Friday, November 27, 2009

Day After Thanksgiving

The day after Thanksgiving, you always wander into the kitchen with a food hangover, and open the refrigerator to find leftovers. So what do you make with that delicious turkey???
While sitting around the Thanksgiving table, I heard a story from my aunt about a tradition I never knew about. When she and my uncle were in high school, every Thanksgiving weekend there was a football game on Friday between two home town rival schools. Since everyone was still recovering from the day before, there was little time to make a full dinner before the big game. So for years, my grandmother would whip up BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato) sandwiches and add the left over turkey pieces, and the kids would devour them before they ran out the door to the big game. It not only sounds like heaven, but a tradition I will have to adopt!
One tradition we do have is a family cook-off with different recipes on the day after Thanksgiving. This year it is Macaroni and Cheese.... be sure to check back soon for the winning recipe!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I am thankful...

I am thankful for all the family and friends in my life. I hope you can also spend this day with the people you are thankful for.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Wines

Thanksgiving is just not complete without good wines. My feeling is, if you are going to spend all that time on making a turkey, 10 sides, and 5 desserts, not to mention chaos with your family all being in one house, you'd better have some good wine around.

Here are a few of my favorites:

They are La Crema, Chalk Hill, and Carmel Road, and coincidentally, they are all Chardonnay. I think these buttery chardonnays are your best bet for really engaging the palate in all the flavors of white turkey meat, mashed potatoes, and green beans.

Some other favorites are Bogle Phantom, a red wine, Layer Cake Malbec, and Charles Smith Cabernet Sauvignon. These rich and delicious reds would be decadent with dark turkey meat, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, and pumpkin pie.

No matter what you pick, just make sure that like the mashed potatoes and gravy, there is plenty to go around!

For more wines, you can always check out Wino Wednesday.

70 Minute Turkey!!!

I thought that the Safeway recipe for 2 Hour Turkey was fantastic, but of course, the amazing Martha Stewart came up with one better! Although it is a little unconventional, it does save you time, and in the end, you are going to cut the turkey up anyway.

Go to the Martha Stewart website here for the how-to on this quick cook turkey.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

2 Hour Turkey

I have to admit: I have never cooked a turkey in my life. There are much wiser and more experienced women in my family who are really good at handling that year after year. For hours upon hours, they thaw the turkey, season the turkey, cook the turkey, and baste the turkey, until it is perfectly browned and delicious. I just don't have that kind of time.

After lots of research on-line, I did come across a recipe that seems to be quick and easy. Even the Washington Post did a trial run and found it to be worthwhile. Safeway's Exclusive 2 Hour Turkey Recipe here.

Maybe one day, I will find two hours to try this out. Best of luck with your turkey this year!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Place Cards

Setting the table for Thanksgiving does not have to be overly dramatic or time consuming... after all, you have more important things to do, like cook a turkey! You simply need to let your guests know that they are welcome there. Simple place cards add that finishing, and personal touch any Thanksgiving Day tables. Here are a couple of my favorite place cards available, all you need to do is download and print!Download these fun and vintage place cards here, courtesy of LollyChops.

Also from the lovely world of Martha Stewart:Download these more traditional turkey place cards here.

And lastly, my FAVORITE! I love this because it is beautiful, simple, and also a favor your guests can take home with them!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Family recipes

Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for everything you have been given in life. I am most thankful for the family and friends I have been given, who keep me grounded, while keeping me constantly entertained. Here, I have shared some of my family's secret recipes that have been made for generations, and NEVER disappoint. I hope you enjoy as much as I do every year at Thanksgiving!

Bob's (Grandpa's) Stuffing
3 Lbs. Ground Meat
1 Lb. Pork Sausage
1/2 Stick Butter or Margarine
1 Clove Garlic
2 Large Onions, chopped
2 Loaves of Stale Bread
1 Can French Onion Soup
Poultry Seasoning, to taste
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1 Bunch Celery (optional)
Sliced Mushrooms (optional)
Red Wine or Beef Broth (optional)

In a large saucepan, lightly brown the onions and garlic in butter. Add sausage, cook until browned, then add ground meat. Cook well. Cut up loaves of stale bread into cubes. In a large bowl, mix bread with meat mixture, onion soup, and celery and mushrooms (if desired). If dressing is a little dry, add a little beef broth or red wine to moisten. Season with poultry seasoning, salt and pepper to taste. Place in a large baking dish (or two!) and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes.

Margaret's (Grammy's) Green Beans
2 Lbs Pole Beans
1 Jar Bacon Fat
Onion Salt
Pepper to taste

Clean Pole Beans, put in a stew pot and cover with water. Add bacon fat (1/2 jar or more as desired), onion salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 4-5 hours. Drain and serve.

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Menu

Thanksgiving is almost here (can you believe it?!), and whether your day is full of family, or a few people, there are some great ways to spruce up your table.

One of my favorite bloggers, Mrs. Limestone, is a fabulous graphic designer when she is not at her day job or renovating her amazing Brooklyn home. She has created some awesome (and free!) Menu templates you can use for your Thanksgiving dinner found here for downloading.

I think I am going to blow one up to Legal Size and place on a picture stand at the beginning of the buffet, instead of one for each place setting. Thanks Mrs. Limestone!

Beginning this weekend, there will be a recipe or Thanksgiving Day idea here EVERYDAY up until the big day, so check back soon!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I'm a Winner!

After long months of reading other blogs, and seeing their fabulous giveaways, I actualy WON one! Pepper Design Blog, a fabulous new blog, was holding a giveaway for a gift certificate to Favor Affair, a wonderful website that sells wonderful little favors and centerpiece ideas.

I with my gift certificate, I purchased these:

I cannot disclose what I am going to use these for, but I can tell you that they will be fabulous favors for a party I am hosting! I will show you the finished product in just a few weeks! Be sure to check out Favor Affair and Pepper Design Blog for lots more fun and fabulous ideas! Thanks again!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chocolate Swirled Pumpkin Pie

Ever since I can remember, my father and I have shared a love for brownies and pumpkin pie. He recently read the latest issue of Food and Wine magazine, and came across a recipe he found intriguing. In honor of his birthday, I made the chocolate swirled pumpkin pie, and it was truly a treat! Here's the recipe:

Pre-made Pie Crust
4 Eggs
3/4 cup Sugar
1 Tbsp Cornstarch
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
Pinch of Salt
1 Can (15oz) Pumpkin Puree
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
3 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate, melted

Take the pre-made pie crust and spread it out in a 9" greased or floured pie pan. Pinch the edges for a more decorative look (I used a cookie cutter to cut "leaves" out of the second crust to decorate my edges). Poke holes with a fork around the crust, and bake it for 20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and poke any bubbles that may have formed in the crust.

While the crust is baking, combine eggs, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Whisk until smooth, add heavy cream and pumpkin puree, and whisk again until smooth. Take 1 cup of mixture and set aside in another bowl. After melting chocolate (you can microwave or melt over the stove - be sure not to burn it!), mix into the 1 cup pumpkin mixture and whisk.

Once the pie crust has baked, remove and let it completely cool. Once cool, pour in the plain pumpkin mixture to fill the pie pan evenly. Next, pour the chocolate pumpkin mixture into the center of the pie. Once all the mixture is in, taking a butter knife, swirl the chocolate into the pumpkin mixture. Once you get your desired marble look, cover the edges with foil, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. With about 5 minutes to go, remove the foil so that the edges get a nice golden brown.

Serve warm or cold with a side of whipped cream or cool-whip. The chocolate adds decadence to the classic pumpkin pie, and I just may have found a new staple at Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Recap

Hope everyone had a wonderful Halloween! We started the night out by passing out candy to kids in our neighborhood, and our dog Maybee was dressed up too! The hat didn't last long, but she was a good 'lil pumpkin the entire time we passed out candy.

We then headed to our brother and sister-in-law's house for a wonderful Halloween party. She used the pumpkin bowl idea to hold her wonderful chili, and we had enough sweets to rot every one's teeth! I made the tower of orange (red) velvet cupcakes, she made Dirt & Worms, and we had a full candy bar too!

Of course, no Halloween party is complete without fun games! There was the traditional Bobbing For Apples, and The Doughnut Game. What are riot!!!

And the costumes! While I can't show all the good ones, I can show you ours (we were THE OTHERS from LOST), and the award for Costumes of The Night went to my in-laws:

Hope you all had a fun and festive Halloween! Check back soon for lots of good ideas and recipes for Thanksgiving!