Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Sweet and Simple

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and I wanted to share a few last minute ideas to inspire a fun and relaxing holiday.  Here you go...

First Stop, What to Wear?

Last night at dinner one of my girlfriends wore an adorable hot pink top.  It was fun, elegant and versatile.  Pair it with skinny jeans and heels or whatever you like.  Such a great look for this holiday season!

Chiffon Top

Buy it here: www.jcrew.com

Bring a Side

Everyone loves green beans at Thanksgiving.  If you are looking for something light and refreshing amongst all the heavy foods on your table, try this dish. 

Lemon Thyme Green Beans


1 Pound Green beans
3 Shallots
1 Lemon juiced
1/2 Tablespoon Fresh thyme chopped
1 Tablespoon Chopped Italian parsley
1/4 Stick butter
Salt and Pepper

Stem green beans.  Blanche in a pot of boiling water about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop cooking.  Green beans should still be bright green and only slightly softened.

Thinly slice the shallots.  Saute in butter with salt and pepper until beginning to brown over medium heat for about 3 minutes.  Add green beans and saute for 5 minutes.  Add lemon juice, thyme and cook for 3 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with fresh parsley.     

For the Host...

Bring your host a homemade loaf of chocolate chip pumpkin bread.  They'll be grateful to have a yummy treat with their morning coffee after a busy night of entertaining.  The recipe makes 2 large loaves (just in case you have multiple stops on Thanksgiving) and an additional mini loaf for you!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread



4 eggs
3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 cup cold water
1 (15 oz can pumpkin)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
Half bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Beat eggs and stir in next 4 ingredients.  Sift dry ingredients together and add to pumpkin mixture.  Mix well.  Divide into 2 large and 1 mini sized loaf pans.  Bake at 350 degrees, large loafs 60-75 minutes, mini loaf 30-45 minutes until done.

For the Kids...

When you're a kid, waiting for your Thanksgiving meal can feel like an eternity.  Keep the kids busy with place mat chalkboards by Annabelle Noel Home and Garden.

Decorate your own Place mat
Buy it here: www.annabellenoel.com

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mom's Apple Pie

I absolutely love pie, especially my mom's apple pie. Her pie has a tart Granny Smith apple filling and a yummy cookie crust. My sister, Molly, is known for requesting one of these pies entirely for herself. It is that good! Lucky for us, it is super simple to make. Perfect for your Thanksgiving dessert!

Thanksgiving tradition idea...

In our family we run a 5k for charity the morning of Thanksgiving. It's a nice way to give back and to get ready to chow down the rest of the day!

Mom's Apple Pie


Apple Core Peeler
6 Granny Smith Apples
One stick melted butter
One large egg
One cup flour
One cup sugar
One tablespoon cinnamon


Cut and peel apples and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Mix the rest of the ingredients together. They will be like a thick paste. Spread over apples and bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Andy's Charcoal Roasted Turkey

Want a twist on your Thanksgiving turkey?  Try charcoal roasting it!  My husband, Andy, is in love with his charcoal grill.  It came as no surprise that the first time we hosted Thanksgiving dinner, he insisted on taking our turkey to the grill.  It was a huge hit and has since become a staple at our Thanksgiving table.  Cooking your turkey on the grill will also free up your oven, a huge bonus.  We hope you'll try it!

Roast turkey here...

Andy's Charcoal Roasted Turkey

3 carrots, rough chopped
4 celery stalks, rough chopped
1 large onion, rough chopped
Handful Italian parsley
Handful fresh sage
Handful fresh thyme
Wood chips (hickory preferred)

A full bag of charcoal
Large aluminum foil pan
Tin foil
Oven thermometer (optional)
Instant read thermometer

This is similar to roasting a turkey in your oven, but you are imparting smokey charcoal flavor. Pick a bird that fits on your grill with the lid on. Last thing you want is to go to put the lid on the grill and it doesn't close.

Prep the turkey by removing the neck and gizzard. Stuff the cavity with carrots, celery, onions and parsley, sage, and thyme. Generously, salt and pepper the bird all over and under the skin and in the cavities. Place the bird in the foil pan.

Prepare a charcoal grill for indirect grilling. Two piles of red hot brickets on either side of the grill (around 30 or so brickets per side). Situate the grate so the handles where there is a gap is above the coals. This will allow you to add charcoal easily. The foil pan should be able sit in the middle without getting direct heat from the charcoal. Soak a large bowl of hickory wood chips in water for at least 30 minutes.

Place the pan on the middle of the grill. Add several large handfuls of the moist wood chips to the charcoal. Place the lid on the grill with vents open on the lid and underneath the grill.

Every 20-30 minutes add a couple handfuls of charcoal and moist wood chips. Your goal is to maintain a temperature of about 350 degrees. Use an oven thermometer to check. The less you take the lid off the better.

After 1.5 - 2 hours stop adding wood chips when it has a nice golden smokey brown color and occasionally start adding a few pats of butter to the top of the bird. After a stick of butter, continue to baste the bird with the juices. Also lightly tent the breast with tin foil at this point.

Cook to an internal temperature of 165 degrees in the thickest part of the thigh and breast. Depending on the size of the bird this might be 3-4 hours total cooking time. Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes before carving. Make gravy with the drippings.

Link to Weber grill