Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Wines to Enjoy This Thanksgiving

Are you drawing a blank about what wine to pair with your upcoming Thanksgiving feast?  As I’ve mentioned before, I work a few nights a week at a local wine store, and I love passing along the nuggets of knowledge I pick up along the way. Let’s chat!

Light bodied reds pair exceptionally well with turkey and heartier vegetable sides. So a Pinot Noir is a lovely addition to any Thanksgiving table. Look for bottles from California with flavors of cherry or strawberry and hints of spice or woodsy notes.

If you’re looking for something a little heavier, but don’t want to overwhelm all those classic Thanksgiving flavors, grab a Malbec. There are tons of great bottles in that perfect under-$15 sweet spot. Pick one up from the Mendoza region and enjoy!

Of course, not everyone is a red drinker, so it’s nice to have alternative options. Chardonnay is a classic for Thanksgiving. A hearty, fruit forward flavor profile is best. Keep your eye out for flavors and aromas to complement the ingredients on your table. Apple, Vanilla, and Nutty profiles create a beautiful bridge between beverage and meal.

If you’re looking to create a fun and festive ambiance, you’ll want to include a Sparkling White. Not only do sparkling wines signify celebration, but the nutty-fruity flavor profile of most bottles works great with Thanksgiving foods. Go for something with a softer style, like a Prosecco or a bottle labeled “demi sec” or “dry”.

Looking for something a little more unexpected? Try a Pinot Gris. This Alsatian style wine has a rich and spicy character but maintains a beautiful sweetness in finish. The flavors and mouth feel are a bit more complex than other options, making each glass a fun experience for guests.

Finally, Beaujolais Nouveau is released every year on the third Thursday of November (today!) and is a fun wine to include at Thanksgiving. The wine plays into the idea of a harvest celebration as its release signifies the first wine of the year. It’s an easy-to-drink wine with low tannins and a classic grape flavor.

Do you serve wine with your Thanksgiving feast? Which of these bottles sounds like the winner for your table this year? Let me know!! xoxo

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Recipe: Cheesy Cauliflower

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In Florida, the passing seasons aren’t marked by changes I’ve grown accustomed to. (Plummeting temperatures! Sweaters! Dreary rain all day!) However, I still find myself hankering for the sorts of foods that would warm you up on a cold, Autumn evening. Hearty vegetables and ooey-gooey cheeses. Whack ’em in the oven casseroles that smell delicious and warm up your whole house. This dish, adapted from Leanne Brown’s cookbook Good and Cheap, certainly fits the bill. And since it uses cauliflower as a base, one could argue that it’s basically the healthy alternative to mac and cheese! I’m excited to whip this one up again in a few weeks as a Thanksgiving side.

What you’ll need:

1 head of cauliflower

1 Tbsp butter

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 tsp chili flakes

1 Tbsp flour

1 1/2 cups milk

6 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated

salt and pepper

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp paprika

breadcrumbs (optional)

scallions (optional)

And how it all comes together:

– Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

– Bring a pot of water to boil over high heat and chop your cauliflower into florets. Once water has boiled, add the cauliflower florets and a pinch of salt and allow to boil for 4 minutes.

– Butter a small casserole or pie dish. Drain the cauliflower and add it to the buttered dish.

– Next, melt your butter in a saucepan on medium heat. Add garlic and chili flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add flour and stir quickly for about a minute to allow your roux to get a bit brown. Slowly add your milk as you continue to stir. (Note: You may need to add a bit more flour or a bit more milk to reach your desired consistency.)

– Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring every once and awhile to insure the bottom of the saucepan doesn’t get scorched.

– As soon as the sauce reaches a boil turn off the heat and stir in your cheese. Add your mustard, paprika, and scallions. (Note: This is a really great cheese sauce recipe to have in your wheelhouse! Add it to noodles for creamy mac and cheese or to scalloped potatoes or chopped winter squash.) I also chopped up a few slices of deli turkey that I wanted to use up and threw ’em into the mix. Add what you have on hand: leftover cooked ham, bits of crispy bacon, peas, salsa…the skies the limit! Or, leave the cauliflower to speak for itself.

– Give the sauce a taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

– Pour the cheese sauce over your cauliflower and add breadcrumbs to the top, if you like. Bake for 40 minutes or until the top is bubbly and brown! Enjoy as a main dish (great casserole or mac and cheese substitute) with a green salad or as a hearty vegetable side with a yummy roast dinner.

Dollar Tree DIY: Simple Thanksgiving Centerpiece

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With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I thought I’d share a super simple way to make your table a little more special on the big day! On Saturday I had a poke around our local Dollar Tree for craft supplies. (If you love crafting, scrapbooking, DIY home decor, etc my biggest money saving tip is to check out dollar stores BEFORE shelling out beau coups cash at places like Michael’s.) With my materials in hand I couldn’t wait to get home and start throwing them together! If you’d like to dress up your table for Thanksgiving, check out what you have on hand. You may be able to use this tutorial as a guide to put together something similar. Then, when Turkey Day rolls around you can lay out some place-mats and cloth napkins, put on some sweet sounding music, and start serving up your favorite dishes. The perfect, classy aesthetic for an intimate and simple Thanksgiving feast!

Bonus: I fully plan on switching out the more autumnal looking flowers for Christmas-y ones (poinsettias maybe?) and rolling this little set-up straight through December!

Ok, enough chatting! Here’s how you can get a similar look for your Thanksgiving table…

What you’ll need: 

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  • a bag of clear glass gems
  • a couple fake flowers (Typically the fake flowers from Dollar Tree come all connected in a bunch of three. I cut these two off…and probably ruined a pair of scissors in the process since the stems are plastic covered wire. C’est la vie!)
  • tea light or small votive candle
  • glass vase
  • scissors
  • gold jingle bells (I picked up a bag of tiny ones and a bag or normal sized ones because I thought it would be more visually interesting. Not necessary.)
  • postal twine
  • coordinating ribbon (I used a roll of white with gold polka dots that I had on hand from a previous project.)

Not pictured because I was just making this up as I went–

  • E6000 glue
  • 2 jars (Mine used to hold pickles! You could use mason jars or whatever you have.)
  • 3 cups of dried lentils

And how it all comes together:

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Pour the glass gems and jingle bells into the bottom of the large vase and make sure they’re all mixed up.

Create a little hole in the center and nestle the candle down in all those shiny baubles!

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Measure out some pretty ribbon and two lengths of postal twine, all the same length.

Lay these three pieces together and tie them all around the top of the vase in a bow. I liked the layering look of combining the ribbon and twine together but you could use one or the other. OR include more lengths of both to bulk it up a bit. Up to you!

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I love how the glass stones and gold bells reflect off each other…and the more rustic bow balances out all that bling. I can’t wait to see how it looks when the candle is lit!

Because I ended up liking this vase as is (without including the flowers), I started grabbing elements from my kitchen to make a couple side jars. I glued the same ribbon around the middle of two pickle jars (They were well washed out. Don’t worry!) and poured some dried lentils inside to give the flowers something to stand up in.

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I thought the burlap flowers went nicely with the brown postal twine. There’s also a light dusting of gold glitter on these flowers that the camera didn’t quite pick up. So coordinated!

I placed the large vase in the center of my (smallllll) dining room table flanked by the two smaller jars. If I had a larger table, I would extend this tablescape out by picking up two of these glass taper candleholders from the Dollar Tree (which, side-note: LOTS of people were buying when I was at DT on Saturday. Thanksgiving preparedness, perhaps? Yes, I am a basket peeper.)and this 2-pack of white taper candles. Then I would scootch the little jars down and stick the candles in between. Voila! You could also wrap some fake greenery amongst the five pieces or sprinkle fake leaves.

For my tiny table, however, I’m loving this simple look.

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Do you plan on doing anything special for your Thanksgiving table? Have you ever found great craft supplies from an unlikely place? Would you consider creating a centerpiece like this one? Let me know in the comments below! 

 

Gratitude Journal.

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I keep meaning to start a gratitude journal. I’m generally bad at sticking to that sort of thing so I never even start. But today, on Thanksgiving, no excuses. I have so very much to be thankful for…

Happiness and health. A family of superbly special individuals who are creative and caring. An amazing boyfriend who loves, supports and challenges me. A fantastic job with fantastic people at a place that feels like a second home. A home. An insatiable appetite for knowledge. Dreams for the future. Memories of the past. Friends to laugh with. Friends who are doing the most wonderful, awe-inspiring things. The fuzzball cat sitting next to me. Yoga poses. Local food. This blog. All of my mistakes. And the times I got it right. This life.

I am grateful.