November 28, 2008
I’m back and just in time for a Thanksgiving post. This was my first year hosting Thanksgiving and let me tell you, I was so excited. I’ve always wanted to host turkey day at our house, but we normally go to my in-law’s. But this year, they were out of town and we weren’t able to go to my parents’ so they decided to come here. So my first Thanksgiving was a small one; just me, my husband, and my parents.
My family likes pretty traditional foods for Thanksgiving so I decided I’d play it safe and just make everyone’s favorite foods so there would be no misses. After browsing through lots of recipes I finally settled on the ones I would use. After a lengthy (and expensive) trip to the grocery store I was finally ready to get started. Thankfully, I got off work early on Wednesday so I could get a head start on the prep work. My parents came in Wednesday night so my mom helped me a lot on the actual day. And the verdict? Everything turned out great! But if I learned one thing from hosting my first Thanksgiving it would be that it’s a lot of work! I am so much more appreciative of my great-grandmothers, grandmother, my mom and mother-in-law who have planned and hosted Thanksgiving for many more people than I did for many years now. I would love to host again, but I think I might have to go into training beforehand next time. ; )
On the menu this year:
Garlic and Citrus Brined Turkey
For the brine
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 orange, sliced
1 lemon, sliced
3 bay leaves
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 gallon water
For the turkey
1 8-10 lb turkey
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
Dissolve the salt and brown sugar in 1 gallon of water. Place the turkey in a large stock pot or brining bag. Pour the brining solution over the turkey. Add the sliced oranges, lemons, garlic and bay leaves to the brine solution. Refrigerate over night or place in a cooler with ice. Before cooking the turkey, rinse it well inside and out and pat dry with papertowels. Rub the turkey inside and out with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook as desired.
And yes, that is canned cranberry sauce…the only kind my family and I like!
2 cups prepared cornbread, crumbled
2 cups Pepperidge Farm herbed stuffing mix
8-10 crumbled crackers (saltine or club will work)
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced onion
1/4 cup melted butter (1/2 stick)
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
chicken broth (about 3-4 cups, enough to make the bread mixture moist)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Begin my sauteing the onions and celery in a little olive oil until soft, about 8 minutes. In a large bowl, combine cornbread, stuffing mix, celery, onion, butter, eggs, parsley, salt and pepper. Add chicken broth until the mixture is very moist. It will be just slightly soupy but the bread will absorb the liquid. Place in a greased 9×13 baking dish and bake 35-40 min.
Sweet Potato Casserole
(my mother-in-law’s recipe)
3 cups sweet potatoes, cooked until tender (should be easy to mash) about 4 med potatoes
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a baking dish.
For the topping:
1 cup pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup), melted
1/2 cup flour
Mix all dry ingredients and sprinkle over casserole. Pour melted butter over the top. Bake at 350 for 30-35 min. The top should be bubbly and have a golden crust.
Jiffy Apple Pie
3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into 1/2″ pieces
1 box Jiffy yellow cake mix
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter
Preheat oven to 325 F. Place chopped apples in an 8×8 baking dish. In a bowl, mix dry cake mix, cinnamon and sugar. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples. Slice the stick of butter into thin slices and place all over the top of the cake mixture. Bake for 35 min or until the top is golden and bubbly.
This apple pie is obviously not a traditional apple pie. It’s best served warm as a dessert topping for vanilla ice cream. Yum!
- 1 cup Karo® Light OR Dark Corn Syrup
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon Spice Islands® Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) pecans
- 1 (9-inch) unbaked or frozen** deep-dish pie crust
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust.
- Bake on center rack of oven for 55 to 60 minutes. Cool for 2 hours on wire rack before serving.
- **To use prepared frozen pie crust: Place cookie sheet in oven and preheat oven as directed. Pour filling into frozen crust and bake on preheated cookie sheet.
- RECIPE TIPS: Pie is done when center reaches 200°F. Tap center surface of pie lightly – it should spring back when done. For easy clean up, spray pie pan with cooking spray before placing pie crust in pan. If pie crust is overbrowning, cover edges with foil.
- NUTRITION TIP: To reduce calories, substitute new Karo® Lite Syrup for the Karo® Light or Dark Corn Syrup.
- High Altitude Adjustments: Reduce sugar to 2/3 cup and increase butter to 3 tablespoons. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
My only complaint from the whole Thanksgiving dinner was that my pecan pie didn’t set. It’s the first one I’ve ever made and I followed the directions exactly, and it just didn’t set in the middle. I’m not sure why, but I’ll definitely be making another one in the future and hopefully will have better luck with that one.
Along with this we also had green beans and rolls.
March 23, 2008
Happy Easter everyone! I love Easter because it means that Spring is here. It also means yummy desserts. Each year, we spend Easter with my in-laws, going to church and eating lunch. I’m always in charge of the desserts. So this year, I decided to make decorated carrot cake cupcakes since my nieces were here and banana pudding because that’s my father-in-law’s favorite. Both were very delicious and the kids had fun picking out which cupcake they wanted to eat. They thought aunt Nay Nay did a pretty good job on the cupcakes! : ) I used the Solid Gold Carrot Cake recipe that I made a while back for the cupcakes.
I only make banana pudding on special occasions for my father-in-law because he loves it so much. Every time I do make it, it reminds me of when I was a kid because my grandmother used to make it all the time. She made it for church dinners and family get togethers all the time. Mine isn’t nearly as good as hers was but it was still pretty darn tasty. Everyone seemed to love it.
2 packages Jello vanilla or banana flavored pudding (you can use instant or cook and serve)
1 box vanilla wafer cookies
4 medium bananas, sliced
8 oz whipped topping
Begin by preparing the pudding as directed on the box. Put a layer of pudding in the bottom of a serving dish. Add a layer of vanilla wafers, a layer of sliced bananas, and then a layer of pudding. Repeat all layers ending with a layer of the pudding. Top with whipped topping and crushed vanilla wafers. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
*Banana pudding is better the next day!
Here are the kids Easter egg hunting. They actually hid the eggs for us to hunt after they found them all. Thank goodness there are no pictures of that!
October 31, 2007
Tomorrow is Halloween so I thought I’d bake some cupcakes to take to work for my co-workers. Of course I forgot half the stuff I needed when I went to the store yesterday so had to run by the store on my lunch break today. Wouldn’t you know I couldn’t find any cupcake liners on the baking aisle which is one of the things I had forgotten yesterday. I looked high and low and finally found the last two packs in the back of a shelf. One was Barbie and the other these giant foil liners. Well I didn’t have time to go anywhere else so I bought the foil ones and a pack of Halloween colored sprinkles. Since I was making the frosting, I thought about making different colors to write words and make different designs on the cupcakes. But I knew they’d just get scarfed down in a matter of seconds so I decided to just stick with the sprinkles. They turned out pretty good. My husband and I were the willing taste testers since everyone knows you can’t take food to work without testing it first. : )
For the cupcakes:
(I totally cheated and used a boxed mix)
1 box yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)-prepare as directed on the box.
Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and fill each liner about half full with cake batter. Bake as directed. Let cool completely.
Makes 24 regular sized cupcakes or 16 jumbo ones.
For the frosting:
(I used the recipe I used for a chocolate cake I made)
- 1/4 cup margarine, melted
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- In a large bowl, beat margarine and cocoa together until combined. Add milk and vanilla; beat until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until desired consistency is achieved. Adjust with more milk or confectioners’ sugar if necessary.
*After reading the reviews on the website I got the recipe from I made a couple alterations. I used 3 cups confectioners’ sugar and 3/4 cup cocoa powder. It made a great frosting!
Frost cupcakes and decorate as desired.
Original source for the frosting recipe: All Recipes