Thanksgiving in the Buckeye State

Nothing says home like an amazing cooked meal by mom, and as she’s responsible each year for Thanksgiving, I couldn’t miss traveling back to Ohio to enjoy her delectable homemade goodies and spend time with family I hadn’t seen during the year.

The table set

Mom cooked the best (huge!) turkey I’ve had in years – it was moist and fell right off the bone:

The big bird

Of course my favorite – green bean casserole – was perfectly situated in front of me at the table where mom created cute place cards for the seating arrangements – pumpkins made out of binder clips (ingenious!)

Green bean casserole

The place cards Mom created

I also enjoyed the homemade mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce (I only do out of the can, sorry Grandma!) and sweet potato casserole:

My plate

It seemed the highlights of the meal were my aunt’s homemade pies. Each year she brings a pumpkin and pecan pie, but this year she added a pumpkin cheesecake with a homemade gingersnap crust – it was amazing (and a huge hit). 

Homemade pies

Recipe below (thanks Woman’s Day)!


  • 1 box (7.05 oz) ginger snap cookies
  • 2 Tbsp melted light butter
  • 2 tubs (1 lb 8.3 oz each) refrigerated cheesecake filling (cream cheese)
  • 1 can (16 oz) pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  •  Recipe Preparation:

      1. You’ll need an 8 x 3-in. springform pan coated with nonstick spray. Place cookies in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. Add melted butter; process until crumbs begin to stick together. Press over bottom of prepared pan.2. Stir 1 tub cheesecake filling in large bowl until smooth; spread onto crumb layer.3. Stir remaining tub of cheesecake filling, pumpkin purée and pumpkin pie spice in same large bowl until blended and smooth. Evenly spread over plain cheesecake in pan. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or until set.4. To serve: Remove pan sides and place pecans around top edge of cake. Put caramel sauce into a small ziptop bag, snip a small tip off one corner and pipe sauce on top.Plan Ahead: Make cheesecake 2 days ahead, then top with pecans and caramel sauce just before serving.

    The following night, Dad wanted to do it up special since I was in town so he took us to the Oakwood Club – 2414 Far Hills Avenue in Dayton, Ohio. This restaurant is one of the few chains in ye olde Buckeye State and was established in 1962 by Ray and Margie Stewart. According to the website, “Since that time [1962], we have maintained one goal – to provide the finest quality service and food to our customers, in a warm and friendly atmosphere.”

    Minus the ambiance (super dark and in need of some more modern furniture), the food was excellent.  We enjoyed a sesame crusted yellow fin tuna for an appetizer and for dinner I enjoyed the Oakwood Club Roquefort Steak Burger. I am making a bold statement when I say this, but the burger was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had and certainly on par with any of the best burger joints here in the city. I also enjoyed a side of the roasted garlic rosemary mashed potatoes:

    Sesame crusted yellow fin tuna

    Oakwood Club Roquefort Steak Burger

    Rosemary garlic mashed potatoes

    And to top off the trip, I got to see (on TV, not in the stands unfortunately) the Buckeyes (Ohio State) beat out Michigan in the huge rivalry game on Saturday 37-7. Go bucks!

    OSU Coach Tressel and Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez


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