Donnez Remerciements

So Thanksgiving is coming, and Christmas and New Years Eve and all that good stuff.

A year ago today I started blogging about a restaurant I used to work in, then I had to shut it down, moved to Lemons, commenced work on Naturally Not and finally settled in at Bell du Jour. Just thought of that. A lot happens in a year.


So, I had a pressentiment I wouldn’t be able to come home for Thanksgiving. Bossman made it pretty clear we’d probably all be working. As I sat on the bus back to good ‘ol Massachusetts, I started thinking about what that meant.

These days, getting everybody in one town is hard enough, let alone getting our whole family in one house. I wouldn’t get to see my cousins, my aunts, my uncles, heck, I wouldn’t get to see my sisters, or my brother, or ma belle filleule.

So I figured, why not have Thanksgiving this Sunday? Sure it’s only the first week-end in November, but who cares. I checked with my sisters Saturday night, they couldn’t come. School, work, interviews, etc.

Ok. That’s fair. It’s short notice.

I called my uncle and my god-sister. He was working late, but he’d come for dessert. She was working, so that was a no-go.

Ok, that’s all right. I won’t let it being me down.

I’ve got Mom and my little bro, and me. That’s just fine. We can do this.

So Sunday morning I went straight to the grocery store. I had no list, just a bunch of ideas in my head. I knew I needed une dinde, sauce à la cannebergecourge musquée, and a whole bunch of other Thanksgiving-things, like pie.

So I roamed the aisles of Market Basket, gathering items that I figured would be useful, but trying not to over-do it. I’m not made of l’argent you know.

When I got home I started to work. Cut up the butternut squash…find all our pretty holiday plates…put the pie in the oven…all while listening to the channel titled, “Sounds of the Season” – old school holiday music makes me so happy.

Mother came down and helped for a bit while I went AWOL and got breakfast with a couple of fabulous friends from college. I had missed a few items – which my mother noticed because she does this every year – so she and the brother left to pick up some extra items. In the meantime one sister called to say she was coming, I pushed the time of dinner up so that my uncle could come and things were looking up!

I had only bought one pie. So I looked around and came up with another dessert – with chocolate in it obviously. It may be my new favorite recipe. Red Velvet Trifle, which is a combination of things I conveniently had in my house. Cool whip, red velvet cake mix, pudding and heath bar crunch topping. So simple, so delicious and it gives the traditional chocolate trifle a little kick of holiday color.

Red Velvet Trifle

What You’ll Need:

  • Red Velvet Cake Mix
  • Eggs
  • Unsweetened Apple Sauce
  • Cool Whip
  • Heath Bar Topping
  • Chocolate Pudding
  • Pretty Glass Bowl (Or Any Large Bowl, Preferably with a Flat Bottom)


  1. Prepare Red Velvet Cake Mix using eggs called for, but use unsweetened applesauce in place of oil. (I love substitutions.) Prepare in two round 9-inch pans. Let cool.
  2. Coat Bottom of Bowl with Cool Whip. Take cooled Red Velvet, and crumble the first pan of Red Velvet cake. Cover with chocolate pudding, sprinkle with heath bar crunch (or oreo cookies, or ginger snaps – go ahead, have fun!). Then repeat.
    *Depending on the size of your bowl this step could be done twice or even four times. I used a large bowl so I only had to repeat it once.
  3. Coat the top with the remaining Heath Bar topping. Eat immediately or store in the fridge for up to 3 days, until serving.

That dessert went fast. Like, really fast. But I’m getting ahead of myself. As I’m cooking my brother calls me, they are talking to my God-Sister’s husband, “Tell him to come to dinner!”

Next thing I knew, he would joining, with my god-daughter. For a spontaneous Thanksgiving, it looked like my table would be full.

I cooked the turkey, made the squash, sliced the canned cranberry sauce (it’s our favorite – we don’t like the fresh kind) microwaved the mashed potatoes (don’t judge me, I was cooking alone mostly!), made veggie platters and salad and a little cheese plate that may or may not have included Babybel cheese circles. What the hell kind of cheese is that? I probably shouldn’t have garnished them all with grapes and cranberries, since my mini-Bell just garnished my floor with them, but hey, they looked pretty.

It was one of the Great Days, the days that you know you’re going to remember forever, because somehow, somehow everything just worked out kind of perfectly.

The turkey came out perfect, the green bean casserole was fantastic, the butternut squash was just right. From breakfast with my girls, to dinner with my family, to dessert with my best friend. I spent my day with the best people in my world, and for that, I am so grateful.

As for my baby sister, you were there in spirit my love.
French Lesson

Donnez Remerciements: Give Thanks
: Hunch
ma belle filleule: my beautiful god-daughter
une dinde: turkey
sauce à la canneberge:
cranberry sauce
courge musquée:
butternut squash
l’argent: money

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