Cinnamon Apple Cider Slush

A beverage that’s both refreshing and still very much flavored by fall.

Cinnamon Apple Cider Slush

Cinnamon Apple Cider Slush

Fresh apple cider is always an autumn treat to look forward to, but I thought I’d try jazzing it up in a very simple way. This may be the perfect beverage for a Thanksgiving table – still full of classic fall flavor, but a cool, refreshing counterbalance to the hot, hearty and often rich holiday fare.

Getting to test drive a Nutri-Ninja Duo blender thanks to the team who hooked us up at IFBC this year was a total bonus. And yes, I will totally vouch for its design, ease of use and efficiency. This recipe uses 14 ice cubes, and it was rendered into delicious slush in seconds flat, thanks to the blade that spirals up the center of the pitcher.  And for extremely easy cleaning, that blade lifts right out – no having to scrape tediously around it at the bottom. But no matter what blender you have, this might be your next autumnal addiction. …

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Turkey Marbella for Thanksgivukkah!


Turkey Marbella with Apricots and Olives. Perfect for Thanksgivukkah!

If you haven’t experienced the joy that is Thansgivukkah, hie thee to this Buzzfeed post and/or the occasion’s Facebook page. Every 6 thousand years or so, the stars align just right and Thanksgiving falls during Hanukkah. The hybrid holiday that results is, of course, the most fabulous combination ever.  I don’t dare compete with the recipes shared on Buzzfeed, but I’ve been making a recipe recently that took only minor adaptations to make it a great candidate for a Thansgivukkah spread.

In Elana Amsterdam’s latest masterpiece, Paleo Cooking from Elana’s Pantry, I came across a recipe for Chicken Marbella, which was a breakout hit from the original Silver Palate cookbook and has been a popular dish at Hanukkah ever since. I must admit I had never actually tried it, despite seeing the cookbook on my stepmother’s shelf back in the 80’s, but it has a well-deserved reputation. I’ve made it at least 6 or 7 times since acquiring the cookbook, as I’ve come to love the sweetness of the prunes and honey with the savory zing from the olives and capers. By all means, try the original, but if you’re looking for a good turkey dish without roasting a whole bird, or want to make some with leftovers (just reduce the cooking time a bit), this is totally a contender.

Let us all be truly kvelling and eat ’til we plotz. …

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Warm Wild Rice Nests with Roasted Squash Eggs

 Festive fall side dish that’s so pretty on a plate.

Wild Rice Nests

Wild Rice Nests – with Roasted Squash Eggs, of course.

One of the things I treasure most about our post-reunion life is having gotten to share quite a few Thanksgivings with this new addition to my family tree. Any chance we get to share a kitchen on the ultimate food lover’s holiday is a major blessing. Two years ago, we all journeyed to Washington DC to celebrate with Donna’s eldest daughter Kate and her husband Neil. It was my first time visiting the capitol for anything more than a rally/protest-related day trip, and we had a truly grand time sightseeing any time we weren’t rocking out in the kitchen.

Top billing in our tourist activities goes to the National Museum of the American Indian, thanks to the greatest museum cafe ever. I know, it might sound a little odd, but the Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe is a truly unique and powerfully delicious experience. Set up like a food court, each counter represents a different region of the Americas, including the Northern Woodlands, South America, the Northwest Coast, Meso America and the Great Plains. Their commitment to authenticity and diversity is stunning -though the museum itself was great experience, we went back several more times just for the food. If you have never had the pleasure, you absolutely MUST include it in your itinerary if you’re ever in DC.

Having Kate (one of my four fabulous half-siblings) in my life is yet another major boon, and chief among our common interests is – surprise – food! She and her husband have even started an ongoing culinary adventure called the Passionate International Gastronomers (PIG) Project, whereby they set out to sample the world from A to Z. One can never have too many kindred spirits in life, especially when they are literally also kin.  So I was equal parts touched and stoked to receive the gift of the Mitsitam Cafe Cookbook from Kate, and it’s quickly turning into one of my all-time faves.

As I work on cooking my way through it, I came across a wild rice salad. After making it several times with a few variations (all tasty, actually) just to eat it, I started thinking about presentation, and thought it would look great as a little nest. What better to pair it with than winter squash?

This recipe is a part of week two of  the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash celebration hosted by Joanne of Eats Well with Others and Heather of Girlichef.

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Cheddar and Sweet Potato Torte Recipe – A Thanksgiving Classic Side Made Savory


Savory Cheddar and Sweet Potato Torte

There is a great debate at our house every year: What form will the sweet potatoes take for Thanksgiving? Usually it is a standoff between the Mashed Fans and the Marshmallow Topped Casserole Fans. Sometimes, I call a truce and make them both.

This year, I decided to try an unusual combo, sans marshmallows, with the sweet tubers and cheddar cheese.

Yes, I know. Sounds weird. But, cheddar works well with regular potatoes, so I figured, why not try it with sweet? Don’t knock this until you try it – the cheddar/cream/hot sauce combo is a perfect flavor match with sweet potatoes, and tones down their sugary character. And the surprise: The cheddar gives this dish an amazing dimension.

Five ingredients plus thin potato slices fanned out in layers and – Voila! – the perfect savory sweet potato dish.

Make this for your foodie feast next week, or heck – why not? – for Meatless Monday.

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Smoky Cauliflower Poblano Gratin Recipe

Smoky Cauliflower and Poblano Gratin

Smoky Cauliflower and Poblano Gratin

I am always looking for recipes for Thanksgiving side dishes that are festive, flavorful, frugal and, well, NOT boring for Thanksgiving. I have made potato with poblanos gratin before, but mashed potatoes are a must-do on Thanksgiving, so I decided to try cauliflower in this recipe instead of potatoes. I was inspired to try a low-carb veggie by one of my favorite blogs, Kalyn’s Kitchen, which features fabulous low-glycemic deliciousness.

The smokiness of the smoked paprika is perfect and the poblanos pair well with cauliflower. This has been one of my most successful food experiments in quite awhile. I ate a small piece, and my husband ate THE ENTIRE REST OF THE PAN. I am NOT making that up. He was still raving about it this morning when I left for work!

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Fab Frugal Friday: Thanksgiving Candy Turkeys

Thanksgiving Candy Turkeys

Thanksgiving Candy Turkeys

I love to have a little something fun to put on our Thanksgiving table!

For at least 20 years – since my kids were little guys – our family has been making these little candy turkeys to put at each place setting on Thanksgiving day. Sometimes we get ambitious and make dozens of them and take them around to all the neighbors the day before Thanksgiving.  These are so fun and festive and easy enough for a 5 year old to put together.

All you do is purchase candy and some vanilla wafers and “glue” them together with some chocolate frosting and Voila! — instant candy turkeys. I love the little “burnt peanut” candy head – somehow it is perfect for a turkey head. They’re completely edible, too. Yum!

For each candy turkey you will need: 2 vanilla wafers; a Hershey’s kiss; a mini-Reece’s peanut butter cup; 3 candy corns with white tip cut off; 1 burnt peanut candy; and about 1/2 tablespoon of chocolate frosting. Spread the chocolate frosting on with a butter knife and then “glue” the rest of the candy on as shown above.

Make this a new family tradition for Thanksgiving!

And, check out this beautiful edible candy garnish by another food blogger:
Hard Maple Syrup Candy, Slash Food (these are beautiful!)

— posted by Donna