Things I Love :: Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Holiday Gift Ideas for All Your Favorite People

The holidays are rapidly approaching and we all need a few fun ideas for gifting, now don’t we? This hot list below is full of great holiday gift ideas and things I love, perfect for your friends, family and coworkers – whether they love pampering, cooking, or just relaxing and having a cocktail by the fire, there’s a gift on this list they’re gonna love too!

Monogrammed Cocktail Glasses

Monogrammed Cocktail Glasses

Perfect-sized lowball glasses for whiskey and mixed cocktail drinks monogrammed with gold metallic vinyl will look stunning on display on your holiday table or bar cart.

seoulscrub set

SeoulScrub Mini Mix Body Scrub Set

Seoulscrub’s collections – defined by all-natural ingredients, fragrant scents and nourishing benefits are crafted to stimulate circulation and leave skin with a spa-fresh glow. The set includes 5 assorted scrubs including: Lemon Blossom, Creamy Coconut, Peppermint, Sea Mist and Suede Vetiver. YUM!

holiday sparkler set

Holiday Sparkler Set

This gift-worthy Sparkling Cocktail Kit includes a beautiful sparkling wine, craft gin, Washington D.C. limoncello and a bittersweet, floral liqueur. Basically everything needed to mix up swanky cocktails like a French 75, floral Spritzer or Limoncello Sparkler.

It also includes a set of four stemless shatterproof Champagne flutes from Govino, designed with a divot for your thumb – perfect way to celebrate the holidays!

Polaroid Cube+ 1440p Mini Lifestyle Action Camera with Wi-Fi & Image Stabilization

Polaroid Cube Mini Camera with WiFi

The black CUBE+ Lifestyle Action Camera from Polaroid makes it easier than ever to record and share all of life’s adventures. It has a built in video camera that shoots 1440p video at 30 fps, 1080p video up to 60 fps, and 720p video at 120 fps for slow-motion capture. Additionally, the camera captures up to 8MP still images. The CUBE+ also adds image stabilization for smoother looking video and built-in Wi-Fi for syncing with the CUBE+ app for iOS and Android devices. Super cool for any adventure loving photography buff!

Baked by Melissa Cupcakes

Baked by Melissa Mini Cupcakes

Six handcrafted cupcakes made from recipes in Melissa’s new cookbook! Includes Electric Tie-Dye, Ice Cream Sundae, gooey S’mores, Babka, toasty Caramel Coconut & sweet Sugar Cookie. The Dream Team is an exclusive first taste of a few favorite recipes from CAKES by Melissa! cookbook.

faux fur pillow

Fireside Faux Fur Pillow, Anthropologie

Because who doesn’t love a big, plush fluffy pillow by the fireplace? Yes please.

Boska Mini Fondue Pot

Mini Fondue Pot, Boska

Their ceramic mini fondue is perfect for sharing a quick fondue or tabletop tapas for two. Dunk rustic bread into melted cheese, swirl fruit in chocolate or enjoy a breakfast fondue of waffles dipped in warm syrup. Made of ceramic with a rubber wood base, it includes two stainless-steel fondue forks with wood handles and the pot is microwavable making it easy to melt chocolate or cheese.

Harry and David Gift Box

Holiday Wine Box, Harry & David

For someone special, send them this awesome box of gourmet treats in a festive gift box including Harry & David 2014 Ross Lane Blend Red, mulling spices, cheese, mixed nuts, Moose Munch popcorn, cookies, crackers and jam for this you can use a good blender from the best blender under 100 list so is affordable to you.

Cozy Fleece Robe

Cozy Fleece Robe for Him

Because what guy wouldn’t like a plush, cozy fleece robe for lazy holiday mornings?

Jacques Torres Chocolate Holiday Gift Box

Jacques Torres Chocolate Gift Box

A mouth-watering selection of premium chocolate bonbons packed in Jacques’ custom-made signature gift boxes. There is something for everyone with flavor schemes ranging from caramels, pralines, fruits, wine, teas, along with special edition holiday bon bons and a Happy Holidays Sleeve. Gorgeous flavors inside too: Spiced Wine (Milk), Swirls of Spiced Wine in Milk Chocolate, Merry Mint (Dark) , Mistletoe Mint in Dark Chocolate, Eggnog (White,  and Creamy Eggnog in White Chocolate. YUM.

rose-gold-cake-knife-set

Rose Gold Cake and Knife Set, West Elm  

Perfect for special occasions, this imported Rose Gold Cake + Knife Set adds simple elegance to any table. Use it for your next celebration, or gift a set to a friend. Great for pies, quiches and cakes! And well, rose gold is just super cool and pretty too.

bartender prep board

Personalized Cutting Board, Mark + Graham

Made for the cocktail connoisseur or the amateur mixologist, this personalize cutting board is crafted from solid maple wood, and answers all your cocktail glassware, quantity and garnish questions engraved on the board. Made by J.K. Adams, who, for more than 65 years, has been handmaking beautiful, sustainably harvested wood pieces in Vermont.

Beechers Cheese Set

Beecher’s Classic Cheese Collection

For the cheese lover in your family, try sending them this classic cheese collection from Beecher’s Cheese – one of my favorite places in NYC! These three cheeses have been part of the Beecher’s repertoire since the beginning. Enjoy them all side by side for a perfect, full-flavored cheese plate. Includes
Beecher’s Flagship 1/3 lb, Beecher’s New Woman 1/3 lb, Beecher’s Marco Polo 1/3 lb, and Beecher’s Original Crackers. Perfect with wine for a holiday gathering!

Bath and Body Works Candles

Yummy Holiday Candles, Bath and Body Works

The holidays are the perfect time for candles! And the candles at Bath and Body works are not only inexpensive but they have tons of yummy scents like Hot Cocoa and Cream, Spiced Apple Toddy, Campfire Donut and Vanilla Spiced Pear. Perfect way to spend a chilly evening cozied up by the fire with a cocktail.

Dr Smood Red Maca Superfood Powder

Superfood Powders, Dr Smood 

Dr Smood Superfood Powders would make a wonderful gift for the health and wellness-obsessed foodies on your list. They’re full of health-boosting goodness and are easy to use (they can be easily mixed into smoothies or juices, on yogurt or cereal or added to energy balls and no-bake treats).

There are a total of 13 beautifully packaged superfood powders, including Raw Cacao Powder, Spirulina Powder and Red Maca Powder. Each powder comes with an information packet, including a recipe and serving suggestions, and can be purchased at one of the five Dr Smood cafés in NYC or Miami.

Whiskey Chilling Stones Set

Whiskey Chilling Stones Set

This set of 6 handcrafted stone chillers comes in a hardwood tray with 2 tumblers and is perfect for chilling fine spirits without diluting them with ice. Fancy and perfect for the Scotch and Whiskey connoisseur in the family. 

faux shearling throw

Faux Shearling Throw Blanket

Cozy up with this sumptuously soft faux shearling throw and pillow set from Frontgate. Reversible with a down insert, is plush, soft, smooth and cozy… and great for movie night indoors with a hot chocolate or hot toddy!

CScents Candy Girl

CScents

My old friend and college roommate has just launched a new perfume line called CScents…she is a singer and musician, she even own a fender telecaster modern player, and has cleverly named all her scents around old classic songs like Juke Box Hero, Candy Girl and Strawberry Fields..brilliant!

spice and salt tower

Spice & Salt Tower

Simple unscrew each of these containers (12 grams each) of salt varieties from the larger tower and get seasoning. Try them on their own, or mix and match the following flavors: Fennel Thyme Salt, Porcini Salt, Sagemary Salt, Caraway Salt, Vanilla Salt, Sumac Pepper Salt, Aleppo Chile Salt, Smoked Paprika Salt.

PLAY! By Sephora

PLAY! By Sephora

These PLAY! by SEPHORA boxes includes a selection of subtle-yet-stunning makeup and skincare. A curated assortment of five trial-size samples, plus a beauty bonus, all in a collectable bag. Plus a PLAY! BOOK including how-to information and tips on the samples in your box and a PLAY! PASS redeemable for 50 extra Beauty Insider Points when used with a full-size purchase inside a local Sephora store. You can also subscribe to a $10/month subscription to receive different PLAY! boxes each month if you choose. FUN!

Beaujolais Nouveau Georges Duboeuf

Beaujolais Nouveau, Georges Duboeuf

This Beaujolais Nouveau is fruity, with aromas of red berries and cherry. It is fresh, flavorful, round and unctuous and perfect for the holidays and Thanksgiving dinner! This wine pairs well with tapas, cheese, charcuterie, poultry and salmon. Recommended to be served slightly chilled.

Georges Duboeuf’s Beaujolais Nouveau is mainly sourced from the southern part of the Beaujolais region, which is a patchwork of terroir ranging from sand, clay and limestone to granite and schist. The difference in altitude and latitude can influence the style of wine. Georges Duboeuf and his team tasted more than five thousand samples over two weeks to craft this cuvée. Harvesting of this wine is done manually, in whole bunches, from vines that are over 20 years old.

This wine pairs well with tapas, cheese, charcuterie, poultry and salmon. Recommended to be served slightly chilled.

Table In A Bag Food 52

Table In A Bag, Food 52

How cool is this foldable, packable pine table? It literally does come in a bag, and stretches out into an al fresco tabletop ready to host an entire picnic spread, whether at an outdoor concert, the park, the beach, or your backyard. Summer can’t come too soon 🙂

Slate Board Lazy Susan

Slate Board Lazy Susan

Perfect for the holidays to display all the gorgeous appetizers you are serving. And it’s made of slate, so you can personalize the message or label the food on the board. Love!

Wild Rice + Turkey Bowl with Cranberries and Oranges

Wild Rice Turkey Bowl with Cranberries and Oranges

This is another favorite recipe I developed for my client Seven Barrels using their Meyer Lemon Olive Oil and Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar to make a lovely sweet and tart dressing, perfect for salads around the holidays. I wanted to make a recipe that incorporates Thanksgiving leftovers and create something light and easy after such a big, rich, and heavy meal.

Wild Rice + Turkey Bowl with Cranberries and Oranges

This Wild Rice + Turkey Bowl with Cranberries and Oranges salad bowl has leftover cooked turkey, wild rice, romaine, fresh oranges and zest, crunchy celery, red onion, dried cranberries and toasted walnuts, drizzled in a gorgeous lemon and raspberry vinaigrette dressing with a touch of cinnamon and cumin and tarragon.

Wild Rice + Turkey Bowl w/ Cranberries and Oranges

Feel free to experiment too with the bowl ingredients – you can substitute any other healthy whole grain like quinoa or farro or brown rice, and you could also try using cooked chicken in place of the turkey and try dried tart cherries and pistachios in place of the cranberries and walnuts. Any way you make it..I promise it will be delicious!!!

Wild Rice + Turkey Bowl with Cranberries and Oranges

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

This is a great recipe for using leftover Thanksgiving turkey - a healthy delicious bowl salad with wild rice, romaine, orange, celery, red onion and dried cranberries and toasted walnuts, drizzled in a gorgeous lemon and raspberry vinaigrette dressing with spices and tarragon.

Ingredients

  • Turkey
  • 2 cups roasted turkey (light and/or dark meat – large slices or shredded)
  • Vinaigrette
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons Seven Barrels Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Seven Barrels Meyer Lemon Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, grated
  • 1 teaspoon minced orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Bowl
  • 3 cups wild rice, cooked
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest, minced
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 6 cups romaine hearts, sliced
  • ¾ cup fresh orange segments, halved
  • ¾ cup celery, sliced
  • ½ cup red onion, sliced
  • ½ cup dried cranberries

Instructions

  1. Prep the cooked turkey breast by shredding the meat into bite sized pieces or slicing it into large pieces for the salad.
  2. For the vinaigrette, whisk together orange juice, Seven Barrels Raspberry Balsamic Vinegar, Seven Barrels Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, tarragon, grated garlic, 1 teaspoon orange zest, cumin, pepper, salt, and cinnamon.
  3. For the bowl, combine cooked wild rice with 1 teaspoon orange zest. Toast chopped walnuts in a small sauté pan over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes until lightly golden brown, set aside.
  4. Divide cooked turkey, rice, romaine, orange segments, celery, red onion and dried cranberries among four serving bowls; drizzle with vinaigrette and garnish with toasted walnuts.

Notes

You can also substitute dried tart cherries, and cooked chicken breast for the cranberries and turkey. Try experimenting with other grains too - quinoa, farro, or brown rice in place of wild rice.

http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2017/11/10/wild-rice-turkey-bowl-with-cranberries-and-oranges/

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Holiday Recipes: Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie & Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Maple Recipes for the Holiday

Well it’s that time a year again…the holidays are here, and we all know what that means…PIE. And lots of cooking. With lots of yummy Winter comfort food and ingredients, like maple syrup.

maple syrup cookbook

Every year I try to make a new pie and experiment away from the traditional pumpkin, cherry and apple pies. I got a new cookbook title The Maple Syrup Cookbook with some awesome recipes in it and was inspired to make some of them for Thanksgiving this year with the family.

Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie

This French Canadian Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie is super delicious and was a hit at the table this year!

Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie

It’s similar to Pecan pie but has a touch of maple syrup and apple cider vinegar along with a big mess of chopped walnuts, brown sugar, brewed tea, and eggs all baked in a lovely crust. It has a nice balance of sweetness and tartness with lots of crunch and a gooey filling – super #delish!

Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts

I always make Brussels sprouts for the holidays, but this year I made Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts from the cookbook, using a touch of maple syrup for sweetness to the recipe instead of the balsamic drizzle I  normally use with the bacon, shallots and vinegar.

Riesling

They both went great with our Thanksgiving dinner and were absolutely divine with some lovely Riesling wine to go with.

Thanksgiving Dinner

I’m definitely a big fan of this cookbook and these new recipes and I hope you try them too – I’m thinking I’ll make the Maple-Bacon Bread Pudding that’s in the book this year for Christmas Brunch! Stay tuned for that one on the blog soon!

Thanksgiving Dinner

Happy Holidays! xo 

Thanksgiving Dinner

Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie

Holiday Recipes: Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie & Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients

  • Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie
  • 1 9-inch pie crust (homemade or frozen)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup brewed tea
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts:
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped sweet onion (or substitute shallots)
  • 1-1 1/4 pounds Brussels Sprouts, halved
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (optional, I did not use)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Maple Brown Sugar Walnut Pie
  2. Prepare the pie shell according to the directions and line a 9-inch pie plate with the pie pastry and refrigerate or freeze. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Whisk together eggs and sugar in large mixing bowl. Add maple syrup, butter, tea, vinegar and salt, whisking until smooth. Stir in the walnuts. Place the pie shell on a heavy baking sheet and pour in the filling.
  4. Bake on the center rack of oven for 10 minutes. Lower the oven temp to 350 degrees F and continue to bake for about 25 minutes longer until the center is set. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temp with whipped cream or ice cream. Also good cold.
  5. Maple-Glazed Brussels Sprouts:
  6. Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Transfer to paper towels and let cool. Spoon off all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the skillet.
  7. Add the butter and onions to the skillet, and saute over medium heat until translucent, 7-8 minutes. Stir in the Brussels sprouts and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken broth.
  8. Cover and braise the Brussels sprouts until not quite tender, about 3 minutes. Uncover the pan, stir in the mustard, and add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Continue to cook uncovered, until sprouts are tender and liquid is reduced to a glaze, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the maple syrup just before taking off the heat, and transfer to a serving dish and top with the cooked crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by Yummly Rich Recipes
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2015/12/06/holiday-recipes-maple-brown-sugar-walnut-pie-maple-glazed-brussels-sprouts/

A Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Side: Fall Harvest Galette w/ Maple Sweet Potatoes, Caramelized Onions, Bacon & Gruyere

FallGalette1

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year, simply because it’s a time to spend with friends and family and a great excuse to gather around the table and celebrate our blessings with some delicious bountiful food!

Whenever I go home to cook with my family, my mom takes care of the turkey and dressing, my sister makes a dessert, and I am in charge of making all the delicious side dishes. We normally make the usual green bean or broccoli casserole, squash, Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes, and have enough food to feed the entire neighborhood!

KA-Mixer

I recently got a gorgeous new KitchenAid® Artisan® Series Stand Mixer and decided I wanted to use it to make a non-traditional Thanksgiving side dish this year. The Stand Mixer comes in 30 vibrant colors (I got Grape – my favorite) and makes cooking for the holidays so much easier, especially when it comes to making pie, tart dough and sauces. It comes fitted with a ceramic flat beater, dough hook and a wire whisk, has 10 speeds, and also has a plastic one-piece pouring shield to help keep ingredients in place when you’re mixing. And I also got the new KitchenAid® Ceramic Bowl in white to replace the metal one, which is a great accompaniment. The KitchenAid® Stand Mixer also has plenty of cool attachments that are available including food grinders, ice cream and pasta makers, juicers and more!

Fall_Galette

Using my new KitchenAid® Stand Mixer, I decided to make a beautiful Fall Harvest Galette, with roasted maple sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, crispy bacon, sage and Gruyere cheese. The pastry dough was made in my Stand Mixer in less than 10 minutes and came out perfectly. The galette has the delicious warm flavors of fall and it’s a lovely addition to the Thanksgiving table as a colorful, healthy side dish that will blow that green bean casserole away.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE FULL POST WITH THE RECIPE AND MORE PHOTOS ON THE KITCHENAID BLOG!

Luscious Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

This is a delicious, luscious custard pie that is one of my absolute favorite pies to make for the Thanksgiving holiday, and it is really simple to make.

The filling is made with buttermilk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and browned butter; it has a creamy consistency similar to pumpkin pie but without the pumpkin. It includes a simple recipe for a buttery homemade pie crust, but you can also use a store-bought frozen crust to save some time and effort (Pillsbury is great). Another option is to make the pie crust with whole wheat or buckwheat flour for a nuttier taste. Throw in a tablespoon of maple syrup and a dash of sea salt to the filling and sprinkle the pie with some large grain sugar to bring out the flavors even more. Then just top it with some bourbon vanilla ice cream or whipped cream and you’ve got yourself a prize for the table..it won’t last long, I promise.

Wishing you a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday…Enjoy 🙂

Make the crust

Roll out the dough

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12 inch round.

Prick the dough in a pie plate

Place in a 9 inch pie plate, fold overhang under, and crimp edges. Prick dough all over with a fork. Place a sheet of parchment paper over dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans.

Bake pie crust until golden brown

Bake until edge is light golden brown about 15 minutes; remove parchment and weights.

Make the filling

Whisk together the pie filling ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown and most of the foam has subsided, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately whisk brown butter into buttermilk mixture.

Pour pie filling into baked pie shell

Pour filling into pie shell and bake until set but still wobbly in center, 25-35 minutes. Sprinkle pie with sugar (if desired) and let cool completely on a wire rack, 2 hours before serving. Can be refrigerated and wrapped in plastic for up to 3 days.

Serves 8.

Luscious Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

Yield: 9

Serving Size: 1 slice

Ingredients

  • For the crust:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3-5 tbsp ice cold water
  • For the filling:
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • 6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • large grain sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make the crust: 
  2. In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 3 tbsp ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (you can add additional ice water if necessary, up to 2 tbsp, 1 at a time); do not overmix. Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12 inch round.
  5. Place in a 9 inch pie plate, fold overhang under, and crimp edges. Prick dough all over with a fork. Place a sheet of parchment paper over dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans.
  6. Bake until edge is light golden brown about 15 minutes; remove parchment and weights.
  7. Make the filling:
  8. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown and most of the foam has subsided, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately whisk into buttermilk mixture.
  9. Pour filling into pie shell and bake until set but still wobbly in center, 25-35 minutes. Sprinkle pie with sugar (if desired) and let cool completely on a wire rack, 2 hours before serving. Can be refrigerated and wrapped in plastic for up to 3 days.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2014/11/18/luscious-brown-sugar-buttermilk-pie-2/

 

My Favorite Roasted Squash Recipes

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite Fall veggies to make is Squash. I absolutely love the buttery, savory smell of it roasting in the oven and it’s so easy to make.

There are plenty of different varieties of Squash, but one of the most popular ones to make for the holidays is Butternut Squash, which has a sweet, creamy, buttery flesh. Other popular Squash varieties include Kabocha, Acorn, Spaghetti, Long Neck and Cheddar Cheese squash. There are different ways to prepare squash but the easiest and most flavorful way is by roasting it in the oven on a sheet pan for about 30 minutes to an hour. Simply cut the squash in half (or peel and cut into medium chunks or slices), scoop out the seeds and fibrous flesh and drizzle with olive oil or butter, some fresh cracked pepper and sea salt, and sprinkle on some brown sugar or drizzle with honey or maple syrup for a luscious, buttery, sweet and savory dish.

You can also sprinkle on some fresh herbs (parsley, sage, thyme, chives, tarragon) and garlic or add a dash of cayenne or cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves for some spicy layers of flavor. Some ideas for the squash leftovers are to add the roasted squash to Macaroni and Cheese, Wild Rice or Orzo, or make a healthy salad by adding it to some spinach, chard or kale, apples, some toasted walnuts or pecans, cranberries or pomegranate seeds, tossed in a light herb vinaigrette dressing. However you make it, it’s simply delicious; and perfect as a Thanksgiving side or Fall vegetarian side dish.

Check out the different types of squash on Saveur.com website and enjoy my favorite squash recipes below!

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar Butter and Herbs
Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar Butter and Herbs

Roasted Butternut Squash with Brown Sugar Butter and Herbs

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt (Pink Himalayan or Fleur de Sel)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Fines Herbes (parsley, chervil, tarragon, chives)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut the squash in half cross-wise and remove top and bottom stems. Scrape out all the seeds and fibers inside; discard. Peel the squash and cut into 1-inch chunks.
  3. Place squash on a large baking sheet, and drizzle with olive oil. Dot with small chunks of butter and sprinkle nutmeg, salt and pepper, brown sugar and herbs over squash. Mix together and place sheet in preheated oven.
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes, stir the squash around the pan. Bake for another 15 minutes and remove from oven.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/11/12/my-favorite-roasted-squash-recipes/

Roasted Acorn Squash with Cayenne Maple Syrup
Roasted Acorn Squash with Cayenne Maple Syrup

Roasted Acorn Squash with Cayenne Maple Syrup

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 400F. Cut the squash in half with a large knife and scoop out the seeds and insides with a large spoon; discard.
  2. Place squash halves on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and rub on both sides of squash. Dot squash with butter and season with salt and pepper, cayenne pepper, and brown sugar. Drizzle maple syrup over the squash. Add some water to the bottom of the baking sheet (about an inch) and place in oven.
  3. Roast squash for 45 minutes to an hour, until flesh is soft and caramelized. (You may want to check on the squash half way through and brush some of the butter and syrup over the tops of the squash as it's baking to keep it from drying out.)
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/11/12/my-favorite-roasted-squash-recipes/

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Toasted Pinenuts, Sage and Parmesan
Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Toasted Pinenuts, Sage and Parmesan

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Pine Nuts, Sage and Parmesan

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 small spaghetti squash (about 2-3 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 6-8 sage leaves
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Pierce squash all over with a knife and roast spaghetti squash for 1 hour. When squash pierces easily with a knife, remove from oven; let cool for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Cut squash in half lengthwise, remove and discard seeds. Use a large fork to scrape the squash into long 'spaghetti-like' strands.
  4. Toast the pine nuts in a sauté pan over medium heat until golden for about 5 minutes. After the nuts are toasted, remove them from the pan and add the olive oil, a tablespoon of butter, and sage leaves. Sauté mixture until the sage leaves are crispy. Add the minced garlic and saute for another minute.
  5. Crush the sage leaves in the garlic oil mixture, and then pour it over the warmed squash. Add the additional tablespoon of butter, salt and pepper and top with toasted pine nuts and shredded parmesan cheese.
http://www.theartfulgourmet.com/2012/11/12/my-favorite-roasted-squash-recipes/

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Other Squash Recipes you may enjoy:

The Kitchn’s 10 ways to eat an Acorn Squash

Cooking Light Butternut Squash Recipes

Taste of Home Spaghetti Squash Recipes

Food 52 Butternut Squash Recipe Contest

Brown Eyed Baker’s Butternut Squash and Bacon Mac & Cheese

 

Luscious Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie

This is a delicious, luscious custard pie that I made over Thanksgiving holiday, and it was so easy to make. Made with buttermilk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and butter; it has a creamy consistency similar to pumpkin pie but without the pumpkin. It includes a simple recipe for homemade pie crust, but you can also use a pre-made or refrigerated crust to save some time and effort (Pillsbury is great). Another option is to make the pie crust with whole wheat or rye flour. Throw in a tablespoon of maple syrup and a dash of sea salt to the filling and sprinkle the pie with some large grain sugar to bring out the flavors even more. Enjoy 🙂

For the crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3-5 tbsp ice cold water

For the filling:
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, plus 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
zest of half a lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
6 tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
large grain sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Make the crust: 

In a food processor, pulse flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle with 3 tbsp ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed (you can add additional ice water if necessary, up to 2 tbsp, 1 at a time); do not overmix. Form dough into a disk, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll out the dough

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to a 12 inch round.

Prick the dough in a pie plate

Place in a 9 inch pie plate, fold overhang under, and crimp edges. Prick dough all over with a fork. Place a sheet of parchment paper over dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans.

Bake pie crust until golden brown

Bake until edge is light golden brown about 15 minutes; remove parchment and weights.

Make the filling:

Whisk together the pie filling ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, eggs and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in buttermilk, lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon until combined. In a small saucepan, heat butter over medium, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown and most of the foam has subsided, 8 to 10 minutes. Immediately whisk into buttermilk mixture.

Pour pie filling into baked pie shell

Pour filling into pie shell and bake until set but still wobbly in center, 25-35 minutes. Sprinkle pie with sugar (if desired) and let cool completely on a wire rack, 2 hours before serving. Can be refrigerated and wrapped in plastic for up to 3 days.

Serves 8.

Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food, November 2011

Crumbs of wisdom for good Stuffing

Gram’s Sausage Stuffing

This is a recipe handed down from my Grandmother that originated from Betty Crocker’s “New Picture” Cookbook written in 1962. My Mom still makes it every year and it’s a easy, delicious and classic recipe that I’m sure to hand down for years ahead.

Betty Crocker cookbook

Ingredients:

1 c. butter (2 sticks)

¾ c. finely minced onion

12 c. coarse bread, torn into cubes, crusts removed

1 ½ c. chopped celery (stalks and leaves)

1 tbsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 tbsp. poultry seasoning (to taste)

1 can chicken broth

¼ c. hot water

1 lb. pork sausage, browned and crumbled

Preparation:

In a large roasting pan, break up bread into coarse cubes (about 2-3 loaves).

stuffing cubes

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium high heat and brown pork sausage until cooked thoroughly.
Remove the sausage and pour over the large roasting pan full of bread crumbs.

sausage crumbles

Next melt 2 sticks of butter in the same skillet that the sausage was browned in and cook onions and celery until soft and lightly browned, stirring often. Add salt and pepper and stir again, remove from heat and pour on top of bread crumb and sausage in the roasting pan.

onions & celery

Add the chicken broth, poultry seasoning, additional salt and pepper to taste and stir thoroughly throughout crumbs and stuffing mixture. Add ¼ c. hot water to stuffing until moist (not wet but not too dry of a texture).

poultry

Cover roasting pan and let sit in the refrigerator over night. The next day, loosely stuff the turkey with stuffing just before roasting and add any leftover stuffing to a roasting pan and cook for about 30-45 mins, basting occasionally with poultry juices.

stuffing mixture

Additional suggested ingredients for the stuffing are adding one of the following: giblets, apples,
oysters, pecans, garden vegetables, mushrooms, and chestnuts.

Makes 3 qts for a 12 lb turkey

A Few of My Favorite Thanksgiving Sides

#Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and there’s no guessing why – it’s all about visiting friends and family, being thankful for the wonderful things in our lives and of course, it’s all about the food.

Turkey and Dressing is the normal star of the table, but I love to experiment with the side dishes to mix it up and spice up the menu each year. Here’s a couple of recipes I plan on making this year (one tried and true, one a new experiment!)..would love to hear from all of you what your favorite side dishes are and what you’ll be making this year that’s a change from just mashed potatoes and green bean casserole!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon & Shallots 

brussel sprouts with bacon, shallots and balsamic vinegar

I made this recipe a couple Thanksgivings ago and it was an absolute delicious hit at the table! The crispy bacon, butter and shallots, mixed with the tangy vinegar gives the brussel sprouts an amazing trio of flavors and the roasting in the oven technique cooks down the balsamic into a glaze coating the crispy oven browned sprouts. The original recipe came from Williams Sonoma and I adapted it a bit by adding the balsamic vinegar and shallots. Thought you didn’t like brussel sprouts? Wait until you try this recipe.

Ingredients:

Water to steam
1 pound large Brussels sprouts
2 ounces thin-sliced pancetta or bacon (3-4 slices)
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon premium unsalted butter
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
Hot sauce to taste

Preparation:

Add water to a large pot with a steamer basket and bring to a boil.

Trim the sprouts: Slice off the base and remove the outer leaves. Cut each sprout in half lengthwise through the core, then make V-shaped cuts to remove the core. With your thumbs on the either side of the V, twist the sprout to open up the leaves a bit. Steam the sprouts for 5 minutes until bright green and tender.

Meanwhile, saute the sliced pancetta or bacon over medium heat in a small skillet until the edges have started to brown, breaking it into pieces with a spatula while it cooks. Remove the cooked bacon and reserve the bacon grease, adding a teaspoon of butter and then add the shallots and cook until soft and golden.

Drain the water from the steamer and plunge sprouts into ice water to stop the cooking, pat dry with paper towels and return the sprouts to the hot pan. Stir in with the pancetta and shallot mixture, including the fat in the skillet. Add the olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook until the vinegar reduces and the sprouts are brown on the bottom, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and hot sauce and toss well.

Put the entire mixture in to a casserole baking dish and cook in the oven for 20 mins on 350 degrees until golden brown. Take out of the oven, drizzle a little more olive oil on top, stir well and serve.

Serves 4-6.

—–

Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash and Potato Gratin

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato and Potato Gratin

Everyone loves mashed potatoes and gravy for Thanksgiving but this year I decided I’m going to make a Gratin, but mix it up with not just potatoes and cheese, but adding some butternut squash and sweet potatoes to give it a kick and blended flavors of 3 of my favorite veggie sides. The decadent consistency of the garlic Gruyere cream sauce with this trio of veggies is a delicious twist on this classic French potato dish.

Ingredients:

1 garlic clove
½ tsp. sweet paprika
1 cup heavy cream
Pinch of nutmeg
1/3 lb. baking potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
1/3 lb. butternut squash, peeled and very thinly sliced
1/3 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 cup freshly grated Gruyere cheese
1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Thoroughly rub garlic on the bottom and sides of a shallow porcelain gratin dish or medium sized glass casserole dish. Coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle the nutmeg and paprika in the heavy cream and stir. Peel the potatoes, sweet potatoes and squash and cut them into thin slices.

Layer the potatoes in the dish. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese and then 1/3 of the cream. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add a second layer using the squash, another 1/3 of the cheese and then 1/3 of the cream. Sprinkle again with salt and pepper. Add the top layer using the sweet potatoes, the last 1/3 of the cheese and final 1/3 of the cream. Top it off with a dash more salt and pepper. Sprinkle the entire top of the casserole with fresh Parmiagiano-Reggiano cheese and chopped parsley or thyme.

Bake uncovered, about an 50-60 minutes until the gratin is golden brown on top and serve immediately.

Serves 4-6.

—–

Wild Rice with Cranberries and Pecans

wildricecranberrysalad2

My mom always used to make a wild rice casserole over the holidays with either chicken or shrimp which is delicious as a main course or buffet dinner, but for a Thanksgiving side, this recipe is a bit lighter with tart cranberries to complement the turkey and some pecans for extra crunch.

4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon grape seed oil
3 large shallots minced
2 cups wild rice
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 bay leaf
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 cup pecans toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375.

In a saucepan over medium low heat bring stock to a simmer. In a heavy 2-quart flameproof casserole over medium heat melt butter with the oil. Add shallots and sauté until translucent, add rice and stir until the grains are well coated about 3 minutes.

Stir in the simmering stock, dried cranberries, bay leaf, thyme, sea salt and white pepper. Bring to a simmer then stir and cover. Transfer casserole to the oven and bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven.

Remove and discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Stir in the pecans and parsley. Serve hot or warm.

Serves 4-6.

—–

Cheddar and Herb Biscuits

cheddar biscuits

Having lived in the South in Atlanta for over a decade, I grew a love for fresh, homemade buttery biscuits. They definitely beat your standard prepackaged rolls from the grocery store and are delicious hot out of the oven with a little bit of real (yes, real!) butter. This version is made with milk, cream and fresh herbs (chives and parsley), mixed with tangy shredded cheddar andParmesan cheese with a dash of cayenne for a spicy kick.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons freshly chopped chives
1 tablespoon freshly chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup grated sharp yellow Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter, melted

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cayenne together using a whisk. Add the herbs, cheese and buttermilk. Stir together until dough forms. Once dough has formed, using an ice cream scooper, scoop out dough onto baking tray. With a brush, lightly butter tops. Bake for 15 minutes.

Serves 4-6.

Recipe adapted from The Neely’s – Food Network

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