant projector. The huge screen disoriented Trevor and he didn’t kill nearly as many Nazi zombies as is standard for him, but Noah’s used to it because he plays like that all the time:

While the boys did that, we women hung out in the kitchen and cooked and made fun of the boys, which was way more fun:

Then Noah had to go carve the turkey

He didn’t want me to take pictures while he had the apron on, but I did it anyway:

The food was amazing, the company was amazing. I ate too much and had to have a little lie down after dinner. And then we took home leftovers, which I spent the next three days eating as well.

Here’s the recipe for the mashed potatoes I make every year – they are amazing. I got the recipe from my cousin, Lisa, like 10 years ago, and myself or my mom have made them almost every year since.

Cheesy Secret Ingredient Mashed Potatoes


Potatoes (1 per person, approx. – use more if they are smaller potatoes)


Garlic cloves

Cheddar cheese (enough for in the potatoes and on top)

Hidden Valley Ranch packet (this is the main secret ingredient)

Heavy cream (this is the other secret ingredient)


1.) Peel each potato and cut into fourths or eighths, depending on size. Try to keep the chunks fairly uniform in size so they cook evenly. (A hint for potato novices – never, ever put potato peels down the sink disposal, just throw them out).

2.) As you cut the potatoes, put the chunks in a pot of cold, salted water to keep them from turning brown. Then add to the pot 3-5 cloves garlic, peeled and slightly smashed. Bring to a boil, then cook 15-20 minutes or until a fork or knife easily pierces the chunks.

3.) Drain the potatoes and garlic in a colander then return them to the pot. Mash your potatoes however you prefer (I prefer using a potato ricer, which makes them really smooth). Add the following by taste: butter, salt/pepper, heavy cream, Hidden Valley Ranch mix, and grated cheddar (I always just throw a whole stick of butter in there, and the whole ranch packet, and then I add heavy cream until I get it to the consistency I like).

4.) Transfer the potatoes to a buttered baking dish. Top with more cheese and put in an oven heated to 350 degrees. They’re done when potatoes are heated through and the cheese on top has a little color and/or is melted to your liking.

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