Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipes

Yesterday was a day of risks for me. Every recipe I made was a brand new recipe. Every. Single. One. I got most of my recipes from blogs that have been tried and true, so I knew they were reliable. However, there is always a certain risk you take, when making a recipe for the first time. Little kinks that may need to be worked out. When we sat down to eat, I loved every single thing! Enough to want to document it on here, not only to share with you, but for me to refer to next Thanksgiving (and maybe this Christmas, for a couple of the dishes). There were a few "hiccups" along the way, but nothing major... all easy fixes.

I'll start with breakfast. Pumpkin cinnamon rolls.
Need I say more? This might have been my favorite thing all day.

I made Lilly a mini one (with no frosting... and no cinnamon crumble in the middle... shhhh, don't tell her).
This Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll recipe can be found here. Thank you Peas and Thank you, for another amazing recipe! I made one minor adjustment. From the 1/4 cup of sugar, take out four teaspoons and add it to the warm milk (100 degrees to be exact, if you have a thermometer). This will help activate the yeast. My first try didn't activate, so I tried this and it worked much better.
Here is the process in a nutshell.
Make these for ANY occasion. You won't be disappointed!

I also made a delicious Rustic Herb and Veggie Stuffing! I didn't exactly follow a recipe for this, so I did my best to write down everything I did, so I can replicate it again. I loved all the veggies in this stuffing!
Rustic Herb and Veggie Stuffing
(Print Recipe)

1 medium sweet potato, cubed
1/2 medium butternut squash, cubed
8 cups bread, cubed and lightly toasted in a 350 degree oven (I used a round loaf of rosemary and olive oil bread, and some french bread)
10 ounces mushrooms, chopped
2 cups leeks, chopped
2 cups celery, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sage, plus more for roasting veggies
2 tablespoons rosemary, plus more for roasting veggies
2 tablespoons thyme, plus more for roasting veggies
2 cups vegetable broth
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)

Preheat the oven to 350. Put the cubed butternut squash and sweet potato on a sheet pan, sprayed with oil. Spray the tops of the squash and sweet potato with a little oil. Sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Roast for about 25 minutes, or until tender, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the veggies. Spray a large skillet with oil. Add the mushrooms, leeks, celery, carrots, garlic, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Saute until all veggies are tender- about 6-8 minutes. If needed, add a few splashes or vegetable broth. Once the veggies are tender, add 2 cups of vegetable broth.

In a large bowl, combine the bread, roasted veggies, and sauteed veggies. Mix well. Transfer to an oiled baking dish, bake at 350 for about 35-40 minutes, or until golden and heated through.
The perfect ratio of bread/veggies. Again, you won't be disappointed!

Another Peas and Thank You recipe- Roasted Garlic and Herbed Smashed Potatoes. The roasted garlic flavor adds a nice touch!
I made "The Best Vegan Green Bean Casserole" From FatFree Vegan. I have never had a vegan green bean casserole, so I don't know if it is the best- but it was pretty darn good! Very fresh and light tasting! I would make a minor adjustment next time though- mix some of the fried onions through out the dish, and put the bread mixture on top, BUT don't add the fried onion topping until near the end of the baking time. Some of the pieces came out too dark and crispy. It wasn't a big deal, I just picked them off, but for future reference.
Nate is not a Fan of fried onions- so I only put them on half of the casserole. This dish made his favorites list!
My next recipe came from Oh She Glows- "This Ain't Grandma's Sweet Potato Casserole". This casserole is a sweet dish, not savory. I really liked it, but it is very rich, so I could only eat a small amount of it. I'd definitely make it again though.
I left pecans off half of it.... because someone doesn't like pecans (I won't name any names... this time).
I however, love pecans.
Our meal also included the pear and pomegranate cranberry sauce that I blogged about recently.
Here it all is!
And, last, but not least, dessert. This dessert was super rich and creamy- Brownie Pumpkin Pie With Crunchy Pecan Topping.
YUM! This would be great at Christmas time too!
Needless to say, we didn't go hungry this Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful in November

a few things i'm thankful for, in november

crunchy leaves on a crisp fall day
a little dog walking near my feet
sugar cookie tea
cozy scarves
holding hands
skyping with my sisters (It's been too long)
napping while football is on
pumpkin spice candles
days off, with each other
picture taking
recipe making
trips to the mountains
happy hour with friends
family (who I don't get to see often enough)
calling mom, who has all the answers
the warmth from a fireplace (nothing beats it)
snuggling under the covers, with cold air coming through the open window
coffee... pumpkin spice and winter blend
good wine
cardinals at our bird feeder (adding color to gray november!)
walks at the lake
and much much more!

Cranberry Sauce with Pears & Pomegranates

This was my first attempt at making homemade cranberry sauce and I have to say it turned out well! I only tasted a few bites because I have to save it for tomorrow. I love how pretty the berries looked, covered in sugar!
My absolute favorite breakfast in the winter, is pomegranates and oranges! (Photo from my Iphone, on Instagram.)
This recipe combined both of these ingredients, along with the cranberries, so I couldn't pass it up!
The sweetness of the pears adds a nice aspect to the sauce too!

Cranberry Sauce with Pears and Pomegranates
Adapted from Family Fresh Cooking

12 ounces fresh or frozen Cranberries
1 Pear-cleaned, cored & diced, skin left on
juice from 1 Orange (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon of ground Cinnamon
pinch of ground Ginger
Pinch of Nutmeg
3/4 cups sugar (more or less to taste)
2 ounces Pomegranate Seeds plus extra for garnish
Orange Zest


Rinse fresh cranberries. Place cranberries, orange juice, pear, water and spices in a medium saucepan. Heat on stove top over medium heat until boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover with a lid and cook for about 10 minutes. The cranberries will burst and the sauce will thicken a bit. Add more water or orange juice if you want a thinner sauce. Stir occasionally so your sauce does not burn. Add sweetener to taste and adjust spices if needed.

Add pomegranate seeds at the end and gently stir them into the sauce. As this sauce cools it will continue to thicken a bit. Serve topped with fresh pomegranate seeds and grated orange zest.
I realize this recipe is a little late for Thanksgiving... but maybe keep it in mind for Christmas!

Since I haven't blogged in awhile, I thought I'd share a few pictures from the last month. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year! We took a day trip to the mountains (as we do every October) and I snapped a picture of my favorite tree in Blowing Rock!
And what would a trip to the mountains be, without a cute little dog tagging along?
Pretty Berries!
And another photo courtesy of my Iphone and Instagram (my newest obsession... my poor camera has been slightly neglected). This was taken on my way to work!
We went for a few walks at the lake near us.
Not too long ago, the woods behind our house looked like this.
Now, not so much.
That's the only bad thing about Fall... it never lasts long enough. I guess that's part of the novelty of it all!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!