A Turkey Day Doodle

Thanksgiving doodle 2014

For you, Lovelies. A Thanksgiving day doodle for the kids to color while the bird roasts and you sweat your booty off in the kitchen. . . .

Oh, wait, I mean. . . for you to color with your kids while you all enjoy Hallmark quality family time around a cozy fireplace with hot chocolates in hand.

Or, you could print ’em up, roll ’em up, tie ’em with a ribbon, and tuck them in with each place setting. Then you all can talk about what you’re thankful for. Examples included in the doodle:

  • Mr. Worm, “I’m thankful for hot dogs!!”
  • Mr. Turkey, “I’m thankful for steaks!”
  • Mr. Giraffe, “I’m thankful for polka dots!”

I’m thankful for cool Southern winter days, warm little fingers that still hold mine, squeezy husband hugs, shiny new friendships and those that are weathered and worn, fresh journeys, and answered prayers. And you! I’m thankful for you crazy peeps who keep coming around these parts for better or for worse. ♥♥♥

What are you thankful for??

My Make-Believe Thanksgiving Menu

make ahead mashed potatoespecan bars Roasted Carrot Salad Caramel Apple Pie Bars TRoasted Cauliflower and Asparagus Soup| Home is Where The Cookies AreTraditional Thanksgiving

I feel a little torn today because, really, I want to start catching you up on old stuff so I can start talking about new stuff and then in my perfect little world, we’d all be on the same page. But I also feel like Thanksgiving is in a few days.

Actually, Thanksgiving IS in a few days, and, well, I feel the duty to post something Thanksgiving-y.

And since our Thanksgiving menu remains the same every year, I figure maybe the thing to do right now is daydream with you all.

If I were the Thanksgiving Menu Curator this year, this is how I’d roll:

1. I would spatchcock a Turkey, Bon Appetit style, but I’d probably skip the anise seed and orange and stick with salt/garlic/rosemary/thyme/pepper/honey.

2. I’d saute some green beans with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then toss them with crispy prosciutto bits, julienned sun-dried tomatoes and toasted pine nuts.

3. I’d roast some cauliflower and carrots ahead of time too, and serve them at room temp over a bed of peppery greens, sprinkled with goat cheese – the whole shebang smattered with slow fried shallots.

4. I’d make my mashed potatoes the day before.

5. And the sweet potato casserole too.

6. I’d start today and make some homemade rolls. Then I’d freeze them and let them thaw out on the drive to the In-laws on Thursday.

7. I’d go traditional with a Libby’s pumpkin pie, but then I’d veer outside tradition and steer straight into easily handled cookie bars for the apple and pecan pie varieties of dessert. Oh! And Spuma. I’d offer this cranberry maple spuma because it’s my menu, and I can.

What about you?? What’s on your Thanksgiving menu? And if I snuck in one new thing this year, what would you suggest? Because I might just do it. . . . . 😉

Thyme and Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

Thyme and Cheddar Scallopped PotatoesCheesy. Potatoes.

That’s really all you need to know.

These are the kind of potatoes that say, I ♥ you, therefore I give you cheese.

Garlicky, herby, creamy cheese.

Oh, and carbs. Nothing says love like carbs.

I love you and I’m thankful for you: so I made you carb-y, cheesy, super thinly sliced potatoes baked to golden, crunchy-on-top perfection.

If you’re looking for a side for your Thanksgiving turkey, try them.

If you’re all set for Thanksgiving, and you’re looking for something to go with sliders and hot dogs for your next football party? Try them.

If you just want a different side to go with your meatloaf, because your tired of mashed potatoes. . . Yup. Try them.

If you’re a vegetarian and you don’t eat sliders or hot dogs or turkey or meatloaf and you want something to go with your. . . what do you eat? Beans? Yes. . . try them.

BTW – Tyler Florence? Thank you for the original recipe and your stylishly coiffed hair. Both have made life significantly more enjoyable.

Sooo.

Pretend there is a super apropos segue here – and not the kind the mall cops ride around on. I mean words that lead you nicely and smoothly into another subject.

Oh Look!

Here we are.

What were we talking about?

Oh yes. Change.

Life is changing, schedules are changing, activities are changing, and things will be changing here too.

Namely: topics.

I’ve realized that if I want to keep up here, then the subject matter is going to have to adjust along with me, so. . . weird?

We’ll still have food of course, but I chuckle when I think about how I’ve submitted myself to a total  food coup. It’s completely taken over.

In the beginning of all these cooking/blogging shenanigans, I imagined food would comprise about one-third of the content here, but obviously, I didn’t have a firm grip on my own obsessions. (It was also here that I discovered my weakness for chocolate. . .  to which I was somehow oblivious for my entire life up untill then.)

Food was central to our lives (well, it still pretty much is. . . ). It was happening all the time (still does), it’s what I loved (still do), and it was easy (enough) because I could “work” while the kiddos were away for their day at school (really, really, NOT so much anymore). As daily schedules would have it, my quiet cooking time has almost ceased to exist (as has interruption-free photography time). At the same time, old loves are re-emerging (art – with serious kid orientation), and new loves (the local homeless community) are meeting me where I’m at.

It’s no surprise, really –  I’ve talked about some of it before – I just never knew the W’s of it all (who, what, when, where. . .).

But it’s finally come together, and with a bit of a story to boot.

So I’ll share with you the parts I’m allowed to share. I’ll take you on the journey from the beginning – which was actually quite a while ago and a bit haphazard. It might come off a bit like a ride through a funky time warp (count this as your preemptive warning).

Our range of topics here will increase to equal Food+. Plus what, you say? Plus anything we want, I say.Thyme and Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

The world blogosphere is our oyster.

From here on out, we will be about food and all the other things too.

I hope you’ll stick around.

And before I go – the recipe for the potatoes, lest I come off the wrong way – food will always remain!

Thyme and Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8 servings

Don't worry if you don't have a 10" cast iron skillet, or if you need to make a larger batch. You can easily double the recipe and bake it in a 9"x13" casserole dish. I'd be leaving out important information too, if I didn't admit that I started day dreaming about a more potent cheese in this recipe. . . Don't be afraid to try Gruyere - or maybe Fontinella. . . the options are nearly endless!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 sprigs of fresh Thyme
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • salt (to taste), and fresh ground pepper (to taste)
  • butter - enough to coat skillet
  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes (I used a mix of Russet and Yukon Gold. 1 medium Russet, and 3 smallish Yukon Golds)
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered and very thinly sliced.
  • 3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup (heaping!!) shredded extra sharp white cheddar cheese

Directions

Pre heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Coat a 10" cast-iron skillet with butter.

In a medium saucepan combine the cream, thyme, bay leaves, garlic cloves, and nutmeg.

Heat cream mixture slowly over medium-low heat. Whisk to combine, and taste when warm. Add desired salt and pepper. Keep hot, but do not simmer or boil, while slicing the potatoes.

Meanwhile, wash and peel the potatoes and slice them very thin (I used a Mandolin set at 1).

Place the sliced potatoes and thinly sliced onion in a large bowl. Remove and discard the solids from the cream mixture using a slotted spoon. Whisk in the cheddar cheese until melted and integrated well. Pour the cream and cheese mixture over the potatoes, stirring gently (and using clean hands if necessary), to make sure each potato slice gets a coating of the cream mixture. Add in 1/2 cup of the grated parmesan cheese and mix again. Spoon potato and cream mixture into the skillet. Arrange into an even layer. Pour remaining cream over the top, and sprinkle with the last 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Bake, covered with foil for 25 minutes. Remove foil, and bake for about 20-25 more minutes, or until bubbly and top is golden brown.

Source

Sara|Home is Where the Cookies are, adapted from Tyler Florence

http://www.wherethecookiesare.com/2014/11/12/thyme-and-cheddar-scalloped-potatoes/

Embracing Our Traditional Thanksgiving Menu

Traditional Thanksgiving

It’s dripping rain outside.

Still dark at 6 a.m., the drops are coming down rhythmic and thick.

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and each time this reality settles deep inside me I feel like a kid on Christmas eve.

Excitement tickles my belly, a happy jumpiness threatens to throw me off-balance, and I hope, (but wonder IF), I will be able to maintain my cheer beyond the morning hustle.

Today I will make classic sweet potatoes. SWEET. Potatoes. We’re talking the real deal topped with an avalanche of mini marshmallows.

I’ll corral Yukon Golds into make ahead mashed potatoes, rich with butter and sour cream, and I’ll throw together a good ol’ green bean casserole topped with french fried onions from a can.

I thought about making the casserole from scratch this year, because, you know – healthy.

But our family is full of staunch traditionalists who balk at the new when it comes to holiday fare. Continue reading

Butt Rubbed Turkey Breast Tenderloin

Butt Rubbed Turkey TenderloinIs anyone panicking about Turkey today?

Anyone. . . ?Butt Rub Spices

I’m not.

Well, a little.

OK. I am. Sort of.

I don’t know why though, I don’t host at my house, and I’m not in charge of the turkey.

Me? I’m the potatoes gal. Sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes. . . .

I’m like the Forrest Gump of potatoes. Continue reading

Apple Pie Cookie Bars

Apple Pie Cookie Bars - fall spices, shortbread, and caramel apple filling. Yum! Fingerfood dessert

Guys – things are getting a little crazy around here.

October 1st, I did something I never ever in a million years thought I would do.

I embarked on the Whole30 Program with my husband.

Yes, yes. After mocking super strict and wildly restrictive diets (from my perspective), I went and did it.

Just call me Home is Where the Hypocrites Are. . . . Continue reading

Happy Thanksgiving, and a Bailey’s Pumpkin Pie Coffee

I hope I get to spend at least part of Thanksgiving weekend quietly sipping one of these and reading a favorite book; but it’s okay if I don’t, because this year my focus will be on having an “attitude of gratitude” – no matter what.
If I can’t because my kids want me to play a game with them, I will be thankful that my kids love me and want to be with me.
If I can’t because my husband wants to cuddle up and watch a movie, I will be grateful that I am blessed with a healthy him and a happy us.
If I can’t because I need to fold laundry, I will be grateful that we have more than enough clothes to wear.
If I can’t because I have to cook dinner, I will be grateful that we have plenty of food to eat.
If I can’t because the house is full of the noise and chaos of four children, I will be grateful that they are all healthy and enjoy being together.
If I can’t because someone needs me to help them, I will be grateful that others know they can count on me.
If I can’t because I am busy putting up Christmas decorations, I will be grateful that my favorite holiday is just around the corner, and my whole family loves it just as much as I do.
If I can’t for any reason, I will find a way to be grateful for whatever is stopping me.

But I really hope I can sip one. . . per day. It’s dreamy – even without the Bailey’s if you must. Maybe that’s what we’ll do the morning after Thanksgiving. Wake up late, fix a nice breakfast, and snuggle in with everyone to sip hot cocoas or coffees and watch our first Christmas movie of the year.

I am grateful for new holiday traditions.

Have a very happy Thanksgiving. I hope your blessings are countless and your heart is warm with gratitude this holiday!

Recipe:

Bailey’s Pumpkin Pie Coffee

2 ounces Bailey’s Original Irish Cream
4 ounces Espresso or Strongly brewed Coffee
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
Cinnamon Stick
Whipped Cream

Combine Bailey’s Original Irish Cream and Pumpkin Pie Spice in a mug. Pour in coffee and stir. Top with a dollop of whipped cream (optional – (not really!)), a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, and a cinnamon stick.

Source: Baileys Irish Cream via Drink of the Week

To make without the Bailey’s:

4 oz of coffee
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 oz half and half
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Cinnamon stick
Whipped cream

Combine coffee, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and half and half. Add a cinnamon stick, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.

Thankful Tree


Apparently I channeled my inner child again the other day. Although this time, I’m pretty sure it was the male version, because I was running with a sharp stick. For weeks I’ve had this idea in my head for a Thanksgiving project – actually, I’ve had it on my mind for years, I am just motivated to actually do it this year. For about ten days now I’ve been running past the same dead bush that would be perfect for what I have in mind. Every time I run by it I think, “That dead bush is perfect. I’m going to look like such an idiot if I run with that thing.” So I swallowed my pride and ran – but only about ten yards to the end of the trail where I could come back later with my car.
The Thankful Tree is finally here. My plan for this little baby is that it will sit on our kitchen table oozing warmth and goodwill and putting happiness in our hearts for the holidays. Each night we are going to pick something that we are thankful for and hang it on the tree. My hope is that as the holidays approach our focus will stay balanced, and, while we can be excited about the gifting part of the season, we can put in the forefront all the wonderful things we already have – like family, friends, people who love us and take care of us, a house to live in, food to eat, and our health.

In making this project, I discovered a new thing to be thankful for – that I have learned to squelch perfectionism! The project and the photos of the project turned out differently than I had imagined. I had pictured all different shapes of leaves – maple leaves included, but once I started to cut them out and the corners ripped repeatedly, I scrapped that idea and figured the same free-hand shape in different but coordinating colors would be just fine. And the photos? Well, let’s just say I think I need to invest in a couple new backdrops.
The project cost me nothing. Nada. I’m big on trying to use stuff I already have around the house. I do have a stash of craft supplies – which is where the paper and the paint came in, but the branch, the rocks, and the vase were found. The hooks are just paperclips snipped in half with a wire cutter and twisted with needle-nose pliers into small hooks.
Oooo – and guess what? I’m not late or even close to late with this one! Thank you for my punctuality!

Materials:
1 dead branch (why does that sound funny to me?)
Some spray paint in your chosen color (I used gold because I think metallics scream ‘classy holiday’ – you might differ in opinion. . . .)
Craft papers in different but coordinating colors and patterns
A vase or pot
Rocks or other filler for your base
Paper clips
Scissors or other cutting tools
Wire cutter/needle-nose pliers

Hole punch

Directions
Clean up your dead branch – pull off dead leaves, brush off dead dirt. (I don’t know why the whole ‘dead’ thing is making me snicker. . . .)
Coat it with spray paint and let it dry. (I don’t really think I need to say this, but maybe I do – spray paint outside somewhere that it won’t matter if you get it on the ground or surrounding area – and don’t wear anything nice while you’re doing this.)
While the paint is drying, cut your leaves free-hand. Really, it’s OK. They don’t have to be perfect. They’re not even perfect in nature.
Punch a hole at one end of each leaf.
Snip a few paper clips in half with wire cutters and twist them into little hooks with needle-nose pliers.
Get your dry (dead) branch, pot or vase, and your filler. Put a little filler in the bottom, then balance your branch and fill the empty spaces around it with rocks etc. so it stays upright and straight.
Fill out your leaves and hang them!