Sep 25

A Thanksgiving Welcome

sunny leavesMany people have come to the belief that Thanksgiving is a holiday about food. I mean, what do we really celebrate on the day? We gather as a family, or with friends, and sit around a gigantic bird that is slathered in grease and stuffed with bread crumbs and we say thanks before devouring the poor beast.

It is one of those holidays that seems to not be about much but we still celebrate it; probably because it is a day off from work or school. It is such a strange holiday that it even falls in two separate months, November for Americans and October for Canadians. Obviously it isn’t that important and it just seems to be the reminder that Christmas will soon be upon us, right?

The answer is no, it is very important and on our site we offer all of the reasons that makes Thanksgiving amazing. It may not come with all the presents of Christmas or the fireworks of the 4th of July but it comes with its own quiet determination to bring family and friends together.

It is the holiday that is held in the golden warmth of autumn, trees filled with orange and red, the cool crisp evenings bringing the scents of autumn combined with the turkey roasting in the oven. Families gather, laugh and enjoy a day where all the expectations are on being thankful. There is no need for all the extras that many holidays bring and all you need is good food to ring in Thanksgiving in style.

Families gather to watch or even play football and conversation is always flowing as everyone waits for the meal. Okay, it may not be too quiet but it is a time to relax and to build special memories with your family.

And that is what this site is, the quiet that illustrates the beauty of Thanksgiving so completely. We offer helpful tips for celebrating, interesting facts about the holiday and ways to decorate without breaking the bank.

We look at Thanksgiving and make it a holiday that everyone will look forward to every year, not because it is a day off but because we can enjoy a day with family and friends.

So please, come and read for a while and find the quiet warmth of a Thanksgiving holiday throughout the year. We won’t have the turkey cooking but I’m sure that as you sift through our pages you will remember the smell of roasting turkey perfectly and look forward to your own Thanksgiving that will soon come.

Aug 25

Be Chic and Crafty with Thanksgiving Dessert in a Jar

Be chic and crafty with Thanksgiving dessert in a jar

Dark Chocolate Mint Mason Jar Cakes

Dark Chocolate Mint Mason Jar Cakes

Add just the right amount of country charm to your Thanksgiving with these decadent dark chocolate cakes served in Mason jars. They taste just as good as they look, and can also be offered as festive gifts for your family and friends.

Dark Chocolate Mint Mason Jar Cakes

Servings: 12

Ingredients:

12 half pint, wide mouth Mason jars

2 tbsp (30 ml) butter, for greasing Mason jars

1 cup (250 ml) all-purpose flour

2/3 cup (170 ml) unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp (5 ml) baking soda

¾ tsp (4 ml) baking powder

¼ tsp (1 ml) sea salt

½ cup (125 ml) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup (250 ml) Billy Bee honey

2 large eggs

1 ½ tsps (7 ml) Club House Pure Peppermint & Mint Extract

½ cup (125 ml) plain yogurt

1 can, Cake Mate White Buttercream Cupcake Icing

1 Cake Mate Décors

Method

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease Mason jars with 2 tbsp (30 mL) butter

2. In a medium bowl, whisk or sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside. In a large bowl or mixer, cream ½ cup (125 ml) butter and honey together until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time until smooth, then stir in mint extract.

3. Fold half of the flour mixture in until just combined (do not over mix). Fold in yogurt until combined, then fold in remaining flour. Divide batter evenly into prepared Mason jars, filling each just over halfway full. To make filling easy, use a piping bag.

4. Place Mason jars into a roasting pan and fill with hot water, up to 1 ½-in (4 cm) below the top of the pan.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre of cake comes out clean. Using oven mitts or a towel, carefully remove Mason jars from pan and allow to cool completely.

6. Fill Mason jars with icing and decorate as desired with Cake Mate Décors, up to 12 hours in advance of serving. To store, ice cakes and seal with lids for up to 48 hours in refrigerator.

www.newscanada.com

For more holiday dessert ideas, have a look at our favorite cheesecake recipes!

Nov 26

Adding traditional twists to the Thanksgiving meal

New-Fashioned Pumpkin Pie(BPT) – Across America, families will be spending Thanksgiving together, and more than likely, enjoying the same menu items they’ve enjoyed in years past. Interestingly, more than half of Americans would embrace adding new foods or new preparations to the Thanksgiving table this year, and many think that side dishes provide the perfect opportunity to experiment, according to the findings of a new survey.

The survey conducted by Pillsbury reveals that 89 percent of Americans say preparing homemade foods shows their loved ones how much they care. However, many think the Thanksgiving meal is the most stressful of all holiday meals to make, and 72 percent are always looking for tips and tricks to prepare their dishes quicker.

The survey also shows how new food trends are shaping today’s Thanksgiving table. While some households are starting to offer alternatives to turkey, more are incorporating vegetables into their meals. Green beans, corn and carrots are among the top vegetables that Americans will serve for Thanksgiving. Other side dish staples include stuffing or dressing, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes and cranberries. With the need to reduce meal preparation time, and the interest of many to incorporate new dishes to their traditional meal, an easy and delicious dish such as Sweet Potato Casserole Crescents is one that will surprise and delight friends and family members.

Pie is a traditional Thanksgiving element and many families will end their meal with the pumpkin variety, the top Thanksgiving dessert served across America, according to the survey. Apple and pecan pies are close followers.

“We often hear from consumers that they want to make a homemade pie for their holiday celebration, but they find making the pie crust challenging,” says Madison Mayberry, Pillsbury food editor and entertaining expert. Her recommendation: make a homemade pie using a Pillsbury Pie Crust, found in the refrigerated aisle at your supermarket. The pre-made crust allows you to unroll, fill, top and bake, saving time and making it easier to bake a delicious pie. Mayberry recommends adding one of these popular pie recipes to your holiday meal: New Fashioned Pumpkin Pie, Perfect Apple Pie, or Salted Caramel Pecan Pie.

New-Fashioned Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:

1 box Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk (1 1/2 cups)

Directions:

1. Heat oven to 425 F. Place pie crust in 9-inch glass pie pan as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie.

2. In large bowl, beat eggs with wire whisk. Stir in remaining ingredients until well blended.

3. Pour into crust-lined pan. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 F; bake 40 to 50 minutes longer or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.

4. Cool completely, about 2 hours. Store in refrigerator.

Tradition holds true across the country when it comes to Thanksgiving dinners. But with emerging food trends, and families trying to incorporate time-saving techniques and modernizing some of the classic recipes, today’s Thanksgiving table has a bit of a new look from years past.

For more Thanksgiving holiday recipe ideas, visit Pillsbury.com.

For more holiday dessert ideas, have a look at our favorite cheesecake recipes!

Nov 25

Make Thanksgiving dinner preparation a family affair

Make Thanksgiving dinner preparation a family affair(NC) Thanksgiving is a time to be appreciative and a time to enjoy delicious food. But the meal shouldn’t be the responsibility of just one person. As the saying goes, ‘many hands make light work’. By teaching your kids how to help in the kitchen from meal prep to cleanup, you’re also helping them understand how to prepare healthy meals and appreciate food for years to come.

“Parents can always use an extra pair of hands in the kitchen, especially with such a big meal like Thanksgiving dinner, and when encouraged, kids can enjoy spending time cooking and learning how to prepare meals,” says Laura McGowan, Director of Marketing, LG Electronics Canada. “Helping in the kitchen teaches useful skills that will last long past dinnertime and create some great moments together as a family as well.”

McGowan provides insight on children of all ages lending a hand and learning in the kitchen:

• Grocery discoveries: Kids of all ages can learn the tricks of the kitchen on a trip to the grocery store. When children are involved in picking out new foods, such as exciting vegetables, they’re more likely to try (and enjoy) new things, helping to expand their palate.

• Meal math: Task elementary-aged kids to measuring out certain ingredients using measuring cups and spoons. Once measured, invite them to mix as needed to learn what the end result will be.

• Little chefs: Setting the table and retrieving ingredients from the pantry or refrigerator are good activities for younger children who might not have the skills necessary to prepare food. The new LG door in door feature makes it even easier for kids to get the needed items.

• Team cleanup: Ensure everyone lends a hand with the cleanup and use innovative appliances like the LG Fully-integrated Dishwasher with EasyRack Plus for precise cleaning, energy efficiency and flexibility and convenience with the interior rack system.

• Buddy System: Always have an adult present in the kitchen when children are helping with food preparation and ensure knives or other sharp objects and hot elements are well out of reach of little hands.

For more helpful tips, please visit www.lg.com

www.newscanada.com

Nov 24

Unique and nutty twists on traditional holiday recipes

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Pecans

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Pecans

(BPT) – With the holidays fast approaching it’s time to enjoy some of the season’s tastiest foods. Small twists can turn a traditional dish into a holiday classic.

The good news is it’s simple to add a fresh twist to holiday favorites with easy additions like Fisher Nuts.

Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, an Iron Chef and expert on Food Network , says that nuts are one of the most versatile ingredients to use when reinventing dishes. Here are her top five tips for cooking with nuts:

1. Cranberry sauce with a tiny grate of orange zest and a handful of toasted almonds stirred in at the last minute puts a simple but tasty twist on a staple Thanksgiving side dish.

2. Want rich, thick gravy with no lumps? Thicken gravy with ground nuts instead of flour. Simply separate a little of the gravy in a bowl and blend with ground walnuts until smooth. Then just whisk it back in the pot with the remaining gravy.

3. Spruce up holiday side dishes by stirring in some toasted pecans or almonds. Top gratins with a thin layer or stir a handful into sauteed or braised vegetables. The nuts bring out the earthy flavors of vegetables, adding richness without making dishes too heavy.

4. Stir together melted semi-sweet chocolate and a handful of chopped pecans or walnuts. Add a pinch of cinnamon and roll into bite-size candies. It’s an easy way to have something different than a pie or cookies for the holidays. Plus it’s gluten free.

5. Make nuts part of any season by toasting them in a little warm olive oil over medium heat. When the nuts are toasted and coated in the oil, stir in any fresh herb (for example, rosemary for winter or basil for summer) and allow the herbs to gently crisp up and meld with the nuts. Serve as is with a pinch of salt.

These five tips can help you transform traditional holiday fare into instant classics. To “wow” guests, try this tasty recipe from Chef Guarnaschelli at your next gathering:

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Pecans

Sweet potatoes are at their best when combined with something sweet. This recipe blends flavors reminiscent of a cinnamon-infused pecan coffee cake topping and pairs them with sweet potatoes for a change from the more traditional marshmallow topped casserole. Plus, it’s perfect for busy cooks because the potatoes can be microwaved in just 15 minutes.

Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

4 large sweet potatoes, about 3 pounds 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter, divided 1 teaspoon orange zest, packed 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided 3/4 cup Fisher Pecan Halves, coarsely chopped 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup dark brown sugar 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Pierce sweet potatoes all over with a fork. Microwave on high for 15 minutes or until completely cooked through. Let rest 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle.

3. Topping: Meanwhile, combine the pecans, flour, sugars, cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir to blend. Mix in 1/4 cup butter. The topping should form sandy clumps. Refrigerate.

4. Split the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out some of the flesh inside. Arrange the sweet potato “halves” on a baking sheet. In a medium bowl, combine the sweet potato flesh with the remaining 1/4 cup butter, orange zest and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spoon the filling back into each potato half and top with the topping on a baking tray. Place the tray in the center of the oven and bake until the topping browns, 15 to 20 minutes.

Nov 24

Practice makes perfect: a dress rehearsal for your turkey

dress rehearsal for your turkey(BPT) – The holidays are approaching and before you know it, you’ll be thinking about that daunting task of cooking a turkey. This holiday season, make sure your bird impresses all the guests and relatives by conducting a dress rehearsal for your turkey. More than 88 percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving, according to a National Turkey Federation survey. But before doing so, why not do a dry run and prepare a turkey, or try a smaller bird like chicken, using a brining technique that is sure to be a crowd pleaser?

It’s the hot new culinary trend that’s got everyone from celebrity chefs to home cooks buzzing. But even though brining may be the latest technique to sweep kitchens, it’s hardly new. Mankind has been brining since ancient times. It probably started out, hundreds of millennia ago, as a way of preserving seafood with sea salt. The technique has come a long way since, and now food lovers everywhere, in typical what’s-old-is-new-again fashion, are rediscovering the benefits of brining.

Think you don’t have the tools to brine? Chef Helen Roberts, director of culinary development at Kikkoman, has perfected the turkey brine. The brine is simple: salt, sugar, water, dried spices and the magic ingredient: soy sauce. Pull out your refrigerator drawer or a large, deep bucket to brine your bird. After you’ve stirred your ingredients and placed your turkey in the liquid, let the brine work its magic overnight.

What’s the secret behind brining? Brining has a tenderizing and moisturizing effect. The brine is absorbed and diffused throughout the meat as it soaks overnight. In addition, Roberts explains that soy sauce has a savory effect that seals in the turkey flavor and moisture. “Brining makes a big difference when you’re roasting meat. You’ll have the juiciest bird you’ve ever tasted,” says Roberts. But, as we all know, a turkey isn’t the only thing on the kitchen table – check out some recipes here that will leave your taste buds craving for more.

Savory Turkey Brine

Ingredients (Recipe for a 16 to 24 pound turkey)

2 gallons cold water 10 ounces Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce 1/2 cup kosher salt 1/2 cup sugar 2 tablespoons dried sage 2 tablespoons dried celery seed 1 tablespoon dried thyme

Instructions

The night before roasting, remove giblets and turkey neck; rinse turkey inside and out. In a large stock pot or 5 gallon bucket, mix water with remaining ingredients. Stir well until all the salt is dissolved. Place turkey in the pot, cover with a lid and refrigerate overnight or at least 8 hours. Remove turkey from the brine, rinsing well. Follow your regular cooking instructions.

Brining isn’t just for meat though. Brine veggies for a rich, savory taste. Perhaps one of the trendiest veggies, Brussels sprouts, are a prime candidate for a soy sauce brine. Sick of the same old side dishes? Now that you’ve brined your turkey, get creative with your side dishes too. Put a spin on classic mashed potatoes with the Wasabi Mashed Potatoes recipe found on www.kikkomanusa.com. The spice and heat will balance out the creamy texture of the mashed potatoes. If you have leftover turkey, try a completely new dish instead of just reheating. Keep enjoying your juicy turkey by adding to a stir fry, include in a salad or in a tetrazzini. For leftover mashed potatoes, use panko to transform into crunchy, warm Panko Mashed Potato Cakes.

Have you ever wondered … why turkey for Thanksgiving? Turkeys became a Thanksgiving staple after the Native Americans introduced turkey to the Pilgrims back in 1621 during the first Thanksgiving meal. As you prepare to celebrate the holidays, try this brining recipe to keep turkey juicy and moist, and you are bound to enjoy a wonderful meal with friends and family.