Thanksgiving Round-up

The Menu

These cheddar-bacon gougeres can work double-time as an appetizer or a side.


Let your guests enjoy some easy brie bites while they wait for the turkey to cook!


Try these savory garlic and thyme biscuits in place of (or in addition to) your dinner rolls!


What’s Thanksgiving without gravy?


Never underestimate the power of homemade cranberry sauce.


Swap out the green bean casserole for these gorgeous bacon and parmesan brussels sprouts.


Go ga-ga for corn with corn pudding this year, complete with caramelized onions.

corn pudding

Heat things up with some bacon-jalapeño stuffing.

bacon stuffing

Knock your pumpkin pie out of the park this year by topping it with toasted marshmallow topping.


Or keep dessert light with this gorgeous grape frangipane crostata.

grap frang crostada

And remember to relax with some sparkling cranberry-orange sangria.



The Equipment

1. A roasting pan.


You don’t need an expensive roasting pan, but I’ve seen my fair share of heartache with people attempting to maneuver those flimsy aluminum pans around.  I love this All Clad roaster – it comes with a roasting rack and turkey lifters and is only about $150 on Amazon.  You can save money by skimping on the brand name, Cuisinart has a cheaper one, but I love my All Clad so much that I cried the first time I got it dirty.

  • Justification:  You can use this all year long for roasting, braising, casseroles, or lasagna.  You can even use it as a water bath the day before Thanksgiving and make a beautiful cheesecake.

2. The right oven temperature.

Of course, you’ll want to make sure that your oven is cooking at the proper temperature first.  Just throw an oven thermometer in and check it while you bake throughout the next couple weeks.

  • Justification: This will help you calibrate your oven (did you know you could do that) to improve ALL of your baking. ALL OF IT. ALL THE TIME.

3.  The right bird temperature.

I love my Thermapen, but we all know how you can lose valuable oven heat every time you open that darn door.  So, you could get a roasting thermometer instead. Cooking to the proper temperature is the difference between that tender turkey everyone loves or that dry stuff that gets covered in gravy.

  • Justification: Goodbye overdone steaks and dry birds – from now on everything is cooked to the perfect temperature all the time.  (Did you know that you can use it for bread and cakes too? Did you!?)

4.  Since we’re talking about gravy….

A fat separator always comes in handy.  I have a big one and I use it for stocks and sauces too – pretty much anything I make that might have a bit too much fat in it.  Just dump it in here and let it separate some of that gunk out!

  • Justification: No more oil slicks on your soups or fatty stocks.  Use this thing all year round.  Oh, you can also just use it to measure.  That works too…

5. You’ll probably want to put that gravy on some potatoes, so you’ll need one of


I like this one personally, because it folds flat for easy storage. You could also keep it old school with this guy, or get fancy with a potato ricer.

  • Justification: Who doesn’t have a need for more mashed potatoes in their life? I suppose you could use it to mash other things, too, like ripe bananas or cooked apples.

6.  Carving the bird (Different than ‘Flipping the Bird’)

You really don’t need an electric carver, I promise.  With this tutorial on how to carve a turkeyand an affordable carving set, you’ll be good to go when your time comes.  Just watch a few YouTube videos to get the hang of it and impress your family with a perfectly-carved bird!  I’m almost convinced that I’m hallucinating the $20 price tag on this set, so hurry and pick one up before I wake up and find out it was actually a dream.

  • Justification: It’s a carving set.  And it’s $20.  And it’s full tang J.A. Henkel… CARVE ALL THE THINGS!

7.  Side dishes 

These make and take casserole dishes from Pyrex are perfect for taking your signature side dish to the family gathering, or just to store your leftovers in. UPDATE:  Oh my gosh and looky this – Shannon‘s suggested Corningware comes with glass AND PLASTIC covers!  For transport!

  • Justification: Work potlucks, family dinners… How many times have you wished you had more between yourself and mess than a tiny sheet of tin foil? These lids SNAP. ON. Portable. Storable. Love.

8.  Dessert

A fancy dish is a nice touch to class up any dessert, but I’ve personally never been the type to splurge on those fancy things.  I think that a clear Pyrex pie dish is the perfect balance of affordable and practical… that being said, not everyone agrees with me on stuff like this.  If you insist on a pretty pie plate, this one is just as good and way more affordable than some other options

  • Justification: I don’t justify fancy pie plates.  You don’t need one, but you probably do need a regular pie plate, because the disposable ones are too small for regular-yield pie recipes.

9.  Serving dessert

Every year I forget about the pie/cake server.  Don’t be me.  DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE PIE/CAKE SERVER!

  • Justification: Mangled pies and cakes make my heart hurt.  Don’t hurt hearts.  Plus birthdays and stuff… you can use a server, I promise.

The little things:

Jeni’s Spinalong #5 – November Feels

Our November spinalong was a little bit different from the rest of this series in that we had no rules or themes to follow – Just all of our November feels all wrapped up (or should I say, “churned up”?) into one delicious ice cream.


So, for November, with thoughts of fall and Thanksgiving and #PSL all over the place… I went to Pumpkin’s sweet sister… or maybe more like a cousin? Or like a distant ancestor… I mean, they’re both plants so they must be related in some way, right? Anyway, I seem to have gotten off track somewhere…

What I chose is orange inside, like a pumpkin. And sweet, like a pumpkin. And plentiful during fall, also like a pumpkin. But it is not a pumpkin.

Can you guess what it is?

jenis sweet potato ice cream 1

Sweet potato!

Even though Mr. Eats curled his nose at the idea of me “ruining” perfectly good ice cream by putting sweet potatoes inside of it, I forged ahead anyway. I can’t think of a better way to use sweet potatoes than to put them into this amazing ice cream.

Shannon, over at A Periodic Table, stuffed all her feels into Blackstrap Praline Ice Cream with Black Walnut Praline and Singed Marshmallows. So, even though we had no rules, because we are kindred spirits we both made barely-altered recipes from the “Autumn” section of Jeni’s first book. At least we didn’t plan the same exact ice cream, which almost happened with September 😉 haha! If you paired my ice cream with some toasted nuts and Shannon’s praline sauce you would end up your very own sweet potato casserole sundae – Think of how impressed your Thanksgiving guests would be!

Unlike the other Jeni’s recipes I have made for the blog, I made this one with very little tampering. I followed the recipe pretty much 100% with the exception of one thing: I roasted the sweet potatoes real good. I baked the sweet potatoes for over an hour in the oven, until they were oozing out their sugary juices, and allowed them to cool before putting them in a cream-filled hot tub to simmer away.

I did attempt (and fail) to make Jeni’s Vanilla Bean Marshmallows, but I’m pretty sure that was a user error. Or possibly a thermometer calibration error (where one said 230F, the other said 250F) so I will have to try those again on another day. For this, store-bought made a fine stand-in.

The result is an amazingly smooth and creamy sweet potato ice cream filled with torched marshmallows and one bite will make your knees buckle.

jenis sweet potato ice cream 2

Jeni's Sweet Potato Ice Cream with Torched Marshmallows


  • 2 sweet potatoes, roasted and scooped out of the skins (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows, toasted


    Bake the potatoes
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Prick potatoes with a knife and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until they start to ooze a bit of caramelized goodness.
  4. Remove from oven and set aside until they are cool enough to handle (may be done one day in advance).
  5. Make the ice cream base
  6. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl; set aside.
  7. Place softened cream cheese and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
  8. Peel potatoes from skins and cut into cubes (if they are too soft, just scoop them into a bowl). You should have about 1 1/2 cups total.
  9. Combine sweet potatoes and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  10. Reduce heat to low and simmer, mashing up the potatoes, until they are heated through, about 5 minutes.
  11. Puree the potatoes with an immersion blender (or puree in batches in a regular blender).
  12. Return puree to the pan and add the heavy cream, sugars, and molasses.
  13. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes. Be careful because it WILL splatter. A lot. (You can cover the top of the pan with a parchment paper circle with a hole in the middle to cut down on splatter).
  14. Pour about 1/4 cup of the cream mixture into the cream cheese and whisk until combined. Pour remaining cream mixture into the bowl and whisk in the cinnamon until the mixture is fairly homogeneous.
  15. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and immerse in an ice bath for at least 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, you can dry off the bag and place it in your fridge until you are ready to spin the ice cream. (This can be done 1 day in advance).
  16. Torch your marshmallows
  17. Using a kitchen torch, line a baking sheet with parchment and spread about 1 1/2 cups of mini marshmallows on it. Carefully toast the marshmallows until golden and slightly blackened. Set aside.
  18. Spin the ice cream
  19. Spin ice cream according to your ice cream machine's directions.
  20. Pour ice cream into a storage container, layering marshmallows in between ice cream layers and saving some marshmallows to sprinkle on top.
  21. Cover the top with a sheet of parchment, then seal the container and place it in your freezer for at least four hours, or until firm.


* Pro Tip: If you end up only having regular-sized marshmallows, you can cut them into smaller ones by dusting a cutting board with powdered sugar and cutting them on the bed of powdered sugar. It took me a while to figure this out and I was super excited once I did.

[ Recipes adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Desserts ]

halloween candy cheesecake brownies

kit kat brownieIt’s about that time of year where our houses are filled with candy and we need to figure out what exactly to do with all of it. Well, fear not, I am here to help you out! A couple weeks ago I showed you how to turn our leftover candy into ice cream, last year we made a Halloween candy bark, and now, we take it one step further by shoving that delicious candy into brownies.

You’re welcome.

I found this original recipe in a “Kit Kat” version on Bakerella’s gorgeous blog, though I modified the technique a bit per this article on Epicurious. I did make some with Kit Kats, but also some with toffee and some with Oreos, too… You know, for science.

I think the Oreos were my favorite version, but all of them were surprisingly delicious. Feel free to wedge whatever candy your heart desires between your brownie and cream cheese layers, though I would personally stay away from the fruity stuff. That’s just weird.

kit kat brownie 4

halloween candy cheesecake brownies

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 30 brownies (depending on cutting size)


    For the brownie layer:
  • 3/4 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Candy of choice: Kit Kat bars (9 ounces, broken into individual sticks), Oreos (24 cookies), or whatever other candy/cookie your heart desires or any combination thereof
  • For the cheesecake layer:
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9 by 13-inch pan with foil and parchment; spray with baking spray or brush with butter.
  2. Make the brownie layer
  3. Stir flour, salt, and baking flour together in a small bowl; set aside.
  4. Melt the butter in a large bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until the eggs are very pale yellow and reach the 'ribbon' stage.
  6. Whisk the cocoa powder into the butter until homogeneous. Then fold the egg mixture into the butter mixture until combined. Gently fold the flour-mixture into the egg-butter mixture until no flour streaks remain.
  7. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and press candy and/or cookies into the top of the brownie layer.
  8. Make the cheesecake layer
  9. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and salt with the whisk attachment until smooth.
  10. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Then add the vanilla extract and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  11. Gradually add the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  12. Once combined, pour the cheesecake batter over the brownie layer and spread with an offset spatula to ensure the entire top of the brownies are covered.
  13. Place pan into the oven and bake for 50 - 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The top will turn a golden brown, if it begins to brown too much you can cover the top with aluminum foil for the final 15 minutes or so of baking.
  14. Remove from oven and cool in their pan on a wire rack before cutting. *I find that all brownies cut much cleaner after they hang out in the fridge for a few hours.
  15. Store leftover brownies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


*I find that all brownies cut much cleaner after they hang out in the fridge for a few hours.

*Store leftover brownies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

*Kit Kats, Reeses, Oreos, and pretty much any other candy bar you can think of are great for these brownies - feel free to experiment to your heart's content!

[ Recipe adapted from Bakerella ]

pavlova with whipped cream and strawberries

wee eats strawberry pavlova

After making October’s candy custard, I was left with an abundance of unused egg whites. Of course I could have done a few things with them… egg white omelets, macarons or meringues… but I decided to try something I’d never had before: Pavlovas.

Pavlovas may seem intimidating at first, but are actually quite simple to make. If you can whip egg whites, then you can make a pavlova. You simply whip egg whites to a stiff peak with a bit of sugar and a dash of vanilla, spread it into several small or one large round on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and pop it in the oven to bake away!

As with all egg white recipes, it is imperative that your bowl and beaters are free of any fat or debris prior to whipping, or your egg whites will not reach their light and fluffy potential. We help the egg whites along in this recipe with a touch of cream of tartar and a smidge of corn starch. Start slow at first, until the egg whites become foamy, then turn it up to medium to start adding some real volume to the eggs. To achieve the magical “crispy on the outside while soft of the inside” texture, you will want to beat the eggs to soft peaks before adding your sugar. We then put them in a very low-temperature oven to just slightly “bake” the exterior of the pavlovas while keeping the inside nice and chewy.



Once baked, allow your pavlovas to cool for a few hours in the oven. Once cooled, your pavlovas will emerge with a crisp, exterior shell surrounding a chewy, marshmallowy interior. Once topped with freshly-whipped cream and fruit, the dessert becomes almost ethereal. Because the pavlova and berries are already sweet, I just very slightly sweeten the whipped cream so it still provides a touch of contrast between the layers. If you like, you may add more sugar than what is called for. If you don’t have powdered sugar, regular granulated sugar is fine, too.

These are a great candidate for dinner parties and gatherings not only because they look absolutely gorgeous, but their super easy to throw together, they can they be made ahead of time, and can even become an interactive dessert if you let your guests choose their own toppings.

wee eats strawberry pavlova 2

pavlova with whipped cream and strawberries


    For the pavlova
  • 5 large egg whites (about 165 grams)
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the berries
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, depending on preference
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • For the whipped cream
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


    Make pavlova shells
  1. Place oven racks in top and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 200F degrees and line two half-sheet baking pans with parchment.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and corn starch.
  3. Using beaters or a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium-low speed until they become foamy. Add the cream of tartar and continue mixing, increasing the speed to medium-high until the egg whites become thick and white, reaching the soft-peak stage. At this point, if you were to scoop some of the egg whites out with a spatula they would still flow off of the spatula. Any "peaks" You make would fall over and not keep their point.
  4. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar mixture and continue beating until incorporated. Add remaining sugar in a slow stream and add the vanilla extract. Continue beating until the egg whites thicken and reach stiff peaks. At this point, if you were to scoop some egg whites out with a spatula, the egg whites would stay on the spatula and hold their shape and any peaks would stay pointy.
  5. Mound the egg white mixture into 8 equal-sized rounds, 4 on each baking sheet, leaving about 4 inches in between each mound.
  6. Spread out slightly, making a slight indent in the center of each for the toppings to "sit" in, and leaving about 1 to 2 inches between each. They will stay in whatever shape they are in when you put them in the oven, so don't expect the mixture to spread or settle much (though it may slightly poof a bit).
  7. Bake pavlovas for 1 1/2 hours, rotating the baking sheets halfway through the baking time. The meringues should have smooth, dry, slightly shiny exteriors. Turn off the oven and allow the pavlova to cool in the oven for a hour or two, then remove to finish cooling on the counter. You can leave them in the oven to cool completely, but I usually need my oven back by then.
  8. This can be done up to 2 days ahead of time (they technically last longer, but they aren't as good as time goes on).
  9. For the fruit
  10. Mix the sliced berries with sugar and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (can be done up to 1 day ahead of time).
  11. For the whipped cream
  12. Beat cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer until the cream thickens and the beaters start to leave a trail in the cream. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and continue beating until the cream this thick and almost doubled in volume, until it reaches a soft-peak stage.
  13. Refrigerate until ready to use. This can be made up to one day ahead of time, but is better to make the day of.
  14. Assemble pavlova:
  15. Pavlovas should be assembled right before eating. If the toppings hang out for too long on top of the meringue shell, it will ruin the structure of the pavlova.
  16. Right before serving, top meringues with whipped cream and berries (or any other toppings your heart desires).


Make sure your bowl and beater(s) are free of any fat/residue prior to whipping your egg whites!

Need help telling if your eggs have reached the proper consistency? Click Here! or check out this video

Feel free to get creative with toppings - mixing some cocoa, coffee, or berry into the whipped cream would be a great place to start. A drizzle of chocolate sauce or caramel wouldn't be a bad idea on, either!

Jeni’s Spinalong #4 – Salty Vanilla Frozen Custard with Halloween Candy

halloween ice cream - wee eats

With the extension and expansion of our Jeni’s Spinalong project we’ve gone monthly! This gives us a much better grasp of being able to have a “month-centric” theme. For me, October is a lot of things. It is colorful fall leaves, brisk cool air (well, it used to be at least). Since October in Phoenix is apparently a high of 106 today, it’s hard to get into those “cool fall flavors” so I stuck with something that can be “October-y” wherever you are in the country – HALLOWEEN!

Meanwhile, Shannon over at A Periodic Table made a super alluring PB+J Sandwich with Milk Ice Cream Terrine because she wants me to die from excitement.

I didn’t go crazy and dye my ice cream orange, and I didn’t #PSL the place up, instead I took a bunch of Halloween candy, chopped it up, and threw it into some ice cream. Because who doesn’t find themselves with a pile of extra Halloween candy at the end of October?

I was going to spin these chopped up candies into the standard sweet cream base, but I’ve already used that base so many times before that I felt like I was cheating you guys out of a real new recipe. Instead, I decided to be daring and make the base out of one of Jeni’s custards. That means separating whites from yolks. That means tempering eggs. That means… being a little bit scared because there is a little bit more room for error than with her standard egg-free bases. BUT, fear not, because if I can do it then you can certainly do it too.

Additionally, Jeni’s “Salty Vanilla Custard” recipe offered the perfect amount of salt to balance and complement all the sweetness from the Halloween candy we were throwing in. I suspect that a ribbon of salty caramel sauce would also be great here, maybe even a ribbon of fudge, too, to keep that whole salty-sweet thing going on. But the ice cream is great without them, too. I know because that’s exactly how I ate it.

Salty Vanilla Frozen Custard with Halloween Candy


  • 2 ¾ cups whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons corn starch
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • ¾ teaspoon fleur de sel or fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 5 ounces (more or less) chopped up Halloween candy


    Make the base:
  1. Fill a large bowl with ice water and set aside. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the egg yolks and cornstarch; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir the softened cream cheese, salt, and vanilla together until relatively smooth.
  3. In a large (4 quart) saucepan, combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup. Whisk to combine and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, boiling for 4 minutes.
  5. Slowly stream 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into the eggs by pouring it onto the side of the egg bowl and letting it stream in, whisking vigorously the entire time. Repeat this process 1/4 cup at a time until you have mixed about 2 cups of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks.
  6. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula.
  7. Once the mixture reaches a boil, remove it from the heat and strain through a sieve into the cream cheese bowl. Whisk until smooth and combined.
  8. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice water. Let stand until cold, about 30 minutes.
  9. Once chilled, you can spin immediately or remove the bag from the ice water bath, dry it off, and throw it in the fridge until you're ready to spin your ice cream.
  10. Spin the ice cream
  11. When ready to spin the ice cream, pour the base into your ice cream maker and spin according to manufacturer's directions.
  12. While the ice cream is spinning, chop your Halloween candy to the desired size. Note that the smaller you chop it, the easier it will be to scoop (but larger chunks are more recognizable).
  13. Add the candy chunks in the last 30 seconds of spinning.
  14. Transfer the ice cream to a container (a large Ziploc storage container works here) and freeze at least 4 hours until firm.

[ Recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts ]