Awesome Autumn Part IX: Thanks For The Giving

This Thanksgiving, I put my cooking chops to work and put together the feast! Lots of comfort foods and snacks, so take a gander and see if there is anything you'd like to try next year!

Wait, before you lock yourself in the kitchen. Come up with a fun way to set the table. I used pumpkins, gourds, tea lights, and I also pressed leaves that I found outside and just placed them on the table as well. Get creative!

Cocktail Time!
My sickly self was not drinking alcohol this Thanksgiving (blasphemy!) so I made this Mulled Cider to help make me feel special while everyone else got toasted.

What's a party without a cheese plate. This is actually a great thing to have someone else bring. Not only does it save you time from chopping cheese when you've got other things happening in the kitchen, but it's always fun to see what cool cheeses and spreads your guests come up with.

No Fail Crostini:
There are a million crostini recipes out there, but this one beats them all. I tasted a similar dish at one of my favorite wine bars (Cavatapo) and always make it now.

1 Baguette (cut into 1 inch thick pieces and toasted in oven until crispy)
1/2 large cylinder of goat cheese (save the other half for my next recipe)
Kalamata olives (pitted and halved, to top each crostini)
Truffle Oil (Get yourself a big bottle of this stuff and consider it an investment!)
Salt and Pepper to taste

After you've toasted all of the little crostinis, spread each piece with some goat cheese. Top with 1 olive half, then drizzle some truffle oil on top. Season with a little salt and pepper to taste.

Cheese Stuffed Dates with Prosciutto: This recipe is another crowd pleaser!

White Bean Dip with Pita Chips: This recipe is great, but you can also buy your own bag of pita chips instead of making them. Go with 1 garlic clove if you have sensitive guests.
Turkey and the Trimming's (sounds like a band!)
I'm no expert on cooking meat so I will say right now that you should research how long you should cook your bird yourself... that being said, here are some other tips to help.
-Brine the turkey the night before. If you can, stick your turkey (cavity side up) in a bucket. On the stove prepare a mixture of water, salt, sugar, crushed garlic cloves, honey, and fresh herbs. Just eye ball this. I only had a 5 pound turkey breast, so I filled a large pot with water. Added 1 cut salt. 1 cup brown sugar, a few big glugs of honey, 5 garlic cloves, and bunches of sage, rosemary, thyme, and a bay leaf. VERY IMPORTANT: Let this mixture cool all the way to room temperature before putting in the bucket. Let the turkey sit in this tub all night and/or until you need to cook it.
-Pat the turkey dry before placing in roasting pan. I only stuck some lemon wedges in the cavity because it was very flavored already.
-The Dry Rub: I used Brown Sugar, Paprika, Herbes De Provence, Salt, and Pepper. Rub these spices all over the bird. I also drop some pats of butter on the bird.
-Once you get any vegetables that you'd like to cook along with the meat in the pan, add 2 cups chicken (or Turkey) stock to the pan. This will help with keeping the turkey moist and will provide enough basting liquid!
The Trimmings
Mesclun Salad with my dressing: You pick the veggies, here is my dressing recipe. I also added a Parmesan crisp. Super easy. Just drop handfuls of grated Parmesan cheese onto a baking sheet and cook up individual crisps. Just bake under broiler until they are super crispy. Lay out on some paper towel to cool.
Vegetables around the meat: Simple. Carrots, Parsnips, Butternut Squash and Yellow Onion. A little salt and a little pepper. be sure to stir/baste the vegetables as well!
Stuffing: I actually don't eat or make stuffing (nothing personal), so this is was a great dish to have a family member make. Especially if they do it well! I don't have the recipe...
Cheesy Mashed Potatoes: These were O-M-G- Delicious! Recipe found here, however, when I boiled the potatoes, I threw in a bay leaf and a bunch of fresh thyme. I added 1 minced clove garlic. And I did not use Pancetta or bread crumbs. I also kept the potatoes cooking in a slow cooker because I did not have a big enough oven.
Cranberry Sauce: I love the orange flavor in this recipe here.
Roasted Corn with Lime, Scallion, and Cilantro: This was a nice palette exciter. Not your traditional Thanksgiving corn, but that's what made it special. And... it's yet another crowd pleaser. I only fed 5 people, but I just broke up 2 boxes frozen corn in a Pyrex dish. Added 2 tablespoons butter, salt and pepper. Then I cooked the corn in the oven on 350 until the corn was cooked through (10-15 minutes). When the corn is cooked, I added the zest and juice of 2 limes, 4 chopped scallions, and 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro.
There was also pumpkin bread (recipe featured here), pumpkin pie, and apple pie... and don't forget the wine! (unfortunately I couldn't drink...) How was your Thanksgiving?


Are You Lovin' It Yet?

My fellow blogger Pam, the Aficionada In Heels,  passed this on to me. Apparently a McDonald's is featuring oh-so-European flare in NYC's Chelsea neighborhood. It's the first of its kind with free WiFi, art deco interior, flat-screen televisions, and staff dressed head to toe in chic black attire. The US is following the path of Paris and London... wait, Paris is in on it? I don't believe it!

This may be a refreshed look at the way we eat fast food, but that doesn't mean the food is fresh! Just another ploy to get our fat asses on the burger line? Or an improvement in the way we dine on fast food?


I Didn't Disappear!

Sorry for the disappearance folks.
I was in Los Angeles for work for a few days.
Just settling in, but get ready...
I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner this year!
So excited, and I will document everything from the food to the decorations!


Make a Wish Come True!

Please watch this video and send Noah a card, gift, and/or well wishes!

Noah Biorkman is a 5 Year old boy with cancer who will not make it until Christmas. If you have the opportunity to send him anything to brighten his spirits, please do so.

1141 Foundation View Circle
South Lyon, MI 48178


NYC Stakeouts: Vintage Shopping in NYC

Lu from Mart and Lu asked me to check out some vintage shops in the city. I've been to quite a few, but there are so many it's kind of hard to see it all, let alone list even! But I'll give it my best shot and feel free to shout out any of your favorites that they must check out on their next visit.

9 Greenwich Ave
New York, NY 10014
317 Lafayette Street
New York NY, 10012

Both locations carry a large, well edited collection of vintage clothing, footwear and accessories.
They also offer select independent designer fare as well as Zachary's Smile house collections.

Screaming Mimi's
382 Lafayette St (3rd Street and 4th Street)
New York, NY 10003 (212) 677-6464

This place is really an 80's time capsule! There is even a store out in Montauk, NY! You can also shop online!

williamsburg store:
88 n 11th street
Brooklyn, ny 11211

park slope store:
92 5th avenue
brooklyn, ny 11217

Buy, Sell, and Trade is their motto! But be forewarned... if your clothes are out-of-style or not in season, they won't accept them!

Living on the Upper East Side, I've stumbled into quite a few thrift shops on the weekends as well...

Spence-Chapin Thrift ShopsAddress:
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1850 2nd Ave # 1
New York, NY 10128-8505
(212) 426-7643
(this one gets crowded)

Council Thrift ShopAddress:
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246 E 84th St
New York, NY 10028-2902
(212) 439-8373
* approximate times

Cancer Care Thrift ShopAddress:
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1480 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10028-1967
(212) 879-9868
* approximate times

Arthritis Foundation Thrift Shop IncAddress:
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1430 3rd Ave
New York, NY 10028-1904
(212) 772-8816
* approximate times

Housing Works Thrift ShopsAddress:
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202 E 77th Street
New York, NY 10021
(212) 772-8461
* approximate times

*You can make some great furniture finds in the Housing Works Shops... especially the Yorkville location on 90th and 2nd! Bid online for the really chic stuff!

And if you are in the mood for a vintage splurge:

La Boutique Resale (2 locations and pricey)
803 Lexington Ave. - 2nd floor
62nd St. (Upper East Side)
New York, NY 10065
1045 Madison Ave - 2nd Floor
near 80th Street
New York, NY 10075

Do you have an favorite vintage stops?


Awesome Autumn Part IX: Pumpkin Bread

Whether you are using real pumpkin (don't use jack-o-lanterns that have been sitting out for days.. yuk!) or organic canned pumpkin, this bread is from scratch, easy to make, and delicious. Substitute the oil with applesauce if you want a healthier oil free version!

Ingredients for 1 2lb size bread tin (about 20x13x11 or you can make a bunch of muffins too!)
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
15 oz canned organic pumpkin (not the pie filling variety, just regular pumpkin)
1 cup vegetable oil (or 1 cup apple sauce)

2 tsp. organic vanilla extract
3 cups flour (for more health benefits, substitute half of that with whole wheat flour and then 1/2 cup regular flour)

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves

Preheat oven to 325. Grease bottom of bread tin. Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, canned pumpkin, oil and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and spices. Mix well. Get all of the flour lumps out. Pour mixture into the greased bread tin. Bake for 60 to 80 minutes. Depending on your oven, you may have to bake longer than that so be sure to stick a toothpick in the center. If batter sticks to the toothpick it's not done yet! Cool the bread 10 minutes before removing from tin. Allow to cool completely before serving. I also leave it in the fridge. It takes great cold or warmed up with a little butter. To each his/her own!