So here I sit on Thanksgiving night -- which many see as Black Friday eve -- pondering the day's festivities. All day long, I've watched TV commercials touting Black Friday specials. Stores opening at 3 or 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving? Really? Standing in line at 3 a.m., in the cold, waiting to get a $98 TV (which the store only has two or three of anyway)? Uh-uh, not this girl. I'd rather go to work.

So, now that I'm probably banned from every store in a 150-mile radius, I'll get off my soapbox and get back to Thanksgiving.

Our Thanksgiving was small, with only four of us around the table. It was our first Thanksgiving without my husband, and with Guy in our thoughts, it was a good day. A family tradition is buying lottery tickets on Thanksgiving morning -- Guy always had a decent hit on that day. It had to be he was the one with the luck -- all our son, David, and I got was four pieces of printed heavy-weight paper.

Another of my traditions is buying poultry seasoning and poultry pins every year. I stopped at the store Wednesday morning before work because I didn't want to be out of the seasoning. I do this every year -- why I never think I have any left is absurd -- I only use poultry seasoning for my Thanksgiving stuffing and two Christmas toutieres (meat pies). I now have five jars of poultry seasoning on hand.

The poultry pins, which secure the flaps of skin that hold the stuffing in the bird, also were among the missing. I posted on Facebook: "Where the heck do poultry pins go from one Thanksgiving to the next?"

One friend suggested I sew the flaps shut. (I don't think so; the whole idea of getting stitches when you get a deep cut or gash makes me light-headed. I can give you the names of a few ER doctors who have seen me go down.)

I freak out just trying to remove those disgusting bags of whatever-in-the-world bird parts! And then, you have to get the stuffing out! I have my own supply of stuffing -- comes in a box and I add water. Sometimes it's good, sometimes not so much, but I do not have to go in after it ... I will not be scooping my dressing out of the bird. But, what do I know? I occasionally eat eggs -- and look where they come from.

Before I go, I want to share my favorite recipe for leftover chicken or turkey. It comes from my Mom and was one of her signature dishes. It's fairly easy to prepare and can be made ahead and frozen, either after or before baking it. I've used crushed potato chips in lieu of the buttered cracker crumbs, and substituted cream of celery soup occasionally.

SCALLOPED CHICKEN OR TURKEY

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan.

Sauce:

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 can water

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1/2 cup flour

2 eggs, well beaten

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook until it just comes to a boil and is thick. Stir constantly. Put aside and make dressing.

Dressing:

1 8-ounce package prepared dressing (Mom used Pepperidge Farm and so do I)

1 cup warm broth or water

1/4 cup butter or margarine

Mix well and place in bottom of prepared pan. Cover dressing with 1/2 of sauce, then add a layer of cooked chicken or turkey pieces (cut into small pieces). Cover the layer of poultry with the remaining sauce and top with buttered cracker crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes.

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I also want to share Ree Drummond's ("The Pioneer Woman" on the Food Network) recipe for chocolate peanut butter pie. I made it even more decadent by chopping up a large Hershey's chocolate bar and sprinkling it over the top before refrigerating it. I also cheated by using a store-bought Oreo cookie crust.

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER PIE

Serves 8

Crust:

25 whole chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreos

4 tablespoons butter, melted

Filling:

1 cup creamy peanut butter

One 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

One 8-ounce package whipped topping, such as Cool Whip, thawed

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Crush the cookies until they're fine crumbs. Pour the melted butter over the top and stir with a fork to combine. Press into a pie pan and bake until set, 5 to 7 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Beat the peanut butter with the cream cheese until smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add in the thawed whipped topping and beat until smooth, scraping the sides as needed.

Pour the filling into the crust, evening out the top with a knife or spatula. Chill for at least an hour before serving.

Margaret Button is the city editor of the North Adams Transcript. Send recipes for inclusion in future columns to the North Adams Transcript, 85 Main St., Suite 2, North Adams, Mass. 01247 or email them to mbutton@thetranscript.com.