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Friendsgiving + Thanksgiving

29 Nov

Thankfully for you, I am posting photos from the last 2 days for you to stare at while you’re in line Black Friday shopping:


Creme de Tequila from the Floyd’s Mexican honeymoon


Kevin's smoked turkey

Kevin’s smoked turkey

clockwise from left: mashed potatoes and gravy, 7 layer salad, rolls, cranberry sauce, smoked turkey, sweet potatoes, collard greens, mac and cheese, stuffing

clockwise from left: mashed potatoes and gravy, 7 layer salad, rolls, cranberry sauce, smoked turkey, sweet potatoes, collard greens, mac and cheese, stuffing

Present, but out of frame: Ciara, Trina, Ryker, Charles, and Damon

Present, but out of frame: Ciara, Trina, Ryker, Charles, and Damon


Pre-dinner munchies at my mom's

Pre-dinner munchies at my mom’s


traditional spread at my mom’s house


pumpkin pie with ginger streusel

Giving ♥ Thanks

25 Nov

I hope your Thanksgiving was amazing!  Mine pretty much was.  We had a lot of running around to do, but it’s so worth it when you get to see ALL the people you care about.

I try to bring at least a dish to every holiday dinner we attend, so I’m sharing the recipe of my go-to holiday dish.  In fact, last year I made this Food Network Magazine dish for Easter.  This year, I made this mac & cheese to my parents house, where my brother turned sous chef assisted me!  He was my master cheese grater – which was what I was most thankful for during this meal.  I have a pinched nerve in my shoulder and I don’t think I would have been able to grate 3 bricks of cheese.

While your brother gives himself carpel tunnel grating cheese, this is a great opportunity to dive into the antipasto tray your mom has prepared.


What You Need:
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 egg
  • nutmeg, cayenne pepper, salt, & pepper
  • 1 3/4 c. muenster cheese, grated
  • 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 4 c. medium shells


    In a large stockpot full of salted water, cook cauliflower florets until tender.  Remove from water to cool.

    1 lg. head of cauliflower

    Add medium shells to the water in the stockpot, and cook until al dente.  Drain, but reserve 1/4 c. water.

    Whisk together evaporated milk & egg, along with a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of cayenne pepper, & a pinch of both salt & pepper.

    In a saucepan, combine milk mixture and cheeses over medium heat.  Stir frequently, until cheese melts and sauce becomes thick.

    Add cauliflower to cheese mixture and combine.

    Transfer the cauliflower & cheese mix to food processor, using 1/4 c. reserved cauliflower water.  Puree until smooth.

    Mix the puree into the shells.

    Move to a baking dish, top with remaining cheese and broil until crispy & brown.


Thanksgiving 2011

27 Nov

She♥ and I had one hell of a Thanksgiving weekend!  We attended three, yes THREE, Thanksgiving feasts.  Having been “out and about” since Wednesday, I wasn’t able to sit down and collect my thoughts until right now.  (Also, I am using this blog post to procrastinate from doing research – oops!)  The two dinners we attended on Thursday were amazing, but I have to admit that the last one was my favorite (sorry Mom!) only because I was able to hang out with my foodies.

My sister-in-law/sustainabil-a-buddy purchased a turkey from Ifft’s Turkey Farm in Evans City, just north of Pittsburgh.  I don’t know why, but there’s something very fulfilling about knowing that your meal was sourced locally.  It felt like I was taking part in something bigger than myself, helping my community AND I was able to eat my meal knowing that I wasn’t putting harmful preservatives or hormones into my body.  Next year, I’d like to set a goal of trying to source all of the vegetables locally.  This won’t be hard at all, it will just require an alarm clock and an iron-clad grocery list.  🙂

But, let’s be honest – when it comes to food, a picture is worth 1000 bites, so let’s get to the good stuff!!

I don’t want to brag, but my sustainabil-a-buddy AND my future mother-in-law are amazing cooks.  And these pictures are intended to make you jealous! 🙂

This sage butter was rubbed all over the turkey and in between the skin and the meat…

Needless to say…it was worth it!

My mouth is literally watering just writing this post.  But, its important to remember that Thanksgiving isn’t all work and no play.  So once the turkey is in the oven and baking itself into the above mouth-watering piece of heaven, we washed out the brine bucket and enjoyed ourselves for a few minutes 🙂

Then, we had to get back to work because this feast wasn’t going to make itself!

There was bacon and jalapeno stuffing AND shiitake and squash stuffing.  The bread for the stuffing was purchased at Cellone’s bakery, located in McKees Rocks in Pittsburgh’s West End.  The squash was purchased from the East Liberty Farmer’s Market Cooperative.

Roasted beets

I sauteed the beet greens in olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper…

There was green bean casserole (of course)…

And sweet potatoes to die for…

I am so thankful that I was able to spend Thanksgiving with so many of my family and extended family members.  ♥♥♥  Even though attending three separate gatherings in three separate cities was stressful, it was incredibly rewarding and I can’t wait to do it all over again next year!

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