Nap Team Turkey Day 2016

US Wealth Napolitano |

By: John P. Napolitano CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST, Alex Weiss, CFP®, Tom Fletcher, CFP®, Jenn Kovalski and Tom Schulte

Gobble, Gobble! In honor of Thanksgiving, each member on the team wrote what they particularly love about Thanksgiving, a favorite side dish, recipe, or aspect of the holiday. We hope you enjoy our articles, and we wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Universal Holiday

By: John P. Napolitano, CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST

There aren’t many non-sectarian holidays where people of all faiths celebrate.  Including all of the religious holidays that the different faiths celebrate, it is common here in the USA to hear people from all walks of life proclaim Thanksgiving as their favorite.  In this year of political, racial and economic divide – we do all share one thing in common.  It may not be turkey for everyone, but it is the celebration that we call Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is celebrated in many ways.  Trips to the Caribbean, visits to see family, longing for those who have passed and cannot participate and calls from loved ones in places where they simply can’t make it for dinner. I’ve had many different Thanksgivings in the past 59 years, and look forward to all of the above for this year sans the trip to a warm place with aqua blue water.

Happy Thanksgiving.


Mashed Potatoes

By: Alex Weiss, CFP®

In my opinion, mashed potatoes are the cornerstone of a well-balanced Thanksgiving meal. They can be joined with any other food, doused in gravy, or just be left alone for the delicious food that they are. I was forced into being the ‘mashed potato guy’ many years ago when my mother was over her head one Thanksgiving and she told me to figure it out. These were the days before Google, so I bent my Nana’s ear for the basics and over the years created my own masterpiece. The one key to a good mashed potato (that I find is left out) is after cutting the potatoes to all about the same size, you start with them in ice cold water which helps them cook evenly as they get to a boil. This trick keeps any lumps out of the mash! I try and keep it simple, but the key ingredients are Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, cream, salt, pepper, butter, chives, and if we are feeling wild that year we add some garlic. As a good Italian I have never measured exactly how much of each – it is all done to taste each year.




Pumpkin Pie

By: Tom Fletcher, CFP®

Desert is always my favorite course for any meal and none is more traditional for Thanksgiving than homemade pumpkin pie.  We used a recipe years ago that allowed my son to put together the pie without poisoning us when he was just a tot. Since then we've enjoyed having him make it for us every Thanksgiving.  The recipe uses store bought ingredients, is quick to put together, easy to make, yet really delicious.


1 (6 ounce) package refrigerated pie crust

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin

1 (14 ounce) sweetened condensed milk (do not use evaporated milk)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger

1⁄2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1⁄2 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Beat pumpkin, milk, eggs, spices, and salt in a mixer

Pour into pie crust

Bake in 425º preheated oven for 15 minutes

Reduce oven temperature to 350º; bake 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1 inch from crust comes out clean.


Serve with whipped cream and a cup of coffee.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!




The Not So Typical Thanksgiving Sides

By: Jenn Kovalski

My family has all of the traditional Thanksgiving food. Turkey, sweet potatoes mashed potatoes, and stuffing among others. But we also have some different food on our table than a lot of other families. We have turnip, parsnips and mincemeat pie on the desert tray. For those wondering, there’s no actual meat in it. I personally am a vegetable lover, the parsnips started because I hate mashed potatoes, so my mom added parsnips. It turns out not many people like, let alone have ever tasted a parsnip. We peel and roast them in the oven until they soften and become browned. For our mincemeat pie: it’s a mix by ‘Nonesuch’, it’s kind of hard to find because you want the dry one in the box, not the jar mix. It basically consists of dried fruit such as raisins, cherries and apples. Our pie filling is also mixed with brandy.

Lastly, on the very traditional side is the apple pie. My mom and my aunt make the same family recipe apple pie each year. Both use identical recipes and instructions. However, every year they each taste different. No one can figure out why. Both are equally delicious, but look and taste unique. This causes much family debate because we hold an apple pie sampling and then everyone votes on which one we like better that year.


When Duty Calls

By: Thomas Schulte

Due to women making-up the vast majority of my family back home in Syracuse, my number is rarely called upon when it comes to Thanksgiving Day preparation. Admittedly, my skill-set around the kitchen is quite limited, however from time to time I am summoned to put together the Acorn Squash. This dish is sweet, nicely-plated and most importantly—extremely difficult to mess up. Simply split the squash down the middle and remove any excess seeds and stringy pulp. While waiting for the oven to preheat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, mix a dash of brown sugar with a pinch of salt and pepper, along with ¼ stick of warm butter. Using a spoon, coat the insides of the hollowed-squash with the brown sugar concoction and bake for roughly 35-40 minutes.

In my experience, family will often patronize me in the form of ‘Oooo’s and ahhhh’s’ as the finished product is transferred from the oven to the table. Because of this, I will typically hedge my bet before people eat and loudly state that ‘it’s been a bad year for acorn squash’—effectively lowering all expectations.