Our Thanksgiving

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Our morning started with a special themed breakfast. How cute are these turkey cinnamon rolls? They are also super easy to make. Original post with directions found here. After breakfast we jammed over to my parents house where I busted out my table décor.

I used my "Thankful for" cards to make place cards from Sawyer. They doubled as keepsakes for everyone in the family.

Instead of a side dish I brought a bubbly bar. Start with champagne and mix in your favorite juice or puree. Pear was the hit! This would be a great idea for New Years Eve.

Last year we took a picture of Sawyer next to the turkey. We did it again this year to see just how much he has grown. The funniest part was when I told him to taste the turkey to see if it was good. Without hesitation he bent over and took a bite. That's my BIG boy!

Lastly, what is Thanksgiving without leftovers? This is what we ate...what about you? Anything worth sharing?

Thanksgiving Happenings

Friday, November 21, 2014

I always look forward to Thanksgiving. I know people get all excited about Christmas right after Halloween (or maybe it's just all the department stores), but I love me some Thanksgiving. The traditions of stuffing myself like a turkey, sharing good food, conversation, and lots of laughs with our family is not something to be overlooked.

This year I am in charge of table décor. I made these "Thankful for" cards to be used as part of my super secret setup. TOP SECRET because I know my mom reads this blog and I want her to be surprised. The "thankful" is some hand lettering I picked up in my calligraphy class (swoon). In the spirit of giving you can download the cards to use on your Thanksgiving table. Click here.

This week I whipped up this super easy and versatile casserole. The recipe is based on one from Trader Joe's, but I have doctored it up with some extra veggies.

Chili Cornbread Casserole

• 1 package (around 1.23 lbs) ground turkey or beef
• 1-diced yellow onion
• 1-4 oz can fire roasted mild diced green chiles
• 1-14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
• 1-15 oz black beans drained and rinsed
• 2 cans of chili (I use Trader Joe's brand. You can use turkey or beef)
• 1 box of Trader Joe's Cornbread Baking Mix
(You will need 1 egg, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 3/4 cup milk)
• 1-package (2 cups) of Mexican blend graded cheese

Optional add-ins:
2-3 grated zucchinis
1 cup frozen corn niblets
1/2 cup shredded carrots roughly chopped
1 diced red pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large stockpot brown the ground turkey or beef. Drain and set aside. In the same stock pot sauté the onions 5-7 minutes or until they are tender. Add any or all of the optional add-ins and cook for another 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the browned meat, chiles, tomatoes, black beans, and 2 cans of chili into the vegetable mixture. Cook on a medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Prepare the cornbread according to the package and set to the side. Pour the chili into the bottom of a 8"x10" baking dish. Add a layer of cheese on top of the chili. Spoon the cornbread over the top and use a batter spatula to evenly spread out the mixture. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the cornbread is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 5-10 minutes. ENJOY!

TIP:  You can make this meal vegetarian by adding vegetarian chili. Just be sure to add two more cans for a total of 4 cans.

Side Note: I am a huge fan of hiding veggies in my family's food. One of my favorite cookbooks for this is Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. Check it out for your picky eaters or if you just want to find more ways to eat your vegetables.

Oregon Trip Part Two: A Foodie State of Mind

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pardon the radio silence it's been a rough few weeks! I had not one, but two computers die on me. Good news I am up and running with a fancy schmancy new Mac. NOW on to the topic at hand, FOOD!!!

I consider myself a total foodie. I love to cook, eat, dine, and I'm always seeking out good food. In another life I would like to be a food critic. Which of course makes me think of the movie Mystic Pizza when the television critic from 'The Fireside Gourmet' reviews the small shop. I can dream. For now I will just share some of my finds on our trip. First up, Pine State Biscuits.

I ordered The Moneyball.

Derek had an egg, cheese and bacon on a biscuit.

My parents both went for the hash ups. Oh my was I jealous. I liked the biscuits, but the hash browns would keep me coming back for more! I also loved the art just across the street.

Portland seems to have it’s own culture. Here are some terms I heard used:  PDX which is often used as a nickname for Portland and comes from the international airport, Portlandian, and Oregonian. So, does that mean someone could be a native Oregonian who is now a Portlandian leaving out of PDX for a trip? You could really have fun with this, right?

One of the many perks of traveling with my parents was a night out on the town! We needed a quick dinner (because the breweries were calling) and hit up The Grilled Cheese Grill. Portland has a huge food truck scene. I'm used to the LA food trucks that move around. Not here. The trucks are more like pods and they are stationary. Which makes them pretty easy to find. Hey do you see the PDX in the license plate below. Just's everywhere.

How do you like the seating area? Don't see it? It's in the school bus!

A counter lined one side of the bus adorned with school photos.

Can you tell which photo is my fav? Cracks me up! They flipped the benches on the bus to face each other and made booths. Genius!

This is some serious late night food.

I ordered The Hot Brie. It was out of this world good. The perfect crunch on the bread and melted brie in every bite. It was something else!

Last, but not certainly not least. A Dual of Donuts.

If you know your donuts you have heard of Voodoo Doughnuts. We were told by friends they used to have two highly unorthodox doughnuts, the NyQuil Glazed doughnut and the Vanilla Pepto Crushed Tums doughnut. They are no longer available due to order of local health officials. When we arrived the line was long and my mom volunteered to wait while we ordered lunch at the pizza place next door. Side note the pizza was really good. Super thin and they gave us a scissor to cut slices. Scissors!?!

I texted my mom everyone's ordered and we all laughed as we considered asking her to get us a Cock-N-Balls and some Dirty Snowballs. I have to give it to them with the names, shapes and unique ingredients they use. Everyone's favorite was the Voodoo Doll. It's a light fluffy donut filled with a raspberry jelly filling and topped with chocolate frosting. It also so happens to be apart of their logo.

I read somewhere that no one who lives in Portland actually goes to Voodoo Doughnuts. How do you explain the long line? Tourists. GUILTY! Even though the donuts were nothing to write home about, I am glad we went for the novelty of it.

Across the street from Voodoo is this! The unofficial city slogan “Keep Portland Weird”. Created with the intention of supporting local businesses in Portland, Oregon. Personally I think it’s a license to be different and proud of it! Ain’t no shame in that game.

On our way to the airport we stopped for breakfast at Blue Star Donuts. From a graphic design point of view this box is seriously lacking. Voodoo has them beat with branding hands down. Of course it really is all about what's inside the box and Blue Star delivered.

Maple and bacon, blueberry bourbon basil, lemon poppyseed, and pumpkin spice cake. Looking at these photos I am instantly reminded of how delicious these donuts are. They were fresh, full of flavor, and melted in your mouth.

Hands down Blue Star has the best tasting donuts, but Voodoo wins for being so unique and over the top. Now that was a great foodie experience. To think this is just the tip of the iceberg makes me want to go back and try more!

PS - If you subscribe to my blog you might have seen this post in a partial version. Yup, that was me accidentally hitting the "Publish" button. Hmm...can I play it off as a behind the scenes look at the blogging process? So embarrassing.