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Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

HOMEGROWN Life: My Great-Grandmother’s Onion Celery Dressing Recipe

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014


HOMEGROWN-LIFE-LT-GREENIt is time to share one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes: the stuffing, or in this case, the dressing. This is a recipe my mom has made for as long as I can remember, which she got from her grandmother, my great-grandmother. My great-grandmother called it her celery onion dressing, but this is so much more than just onions and celery.




We don’t stuff the turkey with it, which is why we call it dressing, since we serve it on the side. You could stuff a turkey with it, but just remember that it will substantially lengthen the time you have to cook the bird to ensure that it’s safely cooked through.

When I asked my mom for this dressing recipe, she told me she didn’t actually have it written down and just made it from memory. In my opinion, these always seem to be the best recipes, especially when my mom is involved, because she is seriously one of the best cooks ever. I’m not joking. She’s never made a bad meal and she can pull all the leftovers out of the fridge and make the best meal you’ve ever eaten in your life. Of course, she’ll never be able to repeat it again, but you know the next meal will be just as delicious. Even though she always made this recipe by memory, she humored me and wrote it down.


  • 1 large round loaf of sourdough or French bread
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3/4 cup mushrooms, chopped (assorted is best—button, crimini—and add some shiitake if you have them)
  • 1 lb of spicy HOT sausage (Italian is great)
  • About 5 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 4-6 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 6-8 eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup melted butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp curry
  • chicken broth
  • nuts, cranberries, or apples (optional)


1. Cut the loaf of bread into 1/2″ to 1″ cubes the night before and put them in a warm oven (a pilot light is sufficient) until the cubes are hard.

2. Don’t chop the vegetables too fine or the dressing will lack texture.

3. Sauté the sausage first then add the onions, mushrooms, celery, and garlic, cooking until the onions are translucent and the sausage is cooked.

4. Mix the bread cubes with the sautéed sausage and veggies then add the melted butter, eggs, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, curry powder, thyme, sage, rosemary, parsley, whatever other spices you might like, and fruit and/or nuts, if you want. Then add chicken broth until the mixture is quite moist but not mushy.

5. Put the stuffing in a covered casserole dish and bake at 350F for about 45 minutes. Enjoy and happy Thanksgiving!



Rachel-Dog-Island-FarmRachel’s friends in college used to call her a Renaissance woman. She was always doing something crafty, creative, or utilitarian. She still is. Instead of crafts, her focus these days has been farming as much of her urban quarter-acre as humanly possible. Along with her husband, she runs Dog Island Farm, in the San Francisco Bay Area. They raise chickens, goats, rabbits, dogs, cats, and a kid. They’re always keeping busy. If Rachel isn’t out in the yard, she’s in the kitchen making something from scratch. Homemade always tastes better! 


Happy HOMEGROWN Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

I am the Flock-Tender here on  I am keeping a chronicle of my experiences learning, living, and growing a homegrown lifestyle fresh out of college.

Ahhh, Thanksgiving. A holiday for all of your HOMEGROWN senses! From the turkey to the pie, there’s lots of good food – and family farmers – to be thankful for. May your tables sag under the weight of all the gastronomical goodness! Although the fare usually takes the cake (er, the pie) on Thanksgiving, I am getting back to the root of the holiday this year – celebrating the farmers that grow our food and connecting with folks that we share it with.

Photo Courtesy of Farm Aid

My family’s own holiday menu was crafted after we harvested what we grew and perused local markets over the weekend to find fresh, seasonal foods in our region (check out this downloadable menu from our friends at Farm Aid and fill it in with your own dishes). We hoped to get the “Connecticut Grown” stamp on everything we purchased, but extended our reach into other New England states. While “eating our zip code” this Thanksgiving eliminates some old standby dishes from our table, it allows us to experience the bounty of the season through others. Adios, green bean casserole; hello, mashed celeriac!

I am truly thankful to be able to enjoy local foods grown by family farms, instead whatever wilted veggies and oversize turkeys you can get last minute from the major food corporations. It sure tastes better keeping food dollars in our local economy and supporting family farmers on the land. Celebrate family farmers and independence from corporate control this year – stage your own version Occu-pie Thanksgiving!

Photo courtesy of Farm Aid

Prepping, preparing, and enjoying these foods connects us back to the root of our food system – the family farmer – and sharing them brings the connection full-circle. From the seed, to the soil, to the farmer, to the eater, food is a beautiful thing to celebrate. Passing the platters of good food between good folks instills the sense of community and conversation that we enjoy each day on! Start a HOMEGROWN discussion over your meal. Share with each other what you’ve been growing, doing, crafting, and cooking with each other.  Experience together and share new skills and ideas this Thanksgiving. Take the conversation off-line and back to the HOMEGROWN roots around the kitchen table! Let us know how you celebrated, and what you ate, this year.

However you celebrate this year, and whatever you’re cooking, I hope that your holiday is full of good food, good friends, and good times! Happy Thanksgiving.


HOMEGROWN Life: Snow on the Homestead and TURKEY, Baby!

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010


We have snow, snow, and more snow, with a chance of … you guessed it, more snow. It hit us like a ton of bricks. Absolutely, not expected—especially since we are located so close to the water. Within an hour of it snowing, I panicked. We still have tomatoes on the vine, bunnies in the run, and a few beans still going. Oh, yeah. I almost forgot, we’ve got just a few kids running around too. Just twenty days ago we had records temps in the 70s, and did I mention, I still have tomatoes going? We were not prepared.

Tomatoes and bunnies are in the garage—warming up. Beans I guess are a loss. I picked what I could find, but it looks like the deer felt bad for them too and put them out of their misery early. Clearly, I should have had some emergency plan laid out or maybe I should have invested in this year’s Farmer’s Almanac instead of the 2011 edition. Or perhaps it’s just the way things are. What doesn’t make it will bring life in the spring as it’s transformed in the compost.

With all of that being said, Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I’d like to share a recipe that has our family and friends coming back year after year. Our Brined BBQ Turkey. Hmmm … do I have you drooling yet?

You will need to start with a defrosted or fresh turkey. We typically have a 20-22 pound on hand. Yes, we need a turkey that size, and yes we keep multiple turkeys in our freezer—we love turkey year round, and why not?


Yummy, Moist Turkey a la the Cross Clan

4 cups of kosher salt

2 cups of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of black peppercorns

rosemary to taste

4 bay leaves


ice cubes

Don’t rinse that turkey off! Wipe it down with dry paper towels (or dish towels if you’re paper free). You’ll need a five gallon bucket, cleaned well. Yes, you’ll have to clean up the compost/weed/grain bucket, if you haven’t one set aside just for brine.

In your bucket, you’ll need to add brown sugar, kosher salt, pepper, bay leaves and rosemary to a half bucket of warm/hot water. Stir it up until the salt and sugar dissolve. Place your turkey upright, in the bucket. The turkey will make the water rise, not to mention you’re going to throw that ice on top too. You can switch this up if you’re afraid of spillage: turkey first, then water and ice. In the end, just make sure your turkey is covered with brine.

Put a cover on your bucket and let it sit for 24-36 hours. You will need to check the water temp from time to time. You want to keep it below 40 degrees, but you have some options here. You can add more ice if your bucket is big enough and keep it outside or in the garage. We’ve done both with no trouble. Or keep ice packs bungee corded around the bucket and rotate the frozen one. I haven’t tried this, but I bet it works well.

Whenever you’re ready to cook that bird, you’ll want to preheat your oven or gas BBQ grill to 350 degrees. Yes, the grill! We found that this way of cooking it is freakin’ awesome and it doesn’t take as long. If using the grill, be sure to place an old/disposable cookie sheet under the turkey, or the flames can’t help but lick the bird. It also helps to catch the drippings. For the oven, just use a standard roasting pan.

After 24-36 hours, pull your turkey from the bucket and discard the brine. Slice up ½ cup of butter and slide those little pats right under the skin of the breast. We have been known to spice it up a bit and slide rosemary up there too. Transfer your beautiful, brined turkey to your cooking choice and place breast up to start. Set a timer for thirty minutes. Be sure and keep an eye on the temperature of the grill, as it will drop and spike. When the thirty minutes is up, rotate your turkey ¼ turn, to its side. Set the timer for fifteen minutes. Again, keep an eye on the grill temperature throughout this process. When it’s time, rotate the bird so it’s cooking breast down for thirty minutes. Then rotate to the side for another fifteen minutes. Now’s the fun part. Rotate it back to breast up, give it a sweet aluminum foil canopy, and put it back in there for about an hour. A thermometer stuck into the thickest part of the thigh meat but not touching any bone should read 180.

That’s it. Of course, when it’s time to pull it out, be sure to let it rest. You can remove it from the roasting pan to a platter, but let it sit for a good 20 minutes or more before carving. My husband can never wait. He’s always pulling crispy skin and tender meat, wiping up the juices long before he should.

However you prepare your turkey, your meals, or for the worst weather, we are thankful to be able to share our recipe with you. We also wish you and your family nothing but the best this holiday season.

Tory’s blog is ChampagneWishesAndCouponDreams.

Tory, Sequim, WA

I live in the Pacific Northwest with my non-tree-hugging, environmentally friendly, dreamin’-of-farming husband and our four wild, dirt-lovin’ kids. When I’m not writing of the adventures (or misadventures) on our micro-homestead, you might find me stalking Craigslist, Freecycle, or Facebook. And since I’m all about multitasking, I’ll probably be out gardening, baking, menu planning, home educating, exploring with the kiddos, and scheming on how to get chickens past my HOA.