Community Life

Live Updates NOW from Around West Essex - Friends and Neighbors Celebrate Thanksgiving!

Amy Signoretto-Andrews of Caldwell shared a photo of her family gathered for Thanksgiving Day. Credits: Amy Signoretto-Andrews
Reporting in from Riverdale, NJ, Alexis Piekarsky Stone commented, "Happy Thanksgiving!!! So much to be thankful for this year and so happy that I get to spend today with some of my amazing family ♥"  Alexis shared a photo of her daughter Brie, age 2 dressed in her homemade  Thanksgiving head-dress. Credits: Alexis Piekarsky Stone
Charlie Alberta added,  "Super proud of all my girls for finishing strong at our first family 5k.  Next year we're gonna have to recruit more Alberta's and Giulianos and go for some family shirts too. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!" Credits: Bernadette Giuliano Alberta
Bill Otterbein checked in from Roseland describing his huge family gathering: "33 family members. 85 pounds of turkey. Love this family.   Very blessed. Otterbein Overload at its best." Credits: Bill Otterbein
By 3:30pm,  Verona's Donna Ambrose Ciccolini was already reporting, "It was a wonderful meal" and shared photos of her happy, and now full family. Credits: Donna Ambrose Ciccolini
By 2pm, Donna Ambrose Ciccolini was ready to show off her family with their roasted turkey with a new photo she titled , "The Unveiling." Credits: Donna Ambrose Ciccolini
Carolyn Verhaegen Jones of  West Caldwell shared, "The Jones kids ... " Credits: Carolyn Verhaegen Jones
Verona's Donna Ambrose Ciccolini family gets ready to slice up the turkey. Credits: Donna Ambrose Ciccolini
Brianne Liddle's 3 years-old daughter Peyton proudly shows off her Thanksgiving outfit! Credits: Jeff Liddle
Brianne Liddle was busy getting little ones Peyton,  3 years-old and Bradley,  1 years-old ready in their Thanksgiving outfits. Credits: Jeff Liddle
Laura McCarthy shared a photo of her family's Thanksgiving Day meal at her West Caldwell home. Credits: Laura McCarthy
Nancy Santero of Roseland shared a photo from Ruth Chris Steak House, "Full Belly + Full Hearts = Thank Full ♥ Emma-Rylie & Jake" Credits: Nancy Santero
Aiden and Alexis Dorchak help prepare the Thanksgiving feast! Credits: Ryan Dorchak
Aiden and Alexis Dorchak all ready in their Thanksgiving Finest! Credits: Ryan Dorchak
Near 7pm, Caldwell's Sarah Gyetvay Hyatt shared a great picture of happy times with her family: "My beautiful sisters and niece drinking our Pumpkin Pie Martini's. Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!" Credits: Sarah Gyetvay Hyatt
Suzanne Nathan Sayer shared a fun photo from the Thanksgiving gathering at her Roseland home today. Credits: Suzanne Nathan Sayers
Amy Signoretto-Andrews of Caldwell shared a photo of her Thanksgiving Table. Credits: Amy Signoretto-Andrews
Verona's Donna Ambrose Ciccolini table was ready for her guests. Credits: Donna Ambrose Ciccolini
JoAnn McQueen Yates of Roseland shared her beautiful Thanksgiving Table Credits: JoAnn McQueen Yates
Kathy Pigott's table in Roseland  "Thanks to Grammy, the goldware looks beautiful with my Grandmother's china." Credits: Kathy Pigott
At 12:30, Kathy Pigott's table in Roseland was completely set, "Extended the dinning room table x 2 to make room for everyone. I love a big holiday!" Credits: Kathy Pigott
Also traveling today at 2:30pm was Traci Majka Flanagan of North Caldwell.  She shared her unique turkey,  made out of fruit, that she was bringing as her gift today for dessert.  "It was very easy.  I copied the idea from my children's school in North Caldwell. They make a fruit turkey for the preschool and kindergarten Thanksgiving feast and it was cute. Flanagan explained, "We used a pineapple for the body and we bought skewers and fruit.  We made the head with colored card stock and then we speared the fruit feathers and we then stuck them in. That's it ! We served it with fruit dip equal parts of cream cheese mixed with fluff - it was a big hit! Nice after a big meal although I did squeeze in pumpkin too!! Have a great Thanksgiving!!" Credits: Traci Majka Flanagan
By noon, Mary McCourt of Roseland was decorating her table and thinking fondly of her own mother’s traditions: “These little candles were always a part of Mom's Thanksgiving 'tablescape.'   I found them carefully wrapped up in Newark, they were never lit.  I NEVER remember a Thanksgiving that they WEREN'T on the table - so they are at LEAST as old as ME . . If not OLDER!” Credits: Mary McCourt
Carol Sharkey Corcoran proudly reported at 4:30pm that her turkey was roasted and ready to be served. "Now that's how you cook a turkey! It's only my 2nd time to make it!" Credits: Carol Sharkey Corcoran
At 7:30am, Carolyn Verhaegen Jones reported that she was ready for the day and shared a photo of her turkey "Henrietta" in the oven,  and she commented "Henrietta has been cooking for an hour ... Gobble gobble ....and I'm not even having Thanksgiving !!!" Credits: Carolyn Verhaegen Jones
West Caldwell's Carolyn Verhaegen Jones prepared Oatmeal Cookies on Wednesday. Credits: Carolyn Verhaegen Jones
Carolyn Verhaegen Jones of West Caldwell shared, "Cranberry sauce." Credits: Carolyn Verhaegen Jones
Carolyn Verhaegen Jones of West Caldwell prepared her Pumpkin Pie yesterday afternoon. Credits: Carolyn Verhaegen Jones
West Caldwell's Carolyn Verhaegen Jones shared, "Cornbread Pudding." Credits: Carolyn Verhaegen Jones
West Caldwell's Carolyn Verhaegen Jones shared, "Stuffed Mushrooms ... " Credits: Carolyn Verhaegen Jones
 West Caldwell's Charlie Alberta "Fire's been roaring all day. " Credits: Charlie Alberta
By 3:30pm West Caldwell's Charlie Alberta had further news on his smoking process and it looks as if his meal was almost ready!  "So far so good.  The ham is almost ready there in the smoker." Credits: Charlie Alberta
By 5pm, West Caldwell's Charlie Alberta persented a scrumptious looking photo of his home-smoked Holiday Ham.  He commented, "Yummmmmmy! "   Credits: Charlie Alberta
 West Caldwell's Charlie Alberta "Pumpkin raviolis with yummy homemade sage, shallot, pumpkin cream sauce (dont ask for a recipe.. I winged it)." Credits: Charlie Alberta
Chris Bernardo, "Nothing says Thanksgiving in my parent's house like a great antipasto salad! Good job Dad!" Credits: Chris Bernardo
At 9:40am Cindy Falco in Nutley was putting the finishing touches to her morning breakfast rolls: “This is our usual holiday breakfast.  They're Pillsbury, but the kids love them and we all look forward to them every holiday while we’re watching the Macy's parade. Happy Turkey Day!” Credits: Cindy Falco
Donna Ambrose Ciccolini described the gratitude she is feeling right now, “I have so much to be thankful for, my awesome family and my wonderful friends. Happy thanksgiving to all!!”  Donna shared a photo and commented, “Turkey is out.” Credits: Donna Ambrose Ciccolini
Heather Raskin Brook of West Caldwell tried Rachel Ray's Apple Cider Turkey Breast Recipe for the first time today,  "The turkey breast "roast" pre-cooking" Credits: Heather Raskin Brook
Heather Raskin Brook, "Yum. Cooking in the oven" Credits: Heather Raskin Brook
Heather Raskin Brook of West Caldwell commented, "The finished product. A la Rachael Ray (Apple Cider Turkey Breast) It came out great. Really juicy and tender, after soaking in a brine overnight. Never making a whole turkey again. This was so much easier and less messy!" Credits: Heather Raskin Brook
Jeff Liddle of Roseland commented “Getting ready to fry two 12 pound turkeys for the family. I'm already having a panic attack. Here's all you need to fry a turkey. The birds are fresh from Vila Meats in Caldwell.” Credits: Jeff Liddle
Roseland’s Kimberly Scholl was thrilled with cooking her turkey in her convection oven.  A little after noon she shared, “I will never underestimate the power of convection cooking again...Happy Thanksgiving!!! Credits: Kimberly Scholl
Margia Fonseca in Roseland sleepily commented, “6 hours later and one and a half viewings of "Gone With The Wind" and I’m finally Done!  I did my part by pulling an all-nighter and making fresh pies.  Fresh Apple Pie and Pumpkin Pie baked with fresh apples and pumpkins from the farm. I made my own fillings." Credits: Margia Fonseca
Margia Fonseca continued, “Now I'm laying in bed and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  And I ain't leaving this bed for some time. I’m exhausted after all that baking!" Credits: Margia Fonseca

WEST ESSEX, NJ - Throughout our towns today - we are all getting ready for Thanksgiving!

Here are some posts from the Facebook page West Essex TAP - so many great photos as well!

Earlier this morning Heather Raskin Brook of West Caldwell mentioned her 6 year-old daughter Renee when she commented, “I’m trying Rachael Ray's Apple Cider Turkey Breast recipe this year.
I have so much to be thankful for.  As Renee said, "I am grateful for love, family, and freedom."

At 6:30am, Roseland's Kathy Pigott was well on her way to the perfect holiday celebration, "The bird is in the oven, time to get ready for Mass."  If Kathy seems very relaxed for so early in the morning, it's because yesterday at 9am she reported, "1st mission of the day completed; food shopping at 6 am" and then before noon she added, "Energy is high thanks to the Christmas music! Cheesecake is cooling, cranberry sauce is made,  gravy is made,  shells are stuffed and coat closet is cleaned out."

At 7:30am, Carolyn Verhaegen Jones reported that she was ready for the day and shared a photo of her turkey "Henrietta" in the oven,  and she commented "Henrietta has been cooking for an hour ... Gobble gobble ....and I'm not even having Thanksgiving !!!" The very organized Jones had prepared her Pumpkin Pie and Oatmeal cookies by 2pm yesterday.

By 8:30am, many families participated in Turkey Trots throughout our area.  Bernadette and Charlie Alberta of  West Caldwell joined their friends this morning running in the Morris Township 5K  / 1M race.   Bernadette commented, "So proud of the family!!  We finished our first Turkey Trot 5K together.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!" and happily shared photos of her family.
She continued:  "it was a great event, very organized and well run!"
Charlie added,  "Super proud of all my girls for finishing strong at our first family 5k.  Next year we're gonna have to recruit more Alberta's and Giulianos and go for some family shirts too. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!"

At 9:40am Cindy Falco in Nutley was putting the finishing touches to her morning breakfast rolls:
“This is our usual holiday breakfast.  They're Pillsbury, but the kids love them and we all look forward to them every holiday while we’re watching the Macy's parade. Happy Turkey Day!”

Just after 10am, Margia Fonseca in Roseland sleepily commented, “6 hours later and one and a half viewings of "Gone With The Wind" and I’m finally done!  I did my part by pulling an all-nighter and making fresh pies.  Fresh Apple Pie and Pumpkin Pie baked with fresh apples and pumpkins from the farm. I made my own fillings."
Fonseca continued, “Now I'm laying in bed and watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  And I ain't leaving this bed for some time. I’m exhausted after all that baking!"

Around 10:30am, Jeff Liddle in Roseland was preparing to fry up his turkeys:
“Getting ready to fry two 12 pound turkeys for the family. I'm already having a panic attack.  The birds are fresh from Vila Meats in Caldwell.” 
Brianne Liddle was busy getting their little ones, 3 years-old Peyton and 1 years-old Bradley, ready in their Thanksgiving outfits.

At 10:40am, Schelli Wilson of West Caldwell shared, "Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and family!   The bird is in the oven,  table is set,  parade is on the TV,  baby is napping and things are rolling in the Wilson house.  I am thankful for so much this year.  Next year on this day, I will be participating in the Glen Ridge Ashenfelter 8k.  I wanted to do it today,  but my back injury is keeping me from running.
Here's to praying for a successful back surgery in December and a wonderful holiday with the ones I love!"

By 11am, in Roseland, the Dorchak Household was preparing their family feast and the kids Alexis and Aidan were happily taking part.   Ryan Dorchak, owner of Caldwell's Cloverleaf Tavern, was pleased:  “Aidan has prepared the bird for the grill.”

Nancy Santero described her Thanksgiving Tradition with her family Adam, Jake, and Emma-Rylie in Roseland:  "Our day starts with hours of watching (from the best seat in the house - our warm couch) the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and cheering for our favorite balloon characters!

This year my daughter and I started a new tradition of doing turkey calls every time we saw a turkey on television! Enjoy our turkeyrific holiday message! Gobble-Gobble!
To watch the Nancy Santero and her daughter Emma-Rylie's wonderful greeting click here.

Santero concluded, "For dinner,  this is our second year celebrating Thanksgiving with a party in your tummy turkey dinner that's served with a side of guaranteed no drama and a special order chocolate sin cake dessert Ruth Chris style!"

Over in West Caldwell, at 11am, Charlie Alberta (whose family ran earlier today in the Morris Township 5K) now was getting his meal prepared:  "OK.  Ham officially in the smoker.  Probably the most expensive piece of meat ever so hoping it finishes as good as it smells already."

By noon, Mary McCourt of Roseland was decorating her table and thinking fondly of her own mother’s traditions: “These little candles were always a part of Mom's Thanksgiving 'tablescape.'   I found them carefully wrapped up in Newark, they were never lit.  I NEVER remember a Thanksgiving that they WEREN'T on the table - so they are at LEAST as old as ME . . If not OLDER!”

Donna Ambrose Ciccolini described the gratitude she was feeling in Verona, “I have so much to be thankful for,  my awesome family and my wonderful friends. Happy Thanksgiving to all!!”  Donna shared a photo and commented, “Turkey is out.”

As the parade was finishing up, Lois Tedesco Merle of Verona remembered growing up at her childhood home in North Caldwell:  "I love the Macy's parade.  It always makes me think of my Mom cooking on Thanksgiving morning with the TV on in the kitchen, and every few minutes she'd call me,  "Come here Lois, come see this!"

The smell of roasted turkeys is starting to fill the air of West Essex.  Roseland’s Kimberly Scholl was thrilled with cooking her turkey in her convection oven.  A little after noon she shared, “I will never underestimate the power of convection cooking again...Happy Thanksgiving!!!”

Scholl explained the process:  “This is a bigger Turkey than I usually cook.  Since my family of 6 is now eating more food and I like to have leftovers, I went for a 20 pounder. I had it soaking in a brine overnight, and this morning drained and rinsed it and let it get to room temperature for more even cooking.  I popped it in the convection oven at 9:30am, and by a little after 12 it was nearly done. I’m letting it settle and I’m heating the sides now!”

Reporting in from Riverdale, NJ, Alexis Piekarsky Stone commented, "Happy Thanksgiving!!! So much to be thankful for this year and so happy that I get to spend today with some of my amazing family ♥"  Alexis shared a photo of her daughter Brie, age 2 dressed in her homemade  Thanksgiving head-dress.

At 12:30, Kathy Pigott's table in Roseland was completely set, "Extended the dinning room table x 2 to make room for everyone. I love a big holiday!  Thanks to Grammy, the goldware looks beautiful with my Grandmother's china."

At 12:45pm, Roseland's Patty Braga was beyond-prepared, she stated:  "The turkey is carved,  gravy made,  everything packed and ready to go,  the best part.....all dishes,  pots and pans are washed,  kitchen clean and its not even 1pm!"

By 2pm, Donna Ambrose Ciccolini was ready to show off her family with their roasted turkey with a new photo she titled , "The Unveiling."

Carolyn Verhaegen Jones updated her menu at 2:15pm,  "Stuffed Mushrooms, Cranberry Sauce,  and Cornbread Pudding."

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"Nothing says Thanksgiving in my parent's house like a great antipasto salad! Good job Dad!" commented Chris Bernardo of Caldwell around 2:20pm.

Also traveling today at 2:30pm was Traci Majka Flanagan of North Caldwell.  She shared her unique turkey,  made out of fruit, that she was bringing as her gift today for dessert.  "It was very easy.  I copied the idea from my children's school in North Caldwell. They make a fruit turkey for the preschool and kindergarten Thanksgiving feast and it was cute.

Flanagan explained, "We used a pineapple for the body and we bought skewers and fruit.  We made the head
with colored card stock and then we speared the fruit feathers and we then stuck them in. That's it ! We served it with fruit dip equal parts of cream cheese mixed with fluff - it was a big hit! Nice after a big meal although I did squeeze in pumpkin too!! Have a great Thanksgiving!!"


By 3:30pm West Caldwell's Charlie Alberta had further news on his smoking process and it looks as if his meal was almost ready!  "So far so good.  Fire's been roaring all day. Pumpkin raviolis with yummy homemade sage, shallot, pumpkin cream sauce (dont ask for a recipe.. I winged it). And the ham is almost ready there in the smoker."

At the same time, Verona's Donna Ambrose Ciccolini was already reporting, "It was a wonderful meal" and shared photos of her happy, and now full family.

Roseland's Nancy Guarente Bertoldi was ready at 3:45pm to announce her Thanksgiving Menu:
"1st course:  Antipasto,  Baked Brie,  Stuffed mushrooms,  Shrimp cocktail
2nd course:  Penne vodka
3rd course:  Turkey,  Filet Mignon, Carrots,  Asparagus, Spaghetti squash,  Mashed Cauliflower,  Stuffing, Sweet Potatoes
Dessert:  ?
"

Bertoldi described her Baked Brie, "I bake it in cresent rolls with cranberries on top and serve it with fig jelly, crackers and grapes!"

At 3:45pm,  Phyllis Garlock Lardieri of Caldwell commented,  "I can remember having a special marching band show at the West Essex High School Thanksgiving football game.  I know that the twirlers had special costumes for that show.  My sister, Jane Garlock Neill-Hancock,  told me that the twirlers made their own costumes. Jane graduated in '72 and I graduated in '78. Being in the marching band was awesome!"

Lardieri continued, "We had many traditions for that special day.  At home, we always watched March of the Wooden Soldiers on TV and dinner was not complete unless we had celery and dates filled with peanut butter and cream cheese."

Carol Sharkey Corcoran proudly reported at 4:30pm that her turkey was roasted and ready to be served. "Now that's how you cook a turkey! It's only my 2nd time to make it!"

By 5pm, West Caldwell's Charlie Alberta persented a scrumptious looking photo of his home-smoked Holiday Ham.  He commented, "Yummmmmmy! "

At the same time, Bill Otterbein checked in from Roseland describing his huge family gathering:
"33 family members.
85 pounds of turkey.
Love this family.   Very blessed. Otterbein Overload at its best."

While some are just beginning their Thanksgiving meals, other's are completely done.  Roseland's Kathy Pigott commented, "We're stuffed and need a break before desserts. Family and company are around the fireplace for a little "nap", the tryptophan must have kicked in already. Countdown to cheesecake."

By 6:45pm, Pigott continued, "
So our feast is done and the house is cleaned. It's time to clip my coupons for morning and make my list." 

Near 7pm, Caldwell's Sarah Gyetvay Hyatt shared a great picture of happy times with her family:
"My beautiful sisters and niece drinking our Pumpkin Pie Martini's. Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!"

Around 7:15pm, Heather Raskin Brook of West Caldwell updated us on her Rachel Ray Apple Cider Turkey Breast recipe:   "It came out great. Really juicy and tender, after soaking in a brine overnight. Never making a whole turkey again. This was so much easier and less messy!"

At the same time (check out her menu she shared earlier) - Roseland's Nancy Guarente Bertoldi reported:
"
Still eating over here.  LOLl!!!"

Roseland's Kathy Pigott is headed out to the Black Friday sales in the morning, so she's off to bed early.   At 7:45pm she commented,  "Hope everyone enjoyed their day, I'm off to bed in a cheesecake coma. Good night all and happy shopping tomorrow."

Closing the night out at 8:30pm, Christine Ondecker commented, "Watching Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving with my kids ♥ ♥ ♥."
 

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