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all things turkey day, except the turkey



Ok people, thanksgiving is only 4 days away. If you don’t know what you’re taking to your family thanksgiving shin-dig, it’s crunch time. You do NOT want to be that person wandering the grocery store at 8pm on Wednesday night.

Trust me, I’ve done it.

It’s terrible.

So, I’m here to help. I haven’t created any new any creative thanksgiving day recipes myself yet, BUT I have cooked several dishes that I would be happy to recommend. There are also a few new things I’m thinking about trying this year.

tried and true

  • These creamy mashed potatoes from the Pioneer Woman are decadent. Don’t tell anyone how much butter & cream cheese is in them. You might not be invited back., but they are worth it.
  • As much as I love dessert like sweet potatoes with a pecan-butter-sugar goodness on top, I adore a savory sweet potato dish and these domino roasted sweet potatoes with garlic and thyme are superb. You could do a lot of prep ahead of time for these too.
  • This pear, prosciutto, and hazelnut stuffing? yum.
  • Here is a great, simple roasted brussels sprouts recipe.
  • There’s no reason to buy cranberry sauce in a can (unless of course you really like that odd jelly stuff with the can lines in it). Here’s a super easy recipe for cranberry sauce with only 4 ingredients.
  • One of my go-to bread recipes, for anytime of the year, is this rosemary focaccia bread. There’s just something about making bread that makes me feel extra domestically accomplished.
  • I know for some people it’s all about the pumpkin pie, and believe me, I LOVE me some pumpkin, but honestly, the pie is not usually my favorite. For a classic dessert I do like, this pecan pie recipe has been great every time I’ve made it.

something new

  • In keeping with a not sickeningly-sweet sweet potato dish, I think I’m going to make these chipotle smashed sweet potatoes from Alton Brown, this year.
  • I do have to admit that this recipe for whipped bourbon bacon sweet potatoes has been haunting me and tempting me since I first laid eyes on it.
  • Have you ever had pretzel bread? It’s a weakness of mine. Trader Joe’s has these personal sized mini loaves of it. It would be better for my waistline if I didn’t know they existed. Anywho, they would be perfect to try out this pretzel bread quinoa stuffing with garlic butter mushrooms. I don’t even like mushrooms all that much, but I’d be willing to set that to the side for this one.
  • I LOVE roasting brussels sprouts, and I think I might try out something like this maple-mustard glazed version this week.
  • And some sage butter biscuits? Enough said.
  • For dessert this year, I’m considering this maple buttermilk custard pie to switch things up a bit.

what are your favorite turkey day recipes? any new dishes you’re thinking of making this year?

love and butter,

posted under dessert, savory, sides | 1 Comment »

homemade christmas gift guide


I’ve spent some time recently reading & thinking about Christmas, and all of the gifts, and all of the stuff, and all of the money. (You can read for yourself here, here, here, and here.) And I don’t know about you, but I think things are a little unbalanced these days. I’ll be honest, I love opening lots of presents, and I love giving lots of presents. Now, I’m certainly not going to do anything too crazy like no presents at all, but I think it’s time to take a step back and remember what this season is about. Let’s consider what the best ways to celebrate the birth of Jesus might be. Because I’m not sure it looks like mountains of presents with a side of credit card debt.

For the presents that you do decide to give, what about making something instead of just buying it from a store? Gift giving is about showing someone how much you care about them, not how much money you can spend on them. I’d venture to say that giving your grandma, who loves to bake, a bottle of homemade vanilla extract will mean more to her than a new pair of slippers. And maybe your neighbors that bbq something on the grill anytime the weather is nice would appreciate a jar of spice rub mixed up just by you.
We’ve given some homemade gifts for a couple of years now, with great success. I thought I’d share a few of my favorite recipes, and if you’re looking for something else, there are oodles of options on Pinterest and the rest of the internet.

Vanilla Extract

This is so simple, it hardly needs a recipe, but here’s a good place to start, from Joy the Baker. Make sure you get good vanilla beans, not the shriveled up ones that most markets sell. A good source is Beanilla. Also note, it takes at least 6 weeks for the vanilla to be ready. So, if you’re making it for this Christmas, you’re already short on time. You can include a note that says something like “Don’t use until ____.” with the date it will be ready.

Vanilla Extract

Taco Seasoning

This is so easy to make a big batch of and give away in little mason jars. It tastes so much like the stuff that comes in the little packets from the market, but better and without all the weird preservatives and stuff. This is the one that I’ve used and loved.

Taco Seasoning

Chili Seasoning

One of my favorite slow cooker recipes is this one for chili. The recipe is instructions for cooking it on the stove, but I always throw it all in the crockpot (after browning the meat) and let it cook on low for 8 hours. One time, I got smart and instead of just measuring out enough spices for one batch, I measured out enough for several batches and stored it in a mason jar. I figured out how much was enough for one batch (6 tablespoons) and then I could just scoop out what I needed when I made chili. A couple of other notes on the chili recipe….instead of 46 ounces of tomato juice, I use 2 28oz cans of diced tomatoes. I also usually use more beans, but it usually depends on what’s in my pantry.

Chili Seasoning

All Purpose Seasoning Salt

I love this season salt recipe, although looking back at it, I realize that there isn’t even salt listed in the recipe. I wish I could tell you how much I used, but it was a year ago now and let’s be honest, sometimes I can’t remember what happened yesterday. I’m going to blame it on the kids. I swear that whole pregnancy brain thing came but never left. I do know that I used Kosher Salt, as I always do, and probably just added some and tasted, then adjust as necessary. I also remember that I didn’t use the full amount of red pepper flakes that’s listed. I wanted it to be kid-friendly.

Season Salt


To round it all off, how about some homemade granola in a mason jar?


I hope that this gives you a few ideas of how to share a little love with friends and family this Christmas season.

love and butter,






posted under pantry | 4 Comments »

empty the pantry granola


empty the pantry granola

If you’ve been following along with this new little adventure of a blog, you might have noticed that I have a thing for breakfast foods. and cookies. and most things pumpkin. I say most because honestly, I’m not a huge fan of the pie version. Anyways, I really do love breakfast food. I would likely eat it for multiple meals a day, if my husband and children wouldn’t revolt at that kind of madness. So we’ve already talked about the overnight crock pot steel cut oatmeal. And then there are the overnight oats, both chocolate-peanut butter and pumpkin pie. And how could I forget about the breakfast cookies?!?! Where two of my favorite food groups collide into one! Today, I’d like to introduce you to homemade granola.


One thing you might have picked up on with me, is that I love getting to make things that are most often bought off the shelf at your local market (like the homemade marshmallows).  Until a few years ago, granola was something I always bought. It hadn’t even crossed my mind to make it myself. Well, leave it to Tyler Florence to change all of that with this recipe. I’ve tried a couple different recipes since this one, but I keep coming back to this starting point. The great thing about making your own granola, is that you can really make it your own. It’s so simple, and you can make it custom for anyone with different preferences in your house. If you looked at Tyler’s recipe, you’ll notice he uses dried fruit, of which I am not a fan, at least not in granola. So, no dried fruit in my version. Allergic to almonds? Skip them for something else. Any nuts and seeds are fair game. If you do want the dried fruit, you can mix it in after you’ve baked the oats. You could also mix up the spices if you want a different flavor. Let’s get to the recipe.

Homemade Granola

6 cups Rolled Oats
1 cup Sliced Almonds
1 cup Pecans (I often buy pecan halves, but break them up into smaller pieces for this.)
1/2 cup Pistachios (I use roasted, unsalted ones from Trader Joe’s)
1/2 cup Slivered Almonds
1/2 cup Raw Pepitas
1/3 cup Flax Seeds
1/3 cup Chia Seeds
1/2 cup Uncooked Quinoa (Make sure it’s the pre-rinsed kind. I get a big bag of an organic, pre-rinsed quinoa at Costco)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/2 cup Olive Oil
1/2 cup Honey
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with foil, for easier cleanup. You’ll want to make sure to use cookie sheets with an edge, if you have them. That way you won’t lose any granola to the bottom of your oven.

2. In a small saucepan, warm the honey, maple syrup, and olive oil on low heat.

3. In a large bowl, combine all other ingredients, except the vanilla extract. (oh and if you’re one of those strange lovely people that likes dried fruit in their granola, keep that out still, too. It goes in at the very, very end.)


4. Once the sryup, honey, and oil are warm, whisk in the vanilla extract, and pour mixture over the bowl of oats, nuts, seeds, etc.

5. Gently mix everything together, just until it’s all coated.


6. Spread onto the 2 cookie sheets, and bake for 40 minutes, stirring the mixture once, about 20 minutes in.


7. Allow to cool, break up any big clumps, and store in an airtight container. Dried fruit can be mixed in anytime after it has cooled.


This is so simple to whip up and so easy to make just how you like your granola. I hope you’ll give it a try. Oh and if you know anyone that’s had a baby recently, this & a container of yogurt would be a great option to drop off for easy breakfast options for the new mama.

love and butter,



posted under breakfast | 2 Comments »