Holiday Turkey Recipe-Amazing Every Time!

how to cook a turkey

If you’re looking for my recipe for “Perfect Turkey Every Time” I’ve updated the post and you’ll find it here.

I’m in the process of moving all my most popular content to my main website at Traveling with Purpose. That’s where I share about living a purposeful life at home and when I’m traveling.

If you haven’t tried it before, trust me on this one. This turkey recipe is delicious. Never dry! The white meat melts in your mouth. It’s a SLOW roasting method, and once it’s in the oven, you can forget it for hours, until you’re ready to eat.

Have fun and let me know how your dinner turns out.

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving

I pray that each and every one of you enjoys a holiday filled with the love and comfort of family and dear friends.  There are many hurting in this season, so please remember those who are in need of physical or emotional support.  Our hearts are with you…

Thanksgiving Table in the back yard

This photo was taken at Thanksgiving a few years ago.  It makes me thankful that the weather in Arizona is often nice enough to sit outside during the holidays.

Perkins family

And here’s a Perkins family photo from last year.

On this day of remembering, I’m also thankful for…

  1. Wonderful family that’s always there in good times and bad
  2. Precious friends who love and encourage me
  3. God’s provision for our needs and beyond
  4. A comfortable home filled with joy
  5. Plenty of food on the table
  6. A house filled with music
  7. The gift of creativity and imagination
  8. God’s amazing creation
  9. Good health
  10. The freedom to travel this glorious planet

And soooo much more…

Blessings from our family to yours today and throughout the coming year.


I trust that everyone had a great day, filled with the love of family and friends.  We shared a great meal and did some catching up with the Perkins family today.
This is the gang (above) that was there for dinner.  I’m right there behind the camera, as usual.  I didn’t want to take the time to take the picture with the timer while the food was getting cold.  I’m not sure why Terry looks so puzzled.  Oh well.
There were 11 of us all together, which is a small group for our family, but since our kids live out of state and weren’t able to come this year, that reduces our numbers by 3. Both my sisters’other kids were out of state too and Dustin was at his girlfriend’s house, which reduced the numbers even more.  Left to right around the table: Terry, my brother – Pat, my oldest sister – Diane, Russell’s friend – Sharon, my mom – Jaye, my sister Sharon’s son – Russell, Diane’s daughter – Lisa, Diane’s ex-husband – Steve, my sister Sharon’s husband – Steve, and my middle sister Sharon.   Kind of funny – 2 Sharons and 2 Steves in that small group.  Steves kind of run in our family for some reason.  None of them are Perkins’, they just joined the family one way or another.
Here are the girls in the kitchen getting things ready. I was kind of surprised that we 3 sisters have so many different ideas about cooking the traditional Thanksgiving foods.  You would think that we would have all learned the same way, but I guess over the years we’ve discovered new recipes.  I did realize that we never really all cooked meals together with my mom when we were young.  I guess it’s because when I was getting to be old enough to be interested in cooking my sisters were both already out of the house.  So now we get the chance at least once or twice a year to spend a little time in the kitchen together.
Doesn’t this look like the refrigerator of a Grandma?  I think it’s sweet that bits of Kassidy, Jacob and Josh’s names can be seen in the alphabet soup there.
Our family never seems to be short on desserts.  In fact, we had 6 different desserts for 11 of us!  That works out to more than a half a pie each.  I think that’s a bit of overkill, but we divided up the leftovers and managed to send it all home with someone.
Nothing significant about these peppers.  I just like the way they coordinated with the plate they were on.  Aren’t they lovely?

This is a little bit of the fresh cranberry orange relish that I made.  I’m not a big fan of the canned stuff so thought it would be fun to try a recipe with fresh cranberries.  It was so easy!  Here’s how to do it.

1 bag fresh cranberries (washed and bad ones discarded)
1 orange with the peel left on (washed)
1 apple with the peel left on (washed and cored)
1 cup sugar
Cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger (optional – to taste)

Throw everything but the sugar and spices in a food processor and chop.  Place in bowl and add sugar and spices.  That’s it!  This can be made 3 – 5 days ahead and it tastes even better.

I also added some of this same mixture to raspberry jello to make a cranberry jello salad.  I think that was even a little better than the relish by itself.  But both of them turned out pretty good, I think.  They’re not nearly as sweet as the traditional canned or cooked cranberry sauce.  The orange rind gives it a citrus tang, which I personally prefer over the ultra-sweet of the other kind.  Try it sometime with ham too!

This last photo is a little centerpiece that I put together to transition from fall to Christmas.  Fall items with Christmas colors.  The green apples are faux, but there are two huge fresh pomegranates in the jar as well.  I hope they stay fresh for a while.  I love the deep red color of them.

Well, I’m planning to do a little bit of Christmas shopping on Black Friday.  Terry has to work, so I have the day to myself.  Not sure if I’ll go out or if it will be online.  I never go out early…usually sometime mid-morning.  As are most people, we’re cutting back some on Christmas this year, so I have to be more selective in what I buy.  It’s hard for me because I like to show love by giving gifts.  It’s also tricky because Kevin will have to carry everything back on the plane and A & A are in a tiny studio apartment so don’t have much room for anything of any size.

I just realized that this is getting pretty long so I’ll close for now.  I’m thinking about trying to journal about Christmas every day in December, but we’ll see how that goes.  Be sure to check back again soon.  There’s lots going on in the coming weeks.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

I hope your day was filled with the joys of family & friends!

We had a relatively quiet day, compared to other years. We had only 7 here for dinner compared to 20 or 30 in the past. Amy & Andrew are in So Cal, Kevin is in the Middle East, my sister, Sharon is in Kuwait, Ashley & Russell were at Ashley’s parent’s house, Lisa was with the Strattons and Hope & Steve were with Steve’s family.

So dinner time was Terry and I, my mom, Diane, Pat, Sharon’s boyfriend-Steve and Sharon’s son, Dustin. It was a nice group. Dustin was kind to put up with us older folks with no other young people around. He’s growing up to be quite a handsome young man (see below). He’s in ROTC right now and wants to be a pilot someday.

Steve was so sweet to bring Diane and I early Christmas presents (which he didn’t need to do) but he’s going to be out of town at Christmas and said he wanted to. He got us each beautiful serving dishes that we can use for entertaining. I can already picture when I’m going to use mine. Steve’s so thoughtful. Sharon finally has a great guy! He’s the one in the blue shirt talking on the phone. I wanted to get a picture of him on the phone to send to Sharon so she can see what he looks like when she’s talking with him.

There are also pics here of Mom, Diane & Pat.

We were thrilled to get a phone call from Kevin early in the day too!!! We had been trying to figure out a way to connect with him, but weren’t sure that it was going to happen. We had a chance to talk to him for a half hour. It was so great to hear his voice! We got to find out a little bit about what it’s like there, although he can’t tell us what he’s doing. He says he might be moving to a different location, so he doesn’t want us to send anything for Christmas until he knows his new address. I may send a few things anyway, just on the chance that he’ll get them at Christmas. I’d hate for him to be without anything to open. We miss him.
Sharon called too and I got to talk to her for just a few minutes. She’s a bit homesick and wanted us to take lots of pictures and send them to her. I’ll be printing out some of these and others from our day together and sending them to her. We missed having her here with us.
We tried to call Amy & Andrew, but only were able to connect with them for a few minutes. We missed them too!
Ron & Bunny stopped by for a little while in the evening and we got to catch up a little bit on them and the family. It was great to see them.

Here’s a picture of our nearly 24 pound turkey. I have this amazing recipe where it cooks overnight and turns out delicious…and it was!
This Grandma Perkins Pumpkin Patch sign always reminds me of Thanksgivings with my own Grandma Perkins and the extended family in Ohio. We would have tables and tables of people and food and homemade pies. I had so many cousins that I really barely knew many of them, but we’d all get together on Thanksgiving at my grandma’s house for dinner and visiting. My uncle would sometimes go out and hunt rabbits after dinner (poor rabbits) and the cousins would all hang out together outside while the aunts and uncles would catch up on the latest family news.
I’m so thankful for all the blessings that God has bestowed on me thru-out my life and especially what he’s sent our way this year. I trust that you’re able to consider all the big and little things that God has allowed to happen or has protected you from in 2008 and thank him for his loving care. We serve a gracious God! Happy Thanksgiving!

Dozens of reasons to be thankful…


I know that many people have a difficult time around the holidays, due to pain, or loss, or illness or sadness. I’ve always felt that God has given me so much more than I deserve. I guess that’s what grace is all about, right? Getting something that we don’t deserve? Amazing, isn’t it.

(Grace= the free and unmerited favor of God).

Oh, I’ve experienced my share of losses, but often I feel as though there’s a protective hedge around my immediate family that doesn’t allow in too much pain. I also know that this may not always be the case. We all experience various trials and tests, but I hope that even when the hard times come, I’ll still be able to say thank you to God for walking with me through it all.

In light of the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the blessings that I’ve received even just recently…I’m thankful that

We made it through the last 2 years of craziness with a move from California, Terry being out of work for 6 months, both of us changing jobs, moving twice, remodeling a house, and both of our kids’ weddings being 6 weeks apart.

I have a wonderful husband who loves me and takes great care of me.

Our daughter, Amy is somehow able to juggle, a new marriage, work, school and fun and is almost finished with her Master’s degree at ASU.

Our son, Kevin graduated from the Defense Language Institute with a certificate in Mandarin Chinese.

Kevin made it through Air Force survival training safely, despite rain, mud, freezing temperatures, and stressful physical and mental treatment.

Our children are healthy, gifted adults who enjoy life.

Our children have wonderful loving spouses that are supportive, encouraging, patient and loving, who would do anything for them.

Our children have in-laws that love, encourage and pray for them.

Our extended families are healthy and safe.

Our nephew, Russell came home safely from Iraq.

We have a fantastic comfortable home that we can share with friends, families and much more.

Terry and I both have good jobs that support and encourage us.

We have the freedom to attend church and worship God whenever we want.

We have a wonderful church home at Open Door Fellowship where we’re learning what it means to trust God and others with who we are.

We have amazing friends all around the country who have always been there for us through all of our ups and downs.

We have opportunities to travel and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation all around us.

We have been blessed with so much more than we deserve in relation to physical and material things.

We are in excellent health.

We live in a country where we’re free to do and be whatever we want to.

I can dream, plan and explore in whatever direction my heart takes me.

Most of all, I have an awesome God who walks with me every minute of every day and is totally crazy about me, know matter what I think of myself at any given moment. He has great plans in store for me and all I have to do is trust him with myself.

Thanksgiving in four places…


Location 1: Amy and Andrew had a nice quiet meal at home in their apartment in Tempe and made their first Thanksgiving meal together. It was kind of strange not to have them with us, but we totally understood that they wanted to enjoy their 2nd Thanksgiving holiday as a married couple, to begin some of their own traditions and create some of their own memories. It sounds like they had a beautiful day.

Location 2: Terry and I had dinner at our house with some of the Perkins family. It was our smallest Thanksgiving gathering in a long time, if not ever. For dinner there were only 7 of us! That’s less than our original immediate family of 8. We had mom(Grandma Jaye), Sharon and her friend John, Sharon’s son Russell (in photo above) and his girlfriend Shannon, Terry and me. We were so thankful to have Russ here this year, now that he’s home safely from Iraq.

Diane, Steve and Lisa had dinner with Steve’s family since his mom had just been released from the hospital the day before. They joined us later for dessert (lots of pie) and games (Apples to Apples). We had a 19 pound turkey and cooked 10 pounds of potatoes plus much more, so we had plenty of leftovers to send home with those who wanted them and we still have quite a bit here. It’s o.k. though, because we like leftovers. It was a gorgeous day outside so we set up the table in the backyard…one of the perks of living in AZ. The weather was perfect!

Unfortunately I got so involved in being the hostess that I forgot to take pictures when we were eating and playing…another reason why we missed Amy. She always remembers the pictures!

Location 3: Kevin is stationed near Spokane, WA right now and he wasn’t able to get home for this holiday. He actually spent Thanksgiving on the base and said that the turkey in the mess hall wasn’t too bad.

He and 3 of his (linguist) friends also drove 3 hours south to our friend’s house in Mabton, WA and had another turkey dinner on Friday. It was so sweet of Paul & Jane to host this meal for the guys. Of course, they’ve been loving our kids for decades and this is just another evidence of that. How awesome to have such dear friends there when we can’t be!

Location 4: Our new daughter-in-law, Erin was in Santa Clarita with her family there. Ever since Kevin graduated from language school, he’s been in Texas and Washington state on assignments that were too short for her to be with him, so she’s been living in SCV since the end of September. We look forward to seeing her again and to the time when they’ll be together.

Even though we couldn’t all be together we’re thankful that we could all be with people we enjoy and who love us. That’s a true blessing.

A Thanksgiving Prayer

(from a friend of a friend)

Glorious God,
how curious,
and what a confession
that we should set aside one day a year
and call it Thanksgiving.
I smile at the presumption,

and hope you smile, too.
But the truth is,
Holy Friend,
That my words can’t carry all the praise
I want them to
or that they should,
no matter how many trips they make.

So this day,


all is praise and thanks
for all my days.
I breathe and it is your breath that fills me.
I look and it is your light by which I see.
I move and it is your energy moving in me.
I listen and even the stones speak of you.
I touch and you are between finger and skin.
I think and the thoughts are but sparks
from the fire of your truth.
I weep and your Spirit broods over me.
I long and it is the tug of your kingdom.


Oh Glorious One,
for this curious day,
for the impulses that have designated it,
for the gifts that grace it,

for the gladness that accompanies it,
for my life,
for those through whom I came to be,
for friends through whom I hear and
see
greater worlds than I otherwise would,
for all the doors of words and music and worship
through which I pass to larger worlds,
and for the One who brought a kingdom to me
I pause to praise and thank you
with this one more trip of words

which leaves too much uncarried,
but not unfelt, unlived, unloved.

THANK YOU!