Tag Archives: turkey

Thankfully FUN.

Last year I flew to Scotland to celebrate Thanksgiving with my dad and step mum at our home in Bridge of Weir, a beautiful village near Glasgow. Having lost my mother earlier in the year, I just wanted to make an extra effort to be with my father for the holidays. We hadn’t celebrated Thanksgiving together since we lived in Okinawa, back in the early 1970s. It was a wonderful celebration combining Scottish ingredients with American dishes (note: haggis stuffing).

My sister Janet organizes our family Thanksgiving here in Los Angeles. Not only is she a fantastic cook but she goes ALL OUT with a yearly theme for the day. Recent celebrations have included Greek, Caribbean, Southern and even a British Thanksgiving.

This year? Well, we’ve come up with a fun retro idea for 2014 that I’ll be sharing on instagram and twitter on Turkey Day. Or check back here at the end of the month for photos and a recap.

If you’re feeling less than excited about the usual Thanksgiving gathering, think about adding a theme to the day. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Just a few ingredient changes (see below), inexpensive table settings and a trip to the thrift store if needed. Don’t take it TOO seriously… it’s all about having fun.

Photos from previous “theme” Thanksgiving meals:

Greek/Mediterranean 

Greek Thanksgiving 2010
Table setting (Greek)

Greek Thanksgiving 2010
Greek Thanksgiving Menu

Greek Thanksgiving 2010
Appetizers: Pita, Hummus and Saganaki Fried Cheese topped with plum and arugula.

Greek Thanksgiving 2010
Blue/White “Greek” Attire: My nephew Camron and his wife Jennee

Greek Thanksgiving 2010
Opa!

More photos from our Greek Thanksgiving

Southern

Southern Thanksgiving 2009
Southern libations!

Southern Thanksgiving 2009
Southern Thanksgiving Menu

Southern Thanksgiving 2009
Table setting (Southern)

Southern Thanksgiving 2009
Fried Green Tomatoes of course!

Southern Thanksgiving 2009
Uncle Peter carving the turkey (in his Southern overalls & bow tie!)

More photos from our Southern Thanksgiving

British

Thanksgiving 2012
Thanksgiving booze (British Theme)

Thanksgiving 2012
Menu (British Thanksgiving)

Janet (my sister) w her 3 sons: Chace, Cody and Camron. Thanksgiving 2012
My sister Janet and her three sons, Chace (left), Cody and Camron. Lots of plaid for “British” theme…

Kindal & Janet (my niece & my sister) Thanksgiving 2012
Janet and her daughter Kindal

I made Haggis Balls too! Thanksgiving 2012
Haggis BALLS (stuffing and haggis)

Lots of Scottish pride! Thanksgiving 2012
Great Scots! My husband Peter (left) and little brother, Greg.

More photos from our British Thanksgiving

Caribbean

Caribbean Thanksgiving 2008
Caribbean Thanksgiving Menu

Caribbean Thanksgiving 2008
Caribbean table setting

Caribbean Thanksgiving 2008
Bacon wrapped pineapple

Caribbean Thanksgiving 2008
Limbo of course!

Caribbean Thanksgiving 2008
Group shot (Caribbean Thanksgiving 2008)

More photos from our Caribbean Thanksgiving

Again, it’s all about sharing laughs and gathering around the family table. Enjoy and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

P.S. My favorite way to use up leftover stuffing? >

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Canned Joy

Nothin’ says lovin’ like a case of SPAM. I’ve loved it ever since I was a kid in Okinawa, and for my birthday this year, my adoring husband got me a case of assorted (I call it “gourmet”) SPAM. Peter also got me a pair of green, platform sandals that I’d been pining for, but I was more excited about the SPAM. Flavors in the case include: Hot & Spicy, Cheese, Smoked, Garlic, Turkey and BACON. That’s right… bacon flavored SPAM!

Birthday Spam! MyLastBite.com

Most of the expiration dates on the tins read “Mar 2012”, so it’s safe to say I won’t be powering through them anytime soon, and I wouldn’t want to. For me, these are high sodium childhood memories that mustn’t be eaten regularly, only as an occasional treat. I’ve learned my lesson in the past, so moderation (however difficult) is an absolute must.

This morning I set up a “wall of SPAM” behind my huge chopping block in the kitchen. It sort of reminds me of a tiny “Warhol Pop Art” installation and it just makes me smile. Now all I have to do is come up with some new spam-a-licious recipes!

Birthday Spam! MyLastBite.com
After unpacking the case.

My Mini Wall of Spam, MyLastBite.com
Part of my mini wall of SPAM


SPAM in my childhood

SPAM.com

Warhol

Me and Andy (on my birthday in 1986)

Pretty SPAM

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A Caribbean Thanksgiving (2008)

Every year my sister Janet hosts a “theme” Thanksgiving dinner. It’s fun for her because she gets to dream up new recipes and ideas, and it’s fun for the guests because it’s not the same dishes year after year. We still get to enjoy the ‘basics’ like roasted turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, but every dish is prepared with a little twist. 

At this years gathering we celebrated a “Caribbean Thanksgiving”, which included Jerk spices, exotic island flavors and a rousing game of Limbo! Thankfully we did this before we stuffed our faces.  

The Menu:
Coconut Shrimp w/ Pineapple Salsa
Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Bites
Caribbean Jerk Turkey
“Yo Ho” Mashed Potatoes
Buccaneer Gravy
Mango Cranberry Relish
Island Fresh Fruit Salad
Reggae Banana Chip Stuffing
Jonkanoo Seafood Salad
Grilled Veggies Abroad
Jerk Sausage Crostini
Key Lime Pie
Pirate Pumpkin Pie w/ Rum Whipping Cream
Chocolate Espresso Mini Cakes
Apple Alamode 

Janet’s Caribbean Turkey: She rubbed it first with olive oil, salt, pepper and Jamaican Jerk seasoning. It was stuffed with fresh limes, celery, onions, garlic and quartered butter cubes (about 8)… then followed with a quick wash of soy sauce. She then covered the wings and tips of the drum sticks and covered the entire turkey with foil, making sure to baste every hour. The turkey was 22.5 pounds to start, and ended up being over 25 after stuffing!

Photos of the delicious, family fun day!

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
Cody & Chace Cutting Pineapple

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
Kindal & Chace, Bacon Wrapped Pineapple

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
Uncooked Bacon Pineapple Bites

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
Pirate Decor

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
Table Settings

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
Janet and Cody. Done Cooking!

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
Kindal and Chace

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
Limbo Time! Janet, Kindal, Chace, Paul, Trevor and Laur!

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
Thankfully we did this before eating!

Caribbean Thanksgiving Menu, MyLastBite.com
The Menu

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
Janet and her delicious Caribbean Jerk Turkey.

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
Peter gets carving!

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
Reggae Stuffing

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Bites

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
Jerk Sausage Crostini

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
It’s time to eat!

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
Chow Time!

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
Happy Cody! With piles of food and Jade.

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
Paul with Chocolate Espresso Mini Cakes

"Not Your Grandma's Thanksgiving" MyLastBite.com
STUFFED and very grateful indeed!

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Filed under Food Stories (written by me)