Last Week On The Homestead: Chilly Mornings, Fall Clean-Up, & Preparing For Thanksgiving


November 12-19, 2023

Last Monday was our chilliest morning so far this fall.  A cool 18 degrees Fahrenheit is how we started our day.  The frost was beautiful though, so I ran back inside to grab my camera for a couple quick pics when I was out with the Coop Girls.

I did a little grocery shopping last week since I avoid the grocery stores the week of Thanksgiving.  I went to purchase my "free" turkey from BJ's.  You received one for "free" if you made a $150.00 purchase the week before.  We assumed they would offer this again this year and held off purchasing a few items for our business that we regularly purchase there until that week.  It's not hard to reach $150.00 these days, is it?  While I was out and about, Aldi had butter on sale for $2.49/lb and Hannaford had their turkeys on sale for .49/lb.  I bought my limit of butter and one turkey at Hannaford.  Jay will be eating a LOT of turkey again this winter, which he is excited about.  

Because we will have an enormous amount of leftovers both times that I roast a turkey, I prepare ahead of time to make use of all of it.  He eats roast turkey with all of the sides the day it is cooked.  That week, leftover turkey will appear in at least two more dinners (I use chicken dishes such as chicken taquitos, enchiladas, creamy chicken & rice, chicken & cheese melt sandwich, fried rice, etc. and sub in the turkey) as well as turkey noodle soup for lunches.  That week I also make freezer meals, usually turkey pot pie, white turkey chili, turkey cottage pie, creamy turkey enchiladas and extra soup without the noodles (I add noodles or rice when I reheat it).  The rest of the turkey is frozen in single serving packs and used for lunches and dinners that I don't make ahead.  The carcass is cooked in the instant pot with some veggie scraps and turned into a rich broth used for the soup and other dishes.  The freezer meals and leftover turkey then get written into the monthly meal plan to ensure they are used up.

We've been trying to do the bulk of our shopping at both Aldi and the Commissary at our local Navy base since the prices are fairly comparable between the two stores and cheaper than the other stores, so I picked up our fresh veggies, fruit, and a decent stock of chicken for Jay while shopping.  Oh, and a few packages of Coconut Cashew Crisps from Aldi.  Have you tried these?  The vanilla and sea salt caramel flavors are divine.  I never look at the snack sections but had seen these featured on someone's vlog, so I checked them out.  They have 5 ingredients (coconut, cashews, coconut sugar, cassava flour, and sea salt) and are a wonderful little treat when you want something sweet.  

Later in the week we had to run down to a restaurant supply store in Albany to pick up some oils for the business and stopped by Trader Joe's.  I stocked up on their oat milk, Jay likes some of their cereals, so he picked out a couple boxes, and we discovered that their TJ's brand flavored mini marshmallows are actually Dandies marshmallows, which are both of our favorites.  We picked up a couple of the mint flavored ones.  Neither of us care for their regular mini marshmallows, which are also vegan.  We find them to be too chewy.  But Dandies are sooooo soft and delicious.

We worked at getting all of our outdoor chores wrapped up while the daytime temps are still comfortable.  The Coop was cleaned out, the yard cleaned up (hopefully the last time removing leaves), outdoor furniture put away, gutters cleaned, compost bins topped off, and our outdoor Christmas lights are about halfway hung.  Not to be turned on until after Thanksgiving, of course, just hung while it's warmer.  It's still warm enough, and some days windy enough, to hang the clothes to dry on the outdoor clothesline which I am appreciative of.  I love our laundry when it has that fresh smell from drying outdoors.  Last week was also that last of the soap making for Christmas.  Everything we can sell up until Christmas had to be made by last week in order to cure before Christmas.  The last few weeks we've been making a lot of soap with this deadline in mind so now I switch to packaging and making the other products.  Jay is busy with making the wood products including quite a few special orders.

Our little feral cat friend Felix is still stopping by for his breakfast and dinner.   Some weeks he's looked pretty rough, but he looked good last week - I don't think he got into any fights with other cats or animals.  Poor guy.  We've had a "house" for him on our front porch since the end of last winter and so far, he isn't using it.  I'm not sure where he hunkers down at night.  Hopefully it's warm enough for him.  

Jackson is doing well.  He's been spending hours every day stalking chipmunks and free-range chickens.  Of course, he stalks them from the windows, so he's very tough when there's no chance of coming into contact with any of them.  I told him to fill his days with stalking now because once the snow and ice come, there will be very little wildlife (and chickens) to watch.

I'm trying to spend a lot of time in gratitude this month.  There's just so much to be grateful for.  I'm also trying to make a daily habit of journaling.  Friends had encouraged me to share some of the entries, which I have over the past few blog posts, and I will likely continue here and there.  

Tomorrow I'll be posting the recipe for this super easy and delicious cranberry-orange snack cake!

This week's meals (veggies are not all listed but they are included with every meal):
As a reminder, I cook 2 separate meals because we do eat differently.

Vegan Ravioli & Meatballs
Vegan Roast with Mashed Potatoes & Gravy

Ravioli & Meatballs
Roast Turkey, Mashed Potatoes & Gravy, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce & Roast Carrots
Creamy Turkey & Rice
Skillet Turkey Queso with Rice & Stuffed Jalapenos
Pork Chop with Mustard Cream Sauce & Skillet Potatoes
Burger & Homemade Air Fryer Fries

Wishing you all a happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Oh my 18 degrees - we've not been that chilly yet, but I'm sure it's on the way. The frost pictures are lovely - each season has it's own beauty. That's a great price on turkey - best price I could find was .98/pound here, and you're right, groceries are so, so expensive. Even just the basics - I will try Aldi, I've heard good things and there's one close by. Look at that bread - gorgeous! I just never, ever seem to get bread right - it sounds hollow when I tap it, and it looks nice, but more often than not it's doughy in the middle...even when I take the internal temps which they say should be 190-200, and so my goal is to perfect bread this winter! (tips and advice, welcome!) Enjoy the week...hope you can put your feet up at least a little!

    1. Thanks so much Mary. Yes, give Aldi a try. While I'm not crazy about some of their name brand canned/jarred foods, they have a great price on fruit, veg, and the basics. Regarding bread baking, that is very odd that your bread is at the correct internal temp and is still doughy in the middle. I've never had that happen! The only thing close I've had happen is that some loaves if sliced before cooled will get gummy but never doughy. I'm sorry that I can't help. Such a bummer but I know you'll perfect it. Wishing you and your family a happy Thanksgiving.

  2. There really is so much to be thankful for, isn't there? I haven't heard of those coconut crisps, and don't usually check the snack section. They sound dangerous :o)! It sounds like you'll make excellent use of those turkeys! Many wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Thanks Laurie. So much to be grateful for indeed. The coconut cashew crisps are definitely dangerous. My husband told me he doesn't want to know where I have them stashed so there's no temptation to eat them all. lol Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

  3. Ooooh my, that's chilly. We've gotten down to 24 so far, but I don't mind as long as I have plenty of sweaters and scarves to wear! Your menu sounds great. Wondering what type of vegan roast you make for Thanksgiving. It's my day to indulge in mashed potatoes, as I rarely make it during the year. Vegan gravy, of course makes it even better.
    Enjoy your holiday. Grateful to call you friend.

    1. Plenty of sweaters and thermals are worn by me. 😊 I still haven't completely adjusted to the temps here and I've been on the East Coast for 26 years! I make a chickpea loaf but it does use vital wheat gluten. And I agree about the gravy - vegan gravy is one of my favorite things! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Daisy and I am grateful to call you a friend as well!!


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