Monday, November 16, 2015

What We Eat: Thanksgiving Edition

I realized I'm really bad at following through a promise of sharing a recipe that I love and am excited about. I usually like to share them in a separate post from family updates, but then it seems life gets the better of me and I...forget. Kind of story of my life right now. Please tell me I'm not the only mom that feels like I can't remember yesterday...let alone what I just said 5 minutes ago. It's terrible, and unintentional, and I'm desperately hoping that some day (soon) my brain cells will return. (I read that sometimes it can take anywhere up to 5 years after having a baby.....) I'm gonna blame it on that.

Anyways, we are gearing up for one of my favorite times of year and my absolute favorite meal. If you remember last year I maybe got a little carried away and used the pregnancy card to eat as many turkey dinners as one could possibly consume. I think I ate it every day for at least a week straight...if not longer. That belly was large and in charge and I didn't dare contest what it craved.

And great. Now I'm really missing that sweet, round belly. Maybe more because it was a good excuse to be able to shovel as much food as I wanted. But really, truly I loved that belly.

So finally, two years later after promising to share my favorite Thankgiving recipes, I'm actually going to do it. These are tried and true and can be made at least one day ahead....some more. Which makes the day of Thanksgiving super relaxed and the only thing you have to worry about it timing. We also like to brine our turkey and let it get all good and smoked on our traeger.....I don't think we will ever make it the traditional way again. It is so, so, so good! AND it frees up the oven for all the other yummies. (message me if you want the brine recipe we use, I will get it from Kyle...he's the one in charge of the Turkey.)

So here we go.

You can't have a turkey dinner without stuffing.

Photo Credit: Epicurious.

This is your traditional stuffing, with all the traditonal seasonings, no orange zest, no sausage, no fruit...and in my opinion, just the way it should be. What I love about this recipe is it doesn't have a seasoning packet, no packaged bread crumbs, so the flavors are brighter and fresher. Make sure you dry out your loaf of bread really good, I have even cooked it in the oven at a very low temp to get rid of some of the moisture before turning it into stuffing. It has the perfect, crusty on top and soft in the middle result. No mushy or gooey stuffing with this one. Find the recipe HERE at Epicurious.

I don't have a picture for the mashed potatoes. But I'm assuming we can all imagine what they look like.  The recipe is from the Pioneer Woman. So naturally they involve a lot of butter, a lot of cream, and a secret ingredient. Now I have to confess, I have never been a big potato eater. Growing up I actually hated them. And still do not like them in soup of any kind. However, mashed potatoes...especially ones loaded up with not-so-good-for you things....are permissible.  I actually craved these during my last two pregnancies. Sometimes I proclaim myself a reformed  mashed potato lover.

They are incredibly creamy and flavorful (even without the gravy) and are like the added cherry on top of the Thanksgiving plate. Again, they can be made the day before, so all you have to do it pop them in the oven to get them all warm and creamy. Find the recipe HERE at Pioneer Woman.

Photo Credit:

Sweet Potato Souffle. It just sounds refined and delicious, and it is. It can easily double as a dessert or breakfast the next day. (not that I know anything about eating it for breakfast......) As with the theme of this post, it can be made SEVERAL days in advance. Go HERE for recipe.

And now to my favorite part (if that's even possible) DESSERT.

Aside from the must-haves like pumpkin and pecan...ok, and maybe an French apple. I also like to make something a little fancy, super decadent, and most-likely to include chocolate. These have all been winners and are worth the little extra effort.

Photo Credit: Former Chef

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake and Salted Caramel. I have a rule, when in doubt, dowse with salted caramel. It always makes a dessert appear fancier and like a labor of love. I'm not a big cheesecake person, but love making them. And this one I may have sneaked a few extra bites off my husbands plate. Go HERE for recipe from Former Chef.

Photo Credit: Bake or Break

Mississippi Mud Pie. This one was actually tested and approved by a true 1/2 Mississippian. My Aunt lives in Mississippi part time, and happened to be here for Christmas when I made it. She said that it tasted like an official Mud Pie. I just thought it tasted good. (hint: might not be the best for little has a little booooooze in it. Ssssh.)  Go HERE to Bake or Break for recipe.

Photo Credit: Delicious Dishings

This last one is one of my favorites. Three layers of chocolate. Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake.Rich, yet light and you might actually eat more than you intend. (Hint: Sometimes I make the first layer (flourless chocolate cake) a couple days ahead, then let it chill in the fridge overnight before I make the last two layers. I have learned the art of breaking up dessert making into several days, only for the mere fact that I have three little ones that often need me and are a lot more important than making cake. Plus it helps me not get overwhelmed and feel like I have a plan. Go HERE to Delicious Dishings for the recipe.

Lastly, if in a pinch and you need a super quick dessert to make, just make a flourless chocolate cake, throw on some freshly whipped cream, drizzle with salted caramel.....and whoa. Yum. Easy.

Hope you all have a really great Thanksgiving season. Enjoy those turkey dinners and spending time with all the people that you love so dearly.

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