Thanksgiving: It’s All About The Food

November 5, 2014

Is it too early to start thinking about Thanksgiving? I love this time of year and truly look forward to a day of feasting with my family. Cooking is a hobby of mine — something done more often for fun than for sustenance of late — which means Thanksgiving is an anticipated time of year for this wannabe foodie.

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I would cook every day if I could, but learning to walk the path between work and not-work is challenging. Having a reason to spend an entire day (or two) cooking delicious comfort food is something to get excited about. My approach starts with traditional Thanksgiving fare but seeks a unique twist or simpler whole ingredients.

Take cranberry sauce. It should not come from a can! For the last few years, I’ve made stovetop cranberry sauce a day or two ahead and brought it along in mason jars to more than one Thanksgiving meal. (Raise your hand if you have two or more Thanksgivings every year.) Each waa a variation using fresh cranberries, adding ingredients like orange zest, persimmons or maple syrup. It’s about finding satisfaction in making and consuming better food — whatever that means to you. Local, organic, free-range, unprocessed… or just tastier!

Now, I may not be making everything here, but it’s going to be really hard to decide after looking through all of these recipes…

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Just in case you’ve never cooked a turkey, or could use some brushing up: how to roast a Thankskgiving turkey. And we can’t forget a casserole with marshmallows on top.

I also love anything to streamline the actual cooking. Behold, crock pot mashed potatoes:

Sweet Potato CasseroleCreamy Crockpot Mashed PotatoesButtery Crockpot Sage Mashed Sweet PotatoesFrom Scratch Green Bean Casserole

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I live with a brandy drinker, so brandy cranberry sauce may be the winner this year. And the garlic butter roasted mushrooms are to die for. They’re a regular side on my table outside of Thanksgiving and so easy.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce,  Persimmon Cranberry SauceBest Roasted CarrotsRoasted Delicata squashRoasted Squash Blossom, Roasted Brussell Sprouts with Almonds

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I’m not one for complicated beverages, but drinks need some love too. Chocolate toasted hazelnut milk for the kids, then warm cranberry cinnamon cocktail for the grown-ups. And Harry Potter-inspired pumpkin juice.

Pecan PiePaleo Chocolate Pumpkin Pecan FudgeMaple Glaze Pumpkin BreadPumpkin Cream Cheese Crumble Cake

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If you’re really lucky, you’ll have leftovers. And the glorious leftover creations that follow.

Turkey Cranberry Monte CristoLeftovers Salad with Cranberry VinagretteLeftovers QuicheMashed Potato Pancakes with Goat Cheese