Coffee Talk 11.22.20

Greetings, friends! I hope you’ve had a good week, and if you’re celebrating, that you’re getting excited for Thanksgiving.

Ours is going to look quite different this year. I will be cooking for the first time ever. That’s right, I have never cooked a Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve always gone to my mom’s or my mother-in-law’s or my brother-in-law’s… anywhere but here. Haha!

I don’t know why, but the idea of cooking a turkey and making the whole Thanksgiving feast intimidates me, which is dumb because I cook all the time, and I’ve roasted a chicken more times than I can count.

Although, now that I think about it, I have a really bad way of undercooking a roast chicken… it seems like it never comes out quite right. Maybe that is why the idea of cooking a turkey makes me want to run to the nearest Boston Market and pick up Thanksgiving dinner takeout.

And truthfully, takeout sounds like a great idea to me, but the kids really want the traditional meal with all the fixin’s, and since we canceled their trip to Grammie’s house, I guess I owe them that much.

Yes, up until last week, we were planning to go home to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, but due to the way the Covid situation is escalating both here and there, we decided to stay put. So it will just be the 5 of us, for the first time ever.

I have to say, it really seems like the Covid situation is closing in on us. It’s not that I didn’t take it seriously before, but our area was in pretty good shape for much of the summer, and we felt comfortable dining out and socializing with a select group of friends and family members.

But as predicted, it’s getting worse as we head into fall and winter, and more people we know locally are getting it. I’m starting to feel like a ticking time bomb.

For us (I know the situation is different for everyone, depending on where you are located and your personal risk factors) that means it’s time to hunker down and start taking more precautions, both in hopes of avoiding the virus ourselves, and also to help mitigate the spread and keep our hospitals from reaching capacity… which sounds like a very real possibility.

I keep telling my kids, we just have to sit tight and be patient and get through the next few months. Next year will look a lot different… I truly believe that.

We will have big family gatherings again, and travel again, and worship and sing hymns without being muffled by a paper mask… This will end. I even see a teeny-tiny light at the end of the tunnel. We just have to make it through a few more months of this, so I’m trying to do that with as much joy and patience as possible.

In a way, it’s easy for me to say. I have my work to keep me busy, and I’m a homebody by nature. But it’s hard on the kids. They are missing so much, and they don’t have the longterm perspective we do as adults.

And then I think, there are much greater trials than kids being stuck home with their families for a year of their life. I try to gently remind mine of that every once in a while, without totally disregarding their feelings of isolation and disappointment about how many things they’ve missed.

Those feelings are legit, and so I try to help them find a healthy balance between mourning their losses and counting their blessings. All in all, I think they’re handling it pretty well, at least from what I can tell. It’s hard to know sometimes.

On a lighter note… I had the house to myself yesterday, and it was sublime!

Paul took the girls to see his mom (they wore masks and stayed mostly outside…thank goodness for mild weather!) and I stayed back to catch up on things around the house and enjoy some solitude.

I went for a long run in my old stomping grounds. Well, it was long to me these days… 3½ miles. That half matters, too. It’s the first time I’ve run farther than 3 miles since I had to stop running due to that hip/back problem that plagued me for the first half of 2020.

Then I got home and did the whole shower/hair/makeup thing. Even though I wasn’t going anywhere or seeing anyone beyond my immediate family, it felt really good, and I took some time to experiment with that Tarte eye shadow palette I’ve ben using lately.

I got caught up on laundry throughout the day, and I was thinking of wrapping a few presents, but I didn’t have wrapping paper so I ended up doing some work. I said I wasn’t going to do that, but it was so nice to have a quiet house to think and write. I get so tired of hearing voices droning on and on while I’m trying to work.

Other than that, I really kind of enjoy having everyone together at home. We have a big house, and there’s plenty of room for us all to spread out and do our own things, but sometimes I just can’t escape the sound of voices, and it drives me a little bit batty.

And yes, I realize if that is my biggest complaint from this situation, I have it pretty good.

On that note, I need to sign off here and get ready for the day. Even though I ran yesterday, I want to get back out there this morning and take advantage of these mild temperatures while we have them. It’s a little chilly right now, but there’s no wind, so it feels really nice. I’ll probably just walk the neighborhood and listen to a podcast. I haven’t done that in a while.

As many of us head into a holiday week that may look a lot different than usual, I hope you get a chance to take some time off, relax, eat some good food, and enjoy your friends and family… even if it’s via Zoom or FaceTime. Meanwhile, have a restful and blessed Sunday!

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69 thoughts on “Coffee Talk 11.22.20

  1. I enjoy reading your Sunday posts! I’m going to be home with only my husband and kids for the first time ever too for Thanksgiving. I told each of the kids that they have to make at least one part of Thanksgiving dinner! We actually had Covid back in August, and while I know there are “at-risk” groups, my husband and I had it pretty mildly. (Lost our sense of smell for over a week which was very strange). Our 5 kids never even had symptoms. Anyway, it’s kind of a relief to have it over with for now! Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Yes, it would be nice to have that behind us! I know of quite a few who had it mild, but it seems like those getting it around here are getting a pretty bad case of it. Ugh. I think the dread and worry is possibly worse than the virus, lol. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  2. Thank you for your Sunday posts. You are one of the few who blogs on Sundays. I also thank you for keeping it real. I agree that these kids are taking it hard. We’ve had to put them in counseling, and I’m not sure if it is really helping/working. Ugh! It’s hard to be a young person in 2020. May the 5 of you have a happy Thanksgiving.

  3. Thank you for your upbeat Sunday morning post, Jo-Lynne. I find myself going out of my way every day to find the positives during this trying time. Your post made me smile. Don’t be intimidated by cooking a turkey. Look up how to spatchcock a turkey– it is so easy compared to the cooking all day method. After doing it last year, I will never cook a turkey any other way. When I told one of my sons about my discovery, he rolled his eyes and said of course you should spatchcock it– that’s how I roast my whole chickens to save time and guarantee it’s cooked properly. lol. Last year my 15/16-pound turkey took around 2 hours, maybe less. The only downside is you can’t stuff the turkey, but I’ve never done that because stuffing/dressing is my family’s favorite side. I always make it separately.
    Have a blessed day.

  4. I’ve never cooked Thanksgiving dinner either. I don’t particularly care for turkey, and my daughter won’t eat ANY of the traditional dinner unless you include rolls… so I think I’m going to research our take out options. Maybe Chinese?

  5. Good Morning!  Hoping your Thanksgiving meal turns out beautifully!  It can be pretty daunting…  

    Two questions…
    How do you care for your cashmere sweaters?
    How is your IF going during this whole Covid mess?  Wondering if being stuck in the house causes you to eat more?  Guess that’s three questions. Ha!

    1. Hey Susan, I dryclean all my cashmere. I know you can handwash it, but I tried it once, and I didn’t like how it came out.

      IF is going great. It is the only thing keeping me sane, honestly. I am sure I would have put on some major weight through this if I hadn’t had the IF to fall back on. I’ve managed to keep my weight off the whole time, and it makes my job SO much easier when I’m not stressed about how things will fit. It’s tempting to eat when I wouldn’t normally, and sometimes I do, but overall I’ve been able to stay pretty consistent.

  6. This is such a nice breath of fresh air! Hope for a better future and appreciation for all the blessings right now! Thank you!❤️

  7. Hi JoLynne,
    Thanks for your VERY comprehensive article on monetizing your blog.  As a “newbie blogger” I’m going to try and sign up for the new ShopStyle Collective.  Do you have any idea if there’s a minimum number of followers to qualify?
    Also with respect to your first Thanksgiving ever, take a peek at my blog this past week.  I have a post on “Thanksgiving Timelines”, one on Menus, and even a tablescape that should help.  BE SURE to get EVERYONE INVOLVED in the prep and clean-up.  You’ll do great!
    Happy Thanksgiving 🦃 to your sweet family!
    Julie Marshall

    1. Thanks, Julie. I will definitely check it out. Also, anyone can be a part of ShopStyle’s new Standard Program. You just have to verify your IG and FB accounts, I think. They walk you through it.

  8. You can do this! 🦃😉
    The girls will help, they’re becoming good cooks as well…
    This will be our 1st Thanksgiving at home, instead of going to Philly to be with family.
    Really makes me aware of the blessings I’ve taken for granted over the years.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours ❤️

  9. I had never cooked a turkey until about four years ago when I needed to take over preparations from my mother-in-law. It really intimidated me, but I use this recipe from Ree Drummond, and it’s turned out beautifully each year. I don’t brine it, and I use the all herb butter option. It really is easy. https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/food-cooking/recipes/a11883/roasted-thanksgiving-turkey/

  10. When I get depressed on what we cannot do (including missing our grandson’s first Christmas), I realize that so many people will never have their relatives back at a holiday table. I count our blessings for sure.
    I love making Thanksgiving dinner! (We are going to try to go to friends’, just the 4 of them and the 2 of us), socially distanced at a separate table (and they are tested weekly.) I think the key to a successful Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner is planning ahead. I start over this weekend (make the pie crusts and freeze them), and I have it all written out (when to do what). The last two years we have been in NC, and my daughter has done the dinner (and done it wonderfully with my recipes, which are my mother’s), and I noticed she also has a list of what to do when haha! And the parade is always on (just like it was at my parents’ house.)
    Enjoy the preparations as well as the dinner. I am sure it will be delicious.

    1. Yes, and that is my problem. I am not a good planner. I am consumed with work tasks and don’t really have time to think about Thanksgiving dinner till 3PM on Wednesday, haha! But I know I need to do some planning… hopefully this afternoon. We will make it a family affair.

  11. Good morning, 
    We are back on lockdown here in Minnesota for the next month. So no Thanksgiving gatherings here.
    My 81 year old farher is currently hospialized in Arizona with covid, but doing very well. He will there for 5 days on the remdisivir treatment & the platelet treatment. Thank God fo these treatments!!
    Next year will be better & will be back to gatherings, celebrating, & traveling after we each get our shots.
    Thank you for all the posts.
    Happy Thanksgiving & Be Safe!

    1. I’m so sorry your dad is down with Covid, but it sounds like he is in good hands. We know a few who have it, and they are not having an easy time – some are young too. It’s frightening b/c I have asthma and I just tend to have weird issues that no one can diagnose. I fear I’ll be the one with all the complications. And my kids too… they’re all asthmatic and can’t afford to lose weight. So yeah, trying not to worry, but I will be glad when this is behind us. Looking forward to next year, but of course, who knows what next year might bring, so trying to enjoy the here and now and be grateful for how good we have it. 🙂

  12. I think the trick to a great turkey is a very high quality meat thermometer and not overdoing the prep. If you like super soft turkey brining is fine but personally I don’t like the squishy texture that gives the meat. Here’s what I do: first I use a package of fresh rosemary. Take the rosemary and pound it a bit to release the scent. Stick that in the turkey with half an onion. Mix a stick of  butter with you favorite herbs and some salt and pepper. Work 3/4 of the butter under the turkey breast skin. The other 1/4 put on top after adding paprika to the mix. Cook the turkey at 400 degrees ( yep!) for 20 min. Then turn down to 350 degrees. Keep an eye. If top starts to get too dark tent it. Use one of those Butterball charts to look at cooking time but since they cook at 325 ( which dries the turkey out in my experience) start checking about 1 hr before they recommend.  Check every 15 min or more if it’s really close to 165 degrees.  As soon as the turkey hit 165 degrees pull it out of the oven and cover til done.  

  13. Good morning! Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving! You are receiving so many ideas for roasting turkey! Our favorite way was suggested by my husband’s great uncle many years ago. Use a Reynold’s Oven Bag, turkey size and just follow the instructions. It takes less time than just roasting and your turkey will be beautifully browned and perfectly juicy.! Every time! We’ve hosted for many years and have never had any problem with this method. You’ll need a large roasting pan or sturdy disposable one set on a cookie sheet. We always order a fresh turkey from a local farm and they have their own seasoning rub that comes with it, so the only other thing is that I put seasoning in the cavity also and onion & celery with the leaves. We do not stuff the turkey; we make dressing separately. Good luck with whichever method you choose. Your family will probably have lots of fun helping and it will be a memorable time. Blessings from Illinois! 

  14. You can prepare the Thanksgiving meal!  Maybe your girls, or at least Caroline, can help with the side dishes.  I have a story for you – for my senior year high school home economics project, we had to cook a meal by ourselves.  Well, I decided to prepare my family’s Thanksgiving meal.  That was back in 1973 so I don’t remember the specifics, but I do know that I made an A on the project.  As much as you cook, you’ve got this!!  I’m glad that you enjoyed your alone time yesterday.  While all of us are in different situations, I do believe that if more of us were better about mask wearing, not traveling, and staying away from people that don’t live with us, the spike in positive cases would be less.  The 3 schools in our county were shut down on Wed. due to the # of positive cases and won’t open back up until 12/8.  Have a blessed day!

    1. That is so funny that you made a Thanksgiving dinner for Home Ec. Sorry to hear about your schools. Ours is still open for hybrid, but some around us have closed. Becca decided to switch to cyber anyway, since cases are rising, and she doesn’t like going back and forth. So we are all at home for now!

  15. Hi, my husband attended a Thanksgiving cooking class and subsequently took over the bird, stuffing, gravy and frenched green bean dishes. They are consistently fabulous. I make the pie, cranberries, potatoes and anythingphoto.

    We are zooming with our dear friends who normally gather at our home. We are eating at 5pm “with” them via zoom to eat dinner together, yet separate.

    I wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving! It’s all about making memories. Please share a photo. I love seeing families gather!

    I’m interested in seeing comparisons about healthy talc-free face setting powder. I was going to buy Laura Mercier, but saw talc is the first ingredient. I want to learn about cruelty-free, healthy options. Thanks!

  16. Have you thought of noise canceling headphones? My daughter is working from home and she wears the Boise headphones to quiet the chatter of her three girls. 

    1. Ah, yes, I actually have some… although my 18 y/o has been “borrowing” them – for the same reason. She can’t deal with a lot of distractions, thus her choice to cyber school back in 8th grade.

      Maybe I should try that. They just look heavy and cumbersome. And I like hearing life around me, just not droning voices on conference calls… lol! So maybe I will use them when it starts to get to me. Usually I just take my laptop to my bedroom for a while, or try to run an errand. 🙂

  17. Jo-Lynne, I always enjoy your Coffee Talk. Just like it was for our Thanksgiving (Canadian), Christmas will be just my husband and me. It’s disappointing not to see family and we miss our friends but my husband and I focus on the long term picture. We also try to be thankful for the simple things in life now. I hope that you have a very special Thanksgiving with the five of you.

  18. Well my pants were a little tight when I dressed for church so I’m going on a 4 day diet so I can enjoy Thanksgiving. Ha I think I’ve had too many carbs. Glad you had a quiet day yesterday. I love those occasionally.

  19. Jo-Lynne,
    My husband’s cooking class on Thanksgiving was thru Home Chef. He does a sage and pinenut dressing (turkey cooks faster). The bird is rubbed with unsalted butter and sweet paprika to impart a golden finish. The bird is in a V-rack. And he shifts the breast angle to ensure even cooking and browning. He bastes every 20 minutes in melted butter and the result is the juiciest most lovely bird with a crisp skin. The gravy is a sage bourbon gravy, and since we don’t use alcohol, it’s made using bourbon extract and non-alcoholic white chardonnay with the pan drippings. The dressing has toasted pinenuts, celery and since I became GF, we use GF stuffing mix…virtually amazing and no after affects. Its available at whole foods and Safeway.

  20. I have never cooked a turkey either and have no plans to try anytime soon!  My mom and I do all the traditional homemade sides but order a smoked turkey from a local smokehouse!   Maybe you could pick up a cooked turkey from a restaurant and just make the sides and desserts yourself?  It would definitely make your job easier! Also if your girls enjoy cooking it might be fun to get them involved.  Maybe it would help distract them from the fact the holiday is so different?

  21. Have a great Thanksgiving … try a small turkey (or turkey breast) and put it in the crockpot or roaster with some broth and herbs and forget about it, it is super easy and always comes out moist. 

  22. I didn’t start making Thanksgiving dinner until I was 50! I certainly made sides and desserts but I took over for my MIL and I actually love it! This year is just my husband and my youngest who lives with us. All the other kids are trying their hand at Thanksgiving. We will gather over Zoom for dessert. I’m so glad to read so many of your followers are being safe. We shouldn’t be gathering, says the CDC, or we are in for a spike on top of a wave which is scary. We will round the corner next year and this will all fade to an (unpleasant) memory. Happy Thanksgiving and good luck with the bird!

  23. Great post! Enjoy your thanksgiving holiday at home.  Ours original plans have  changed as well! It’s not too hard to cook a turkey.  You can buy the kind with the timer inserted in it so you can see when it’s done.  :). I agree that we will gather in large groups again and be able to sing hymns without a mask in the not too distant future!  

  24. I bought an electric roasting pan about five years ago and cook my Thanksgiving turkey in it every year. It cooks a little faster than in the oven, and it comes out super juicy, moist, with a crispy outer skin. It sits on the counter top and fills the air with a delicious aroma. 🙂 I use a recipe for herb butter by Ina Garten; it’s easy and so good. I also stuff the inside with fresh lemons and shallots along with more herb butter and kosher salt.

    This way my oven is freed up for cooking all the sides. My gathering will be just my family of four and my parents who live nearby. I am actually making my shopping list right now and cutting all my recipes in half since there will only be 6 of us. I was only going to make one pie, but my boys have protested; they want both the traditional pumpkin pie and a French apple pie too. So I will be making both!

    Another topic: Last night I started doing some holiday cooking baking and was up later than usual. I had the TV on HSN and found myself intrigued by IMAN clothing. (I’ve never bought clothes from HSN). However, she has cashmere lounge pants that look amazing and come in different lengths (yay for tall inseam options). So anyway, I added a pair in black to my cart, but haven’t hit the “buy” button yet. If you provide your QVC link I will use it to purchase them. Fingers crossed that they are as good as they looked on the models last night!

  25. This year is going to be just us and our grown children for Thanksgiving. Last year I just cooked a turkey breast in the instapot and it came out perfect!  It was super easy too!

  26. I know what you mean about making an entire Thanksgiving meal! One thing I learned is I have to cook the turkey a half an hour per pound this way it is fully cooked, tender no pink!! This year is going to be unbelievably sad for us because we are on lockdown and we can only have our family we live with.. so that means my hubby, my son and myself for Thanksgiving!
    Our lockdown is supposed to continue until December 18th that’s unbearable at times!! no in person church, no gym.. you can only go through drive thru restaurants, however all the stores and malls and all that stuff are wide open. hair salons are open, you can get your nails done, but what’s the point of getting your hair and nails done when you’re going to be stuck at home for almost a month!!


    Cindy Leevana

    1. Ugh, so far we aren’t that locked down here, but it may be coming. I still get my nails done, home or not. It makes me feel good. 🙂 I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving even if it’s small this year.

  27. Hey- I noticed when I commented earlier from my iPad that I got that message again: “awaiting moderation.” I wondered if you saw it. 
    I’m waiting to order some cashmere lounge pants to see if you have a link for HSN. 😘 Id love for you to get credit. 

  28. Sounds like the same situation as me in Oklahoma. Clovid wasn’t too bad then boom it blew up! Ugh  Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving with your family and you are handling this as best as you can. Like someone else said Turkey Roaster, Broth, Herbs, easy as can be. Enjoy those kids of yours they grow so fast. 

  29. A very nice post, Jo-Lynne.  My husband and I were just discussing that Covid is getting closer to us.  And, we have been careful also.  We will be enjoying Thanksgiving here in Florida with two longtime friends.  We are fortunate to have nice weather now so we can be outside.

  30. Jo-Lynne, I wanted to AMEN your whole post. I think your thoughts, how you are handling them and your kids is just right.  I just got off texting with a young gal in my church who is struggling with going to her in-laws with 19 people attending and so its causing problems between her husband and her. I don’t think any Thanksgiving meal is worth the stress and fighting between husband and wife or any family member.  I think everyone needs to have GRACE during this time.  You hit the nail on the head. The cases are increasing in the whole United States and if we hunker down awhile longer even if only to help our health care workers and not over load our hospitals I think that is a good thing.  If any of you out there are healthcare workers, you know. I have a husband, daughter and son who are and they are tired.  Someday, you will look back at this Thanksgiving YOU made and spent with JUST your family and you will always cherish it.  It might be a good year to teach your girls how to make Thanksgiving, as you learn too. I was just like you. My Grandma, and Aunts and then my mom always cooked the meal and we had a big family gatherings.  I didn’t cook my first Thanksgiving meal until well into my 40’s.  I don’t particularly like cooking a turkey and I think its the unknown of wondering if its going to turn out and all the other dishes to coordinate to come out on time together.  It takes a long time to plan, grocery shop and cook then everyone eats the meal in 15 min.  Ha Ha.  I don’t host this year(I do every other year) with just my kids and their kids.  This year going to my daughter and her husbands who aren’t flying to their in-laws.  It will be just the 5 of us, which is safe and okay. We will make memories and be thankful for each other and health so far.  Have a blessed evening and thanks for your honest post. You really are doing a great job with your growing kids.  They are blessed.  God is Good and we can be thankful for that no matter where we are or who we are with.  

  31. Treat yourself and get takeout.  You are on the East Coast, so it is easy to do.  My in laws are from the other side if the Delaware River over in Jersey.  They have never cooked for Thanksgiving or Christmas in any living in law’s memory.  They have several places in their town that specialize in takeout holiday meals.  For quality and price, they are hard to beat.  For the same reason, none of my in laws bake—world class bakeries are ubiquitous there in Jersey.  

  32. Happy Thanksgiving.
    Just the 2 of us this year, but still looking forward to it we do still have much to be thankful for.

    Good luck with dinner. You may just start a new tradition. We started hosting the holidays at about your age…It’s been crazy & fun. I always figured it was my family, and they didn’t care if I messed up everything and we ate peanut butter sandwiches….and there were a few times it almost came to that.

    Have fun!

  33. The little pop-up thingy on the turkeys help w/ knowing when the turkey is done. Life saver!
    Thank goodness! Hope you have a nice Thanksgiving day and weekend. Thanks for blog!

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