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Thanksgiving

Jalapeño Macaroni and Cheese

Dinner, Quick and Easy, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian, Winter

I feel like the big thing during Thanksgiving cooking is oven space/availability. So I always suggest for people to make a few things that can be made on the stove top and a few things that can be made ahead. The timing is sometimes stressful but always doable. Not all of us have double ovens!

One dish I love at Thanksgiving (and honestly any other time, too), is macaroni and cheese. I actually prefer the stovetop variety because it’s usually creamier and faster to make.

For this post, I teamed up with French’s® Crispy Jalapeños. THEY ARE SO GOOD. You’re probably pretty familiar with their Crispy Onions, which I also love but their Crispy Jalapeños definitely deserve a place at your Thanksgiving table, too.

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10 Pies to Make This Thanksgiving

Fall, Pie, Thanksgiving

Hi hi!

Making Thanksgiving pies has always been so important and fun for me. Every single year I post a good handful of pies for people to choose from, so I wanted to highlight a few from the past that might work for your big eating day. ALSO, as a reminder, if you are making-pie-allergic, this pandowdy is truly the best option for you!

1. Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie – This is maybe my favorite pumpkin pie I’ve ever made. It is easy to make, delicious and simple.

2. Black-Bottomed Pecan Pie – Chocolate added to a traditional pecan pie is heaven on earth.

3. Rose Apple Pistachio Tart – This is beautiful and will take you a VERY long time to make. But it will be worth it. This is both delicious (hello pistachio butter!) and beautiful.

4. Miso Caramel Apple Pie – I love the savory quality miso adds to sweet pies and desserts. This pie has miso added to the caramel and it is SO good. It’s one of those subtle flavors that people will hardly pick up on but they’ll keep eating it and won’t know why.

5. Tiramisu Pie – I made this last Thanksgiving with gluten-free cookies (for the crust) because one of my bestest friends is gluten-free and no one could tell! I love this pie because it’s soft and flavorful and full of chocolate. Yum.

6. Classic Sweet Potato Pie – I love a sweet potato pie. I like it cold with ice cream. It’s not everyone’s favorite and a lot of people love it for its nostalgic qualities and I can’t blame them. Pile on that marshmallow topping and torch it!

7. Walnut and Angostura Pie – This is like a pecan pie but a little different. It has walnuts, probably my all-time favorite nut (I do love pecans tho!) with just a hint of angostura bitters. It’s an unexpected flavor but it SO delicious.

8. Brûléed Pumpkin Pie – You honestly could do this with even a store-bought pumpkin pie. All you have to do is sprinkle sugar on the top and torch it. It adds a nice crispness to it and everyone is like “oooo” + “ahhhh.”

9. Caramel Pear Pie with an Oat Crumble – I love texture everything. The oat crumble on this pie is SO good. Just make sure you use the right pears or else it can be a bit watery. You could also make this with apples and it would be just as delicious.

10. Mini Caramel-Chai Spiced Apple Pies – Say your Thanksgiving is gonna be small this year. Ours is gonna be tiny and I can’t wait to make a few things and just chill. This would be perfect for a smaller Thanksgiving gathering. You can also just make this and throw it into a 9-inch pie dish and you’d be good to go.

And of course, if you need some help with PIE 101, here’s a helpful post that I posted a long time ago!

Friendsgiving!

Fall, Thanksgiving

I feel like this year is the year of the Friendsgivings. I’ve seen so many people having them and I’ve even been invited to a few (I have friends! lol). I love Friendsgivings because they really are the best excuse to bring all your friends together. AND, all of them are usually pot lucks, making them a million times easier to pull off. It also gives everyone an excuse to make their favorite Thanksgiving foods. 

Last week, I invited a few of my favorite people over for a Friendsgiving in the backyard. It was such a pretty California day: sunny, breezy and beautiful in November. 

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Marbled Chocolate Cheesecake Pumpkin Pie

Chocolate, Desserts, Fall, Thanksgiving

This pie is about survival.

I’m kidding and being very dramatic but no lie, this pie took us about twenty million tries to get right but it survived! Or more like, we survived. It was one of those recipes that went way past my “three-fail rule.” Meaning, if we fail three times when trying a recipe, we abandon it all-together. But that rule went out the window because I liked the idea and flavor so very much.

We finally got it working like a fine-tune machine. At first it was too thin and kinda watery. Then the chocolate swirl wasn’t the right texture. And then we changed the chocolate and that got messed up. There were a lot of variables going on and we kept changing them and we kept getting messed up results. But we finally got it working and it was 100% worth it!

This fine thing is like a pumpkin cheese cake and a pie had a baby…but with chocolate swirled throughout. The bitter chocolate is so welcome within the constructs of creamy cream cheese flavor. It’s so good.

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DIY Mini Corn Name Tags

Adventures, DIY, Thanksgiving

Were at t-minus nine days before Thanksgiving and the countdown is very real.  I’m crossing my fingers that everything for the kitchen renovation will be in tact so we can have our first quiet, small Thanksgiving. It’s been a slow and arduous process that has tested my patience. But everything looks awesome haha. 

Let’s talk about DIYs. I have lots of opinions about them. When I did The Year of Cozy, I really wanted to make DIYs that were doable and that people would actually make. The Thanksgiving nametags were one of the most instagrammed DIYs! Because they consisted of things you could easily find with minimal amount of supplies. 

I wanted this DIY to also be like that: easy to do, no crazy skill required and not stressful. I like to delegate things like this to people. Give people jobs! That’s the only way Thanksgiving is not crazy. I feel like this would be a great thing to delegate to kids and it is also something you can prep WAY in advance since the corn is dried. 

For this post, I teamed up with French’s®! I love their mustard (obviously) and I buy and love their Crispy Fried Onions every single year. This year they sent me the Crispy Jalapeños and omg they are so good. I ate them by the handful and had to stop myself because we actually needed them for the shoot. 

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Apple Butterscotch Pandowdy

Fall, Pie, Quick and Easy, Thanksgiving

Hii from Thanksgiving land. Are you guys ready for the big day?

I imagine you’re sort of putting together your meal plan together.

So every year (including this one), I push pie recipes onto you all. A lot you email me, tag me in your pie photos and I absolutely love them all. I know that some of you all don’t love assembling pies. There’s the rolling the crust out, the latticing, the decorating. It’s kind of a lot. I get it. It can get kinda frustrating if you’ve never done it before.

Well, this recipe is for all of you who want to skip doing all that but still want a pretty pie! A pandowdy is not something I invented, it’s an old school American dessert that originates in Pennsylvania.

I honestly had never heard of it until Josh told me about it. He said that his mom made them all the time. I guess it makes sense I’d never heard of it; my family isn’t from the United States so this isn’t something my grandmother or great grandmother would have ever made.

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Thanksgiving Tools and Supplies

Gift Guides, Thanksgiving, The Holidays

I’m the last person that is going to tell you that you HAVE to have anything. I baked for years without a stand-up mixer, I’ve used a colander as a sieve (I don’t recommend it) and for a long time, I literally scooped out cookies with tablespoons I ate soup with. BUT, now I have a very well stocked kitchen and you know what, it makes my life easier! I move faster and I’m less stressed so here are some of my go-tos for cooking Thanksgiving dinner.

1. OXO Potato Ricer – This is the only proper way to make mashed potatoes. My post on mashed potatoes depends on it.

2. Kitchen scissors – I use these for cutting out the backbone of a turkey, I use it for cutting twine and I use them for cutting pie dough. I love kitchen scissors. They’re super sharp and are dedicated to food only.

3. Deli Containers – If you’re one of those people who loves to make things ahead of time, store mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and everything else, in these deli containers. They’re also great for leftovers.

4. Kitchen/Meat Thermometer – I use this thermometer for everything. I never use a candy thermometer. This is the only one I use for taking a turkey’s temperature or making candy.

5. Half and Quarter Baking Sheets – I actually roasted my turkey on a baking sheet and it worked great AND it’s so much cheaper than one of those fancy turkey roasting pans.

6. French-Style Rolling Pin – I despise those heavy-handled rolling pins because they’re cumbersome and, um, heavy. I much prefer this style.

7. Baking dishes – I use these for making mac n’ cheese, cooking casseroles…I dunno, you name it and they’re pretty versatile.

8. Pyrex 9-inch Pie Plate – This is simple, glass pie plate. They’re super inexpensive and bake pies very evenly.

9. Spatulas – You need them, in all sizes. They make scraping out the rest of that pumpkin pie filling out of the bowl easier. I kinda like buying spatulas at TJ MAXX and Marshall’s–the best prices and varieties.

10. Vegetable Peeler – For all those potatoes and apples!

11. Glass Nestled Prep Bowls – I have this exact same set and use them for everything. They’re great for all the things.

Fluffy, Creamy Classic Mashed Potatoes (that you can totally make-ahead)

Quick and Easy, Sides, Thanksgiving, The Holidays, Vegetarian

This blog post started off so innocently. I was all like, “I’m going to make some ultra fluffy mashed potatoes.” And then…cut to me, like, three recipes in and still not super satisfied with the results.

Here’s the thing that you learn with Googling “How to Make Fluffy Mashed Potatoes”: everyone and their mom has an opinion about the process, potato type, etc. So, I read a lot. And then I asked Josh, who also (surprise!) had a lot to say about potatoes.

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Sheet Pan Mojo Turkey

Dinner, Fall, Thanksgiving, The Holidays

I am SO excited about this post because if I’m being completely honest, I never cook the turkey for Thanksgiving. Josh is super passionate about brining, roasting, blah blah and I just let him do it and I concentrate on the sides and desserts.

BUT, when ALDI reached out about hosting a Friendsgiving with some of my bestest blog friends–Geri, Teri + Jenny, Naomi, Jeanine, Ashley and Claire–I decided that it was time to figure out how to make a proper Thanksgiving turkey.

One of the most popular recipes this fall has been this Mojo Sheet Pan Chicken and there’s good reason for it! It’s so flavorful and the lemon/orange and heavy garlic flavors work so well together. I thought that maybe it would be delicious on turkey and boy was I right!

If you’re unfamiliar, mojo is a Cuban marinade that is wildly simple but oh so good. In Cuba they have sour oranges, which are sort of a cross between a lemon and an orange. They aren’t readily available in the United States and most Cubans/people trying to achieve mojo, simply combine lemons and oranges—it’s a good solution!

I went to ALDI where I picked up a gorgeous, hormone-free turkey at a super affordable price, along with the organic dried oregano and organic lemons and naval oranges. I also stocked up on baking ingredients (like I always do) because they’re super amazing quality at really great prices.

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Melty Baked Brie with Walnuts, Honey and Figs

Appetizers, Fall, Quick and Easy, Thanksgiving

I feel like baked brie is kinda basic bitch-ish. It’s not all that revelatory. It’s nothing new. But I feel like this version–while not groundbreaking–is SO good.

This thing also gets more points because it’s really easy to throw together. It takes like five minutes to assemble and like ten minutes to bake. It also doesn’t require a lot of ingredients.

And the payoff is HUGE! The soft walnuts and crunchy pistachios with the warm figs are delicious. The thyme adds a nice aroma and the honey adds some nice sweetness.

This appetizer isn’t super sweet, so if you’re in the mood for more sweetness, toss the figs in a teaspoon of brown sugar.

I served this whole thang with Bubs + Grandma bread, which is a local Los Angeles bread maker. If you live in LA, you can get it often times at farmer’s markets or at Cookbook (in Echo Park). But if not, then this would be delicious with any good bread or crackers.

Are you feeling fall vibes?! It’s been so hot lately but I’m super excited for fall to arrive.

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