Archive | November, 2015

The Perfect Little Appetizer

Welcome back after the long Thanksgiving weekend.  I hope you enjoyed quality time with family and friends, good food, and a healthy dose of lounging around.  We had a great weekend doing all of that and started to get the Christmas decor up.  The tree and outside lights are done, but I’m dragging on getting the rest of the inside of the house done.  I’m planning to show you a full Christmas home tour later this week, so I need to get busy.

Although I’m sure you are still very full from stuffing yourselves with Thanksgiving food and leftovers, I wanted to share a super simple appetizer recipe with you today.  It’s the perfect little appetizer to take to any holiday party pot luck or just to have to snack on at home (my husband loves snacking on these after work).  They seem to always be the first thing to be eaten any time I make them for a party.

I call these appetizers sausage stars and they are a great combination of savory, crunchy, cheesy, and flavor.  The great thing is you only need four ingredients to make them!

Sausage stars appetizer ingredients
Ingredients:

1 package breakfast sausage (any kind will work, hot, mild, regular, etc.)

1/2 cup ranch dressing

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

12 won ton wrappers (you can usually find them near the produce section of your grocery store)

1 tablespoon melted butter

Directions:

1. Brown sausage in a skillet; once browned, drain sausage on a paper towel.

2. While sausage is cooking, place one won ton wrapper in each cupcake cup and brush with a little melted butter.

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3. Place won ton wrappers in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes, or until wrappers are starting to get a little brown and crispy.

4. Once sausage has drained, add sausage, ranch dressing, and cheddar cheese to your skillet and combine on low heat until cheese is melted.

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5. Spoon sausage mixture into the crispy won ton wrappers. I added a little extra cheese to the top of mine.

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6. Bake filled won ton wrappers in 350 degree oven for 5-10 minutes, just long enough to allow cheese to melt further and the won ton wrappers to get a little crispier.

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Super simple, delicious, appetizers!  You can’t go wrong with that.  Surely, these will be a hit at your next pot luck or holiday party!

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Thanksgiving Day Cooking Timeline Printable

Do you only have one oven?  I mean most people do and on Thanksgiving it makes roasting the turkey, baking pies, and cooking stuffing difficult to do all at once.  Plus, it’s the biggest meal of the year.  There is so much to do and because you only make it once a year, it seems so much more difficult than the regular weeknight dinner.  Well, with a little planning, you can make sure everything on your menu is done on time and delicious.

I’ve created a simple cooking timeline printable to help you plan out the oven rotation to make sure everything is done when you sit down for dinner.  Just list out what you need to make and how long it’ll be in the oven.  I always do this on Thanksgiving (even though my husband makes fun of me for it), and it helps me figure out the order in which to do everything.

TDH-Chefs Cooking Timeline

Just click on the image above to download your own copy of the cooking timeline.  Print it out and start planning!

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If possible, start baking whatever dish requires the highest temperature, because it takes a lot less time for the oven to cool down to the next dish’s temperature rather than waiting for the oven to heat up.

I hope this helps you plan out your Thanksgiving cooking schedule and have an awesome dinner!  Enjoy your time in the kitchen, and time with family and friends even more!

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What To Wear When You Need Room for Turkey and Pie

Does anyone else think about what you can wear on Thanksgiving that will give you the most room to load up on seconds, or thirds, or fourths?  I know we’ve all seen that Friends episode with Joey and his turkey pants, but sometimes you want to wear something a little cuter than plaid maternity pants to dinner.  Unless that’s your thing, then go for it!

Today I’ve rounded up some great Thanksgiving sweater options, all of which will hide that food baby bump you’ll get after eating turkey and all those delicious side dishes.  All of these would look great with your comfy jeans or some leggings.

This sweater has gotten rave reviews on the Pinterest Told Me To blog.  Plus it looks very loose around the mid section, perfect for Thanksgiving!

How fun is the sleeve on this sweater?  And I love this emerald jewel tone color, not everything has to be brown and orange for Thanksgiving.

This sweater looks a little more structured, but I couldn’t not show you this fun polka dot print.  Maybe order a size up to give you the room you need for mashed potatoes and gravy?

This black sweater from Banana Republic looks to be the perfect length to wear with some leggings to be extra comfortable but still chic.  Adding a fun long necklace would take this simple sweater up a notch.

Again, the perfect length sweater to wear with leggings for added comfort.  If I owned a faux fur vest, I’d totally wear it with this sweater to spice up the outfit a bit.

Old Navy is running a huge sale today, 50% off all sweaters, in store and on-line, but hurry because it’s only for today.  That means today this sweater is only $12.50!! There are a lot of great options and you won’t feel bad buying them because of all the money you’ll be saving.  I really like the color blocking on this sweater, especially the sleeves.

Who said you could only wear a sweater on Thanksgiving?  How about a sweater dress for a little twist?  This one has a great little leather detail on the shoulders that make it special.  If it’s super cold where you live, be sure to add tights or leggings underneath to stay warm.

Are you ready to go shopping now?  I hope these ideas inspire you to go from sweatpants to chic sweaters on Thanksgiving.  I’ll be sure to throw one of these on after I’m done cooking so I can fit all of those delicious desserts without looking like a beached whale.  Have a great weekend!

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My Two Absolute Must Have Thanksgiving Side Dishes

It’s the final countdown!  Only 1 week until Thanksgiving! You know that “Final Countdown” song by Europe that’s in a Geico commercial right now, well that’s what’s playing in my head as we head towards Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Plus, my toddler loves when that commercial comes on so she can dance to it, and by dance I mean doing her one and only move that looks like Chris Kattan and Will Ferrel in A Night at the Roxbury.

I love traditions, and Thanksgiving is full of them.  From baking the night before to watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in the morning, and then all. the. football. I love how one day can bring back so many memories just because you do the same thing every year.  Although as we get older, have our own families, etc. traditions change.  A few years ago I wanted to make my own stuffing and sweet potatoes (don’t get me wrong, I love some Stove Top and marshmallow topped yams) and found the most amazing recipes.  Since then I declare those two side dishes are a new Thanksgiving tradition and make them every year.  My mouth is literally watering thinking about them!

Stuffing

This recipe is from the Food Network and originally made by Bobby Flay.  The flavors and amount of extra goodness in this stuffing is amazing.  It’s not just some bread and seasonings.  The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients

1 pound hot Italian sausage, removed from casings
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing dish
1 large red onion, finely diced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
1 large egg, slightly beaten
4 cups stale country bread, cut into 1-inch dice
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 to 2 cups warm chicken stock

Directions

Heat large saute pan over high heat. Add the sausage and cook until golden brown. Remove the sausage with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Add butter to the rendered fat in the pan, and then add the onions, celery and carrots and cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove the mixture from the heat and fold in the sage. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and let cool slightly.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

When the vegetable mixture has cooled slightly, add the sausage to the bowl. Add the egg and bread and mix to coat. Add the chicken stock until the mixture is moist. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Butter a large baking dish and scrape the mixture into the dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.

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If you are overwhelmed with how much cooking you have to do on Thanksgiving, there are a lot of parts of this recipe that you can make ahead to save time.  I always cut the bread up days in advance so it has plenty of time to get stale.  You can also do all parts of the recipe up until you add the egg and bread to the mixture and just let it hang out in your refrigerator until you’re ready to throw it all together.

Sweet Potato Casserole

If you like your side dishes to taste like dessert this recipe is for you.  It’s definitely on the sweet side, but it’s sooooooooo good.  You can indulge just one day, right?  I found it on Allrecipes.com, and it’s been made 2,000 times and has a 5 star review, you can’t go wrong with that.

Ingredients

4 cups sweet potatoes, cubed
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Put sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with water to cover. Cook over medium high heat until tender; drain and mash.

In a large bowl, mix together the sweet potatoes, white sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a 9X13 inch baking dish.

In medium bowl, mix the brown sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse.  Stir in the pecans.  Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

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If you want to save a little time, I buy canned yams and just mash them up to get 4 cups of sweet potatoes, that’s also probably why this dish is always so sweet because the yams are canned in a syrup.  I also find that for the crumb topping 3 tablespoons of butter is a little too much.  I recommend using about half as much butter, but just be sure to mix the crumb topping ingredients really well so you don’t get little pools of butter on top of your dish.

You still have plenty of time to go to the grocery store and pick up everything you need to make these delicious side dishes for your Thanksgiving meal, and believe me, you’ll want to add them to your menu.

What are your Thanksgiving traditions?  Is there a Thanksgiving food you can’t live without?

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Tablescape Tuesday: 5 Thanksgiving Place Settings

Happy Tuesday friends, and welcome back.  I needed yesterday to recover from all the birthday celebrating I did this past weekend; I had a great 30th birthday!  Check out how awesome my cake turned out on The Daily Hostesses Instagram, you’ll love it!

Today I want to get back into our Tablescape Tuesday series with some Thanksgiving inspiration, it’s been a while since I’ve done one. In the Tablescape Tuesday series, I show you options to dress up your tables. It could be your dining room table, coffee table, gift table, or buffet table. I think putting a little extra effort into how a table looks and is designed can make your guests’ experience so much better. Hopefully these five festive Thanksgiving place settings will get you excited to spruce up your Thanksgiving table, it is only about a week away!

TDH-Number 1

Just add a charger + a plate + a napkin + a little pumpkin + a name tag + silverware= super simple place setting.

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TDH-Number 2

Just add a charger + plate + napkin + silverware tied with twine + name tag embellished with some washi tape + napkin + a sprig of rosemary = a fragrant place setting.

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TDH-Number 3

Add a place mat + charger + plate + napkin + silverware tied with twine + washi tape embellished name tag + pot of succulents tied with a matching bow (this would make a great little Thanksgiving dinner favor) = a mossy green themed place setting.

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TDH-Number 4

Add a place mat + kraft paper (throw away for easy clean up and write whatever you want directly on it) + plate + pot of succulents + rolled burlap flowers (how=to post to come) = rustic, easy to clean up place setting.

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TDH-Number 5

Add burlap tablecloth + charger + plate + grocery store flowers + pine cones + pumpkins + pumpkin name card holder (just slice a small opening in the stem and stick the name card in there) = flower filled place setting.

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Taking just a few festive things and adding them together can really take your Thanksgiving dinner from sitting at a basic kids table to dining like an adult.  Although that doesn’t mean to overlook those kids tables.  Using some kraft paper and adding a few crayons could be super fun for the kiddos attending your Thanksgiving.

I hope you are ready to gear up for the biggest meal of the year.  Have you done all of your grocery shopping yet?   If not, don’t forget to grab a bunch of flowers from the grocery store and make a place setting like #5 above!

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Celebrating everyday!