GIVE THANKS.

5 Things I am Thankful For:
1. God
2. Family
3. Turkey
4. Stretchy Pants
5. Did I mention stretchy pants? 🙂
Right now I am jamming to some old-school Mariah Carey (Cannon?) and baking off my side dishes.
If you are looking for some fantastic last minute dishes, this is what is on my table:
1. Poblano Cornbread Stuffing by Love and Lemons
Let’s just say I was eating this raw…oops!
No freaking words…wait…coconut milk, creamy, made it gluten free and vegan!
3. Italian Green Beans (secret recipe)
4. Chocolate Pecan Pie (recipe soon) 🙂
5. Two turkeys: one smoked, one baked.
WHAT ARE YOU HAVING?
MANGIA!!!

Capital P.

Happy Wednesday y’all!
Is it too early to start prepping for Thanksgiving? I think not! I started recipe testing yesterday for Thanksgiving and I might as well have cranked up the Tony Bennett Christmas album and started decorating the tree. I just looooove this time of year. Anyway, I wish someone in my family would drop the ball already and let me know who is hosting Thanksgiving. While I would love to do it…I am totally not prepped, my kitchen is too tiny, and my oven…well, that is another story.
 While it’s nice for me to hope that I will hear something from a family member soon, I know how we do things in my family…everything starts with a CAPITAL P…for Procrastination. If things go smoothly, I should hear something the night before Thanksgiving. The good thing is, I have mapped out my plan of attack on sides, desserts to bring to the gathering (wherever that may be). You see, baby seester needs to have options when it comes to Thanksgiving…meaning no gluten and no dairy. Don’t worry. I got dis.
Let’s talk about cranberry sauce. No, not that jelly like substance that comes in a can. I’m talking real, deal cranberry sauce made with actual cranberries. Now, I usually have my go to jalapeno cranberry relish that I make each year, but yesterday, I was searching for something quick and simple to make. 
FOUND IT!
Basically, I just threw some things into a pot…
starting with cranberries…duh.

20 minutes later…BADA-BING. 
Fresh Honey Cranberry Sauce.

Of course I don’t have a huge roasted turkey (because it I did I would slather this stuff on it)
so naturally, I broke out the crackers and cream cheese

and went to town.
This sauce is delightfully thick, not overly sweet, and scented with orange juice for a little zing!

My plan was to freeze this stuff for Thanksgiving, but I predict I will finish this stuff off by Friday!

Good thing it’s quick and easy to make…back to the market I go to stock up on cranberries!
Cream cheese…just do it.
HAVE YOU STARTED PREPPING FOR THANKSGIVING? HAVE ANY QUICK AND EASY RECIPES?

Honey Cranberry Sauce (GF/V):

Ingredients:
1/2 c. honey (or agave nectar)
1/4 c. water
12 oz. fresh cranberries
juice of 1 small orange (about 1/4 c.)

Instructions:
1. Place the honey and water in a large sauce pot. Bring to a boil on the stove.
2. Add the cranberries to the pot and bring back to a boil, stirring the mixture periodically.
3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the berries have burst and the sauce becomes thick, about 10 minutes. Stir in the orange juice.
4. Remove the pot from the stove and let cool for 10 minutes. Serve with cracker and whipped cream cheese, or alongside your Thanksgiving turkey!

Makes 1 large jar (about 1 1/4 cups).

MANGIA!!!

A Thanksgiving to Remember

Happy Saturday all!

Well, it has been quite the mini-vacation over here for my family and I. This year, Thanksgiving was spent with my dad’s side of the family, which is always a big to-do. With such a large family, I expect nothing less than a huge spread at each family gathering…Thanksgiving is no exception, and this year, we definitely didn’t disappoint. Let’s just say, my Dad made two turkeys, and we are still feasting on turkey sandwiches and leftover pumpkin pie. If I look at turkey one more time, I think I am going to gauge my eyes out! Nevertheless, Thanksgiving was amazing, spent with great family, good food, and making lots of memories. I had a blast watching my family members play a game called “washers,” I nearly fell over with laughter as one of my uncle’s felt the need to commentate the game as if he were a English premiere league commentator…British accent and all! Hilarious! Here are a few pics from the day that I wanted to share with all of you! Back to cooking next week!

Some eats for the day: Cheese! I think we had more appetizers than food.

Love me some triscuits!

Yes, my aunt made a Maple Bourbon Pecan BACON Pie.

Yes, that is STILL bacon and this is not an illusion.


Cousins…or as I would like to call them, Salt N’ Pepper!

Sister In-Laws!

Me, Zia, Megs…I really don’t see a resemblance

Godparents with the Godson!

Cousins!

This is what happens when you eat too much turkey

Dad and sis…out like a light

And what would Thanksgiving be without pushing Mom on the front-yard rope swing…classic

The End.

MANGIA!!!

Giving Thanks!

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

Just wanted a share a bit going’s-on around the Ethridge household for Thanksgiving prep. It has been a gobble of a time!
I am thankful for my Mom and her ah-mazing popcorn balls

Damn those little suckers…

And my Dad for his mad turkey roasting skills

And my sister for her mad picture-taking skills, without which I might never be featured on my own blog

That pie crust was damn good…

Look ma, I can read!

I am also thankful for pumpkin pie…with a crisp crust
and a gooey sweet filling
Lastly, I am thankful for simple appetizers that are sweet and salty!
The prosciutto roll-ups are super easy to make: roll out prosciutto, spread with goat cheese, smear with fig pear jam (or your own choice of homemade or store bought jam), top with spinach and arugula, and roll up to form little bundles of love. Give thanks today. I am thankful for each and every one of you so pass on the love, whip out your best stretchy pants, and eat some turkey with your friends and family! Happy Thanksgiving!

MANGIA!!!

Friday Link Love: Fourth Week of Thanksgiving: Dessert!

Hey there Sweet Potato!

Hooked on Crack…

Pie with booze…

Cinnamon, spice, and everything nice!

Coconut Cream dream!

Apples + Ice Cream + Cheddar

Bacon, Bourbon, and Pecans? Enough said…

Another day, another cupcake…

Can you believe this is gluten-free? Yea, I can’t either.

Just because…

Happy Friday all!

It has been a pretty busy week for me. Did I mention I picked up a second job? What can I say? I gotta pay them bills! Let’s just say I am working for a local establishment that provides fresh, healthy meals for busy people. My kind of job, right? Anyway, definitely completing some goals over here. Well, we are down to the count for Thanksgiving, which if you didn’t notice is SIX days away! I am trying to figure out how Thanksgiving snuck up on me like this. I am so excited I can hardly contain myself. This year Thanksgiving is at my aunt and uncle’s house and while the menu is extensive, I will be helping my little celiac of a little sister make a few gluten-free dishes for take along, including a gluten-free pumpkin pie that she insists we have! Hey, the girl has got to have her sweets.

I am particularly excited because my mom is making her famous chocolate delight for the dessert table and I am ready to dive in fork first! If you haven’t noticed I have an extreme sweet tooth and my day is seriously incomplete without something sweet and satisfying. It’s usually frozen yogurt with lots of fruit. But, come Thanksgiving, I am ready for some real dessert, and that means I want a slice of pumpkin pie, pecan pie, a chunky serving of my moms chocolate delight, and anything else that has “pie” in the equation has my name written all over it! Today I want to share my Top Ten Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes, some traditional, some non-traditional, but all sliced with love and a cherry on top! Bring on Thanksgiving!

Top Ten Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes:

1. Sweet Potato Pie Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting by How Sweet It Is: Now, I am going to be honest here. Sometimes I don’t know why I say that when I am honest all the time! Anyway, I don’t think I have ever had sweet potato pie. Come to think of it, I have never even met a sweet potato pie or been in the same vicinity as a sweet potato pie. However, I have had me a sweet potato before, and let me tell you, there isn’t a sweet potato that I have met that I didn’t just absolutely love! To me, there is nothing better than a piping hot sweet potato fresh from the oven with a dollop of cinnamon butter on top. I give the butter a chance to melt, creating a buttery lake within the sweet potato. Sometimes, I even add glazed pecans to the mixture if I’m feeling a little crunch. Sweet heavens! While I haven’t had sweet potato pie, I figure that you have to start somewhere, and why not with these lovely sweet potato pie cupcakes. O my bee-jeez-us! This cupcake starts with a crisp graham cracker crust (my fave), which gets topped with an ooey, gooey, brown-sugar laden, sweet potato filling. Then comes the frosting which is Paula Deen friendly with a stick of butter and marshmallow fluff. Drizzle with caramel sauce and crushed cinnamon pecans, and if that isn’t Thanksgiving in a cupcake liner, then I don’t know what is!
2. Crack Pie by Bon Appetit: Now, I know this pie has a really odd name, but seriously it is like crack! Not that I have ever tried crack before, but I am 100% positive that people that are on crack are addicted, and this pie is definitely addicting. Therefore, the name is fitting. This pie is perfect for Thanksgiving, and once you start eating this rich, sweet-salty pie with it’s crisp oat cookie crust, you will be saying “Pumpkin pie who.” Go get you some crack…pie, that is!
3. Rum Raisin Apple Pie by Gourmet: Ho, ho, ho and a bottle of Rum…Raisin Pie? Yes, I know I am cheesy. I just can’t help it. It’s genetic, ask my parent, the king and queen of cheesy land. Now, apple pie is not something that I am typically gung-ho over at Thanksgiving. I like it, but it’s not something that is a MUST have at the Thanksgiving meal. However, if it is accompanied by a scoop of homemade vanilla Blue Bell ice cream, I automatically have a change of heart. Blue Bell would go great with this pie. Raisins get steeped in a vat of dark rum along with a combination of tart and sweet apples. The double-crust is my favorite part, the more crust the better…at least for me! Top with homemade whipped cream and I am all in!
4. Cinnamon Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Ginger by Spoon Fork Bacon: I don’t know about y’all, but my all time favorite spice is cinnamon! It’s so aromatic…if I could have the smell of fresh baked cinnamon rolls infiltrating my apart, I wouldn’t skip a heart beat! Did I mention cinnamon is the perfect spice for the holidays? Heck, it is great all year round, but even better on the holidays. In this cupcake, cinnamon gets combined with it’s sister spices, allspice, and nutmeg, making for the perfect autumn sweet treat! Did I mention this cake is actually in mini form…everything in mini form is 10x’s better because that means you can eat this cake 10x’s in a row and not feel one ounce of guilt. The best part about these mini cakes is that they are topped with a cream cheese frosting (holla!) and the ultimate, candied ginger. I had my first piece of candied ginger this past year. And no, it wasn’t in a cake, but wouldn’t you know? It was in a salad. Yes, people that candied ginger was like finding a piece of gold at the bottom of the ocean. Candied ginger=freekin fantastic…in my book! So, instead of serving your guests a slice of your family’s 500 year old traditional pumpkin pie recipe, why don’t you surprise them with these cupcakes instead? Believe me, they won’t mind!
5. Coconut Cream Pie by Martha Stewart: Now, I know that you are thinking coconut cream pie doesn’t belong anywhere near a Thanksgiving table. But, think again. If you are a member of my family, you always, and I mean ALWAYS expect coconut cream pie on Thanksgiving, and even Christmas. It is usually my family that brings the pie. Now, this is the only thing we don’t actually make ourselves at Thanksgiving. That’s because we have been getting the best Coconut Cream Pie every year from one place and one place only, Kelly’s Country Cookin’. Now, Kelly’s is a chain in Houston and they have some pretty good country cookin’, but their specialities are their homemade pies. My dad’s loves coconut cream pie, as do I, and possibly can’t live without it. Kelly’s is #1 and we usually stop in on Thanksgiving Day (yes, this place is open on Thanksgiving…they are that good) and pick us up a Coconut Cream Pie from their always luxurious rotating pie case that stands tall in front of the cash register. I can’t wait to get my hands on a slice of this thing, with its crisp wafer cookie crust, creamy coconut filling, and topping that is a mile high! Put a little bit of coconut into your Thanksgiving and I promise, you will thank me later!
6. Apple Pie Sundaes with Cheddar Crust Shards by Food and Wine: Now this is my kind of dessert. If you haven’t noticed, I am a big fan of sweet and salty combinations and this dessert takes the cake! Tart granny smith apples are sauteed Paula Deen style in a sea of butter along along with sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Layer the piping hot apple mixture over a scoop…or two of vanilla frozen yogurt and wait for it…the best part is yet to come. This baby gets topped with a crispy, salty cheddar crisp that might as well be used as a spoon!
7. Bacon and Bourbon Pecan Pie by No Recipes: Bacon + Bourbon? Now, that is a funny contradiction, isn’t it? I usually associate drinking bourbon with drunken late nights that lead to hangover food. The number one hangover food being bacon, that is. Yet, I never imagined bacon and bourbon becoming best pie buddies. Now that I think about it, this is the best idea I have heard yet! You see, booze, like bacon makes everything better (okay, not really…but it helps)! This pie is truly sinful, with a crust that has actual bacon grease in it, and a sticky brown sugar/bourbon filling that is chock full of whole pecans and strips of crisp bacon. For some odd reason this takes me back to my days as a child when I would sit at the breakfast table with a plate of bacon and a stack of pancakes covered in maple syrup. I would proceed to drown my bacon in the sticky vat of syrup until the bacon was nearly crystallized from the sugar. That is where my love of sweet and salty combo’s begins I guess and that is where it still stands today!
8. Marzipan and Pear Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream by Sweetapolita: Now, if you haven’t heard of marzipan, don’t freak…it’s just a fancy name for almond paste. And, its freekin ah-maze. The marzipan works its magic in these cupcakes, giving them a classic almond flavor. The cupcake also highlights one of my bff’s right now, Ms. Pear and I have become particularly GREAT friends over the past month. Well, chunks of Ms. Pear get incorporated into this batter, along with additional ground almonds, making for a gorgeous texture. The best part is of course, the frosting, because caramel, pear, and almond make an awesome trio if you ask me. Plus, you can never go wrong with buttercream, i mean c’mon…butter+cream=enough said.
9. Gluten-Free Thin Crust Pear Tart by Tartlette: Attention! Leslie Renee, I know you are reading this and this one is for you! Now, I know that you are not a big pear fan, but c’mon Les, really now? Just look at the dang picture…you know you want this, and I think my readers would agree. I love me a good thin crust, especially on pizza, but on desserts, I am totally sold. Not to mention the filling is pear-a-licious with a filling of sweet vanilla bean, apricot jam, and honey. Pears and honey? You cannot go wrong, trust.me.
10. Spiced Dark Chocolate and Pumpkin Seed Bark with Sea Salt by The Parsley Thief: Because every one needs a little chocolate in their life. Because Chocolate and Sea Salt make a perfect sweet and salty out of this world combination. And because I love giving hostess gifts, and this is the perfect one. I suggest you do the same.

MANGIA!!!