Thursday, November 24, 2011

The best start to Thanksgiving - on the rocks

     Nothing says "Happy Thanksgiving" like a morning cocktail of Fulton's Harvest Pumpkin Pie Cream Liqueur!  My dear friend (and confidant) Margaret surprised me with this lovely gift.  Oh, she knows me so well.  I am very thankful for her this morning.

     I quote from their label -

     "An enticing blend of pumpkin, brown sugar and nutmeg combine for a smooth, creamy liqueur that is reminiscent of homemade pumpkin pie."

     May I confirm, it does taste like a pumpkin pie on the rocks!  As a girl that LOVES anything pumpkin, I believe those boys in Kentucky made this with me and my sisters in mind.  The second one was even better than the first. So good, that as I sip my third cocktail this morning, I have decided to skip the laborious task of baking all those pies, and I'll just serve my guests a glass of this.  If there is any left...

Happy Thanksgiving!  And please shop locally tomorrow!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Goodness, gracious - great balls of Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Dinner - quick and easy!

     It's almost the "most wonderful time of the year".  While I should be spending what little free time I have shopping for the perfect gifts, planning my holiday meals, and decking my hall with boughs of holly - I'm not.  Instead, with only 33 days till Santa squeezes thru our front door (they don't allow chimneys in Florida), our house is in full tilt chaos.  We've decided to completely renovate the guest bathroom (and I mean gutted to the studs), and the Babe thought it would be the perfect time to paint the entire exterior of the house.

     Did I mention how grateful I am for him?

     Thankfully, I don't have to prepare the Thanksgiving feast.  My awesome brother, Dennis and his gorgeous wife, Helen, are hosting us once again.  Now that is something to truly be thankful for, and I am.

     We love the holiday, and the bird.  Turkey is one of the Babes favorites, so I came up with a creative way for us to get a taste of the feast without all the fuss. By combining the turkey in with the stuffing and baking them in the perfectly sized balls (genius!) you can have Thanksgiving dinner done within an hour.  Well, sorta anyhow.   Forget the mess of brining the bird.  Who has time to bake a turkey for 13 hours?  Why go thru the stress of worrying if your fowl will be moist?  These are like a to-go holiday fiesta you can carry in your pocket.  Like a spherical Thanksgiving meal the whole damn family will love.  I even made a healthier version of faux candied yams, that went perfectly with the Thanksgiving Turkey Balls.

     After all that construction work and painting, the Babe certainly deserved to be rewarded.  He throughly enjoyed his pre-turkey day meal - all three helpings.

Thanksgiving Turkey Balls

1 1/2 cup chopped celery
1  medium red pepper, chopped
1  large onion, chopped
3/4 cup shredded carrot
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 stick butter
1 package Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned stuffing
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
2  eggs
3/4 cup grated Parmesean cheese
2 t crushed red pepper
1 t Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning
1 1/2 t poultry seasoning
2 lb ground turkey - jennie-o brand

Heat your oven to 375*.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  In a heavy saucepan melt the butter and add the celery, red pepper, onion, carrot and garlic.  Saute for 5-7 mins, stirring frequently.  Turn heat off.  Stir in stuffing and chicken broth.  Mix well.  Allow to cool for 10 mins.

In a large bowl mix ground turkey, fresh parsley, eggs, cheese, crushed red pepper, and seasonings.  Gently stir in the stuffing.  Try not to over mix.  Use a standard ice cream scoop and place balls on cookie sheet.  Bake for 40-45 mins, until deep golden brown.

Serve with a side of cranberry sauce, my super easy "candied" yams, and Aunt Bethany's green bean casserole.  Be glad she didn't bring her jello mold.

Faux "Candied" Yams

Bake yams in a  375* oven for 45 minutes.

Split open.  Sprinkle with a little cinnamon.

Top with 2 marshmallows.

Return to oven and broil for 1-2 mins to toast marshmallows.

Pretend you are exhausted to your family.  Maybe they will remember all you do for them 33 days from now.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Have a ball!