Holiday Wrap-Up Part I: Thanksgiving

I did so much cooking and baking over the holidays that I just gave up on posting. Too much doing to write about doing! So I’m going to do two ginormous posts covering everything I did. Don’t get overwhelmed. Just grab a cup of coffee and something to nosh, ’cause you’re gonna be hungry after this.

Part I: ThanksgivingI had posted my plans for this, so my menu and links can be seen in the previous post. I will have to say that the entire dinner was a bit ambitious, and that is very clear when you realize that it was just myself and Dr. T eating the whole thing.

We started off the day with a light breakfast spread. Croissants and fresh fruit, and some mini red velvet donuts. All purchased, not made. I saved my energy for the dinner.

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Mid-day, I put together a cheese and meat spread. This was probably more exciting for me than the dinner itself because I’m such a cheese freak. We had a port wine spread (love the color) cranberry stilton, a soft french cheese, an aged gouda and a cheddar with shaved chocolate. I also made Smoked Gorgonzola Rosemary Cheese Balls that were kind of (absolutely) to-die for. Along side the cheeses were assorted crackers, mild sopressata and a hot sopressata (DiBruno Bros), mustards, olives, fig and pumpkin butters, fruits and an assortment of Sahale nuts (which I’m pretty in love with). The whole thing came together ridiculously well, it was basically heaven.

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So those were all pre-dinner snacks. (THEY ARE GOOD FOR YOU!) I’m not even sure how to show pictures of everything else, it was just… well, a lot. There was

  • Tandoori-Spiced Turkey that was marinated in yogurt and Indian spices the night before. It was pretty good but the Indian spices could have come through a little stronger.
  • Turkey Sausage & Sourdough Stuffing from Cooking Light. I’ve been making this for a few years now and it’s my stuffing staple. I absolutely love it. No substituting the sourdough though. That’s key.
  • My mom’s baked beans. These are also a staple. It’s Campbell’s canned Pork ‘n’ Beans (a large can), a can of light and a can of dark kidney beans, all drained and dumped into a sprayed 9×13 baking dish. Then you mix in a cup and a half of brown sugar, a small diced onion, a pound of bacon (strips cut into thirds), a jar of Chili Sauce and stir. It ends up being sticky because of the brown sugar and SUPER flavorful because of all the bacon grease. (Sometimes I cook the bacon ahead of time to make it crispier, but I dump the bacon grease in.) And it’s great with every other Thanksgiving side on your plate.
  • Roasted Garlic and Sage Mashed Potatoes and Turkey Gravy.
  • Rosemary & Thyme Gougeres. I made these the night before, and holy cow. Right out of the oven, I couldn’t stop eating them. Let them cool before dropping them in a ziploc bag and they are amazing the next day with some honey butter.
  • The Cranberry Sauce I made with Cointreau and orange zest. It was pretty potent, but that’s how we like it.
  • The Sweet Potato and Apple Potstickers were a really nice change up from your typical sweet potato dish. Dr. T really liked the Hoison sauce the recipe recommends using, but I really just preferred to dip them in Teriyaki.
  • Instead of a noodle dish and a green bean casserole, I decided to make one of my go-to recipes which is Gnocchi and Cheese with a French-Fried Onion Topping. It’s super hearty and comforting, and you don’t miss the green beans at all as long as you have the onions.
  • The Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Apples from Oh My Veggies was so good that I made it again for Christmas dinner. I don’t think there’s much more I can say about that.
  • And then an unexpected star in the meal were the Pumpkin Fritters. I kind of gave up on making them after I had a couple fried because they were the last thing I made and I really just wanted to eat, but I regretted not having the leftovers.
  • The Whole Foods Recipe for Pumpkin Cheese Truffles was a complete disaster. They didn’t set up at all. I could have never rolled them into balls, let alone dipped them into chocolate. (Do NOT make that recipe!) But what I DID do, was take the sort of batter that it made, and blended it with a prepared loaf of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Bread (mix). Those rolled into balls quiet nicely after an hour or two of refrigeration. I then dipped them in melted milk chocolate and topped them with crushed gingersnap cookies. Pumpkin Cake Balls were much better than the Whole Foods attempt. Dessert: saved!
  • I also made Pass the Sushi’s Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars, which were amazing. I’ve made them before, so I knew they would be and they are a huge favorite of Dr. T’s.
  • One last thing that really rocked my world, and I kind of wish I had the ingredients to make one right now was the Pumpkin Pie Martini. Make it all year round. Make me one while you’re at it, I’ll be right over!

So below are some pictures of the day’s work. Please forgive the quality, I was in Tazmanian Devil mode and was thinking less about the shots and more about eating everything as soon as possible.

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So that’s the wrap-up of Thanksgiving. Stay tuned for the Hanukkah-Christmas-New-Year’s post. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find a Pumpkin Pie Martini.

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