Monday, October 8, 2012

Thanksgiving Dinner: Side Dishes

Tomorrow (I guess techinically today as it's 1 am) I cook my first ever Thanksgiving dinner.
I'm so ready. I'm approaching this like it's the most important thing I'll do this year.
I've figured out how I'm flavouring the turkey and the necessary items have been purchased.
Desert is decided.
The side dishes required a lot of thought and I wasn't sure I'd be able to narrow it down.
Traditionally, my mom makes mashed potatoes, turnips, stuffing, and peas.
All of which I load greedily onto my plate and drown in gracy.
I have this need to impress my parents so I wanted to make some sides that were variations on the classics.
These are the choices I narrowed it down to.
Only 2 of the 3 made the cut for tomorrow. The other side is going to be steamed asparagus, because there really should be some kind of green vegetable on that table.

*I looked everywhere in the grocery store today and could not for the life of me find cornmeal. So I'm substituting in sourdough bread. Fingers crossed it works as well!

*This was the poor recipe that didn't make the cut. I didn't want to load everyone up on stuffing AND spoon bread, on top of all of the potatoes.

*Turnips with a twist.
Trying to locate a turnip led to a discussion about the difference (if any) between turnips and rutabagas. Result of a google search: rutabagas are a cross between turnip and cabbage.
I bought a rutabaga. Here's hoping it doesn't taste wildly different than a turnip.
Fingers crossed I don't ruin any part of dinner tomorrow.
We've got a ton of wines to pair with things including a desert wine from Stoney Ridge that I've been dying to open.
Pictures to follow!
I bought a new camera so that I could take pics of my food again.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Thanksgiving: Some decor ideas

Not one to let myself only be all-consummed with finding suitable recipes for turkey and side dishes, I've also decided that for my thanksgiving dinner I will create some cute turkey place holders.

I'm torn between two but think I'm leaning more towards the first, depending on how much time I have.

First up: Turkey Trivia

Using this template you fill out trivia questions (samples found here  - U.S. based questions though) on the turkey's tail feathers.
This works so well for my trivia-crazy family. My dad used to always read us the trivia questions from the Toronto Star's Sunday paper and it would be a race to see who could answer the most correctly.

Second option is for a less interactive but more eye-appealing turkey.

You'll need a supply of crafts and this template that will leave you with a pile that resembles this.

Following these instructions, you should hopefully end up with something that looks like this!

(All photos from

Upon closer inspection of the length of time it will take to make these and the fact that the trivia option is way more fun, I'm going with the first idea!
Let's hope it actually pans out.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wedding Wednesdays: A gift for when you've agreed on no gifts

One week from Saturday my best friend gets married.
I didn't realize how much I was looking forward to this day until it started to get this close.
I'm so excited for her and cannot wait to be there with her to celebrate the marriage of two people I love and admire.
Since both of our weddings were/are this year, we decided to forgo the traditional gifts for one another, as whatever monetary gift they gave us would likely be given right back to them.
So we agreed: no gifts.
I obviously did not want to follow that agreement to the full extent and had planned on getting her some kind of bracelet charm, or a gift card for her and the new hubby to go for a romantic night out.
She also disregarded the rules and put together an amazing photo book of the incredible journeys we've been on during our 14 year friendship.
I had an idea.
I wanted to do this for her shower but we sort of combined her shower and her bachelorette into one so the idea got set aside.
Since I'm pretty sure she doesn't regularly read this blog (leap of faith, hope it doesn't end badly), here's what I'm trying to put together for the soon-to-be newlyweds:
A Book of Recipes for a Happy Marriage
I've started the scrapbook, now I just need participants to send me recipes that remind them of the couple as well as some words of advice for marriage, or wishes for a happy life together.

I'm starting the ball rolling with this recipe:
Gluten free Blondies
Gluten-Free Blondies

1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar (7.40 oz / 210 g)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup tapioca starch/flour (1.10 oz / 32 g)
1/4 cup sweet rice flour (1.25 oz / 35 g)
1/4 cup millet flour (1.35 oz / 37 g)
2 tbsp brown rice flour (0.70 oz / 20 g)
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 slivered almonds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease an 8 by 8 inch pan.
  2. Whisk together melted butter and brown sugar in a large bowl, until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours and xanthan gum until uniform in colour. Stir the flours into the batter, a third at a time. Once combined, fold in the almonds, coconut and chocolate chips. Scrape into prepared pan and even the batter out through the pan.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with a crumb or two sticking to it. Let cool, in the pan on a cooling rack. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Kitchen Adventure: Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

This year, for a number of reasons, I have decided to host my families thanksgiving dinner.
We go to John's grandfather's every year for a family dinner one night then to my parents' for the other night. It's a great excuse to eat a lot of turkey and sides.
I've always wanted to take on the lengthy task of preparing thanksgiving dinner, as I've never cooked an entire turkey before.
It also works out to be a great idea this year because my parents are still in the process of having their kitchen renovated, so they are currently sans oven.
One week from today I will be hosting my first ever Thanksgiving dinner!
Which brings me to my first of many Thanksgiving related posts this week:
How should I make the turkey?
I've narrowed it down to 3 options.
Feel free to leave meyour opinions in the comments!
All recipes and photos (minus the text that I added) are courtesy of Martha Stewart.



Let me know which one you would pick!