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 #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 ]


labor day recipe round-up

Labor Day is this Monday, so I’ve scoured the internet for some tasty recipes for your Labor Day BBQ!

Start of with this delightful grilled pineapple salsa from My Name is Yeh 


or some watermelon peach caprese salad from Joy the Baker


this easy homemade snack mix from Playing with Flour 

holiday snack mix (5)

or a bacon-jalapeno cheese ball from Homesick Texan


And continue on to some mini no-knead pizzas from I Am A Food Blog 


or healthy ginger lime turkey sliders w peanut slaw from Loves Food, Loves to Eat

turkey slider

or these super savory burrata-stuffed burgers with bacon from Foodness Gracious

burrata-burger-0611-590x393 or take it easy with these slow cooker carnitas tacos with quick pickled onions from Yours Truly which can be made ahead of time and re-heated for your party

taco 2

since it is a holiday, I think this american flag pie from A Periodic Table is definitely needed


or maybe this no churn mint ice cream from The Vanilla Bean Blog 


or who could resist these cookie pie bars from The Little Kitchen


with some refreshing lavendar lemonade from east of eden


and some sweet raspberry mojitos from Crumb: A Food Blog

raspberry mojito

or take it easy with these pitcher-style margaritas for a crowd from Pinch of Yum



Happy Labor Day!

cinco de mayo recipe round-up

Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner. If you’re like me, you look forward to just about any excuse to eat some delicious Mexican food.

I thought I’d supply you with some ideas to freshen up your Cinco de Mayo fiesta below!

Cinco de Mayo Recipes

Corn & cotija cheese dip from Minimalist Baker.

corn dip

Continue reading

thursday things

sunset april 2015

Miss having your name misspelled on your Starbucks cup? There’a an app for that!

Starbucks is celebrating summer by ruining any chance you had of looking great in your bathing suit with their new S’more Frappucino, with a cookie straw.

Is coconut sugar really the health star it’s cracked up to be?

Confused about whether to use glass or metal for your baking? TheKitchn is here to help.

I really need to up my game because I’ve only had 2 of the 21 “Essential” hamburgers of America.

The Hubble telescope turned 25 this month and the internet celebrated with 25 of its most beautiful space pictures.

Is anyone else as pumped as I am for the Full House reboot? What’s that? All of you are? Good.

I die over how adorable Ms. Tosi is with Conan in this video.

King Arthur Flour tells us all how to properly cream our butter and sugar. Hint: use your eyes, not your timer.

And, as it is very fittingly the end of the month, let’s start up this fun list again where I tell you about my favorite things I ate this month…

Continue reading