My Thanksgiving plans are somewhat up in the air right now due to the poor health of my grandfather.  If grandpa stays with us a few more weeks, then it will be a celebration with the in-laws.  However, if he is relieved from his suffering in the next few days, my husband and I will be heading home to be with my family under less than ideal circumstances.  Since my holiday meal plans are uncertain, I would like to share some wonderful tips, ideas and recipes from some fabulous fellow bloggers and vendors.

Is it your first time making the turkey this year?  I’m sure you want yours to look as gorgeous as perfectly golden bird from Simple Bites.  The post that accompanies this mouthwatering photo will give you day-by-day, step-by-step instructions for roasting the perfect turkey and even how to make gravy.

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I love turkey but like many of you, I also go crazy for all of the wonderful sides!  Do these Parmesan Mashed Potatoes that Lacey whipped up not make you drool?  I would love the saltiness from that cheese and they just look so fluffy and light!

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Don’t forget the brussels sprouts!  Are you a lover or do you need more convincing?  If you are on the fence, this brussels sprouts dish from A Cozy Kitchen might convert you!  Subtle sweetness from maple sugar and slight tang from balsamic vinegar.  Yes please.

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Naturally Marla over at Family Fresh Cooking has got us covered for a healthier way to enjoy our sweet potatoes.  In this recipe, she incorporates coconut milk, cinnamon and maple syrup and suggests creative toppings for your mashed sweet potatoes such as coconut flakes, dried figs and nuts.  You know I love to use recipes simply as guides and them make them my own, and Marla allows you to adapt this recipe using the ingredients that you prefer.

 

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No we have got to add a little salt to our sweet and one of my favorite salty sides is stuffing!  I don’t want sausage.  I don’t want oysters.  I want it straight up traditional just the way that Michelle that Brown Eyed Baker does it.  Her Classic Bread Stuffing Recipe has all you need:  bread, onions, sage and parsley.  What can I say?  I guess I am a traditionalist when it comes to stuffing!

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And finally, you know what my top priority is:  dessert.  Cheesecake is a dessert that I would choose last in most cases.   There is one exception the I know of and that is this Marshmallow-Sour Cream Topped Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Crust found on Epicurious.   I had it for the first time when I was in Guatemala on a mission trip over Thanksgiving week and it was love at first bite.  The gingersnap crust is enough to make me swoon and the cheesecake itself is lighter than most traditional cheesecakes which is why I believe it is the exception to my lack of enthusiasm about cheesecakes.

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Then there is this Caramel Apple Pie that I made last year for Thanksgiving.  You incorporate some of the caramel into the the apple filling and then also drizzle the remaining caramel over each piece as you serve it.  It takes a little more effort than your average apple pie, but the results are so worth it.

 (source:  Williams-Sonoma)

There will inevitably be some Pumpkin Cookies lying around the house for post-food coma snacking.

And if you are looking for an easy fall cocktail to serve make some ginger simple syrup and combine it with some apple vodka and ginger ale for a festive and easy to sip on drink.

I wish you all safe travels and quality time with friends and family over this next week.  I am thankful for your readership and support.  

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Summer not only has me craving fresh fruit in my desserts, but also in my cocktails.  I was given an idea for a drink with fruit in it at that 30th birthday party that I was telling you about a few weeks ago.  My version is like a white peach sangria with a little bubbly to top it all off.

White peach sangria

  • 1 bottle white wine (I prefer Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 3 cups fruit such as peaches, berries, mangoes (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 bottle sparkling peach wine

Place fruit in a pitcher and pour wine over fruit.  Let fruit soak in the wine for 2-3 hours.

Pour wine with fruit into glasses, top with sparkling peach wine and enjoy!

One of my favorite cocktails is a mojito.  Sometimes I am a purist and like my mojitos to be traditional with just mint, lime and rum, but other times I like to mix it up and add some other fruity flavors.  Tonight it was raspberry and they were the perfect cool and refreshing drink for a beautiful summer night.

Raspberry mojito (adapted from Surdyk’s Liquor & Cheese Shop Summer Drinks)

  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp fine sugar
  • 5 mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Crushed ice
  • 4 ounces raspberry juice (or a blend of juices including raspberry)
  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 1 ounce club soda
  • Raspberries for garnish
  1. Put lime juice and sugar in glass and stir until sugar is dissolved
  2. Add mint leaves and crush or muddle them against the side of the glass with back of a spoon or muddler (this releases the mint oils)
  3. Fill the glass with crushed ice
  4. Add fruit juice, rum and club soda and stir
  5. Garnish with raspberries and mint

CHEERS!!!!

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