My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. It has been a time when my family and a few close friends have all come together and share in the planning, cooking and implementation of a great dinner that literally takes days to prepare but 22 minutes to eat. The time around the table laughing at the same stories, the happiness and outstanding food makes it for a time that I never want to end.

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When my mom was alive and she cooked Thanksgiving dinner with a little help, there was always a friend or coworker that didn’t have family locally so they would join us. I enjoyed hearing stories about their lives and they were genuinely happy to be a part of our table.

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I’ve continued that tradition with my nieces and nephew and their significant others and children all joining me for the special holiday. We make the best out of it by grabbing dinner at a local favorite Italian restaurant the night before, catching up then back to my house after for some music and laughs. Every once in a while one or two of my friends will join us and that always adds to the fun.

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Thanksgiving morning I prep the turkey, get it into the oven, the family comes over and I make a pitcher of my Bloody Marys. There was a tradition where my friends would pop over to the house and share a Bloody Mary with me as we celebrated the holiday.

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My niece’s husband makes an outstanding breakfast bake and the kids get glued to the big TV watching and enjoying the Macy’s Day Parade. Everybody has a food responsibility and appetizers are out, a glass of wine or glass of personality, football on the TV in the afternoon and finally dinner.

It’s a day that makes me smile from ear to ear. It’s a day that when it’s over, I can’t wait until it returns next year. I hope you all have a warm and enjoyable Thanksgiving and share the day with the ones you love. I’ve included my Bloody Mary recipe for you to enjoy on Thanksgiving morn. Happy Thanksgiving.

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You'll need:

6 limes, juiced
3 tbsp. grated fresh horseradish
4 cups of V8 vegetable juice
4 cups Sacramento tomato juice
2 tbsp. hot sauce (I like to use a tomato based hot sauce instead of tobasco)
2-3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
Celery salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups of vodka

In a large pitcher add the lime juice, horseradish, V8, tomato juice and vodka. Give a stir to combine everything. Add the hot sauce and Worcestershire sauce and taste for spiciness and richness, adding more if desired. I like extra Worcestershire.

Finally, season little by little with celery salt and black pepper until it's perfectly delicious. Chill for at least and hour in the fridge before setting out surrounded by all the toppings. Pour over ice to serve and add let your guests add their toppings of choice. Makes 6 - 8.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.

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