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Please give me any hints/suggestions for Thanksgiving dinner.

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JimmyJazz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 10:31 AM
Original message
Please give me any hints/suggestions for Thanksgiving dinner.
It always seem so hectic trying to get everything ready at once and making sure everyone has drinks, appetizers, etc. Plus, I hate sitting down to dinner when the kitchen is a mess.

Here is mine:

Mashed potatoes can be made up to 3 hours in advance and left in a crock pot on low. I have tried this and it does work!
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bearfan454 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:25 AM
Response to Original message
1. Timing is everything.
As for the dirty kitchen, Mrs bearfan showed me a long time ago to clean as you go. I have done all the cooking for the last 9 years. Rolls go in last. Have the table set. Self serve on drinks. Yes mashed potatoes, stuffing, and green bean casserole can be microwaved at the last minute. I use the turky dripping for the gravy. I let the turket sit for 10 minutes in the cooking bag so the steam makes sure it is juicy. Cooking bags will still brown your turkey and the cut about an hour off of the cooking time. I make deviled eggs up that morning. That's my 2 cents.
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JimmyJazz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. your two cents is worth much more - I've never tried a
cooking bag, but I think I will do that this year.
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Longhorn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:42 AM
Response to Original message
2. I've just started having Thanksgiving dinner at my house again
instead of traveling to my mother's. I have four grown children and my in-laws usually come, including my step-mother-in-law's son and his wife and two daughters. So with various boyfriends of my three daughters (no son this year, as he is stationed in Japan :(), we have about 11 to 14 all together.

Here's what you DON'T want: my mother doesn't understand the concept of utilizing help. Sure, she'll let someone set the table, but then she has to go in and "fix" it because it wasn't exactly the way she wanted it. People like to hang out in the kitchen and talk and they'd be happy to help but she won't let them. Then she gets angry because everyone is in the way and orders everyone out of the kitchen. She barely sits down herself to eat and then is immediately up doing dishes. After it's all over, we get to hear her complain about how tired she is.

Here's how it goes at my house: As my daughters and guests arrive, they offer to help and I take them up on it. As long as everyone has everything they need on the table, I don't really care how it's set. The hubbub in the kitchen as everyone is finishing up her dish is part of the social comraderie that Thanksgiving is all about. We all sit down to eat together and when dinner is over, the table is cleared and dishes are rinsed to be finished when the guests leave. However, I have a family full of male gems who will often do the dishes while we women retire to the living room to visit. We've even had dinner on paper plates and no one cared. The focus was on good food and good company.

That said, I like your mashed potato suggestion. Most casseroles can be assembled and refrigerated the day before and then popped in the oven to heat. I try to make fairly simple, low-prep dishes in the first place. I guess after years of seeing Thanksgiving be more of an ordeal than fun at my mother's house, I wanted a more relaxed, pleasant atmosphere at my house.

Thanks for your post and I'm looking forward to more suggestions. Happy Thanksgiving! :D

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JimmyJazz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I take people up on it when they offer to help as well.
I think it makes them feel more at home. Besides, it is fun to have help in the kitchen!

Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.
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madmax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-19-04 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #2
28. And I thought I was the only one with the crazy mother
:evilgrin: I'm like you. I like help and I don't care how the table is set as long as everyone has a good time and the food is good.

Make yourself at home. Eat, drink, relax and enjoy.

:hug:
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The empressof all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:34 PM
Response to Original message
5. I do as much days ahead as I possibly can.
I no longer stuff the bird. I make the stuffing and bake it the day before. Then I can just microwave it the next day. In fact I do almost all the casserole vegetable dishes the day before. (Sweet potatoes with Apples and Pecans, Spinach Pie, The Green bean thing) Cranberry/Orange Relish and jello mold concoctions are done before as well.
I use purchased deserts. Costco does just as good of a job on Pies and Sweets as I can.

The only things I cook/bake before serving the meal (other than re-heating) are rolls and the mashed potatoes. Now that I have the crock-pot hint though-I'll be doing the potatoes ahead now as well.
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Longhorn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 12:37 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Okay, now you've got to share your recipes for
sweet potatoes and spinach pie! Sorry, but you brought 'em up! ;)
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The empressof all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. OK--Here goes Spinach Pie
Edited on Sun Nov-14-04 01:17 PM by The empressof all
First of all I don't measure--I've been doing these for years so I do it by look and feel. Any measurements are approx.

Spinach Pie.

Ingredients

Frozen Phyllo Dough- Defrosted
1 1/2 lb Swiss Cheese shredded
10 boxes of Frozen spinach- Defrosted and moisture squeezed out
1 large sweet onion
1 cup butter melted
milk/1/2 and 1/2 or canned milk (not sweetened) (I use a combo of all three) (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup of eggnog (don't leave this out it makes a difference)
small hand full of flour
salt black pepper to taste


Chop and saute onion in butter until translucent. Add flour until absorbed. Slowly add warmed milk and eggnog, stir until it thickens. Add spinach and stir to combine. I taste at this point and add salt and pepper to taste.

You should have a good sized pot of creamed spinach at this point.

Using a large glass pan butter bottom and sides thoroughly.

Phyllo dough is tricky.--Don't fret if it breaks--It doesn't matter.

Layer about 5-6 sheets of phyllo on the bottom of your baking dish. I brush butter on the dough between every 2 or 3 sheets.

At this point you are building this just like you would a lasagna.

dough, spinach, shredded cheese,......

You want to end with Dough on the top.

Bake in the oven at 350 until brown


There are a number of variations on this theme. I've done this with Broccoli but it's not as good as spinach.

You can add a cup of grated parmagiano reggiano to the creamed spinach (mixed reviews at my house)

This is a dish that is well worth the time and effort. My husband eats this pretty much exclusively on Thanksgiving.
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Longhorn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:18 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. That sounds absolutely fantastic and I believe it's going to make it
onto my Thanksgiving menu! Thanks so much! :yourock:
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The empressof all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. You will become famous for this recipe
Edited on Sun Nov-14-04 01:35 PM by The empressof all
It's amazing how many of my guests rave about this dish. Please let me know how it turns out for you. I'm sorry I can't give exact measurements-but you will be able to figure it out. You want to make sure the creamed spinach is on the thick side and not too liquidy. You can also play with the amount of Cheese. We like it very cheesy.
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troubleinwinter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. Oooooooo! Empress, that spinach pie sounds grand!
I don't think I'll wait til TG! Sounds like it would make a nice dinner just served with a salad!
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The empressof all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 04:04 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. I hope you enjoy it.
Edited on Sun Nov-14-04 04:07 PM by The empressof all
I frequently make this in a large throw away aluminum pan-The kind with high sides. This way I can make even more layers.

My husbands counting down the days to spinach pie day. I don't make it more than once a year because it is rather artery clogging and he gorges himself.

Don't forget to brush the top with butter.
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kayell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #7
14. Yummy! *adds to thanksgiving list*
:drool:
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yellowdogintexas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #7
17. I just came home from the Greek Festival and had this dish
with the meal

It is so good. I have never made it because I am afraid of phyllo dough

This sounds pretty easy though
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The empressof all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #17
20. You had Spanakopita
This is very different. What you had was made with Feta Cheese and plain spinach.

This is very dense and rich.

What you had was far far healther. This tastes better.
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yellowdogintexas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 03:54 AM
Response to Reply #20
24. hmmm I never thought of Spanikopita as healthy...
since it tastes so sinful!!!!

Butyour dish sounds divine
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The empressof all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 06:36 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. In the range of all things you are probably correct
Edited on Mon Nov-15-04 06:40 AM by The empressof all
But in comparison to what I make which is rich, cheesy, creamy -death on a plate--Spanakopita is health food.

I only make it once a year so I don't worry too much about the artery clogging factor. Then again it's probably no worse for you than lasagna. I mean it's spinach for god's sake--it's gotta be healthy!

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
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yellowdogintexas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 06:00 PM
Response to Reply #25
27. but of course, anything w/.spinach is good for you....
like the artery clogging heaven on a plate spinach enchiladas served at
my favorite mom and pop Mexican place.

doused with a to die for (and youjust might) sour cream and cheese sauce with a good side of refried beans and rice...ahh the craving is starting


but I do think I may try your dish though
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mourningdove92 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:27 PM
Response to Reply #7
19. Who'd a thunk it?
Edited on Sun Nov-14-04 06:28 PM by mourningdove92
I hopped on the internet to do some recipe searching for Thanksgiving week. I've got a houseful coming, joy, joy! My son and my beautiful new daughter in law, my brothers and sister and nieces and nephews. I am so looking forward to it. I am specifically looking for a great pork chop recipe.
Anyway, I had to visit my DU home first and discovered this new area. How wonderful! This spinach recipe sounds so inviting, I plan on serving it during my fun filled week with my loved ones. Will let you know how it goes over.
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OKNancy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-20-04 06:14 PM
Response to Reply #7
33. 10 boxes????
or a 10 oz. box.

I am going to make this for sure, but I can't get over the 10 boxes part.
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The empressof all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-20-04 08:18 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. Yes
I generally use about 10 boxes. Remember you need to defrost it and sqeeze it dry. You want to have a very very thick creamed spinach mixure to layer.

It's helpful to -to buy a high sided aluminum lasagna pan (throw away kind is just fine)-- You want to have at least three or four layers.


If you are making this on Wed. When I'm making mine feel free to PM me anyone....I'm happy to answer questions. I usually have DU on in the background :)
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OKNancy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-21-04 01:30 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. Okay another question
When you make it on Wednesday, do you go ahead and cook it?
( Seems like the phyllo would dry out if it sits )

And if you cook it on Wednesday, do you reheat it?
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The empressof all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-21-04 02:07 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. It depends on how much oven space you have on Thursday
I no longer have two ovens so I will probably go ahead and cook it on Wed.---Then re-heat in the oven with aluminum foil covering it while the Turkey rests. The only downfall of cooking it early for me is that I have to keep a vigilant eye on my husband to make sure he doesn't pick at it.

You want to make sure that your creamed spinach is thick but not dry. There is enough moisture in this to prevent it from drying out.

This actually tastes better the second day-and it's great cold for breakfast!
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The empressof all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 01:22 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. My sweet potatoes
Bake 5 or 6 large yams until soft.

While Yams are baking rough chop 3 or 4 granny smiths.

Saute apples with about 1/3 of a cup brown sugar, 1/2 stick of butter and a large pinch of cinnamon. Cook until soft.


When Yams are cool enough to work with- Peel and mash with cream until the consistency of mashed potatoes. I also add 1 beaten ed egg.


Layer yams and apples in a large baking dish.

Top with candied Pecans. (I don't bother making these-I buy them at Trader Joes) (I'm sure you can find a recipe through google if you can't find them in the store)

Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.
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Longhorn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #9
11. You really ARE the empress of all!
Sounds like another winner. Thanks! My Thanksgiving dinner is SET!
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kayell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 03:59 PM
Response to Original message
13. Pot luck thanksgiving
My grandfather used to host a huge thanksgiving for massive extended family each year. He provided two things - waffles for early-comers and the turkey. (oops 3 - enough places to sit down, sometimes in shifts as people came and went) My grandmother kept track of which dishes people were bringing and suggested what we were long or short on - how many vegetables, how many pies, made sure that the vegetarians would be getting adequately fed. Other family members were assigned all the other chores from set up to washing up, to packing take home assortments.

There was always lots of interest in who was bringing their specialty, how many pecan pies we would wind up with, and how many things could be made with cranberries. Lots of fun, and much recipe exchanging.
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Longhorn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. This reminds me of a story.
I had Thanksgiving at my house about 15 years ago and since my family all lives about three hours away, many were staying for the entire weekend. My sister and the first of her three husbands, along with their two children, left Thanksgiving night. Since everyone was traveling, I did the entire dinner myself and I cooked in large quantities to have enough for the dinner and leftovers for the houseguests afterwards. As she was getting ready to leave, my sister had the nerve to ask me if she could have some of my leftovers because "it just wouldn't be Thanksgiving without leftover turkey and pumpkin pie." As politely as I could, I explained to her that I couldn't spare any of the leftovers since I was counting on them to help feed the houseguests for the rest of the weekend. She actually got offended!

Had she actually brought any food, I would have expected her to take her leftovers with her. Even if I wasn't having houseguests, we were a family of six and would have had no trouble using up the leftovers that WE bought and prepared! When I bring food to a potluck meal, I wouldn't dream of asking for my leftovers back, though I will accept them if they are offered and I think we can use them.

Need I add that she (and the rest of my family) are Republicans? Do you suppose that has anything to do with such a "me-first" attitude?
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yellowdogintexas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:18 PM
Response to Original message
18. My favorite squash casserole
3 pounds of yellow summer squash or zuchini or combination
1 small onion, grated
garlic (about a tsp)

thinly slice the squash and simmer with the onion and garlic until tender.

drain

combine the cooked squash with:

1/2 stick of butter
2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
about 1/2 stack of saltines crushed
salt/pepper to taste

pour into a buttered 2 quart or larger casserole and bake at 375 degrees until brown and bubbly.

A good make ahead. Stays hot so you can pull it out of the oven and run over to your cousin's house (or where ever) and it will still be warm if you wrap the casserole in a towel or use one of those cool insulated deals.

My family loves this dish; I make it every Thanksgiving ...
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Kipepeo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-29-04 11:57 PM
Response to Reply #18
37. I made your squash casserole, yellowdog
2 nights ago. It was great! Everyone loved it. Thanks for sharing it. :)

yum yum!
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cally Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:48 PM
Response to Original message
21. A couple of ideas
I'm trying to simplify and enjoy the company rather than focusing on the food. I peel the potatoes and yams the day before. I usually just microwave the yams with orange juice, butter and ginger. Then whip them which I usually find someone else to do. I also make the mashed potatoes early and then put them into a crock pot or sometimes I've used frozen ones. Noone realized they weren't fresh when I did that. I also try to cut the green beans so all I have to do is quicly cook them the day of. I don't do the elaborate vegetable casseroles. Most don't eat them and prefer lighter, healthier fare. I clean and cut the lettuce before hand and make pies the day before. Everyone helps and it is not too frantic.
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JimmyJazz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 09:49 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. how do you peel potatoes the day before and not have them
turn brown. that would be nice to do in advance, but how?
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cally Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Umm...I just let them and cut off the worse parts
You can't tell after the mashing. I think I'm going to be kicked off the group now.
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comsymp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-15-04 09:42 AM
Response to Reply #22
26. I just stick 'em in a pot of water in the fridge
Transfer 'em directly to the stove when it's time to cook~

Think I'll try the crockpot idea this year, though-
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-30-04 07:31 PM
Response to Reply #22
38. put them in salt water, they won't discolor that way n/t
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Baja Margie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-19-04 07:56 PM
Response to Original message
29. I do alot of the prep work the day before,
Edited on Fri Nov-19-04 08:02 PM by Baja Margie
I make the cranberries, jello dish if I'm having one, pies; dice the onion and celery up for the dressing and put in an air tight bowl in the frig, cut up crunchy veggies, like celery, carrots (now you can get em small so you don't have to cut them) radishes, put in air tight bowl covered with ice cubes over them. Even the sweet potatoes, if I'm making them fluffy, just make them the day before, ready to slip into the oven. And the potatoes, you can peel and slice them, cover with salted water & just them sit on top the stove. I wash and cut the green beans, put in a deep pie dish, cover with water and seal with plastic wrap - and either put in refrig or in microwave for the next day. I put the unopened canned olives in frig to get them cold, along with artichokes hearts. You can even set your table the night before.

I have out everything I need for in the morning, turkey pan,skillet to saute the celery & onion in, spices,boxes of dressing,butter, measuring cup, chicken broth, mixer.

As soon as I take the giblets and heart out of the turkey, I wash them, cover with water, add an onion, pepper corns and a bit of thyme, put on low & start them cooking.

After the bird is stuffed and in the oven, mostly everything is done except for the potatoes and rolls ! I can take a bath and have a drink. WHEW!!!

Nazi Kitchen !!!!!



Oh P.S. try putting thyme in your dressing, and using milk as the liquid, throw in a can of mushrooms, it's good !!!! I'm going to try that spinach one, thanks, yummy !!!
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Groggy Donating Member (317 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-20-04 01:54 PM
Response to Original message
30. Green Bean Casserole in crock pot
I make mine in the crockpot to save room in the oven (don't use canned beans though only frozen). I make the pies and chop my onions and celery for the stuffing too the night before. Anything I can make the night before I do. I put my cranberries/relishes in the serving bowls/platters and store in the refrigerator and get the table ready.

I start the day off with a clean kitchen and an empty dishwasher and clean up as I cook! Its always a challenge to get everything done at the same time!
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Baja Margie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-20-04 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. You're lucky,
my dishwasher took a dump this morning. OH NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!
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The empressof all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Nov-20-04 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. Oh poopies
What a disaster! Will you be able to have it fixed by Wed?

I don't know if I could function anymore without my dishwasher. I didn't have one until I was 30 and quickly became addicted to having one. The other thing I can't live without is a garbage disposal! I just upgraded to the heavy duty grind your arm if your not careful kind. I'm on septic so it's almost like composting!!! :) :) :)
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