Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

Our Thanksgivukkah Table

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Every once in a while I stumble upon a reminder that I haven’t been fully practicing what I preach and welcoming the kids into the kitchen. The busier our days get, the more tempting it gets to shoo them into the other room with an art project or television to keep them out of the way. With holiday cooking taking even more effort than every day meals, it’s easy to forget that this is the best time to create positive memories around food.

handprint menurkey placements | foodietots.com

A post by Mayim Bialik on Kveller about her mother’s hand-written holiday menus prompted me to bring the kids into this part of our holiday meal. I asked them one evening what we should include, and I plan to type and print out two copies to let them decorate while I’m, yes, busy cooking. I confess I was a little surprised — maybe even slightly disappointed — there weren’t any off-the-wall requests. (C’mon, kids, mama has a blog to write here. ;) ) The boy suggested broccoli for the green vegetable but was willing to accommodate my suggestion of green beans instead. He wouldn’t back down on his insistence for pumpkin pie over pumpkin cheesecake, but it’s a win I was willing to let him have.

There are just seven of us, so we pretty much stick to the classics with a few twists. We’ll have latkes on the first night of Hanukkah, but this is the Thursday evening menu:

FoodieTots Thanksgivukkah Menu

American Farmstead Cheese
Orange Sage Roasted Turkey

Challah Stuffing with Bacon and Apples
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon and Marshmallows
Cider & Maple Cranberry Sauce
Challah Rolls

Green Beans with Lemon Zest
Pumpkin Pie
Assortment of NYC Desserts

Of course decorating the table is another easy way to include children in preparing the holiday meal. We made handprint “Menurkey” place mats (pictured above) to complement my fancier centerpiece.

thanksgivukkah table | foodietots.com

I wasn’t sure how to decorate in a way that tastefully blended the two holidays, but then I stumbled upon this beautiful peacock at West Elm and decided hints of teal and gold would be a nice way to blend the blues of Hanukkah with the browns of Thanksgiving. I also am a big fan of centerpieces that double as dessert, and placed a tiny Seckel pear, crimson pomegranate and trio of rust-hued persimmons on my vintage cake platter with a handful of gelt — those chocolate coins that are essential for playing dreidel after the meal.

How are you including your kids in your holiday meals? Please share your ideas — and happy Thanksgivukkah to all who are celebrating!

PS Visit our Thanksgivukkah Potluck post for last-minute recipes, including our Turkey & Sweet Potato Latkes … Thanksgiving is just one day, but there are eight nights of Thanksgivukkah!

Cranberry Applesauce

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

My maple syrup and cider-sweetened cranberry sauce is a favorite on our Thanksgiving table, but for Thanksgivukkah I decided to give it a new twist, and make a cranberry applesauce to top those turkey and sweet potato (Thanksgiving leftover) latkes. I liked the cranberry so much that I may serve it as a latke topping every year, not just for Thanksgivukkah. It’s super simple to make with kids, too — especially kids who are old enough to peel and chop apples.

Maple Sweetened Cranberry Applesauce | FoodieTots.com

Recipe: Maple-Sweetened Cranberry Applesauce

Makes approx. 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 large apples, cored and cut into large chunks
  • 1 cup whole cranberries
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions:

Note: For a less chunky sauce, peel the apples first.

1. Place all ingredients in a heavy, medium-sized pot. Place over medium low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples and berries cook down to a chunky sauce, about 20 minutes. Cool before serving.

maple syrup action shot | cranberry applesauce by foodietots

Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash and Pomegranate

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

It always warms my heart to see traffic pick up on my Best Ever Roasted Turnips post as Thanksgiving approaches. Before that, I posted my alternative to the traditional green bean casserole. I tend to be a traditionalist when it comes to my Thanksgiving menu — but I do like to experiment with the vegetable side dishes. What can I say, I have a passion for giving misunderstood produce new life on your holiday table. So this year I turned my attention to Brussels sprouts. I can’t remember really eating them as a child, so I don’t have the baggage of a childhood filled with soggy, limp boiled sprouts to overcome. But for those of you who may have experienced such a travesty, I’m here to tell you: it doesn’t have to be that way. There are two schools of thought when it comes to preparing Brussels — cook ‘em in/with/on/under bacon (never a bad approach), or roast ‘em. Either way, the objective is to cook them until just tender inside and a little crisp outside. For this Thanksgiving side, I roasted them and combined them with roasted butternut squash and fresh pomegranate arils to add some contrasting sweet and tart notes and a bit of color.

pomegranate brussels sprouts with butternut squash

Recipe: Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash and Pomegranate
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds (arils)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel butternut squash, remove seeds, and cut into small 1/2-inch cubes. Place on rimmed baking sheet, toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place in oven and roast 10 minutes before adding Brussels sprouts.

2. Meanwhile, trim Brussels sprouts stems, remove outer leaves, and cut into quarters. Spread on a second rimmed baking sheet and gently toss with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Place in oven and roast 25 to 30 minutes, stirring midway through. (Stir squash at the same time.) Brussels and squash should both be tender and browned.

3. Place cooked Brussels sprouts and squash in serving bowl. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses, salt and pepper to taste, then top with pomegranate seeds. Serve warm or at room temperature.

~

More Brussels love from around the food blogs:

If you’re still not completely sold on the virtues of Brussels sprouts, take a look at my friend Domenica’s recent find — Kaleidoscope sprouts.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving vegetable?

Think Global this Thanksgiving {A Somali Sambusa Recipe}

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

It’s hard to believe, but here we are at the start of the holiday shopping season. Oh, and Thanksgiving, too. As we surround ourselves with delicious food, friends and family, it’s too easy to stay caught up in our own little world. Of course, this is also the season for giving, and opportunities to do so are plentiful.

thanksgiving plates

This year, I’ve tried to select methods that will resonate with my five-year-old son and help him begin to understand gratitude. Yesterday we dropped off our shoebox for Operation Christmas Child, a small selection of toys, school supplies, superhero toothbrushes and warm socks that will travel to a 5-9-year-old boy in a yet-to-be-determined country. We’ll be able to check our tracking number to see where it winds up, but naturally Africa came up as I explained to my son why there were kids who needed our kindness in order to celebrate the holiday.

It seems most people of my generation were raised with the stern admonition at the dinner table that “there are starving children in Africa who would love to eat your meal.” I remember cutting and pasting pictures of Ethiopian children from National Geographic for an elementary-school report about the famine. It’s almost incomprehensible that that saying, which we treat as a cliché, is every bit as true today.

A representative of the ONE Campaign (you know, Bono’s anti-hunger nonprofit) recently asked me to share this virtual recipe card with a Somali recipe for Date-Filled Sambusas, adapted by Sarah Commerford of What’s Cooking in Your World. The recipe is meant to help raise awareness of global hunger and the escalating famine in the Horn of Africa. You can view the recipe below, or download a PDF copy here. And click here to learn more about the situation in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, and how we can help.

Thanksgiving Virtual Recipe Card

I’m not sure if we’ll get to it for Thanksgiving, but I look forward to making these with my kids soon. And I hope you’ll consider working it into your holiday baking plans this season as well. It can be hard to imagine that the food that connects us is so scarce for so many — but hopefully by sharing recipes like these we can spread awareness and band together to help others, at home and abroad.

Happy Thanksgiving to you & yours!
Colleen & the Foodie Tots

Southern Candied Sweet Potatoes {and Macy’s Giveaway}

Friday, November 18th, 2011

One of my favorite things about the holidays is learning the stories behind treasured family recipes. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to holiday meals, and yet I can’t resist the occasional tinkering or experimentation. While our Thanksgiving menu generally resembles the meals I had growing up, I’ve taken a few liberties with some dishes. We rarely spend the holiday with my own family, so I make the sweeter cranberry sauce we prefer instead of my aunt’s cranberry-orange relish, and add blue cheese to my mom’s green bean amandine. Other things, like sweet potato casserole, have made their way to our menu even though I don’t recall having had them as a kid.

For one of the first Thanksgiving meals my husband and I hosted, I decided to add a Southern twist to that ubiquitous sweet potato and marshmallow casserole. (This Oregon girl and New York boy now reside in Virginia; though just slightly in “The South,” there are a few Southern favorites we’ve embraced, like bourbon.) A splash of bourbon and crunch of pecans counters the sweetness, and the result is a fully-loaded crowd pleaser of a casserole that’s earned its place on the table every year. The kids go nuts for the marshmallows while the grown-ups like the sophistication of the bourbon. I’m kidding of course, the grown-ups go just as nuts for the marshmallows as the kids. After all, at what other meal of the year can you get away with topping the vegetables with candy?

southern candied sweet potatoes with bourbon

Recipe: Southern Candied Sweet Potatoes with Bourbon

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 6 large potatoes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • 1/8 cup bourbon whiskey
  • 2 cups marshmallows

Instructions:

1. Wash, peel and cut potatoes into large chunks. Place in a large pot and fill with cold water to one inch above the potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer for 15-20 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. Drain.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread potatoes in an 9×12-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with salt, brown sugar, pecan pieces, and bourbon. Place marshmallows on top.

3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until marshmallow tops are golden brown. Makes 6 servings.

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macys recipe contestWhat’s your family’s favorite holiday dish? Macy’s wants to know: Macy’s is cooking up a storm at its Facebook page and asking fans to share their most-loved recipes here. Then, fans can vote for their favorites for a chance to win fun prizes! The Facebook contest is open until November 30.

And, you can enter to win a prize right here: Macy’s is offering one lucky FoodieTots reader a choice of one of four products:

-          Martha Stewart Professional Cookware Ceramic Covered Casserole Dish (perfect for sweet potato casserole!)

-          Martha Stewart Professional Cookware Hard Anodized Fry Pans (set of 3)

-          Martha Stewart Professional Cookware Stainless Steel 15” Roaster with Roasting Rack

-          Macy’s Culinary Council Thanksgiving and Holiday Cookbook

To enter, simply leave a comment below sharing which item you would choose and what you’d cook with it. The giveaway ends Friday, November 25 at 11:59pm, Eastern time. The winner will be notified by email so be sure to leave a valid email when you comment (will only be visible to me). For additional entries, tweet or share the contest on Facebook, then leave an additional comment here letting me know you’ve done so. Good luck, and happy cooking!

Update: Thanks everyone for entering our holiday giveaway — the contest is now closed and the lucky commenter is #13, Sara. Check your email, Sara!