Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Good Stuff! (and stuffing)

If you follow any of what I write on GMG you’ll know that every once in a while I absolutely can’t not brag about the amazing things happening at the school where I am so blessed to work.

Having taught at Harborlight Montessori for 24 years, I left the classroom last year to join the pretty amazing Administration Team as the Director of Communication.  So, more than ever, I feel like not only is it ok to sneak in a post about Harborlight every now and again…but, I’d be remiss not to.  Just doing my job, friends 😉

So, this is what went down this week.  Lots.  Some FANTASTIC spreading of holiday joy…for such great causes.  The best part about it all…the teamwork!

The end result:

  1. 17 complete Thanksgiving dinners gathered, shopped for, and delivered to Pathways for Children in Beverly.
  2. A nice pile of cash left over to help with a Toy Drive next month
  3. More than 40 pies donated to Beverly Bootstraps
  4. More than 200 pies purchased to help fund the Middle School Class Trip
  5. A Thanksgiving Feast enjoyed by students from grades 1st-8th and faculty + staff thanks to AMAZING parent/grandparent volunteers

The process:

We have a wonderful tradition called Turkey Chores.  The students do chores at home, their parents give them a very small salary (I know, I know. Some of you will say that they should be doing chores around the house without expecting to be paid…but, this is for charity so go with it), the money raised goes towards buying dinners for Pathways for Children.  At the same time, each student brings in one Thanksgiving food item to supplement the dinners.  Each classroom builds a Thanksgiving Meal Basket. Yesterday morning, the Middle School students gathered the Donation Baskets and money from each of the classrooms, boarded our smaller bus, and hit the aisles of Shaw’s in Beverly.  They divided, conquered, and gathered all necessary items to build 17 Thanksgiving dinners….including, of course, turkeys.  Upon checking out, the Manager-on-Duty at Shaw’s gave us 25% off….hence giving the students the extra money for next month’s holiday store/toy drive.

The students loaded the meals onto the bus and went right to Pathways. Once there, they worked hard to unload and deliver all of the items they had purchased.  17 families, who may not have had a decent Thanksgiving meal, will now enjoy one.

Meanwhile, the same Middle School students were working with Jim’s Bagel and Bake Shoppe.  The Middle School students offered the school community the chance to buy pies…with part of the proceeds going to fund their Middle School Spring Trip. The option to buy an extra buy to give to Beverly Bootstraps was also presented.  More than 200 pies were ordered.  So, the amazing employees over at Jim’s might be extra tired. And, 40 extra pies were purchased.  Another local charity benefitted from the students’ hard work…on the very same day.

While both of those activities were going on, a village of parent (and grandparent) volunteers, like a bunch of magical elves, were busy preparing a Thanksgiving meal on campus for close to 90 students and the entire faculty and staff.  Our 18th Annual Upper School Feast went off without a hitch.  Easy for me to say, right?  Wow…did those volunteers work hard…as did the brave teacher who offers to lead the charge each year.

Did I mention that those same insanely busy Middle School students also worked together to bake TONS of their own pies for all to enjoy at the feast?  Did I mention that the younger students peeled and chopped carrots and potatoes…and made lovely place settings? Oh, wait.  Did I mention that some 3rd Grade representatives began the feast by reciting some traditional words of thanks from “Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message”?

What would be the sweetest way to end an already pretty sweet day?  During the late afternoon hours, with 6 extra pies left for sale and looking lonely on the table…. two young boys came along with their mom and purchased them all…to deliver to their neighbors.  Love.

Kudos to the families for their participation and help in pulling all of this off.  Huge Kudos to the students for their hard work and giving spirit.  I am so incredibly proud of them all.


Cranberry Orange Tort

 PrintA perfect recipe for Thanksgiving…Its easy to prepare, and it makes two!cran b1

Cranberry Orange Torte


¾ cup salted butter softened

1½ cups granulated sugar, plus ¼ cup

1  12oz. bag fresh cranberries

1 cup flour

2 large eggs

1 cup roughly chopped walnuts

1 teaspoon of fresh orange rind

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon orange extract

Step by Step

1  Combine butter and sugar in bowl of stand mixer, beat on medium high speed 3 minutes until fluffy


2   Add flour, eggs, nuts, orange rind, and extracts; mix 1 minute on low speed

cran 1


3  Place cranberries in colander; rinse under cold water; strain; sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over cranberries; toss to coat all cranberries evenly with sugar

cranberry 1

4  Using rubber spatula fold sugared cranberries evenly into batter


5  Prepare two 9 inch glass pie plates with bakers joy cooking spray


6  Divide batter into two equal halves

cean 2

7  Spread each batter half  into one prepared pie plate



8  In preheated 350 degree oven bake 1 hour; cool 15 minutes

9 Serve with Vanilla Bean ice cream or sweetened whipped cream

cranb 3

Makes 2 Torts

Asian Infused Turkey Brine


Click on above photo for short video tutorial

Who knew passing the refrigerator case with fresh turkey’s during my routine Sunday morning shopping trip to Market Basket yesterday would be the cure to my sadness of not hosting this year’s Thanksgiving Holiday!  

Just Back from vacation, with a desperate need of groceries, and the realization of the holiday season  fast approaching,  Sunday morning, I took a quick scan of the frig and pantry before heading out to shop. Made mental note of a few key ingredients on hand like, hot peppers from the garden still fresh and firm in the crisper drawer, and a half  filled bottle of soy sauce on the door shelf. With Lone Gull Tea in hand I entered Market Basket, and immediately noticed holiday packaging, and speciality items strategically placed  throughout the store.

Their strategic placement of holiday product, caught my attention and literally flipped my mood from sad to happy! Thanks to creative holiday packaging and product placement, my creative juices started flowing, and I found myself walking through the store thinking of past holidays shopping experiences with my mother for key ingredients in the aisles of my grandfather’s Italian Variety store. Pat’s Center Grocery.” Before I knew it I found myself  tossing a fresh turkey into my shopping cart. At the same moment, my Grandpa Joe’s famous saying came to mind, “ When life gives you lemons make lemonade!”  

Right then I knew I had to go with the flow of life, and not let my disappointment of not hosting this year’s traditional feast day on the 28th, stop me from creating a special Thanksgiving feast for my family. Since tradition was already set to be broken I decided to embrace our  non-traditional year with a non traditional feast with all the fixing! Over the years I have read numerous articles about the the likes and dislikes of roasting a turkey using traditional roasting methods verse roasting birds that have been prepared in a brine.  In keeping with non-tradition I decided to go out of the box and prepare a brined turkey for the first time! Inspired by the ingredients I made mental note of before heading out to shop on Sunday  I began creating this new “Asian Infused Turkey Brine” for this week’s scheduled  family dinner! Stayed tuned for the final out come and reviews Thursday here on GMG Sista Dish!


Asian Infused Turkey Brine

Click Read more for Recipe Details


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White Friday

WhiteFriday5264wmWhite Friday November 28th, 11am on Main Street, Gloucester. By 1pm the sun peeked out, and foot traffic is picking up. BTW, my “Fish City” and “In Cod We Trust” t-shirts are in stock, and color choices are blue or blue.


You all know me well enough by now to know that I’d love to wax poetically about how much I have to be thankful for this year, but I’ll spare you that and simply wish you all the most perfect of Thanksgivings…whatever that may be to each of you.

This year my little family unit has taken to the mountains of New Hampshire.  We were a bit snowed in and lost electricity, but order was restored just before the Macy’s Day Parade began..so it’s all good.

In this very moment I am thankful that my husband has shuffled the boys off to the indoor pool and that I have a moment to reflect on how good life is (while trying, challenging, and even hard at times) and to watch the parade (a giant guilty pleasure of mine…that no one else in the family appreciates), take in this gorgeous view, and drink a hot cup of coffee in its entirety before it gets cold. And, yes, Joey….there is some Baileys in that mug.

The rest of our day will consist of a nice hike in the woods, building a snowman for the wildlife to remember us by after we head home, some more time in the pool, a meal in the tavern, and then our annual Thanksgiving night viewing of The Polar Express with cocoa and popcorn. Perfect…for us.

Happy, happy Thanksgiving to you all!  May this day find you all warmed by what makes you feel Thankful.

With Love From The Schraffts

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A Fly on the (Bus) Wall

One thing I like about riding the CATA bus is the Transportation service, of course, but also the conversation among riders and drivers. It’s also interesting to just listen. Bus driver to older woman passenger: “My wife and I had dinner at the Emerson Inn last weekend, and it was fantastic. We started with a Caesar salad and Bruschetta. The croutons were still warm–you just knew they were home made. Then we split a Rack of Lamb, served over vegetables and potatoes. I never knew such a great restaurant was open year round in Rockport.” The older lady replied: “I went there when it was the Hotel Edward (1913-1965). I’ll have to try it.”

I can attest to the high quality of the food, as well as the unequaled view of the Atlantic Ocean. The Emerson is open for lodging all year, and serves dinner Friday, Saturday, and Sundays in the late fall, winter, and early spring. On Thanksgiving, they annually host a Grand Buffet, and I have no doubt it will be a meal you’ll remember. And the fly told me so. http://www.emersoninnbythesea.com/

Thanksgiving Quotes of the Week from Greg Bover

Dear GMG Friends,

I have been thinking about what Thanksgiving means, beyond turkey and football. I looked back through my four plus years of weekly quotes and was a little surprised to find so many that speak about the various facets of gratitude, but perhaps I shouldn’t have been. Wise people over the centuries have recognized the power of thankfulness to transform one’s life, and it certainly has changed mine.

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but also the parent of all the others.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC – 43 BC)

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.”

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.
Henry Van Dyke (1852 – 1933)

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

William Arthur Ward (1921-1994)

“By holding up a fancied golden era of yesteryear, we can devalue where we are and who we have become. Thanksgiving aims at gratitude not for what was, but for what is.”

James Carroll (1943-    )

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
Melody Beattie (1948-    )

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Oprah Winfrey (1954-    )

Greg Bover

Turkey Day, Plum Cove

We were invited to Judy and Ray's Thanksgiving dinner near Plum Cove. Eight birds entered the back yard and Tom and I went outside to take photos, but the turkeys headed for the woods. That may be because Tom was wearing a cook's apron, which scared the daylights out of them. Later, when I saw them travel around the other side of the house, a took a few shots thru the windows. I call this one: "The Turkey we didn't eat." The meal was delicious, and the guest of honor was a neighbor 100 years old.

We were invited to Judy and Ray’s Thanksgiving dinner near Plum Cove. Eight birds entered the back yard and Tom and I went outside to take photos, but the turkeys headed for the woods. That may be because Tom was wearing a cook’s apron, which scared the daylights out of them. Later, when I saw them travel around the other side of the house, a took a few shots thru the windows. I call this one: “The Turkey we didn’t eat.” The meal was delicious, and the guest of honor was a neighbor 100 years old.

Sista’s Helpful Tips

PrintMany years ago this product was highly recommended to me by a friend. She promised that Williams-Sonoma’s Turkey Gravy Base was the biggest time saver and smartest money spent on thanksgiving dinner for her family each year. I was extremely hesitant to try it because nearly everything prepared in my kitchen is done from scratch, but knowing she too was a great cook, I thought I give it a try. Two weeks before Thanksgiving  I went to Williams-Sonoma bought a jar of their Turkey Gravy Base, then headed to the  market, purchased a small turkey breast, and headed home to test the product out before committing to using it on Thanksgiving day. I followed the simple directions on the backside of the jar.   It smelled good, looked great, and it tasted awesome! I was shocked by the flavor and by how easy it was to prepare. Don’t walk RUN to Williams-Sonoma and buy this product!  If you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year, this product should be the first item on your Grocery list. The Gravy Base is a seasonal item sold in limited quantities, and they sell out days before Thanksgiving every year. I encourage you to stock up and buy a few extra jars for latter in the winter when your craving turkey and gravy on a cold winter night.

A Thanksgiving Dinner Must Have ~

Today all thanksgiving favorites are 20% off at Williams-Sonoma

gravey base 3


Trust the Sista…Follow the directions on the back of the jar and add some pan dripping… your family and guest will be licking their plates clean! Many of my Thanksgiving recipes including how to roast a turkey that is golden on the outside and juicy on the inside are in my new cookbook “Gifts of Gold In A Sicilian Kitchen with Sista Felicia, Harvest” click here to purchase a copy http://www.storenvy.com/products/2742897-gifts-of-gold-in-a-sicilian-kitchen-with-sista-felicia-harvest

Green Family Thanksgiving Dinner


We had a very nice meal – just my parents and I, as my brother was with his in-laws.  The menu also included pumpkin pie, and a few other treats that didn’t make it into this photo.  We have leftovers to last us for a while!

Yesterday I also posted on my own blog on something I am (perhaps oddly) thankful for.

Fr. Matthew Green

Don’t Forget To Take a Picture Of Your Thanksgiving Meal/Table, Send ‘Em In and Will Post Them Here on GMG

Share Your Feast With The GMG Family and We Will Have A Post Thanksgiving Holiday Table Photo Orgy.

Send In Your Holiday Table Photos to goodmorningggloucester@yahoo.com

Gobble Gobble!

Whether you are a big time contributor or casual observer of GMG I hope you have a fantastic holiday filled with great food, family and FOOTBALL!

I’m thankful for all the accomplishments and community events we’ve been pulling off and the relationships created through the blog.  I’m thankful for a healthy beautiful family and I’m really really thankful for a family who embraces football on Thanksgiving!

Thanks for stopping by and being part of this giant snowball that just keeps picking up mass and getting bigger as we roll along.  Without you we wouldn’t have much reason to keep plugging away at this thing :)


What are you thankful for?

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