Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thanksgiving Blessings

I love Thanksgiving for the time spent with loved ones and the time in the kitchen but I'm going to go ahead and open this blog post with a confession, I'm not a huge fan of Thanksgiving food but it is Thanksgiving so I do enjoy the traditional dishes each year.  This year I was thankful that I was able to host a small Thanksgiving meal for my mom and aunt. It was a wonderful way to spend the day and I hope that each of you were able to spend the day with your family and friends!

Now on to the prep of Thanksgiving- if you have ever hosted Thanksgiving you know it is not something you can throw together in an hour (and if it is, I want to know your secret).  I know I still have lots to learn about hosting the perfect Thanksgiving but each year I learn something new!  Thanksgiving prep begins days before Thanksgiving with making the menu, grocery shopping, cleaning, and prepping some of the dishes the night before. Thankfully if your mom comes into town for Thanksgiving you may just be able to convince her to do the grocery shopping! After we had all the ingredients I made the desserts the night before Thanksgiving and prepped the Cornbread for the dressing and made my time schedule for Thursday! My time schedule included anything and everything, even if I thought it was a given it went down on the schedule and am I thankful it did!  Okay, enough babbling about my routine for Thanksgiving this year let's get straight to the menu!

Honey-Garlic Infused Turkey
Creamed Corn
Sweet Potato Casserole
Cornbread Dressing
Sautéed Spinach
Cranberry Sauce
Hummingbird Cake
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles

I won't go into much detail about the turkey, corn, or cranberry sauce but will give the recipes for everything else! In the past we have brined the turkey and this year we bought a honey-garlic seasoning that I injected into the turkey before putting it in the oven.  Creamed corn is my favorite, growing up we had my corn (creamed corn) and my siblings' corn (Corn pudding), while I've learned to like Corn Pudding it still isn't my first pick. I usually get the frozen creamed corn put a little butter in a pan on the stove and heat the corn through.  Finally, with the cranberry sauce we cheated and got the canned cranberry-it served the purpose!

Sweet Potato Casserole- recipe originally from Baked in Arizona 

3 1/2 to 4 cups sweet potatoes, mashed (I cheated and used canned sweet potatoes)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted

For the topping:
1/3 cup flour
1 cup pecans, chopped
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar, packed

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a casserole dish
2. Combine sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk and butter in a medium bowl.
3. Pour into casserole dish and bake for 25-30 minutes.

If you would like to make this dish ahead, mix everything up, cover and put it in the fridge.  When ready take it out and bake uncovered, it can be made up to 2 days before.

While the casserole is baking make the topping.  Combine flour, pecans, butter and brown sugar in a small bowl.  When casserole is done baking remove from oven and evenly sprinkle topping over it.  Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.  The topping should be lightly browned and crunchy. Let it sit for 30 minutes before serving.

Cornbread Dressing - this is my GranMary's recipe
1 recipe of cornbread, baked and crumbled
6-8 slices of bread
Celery Seed
Onion, chopped
Green pepper, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
4 eggs
Lots of turkey juice, use Chicken Broth if you do not have enough juice from the turkey - you want it as moist as possible before you bake it

1. Break up cornbread and bread into crumbs.
2. Add all other ingredients and stir well.
3. Bake at 400 until brown - about 45 minutes

Sautéed Spinach- found through Pinterest this is not a traditional Thanksgiving side for me but it was delicious and will definitely be repeated as an everyday side

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 bags spinach, rinsed
1 tablespoon lemon juice I was out of lemon juice so substituted lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Heat oil in saucepan on medium-high until hot, add garlic and cook 1 minute or until golden.
2. Add spinach, in 2 - 3 batches.  Cook 2 minutes or until all spinach is in the pot.  Cover and cook 2 to 3 more minutes stirring once. 
3. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and salt.

Finally, it is dessert time!!

Hummingbird Cake I have a difficult time explaining this recipe to friends but after several friends tried it and fell in love with it this week I don't think it needs much of a is covered in Cream Cheese Frosting, enough said! This cake recipe is one of my favorites from my mom's cookbook compilation of our favorite recipes.

Cake Ingredients
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
8 ounces crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup chopped pecans
2 cups chopped bananas

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
3. Add eggs, vanilla, and oil.
4. Stir in pineapple, pecans, and bananas.
5. Pour mixture in greased cake pans.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  This recipe made 3 layers.

Cake Frosting Ingredients
1/2 cup margarine, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
16 ounces powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Steps for Frosting
1. Cream margarine and cream cheese together.
2. Blend in sugar and vanilla.
3. Frost on the cake.

Hummingbird cake is best each day after baking and the cake needs to be refrigerated after baking but served closer to room temperature.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles - I told you it was my new favorite fall dessert and in case you didn't make it after the first blog post I'm reposting the recipe

1/2 cup of white chocolate chips
1/3 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs
1/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of fine salt
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups white chocolate almond bark I used 3 cubes

1. Melt the 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips, stir often to avoiding burning.  Transfer to mixing bowl.
2. Add gingersnap crumbs, pumpkin, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, zest, cinnamon, salt and cream cheese and beat with electric mixer until smooth.
3. Cover and chill in fridge for about 2 hours or until solid enough to roll into balls.
4. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and work on rolling mixture into balls (about 1 teaspoon).  I then put the cookie sheet in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
5. Melt almond bark, at no more than 30 second intervals, stirring often until melted. Dip truffle in chocolate and place back on cookie sheet and refrigerate until completely set, about 1 hour.
6. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs and ENJOY!

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and maybe next year can add some of these recipes to your table!

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