Usher in Thanksgiving at Bobby Flay’s on the Food Network

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There are two things high on my list of things I love – Food Network and Thanksgiving.  I look forward each year to the Food Network’s Thanksgiving specials, and cannot wait to see the latest!

BobbyFlay

FOOD NETWORK CELEBRATES THANKSGIVING FLAY-STYLE WITH HOLIDAY SPECIAL THANKSGIVING AT BOBBY’S ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22ND AT 12PM ET/PT

Bobby Flay Joined by Katie Lee, Sunny Anderson, Alex Guarnaschelli and Michael Symon for Turkey Day Feast With All the Trimmings

Bobby Flay hosts all-star special Thanksgiving at Bobby’s this holiday season, complete with favorite recipes, delicious tips and expert culinary advice to help viewers prepare for their own upcoming feast.  Along with co-host Katie Lee, Bobby welcomes his friends Sunny Anderson, Alex Guarnaschelli and Michael Symon to the party to share their favorite Turkey Day dishes, traditions and personal family memories. Thanksgiving at Bobby’s premieres on Saturday, November 22nd at 12pm ET/PT.

“Thanksgiving is Bobby’s favorite day of the year and it shows – he’s opened up his table to our audience for a personal look at how his family and friends celebrate,” said Bob Tuschman, General Manager and Senior Vice President, Food Network. “The dishes, tips and tricks that Bobby and his friends share will inspire everyone planning their own holiday meal.”

Bobby always makes the turkey for Thanksgiving and this year he’s preparing Roasted Turkey with Mustard Maple Glaze.  Katie uses a little inspiration from the South to make her grandmother’s Cornbread Stuffing with Herb Butter, while Sunny’s Sage and Pecan Sweet Potato Casserole is an ode to her mother’s sweet potatoes with melted marshmallows.  Alex offers the unexpected and delicious vegetable dish Broiled Cauliflower Steaks with Parsley and Lemon and Michael finishes off the meal with a Chocolate Pumpkin Pie.   Other dishes on the menu include Holiday Sangria, Mashed Potatoes with Buttermilk, Black Pepper and Green Onion, along with Katie’s take on a classic Deviled Eggs appetizer.

At FoodNetwork.com, viewers can find all-new Thanksgiving recipes, behind-the-scenes photos and more.  During the show, get your Thanksgiving questions answered live on Food Network’s Facebook page and on Twitter, with hashtag #ThanksgivingFeast.

Thanksgiving at Bobby’s is produced by Rock Shrimp Productions.

Walt Disney World Thanksgiving at the Last Minute

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Walt Disney World Thanksgiving 2014 last minute vacation

You have a to-do list the length of the Empire State Building, and the thought of cleaning the house that hasn’t been cleaned since last Thanksgiving is giving you panic attacks.  What the heck, you think to yourself.  Let’s do a Walt Disney World Thanksgiving!

But wait.  You’ve heard that everything books months in advance.  The parks will be mobbed.  You’ll be sleeping in your car and eating Thanksgiving dinner at Taco Bell.  That’s not what you were hoping for.  You want a nice kick off to the holiday season.

2014 Walt Disney World Thanksgiving Day Dining Brined Herb-Crusted Turkey with Apple Cider Gravy; Anne Burrell

Fear not, nervous traveler.  You can head to Walt Disney World for a last minute Thanksgiving getaway – just get planning NOW!

2014 Walt Disney World Thanksgiving Day Dining

As of today, you’ll find many restaurants with open tables throughout the day.  While there is no official word on which restaurants may feature a traditional holiday meal, with turkey and all the trimmings, several of the restaurants with dining reservations available have had the whole big turkey dinner available to diners in years past.  You’ll find space at Boatwright’s, Portobello, Fulton’s, Wolfgang Puck, and Kona if you are looking to dine at a normal dinner hour.  Go earlier or later – like around 1 or as late as 8 – and your options open up to include places like the Captain’s Grille, Jiko, Boma, and even the character dinner at 1900 Park Fare.

2014 Walt Disney World Thanksgiving Rooms Are Available

Although DVC rooms were a bit scarce, I was surprised to find resort options available in every category.  Everything from the All Stars to the Beach Club had rooms available, even at this late date.  Shades of Green is booked through Friday, but if you want to do a shorter weekend, after turkey dinner at home, you can still find room after Friday at Shades of Green.

2014 Walt Disney World Thanksgiving Roms - Shades of Green entrance

What can you expect at Walt Disney World on Thanksgiving in terms of crowds?  Let me put it as simply as I can – you’ll find crowds.  Make your FastPass+ reservations as soon as you have your tickets booked, and plan to be at rope drop to take advantage of attractions before the bulk of the crowds begin to turn up.  If you were lucky enough to snag a dining reservation in a theme park, get there early and plan to stay.  The parks can close due to capacity on the busiest days – which are likely to be Thursday and Friday.

Walt Disney World Thanksgiving Fun - check out the Disney's Grand Floridian Life Sized Gingerbread House

If nothing else, grab a turkey leg at the park and enjoy a tour of the resorts.  Everything will be decorated for the Christmas holidays by the time you arrive for Thanksgiving, and it’s always so much fun to see the decorations at each of the resorts.

Walt Disney World Thanksgiving starts the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World can be busy, but if you haven’t thought about going until now, you still have options.  But delay no more.  Book today and leave those dust bunnies until next year.

 

Fakesgiving – Food and Friends to be Thankful For

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Back in the early 90s, living in Florida away from family was tough.  We couldn’t always take time off during the holidays, so we spent quite a few Thanksgivings and Christmases by ourselves.

We invented Fakesgiving as a way to celebrate when we had family or friends with us.  My dad and stepmom came down one year a month before Thanksgiving, and I was so excited to have the visit, we made Thanksgiving dinner.  We coined the term Fakesgiving, and have been doing it ever since.

Through the years, some recipes have been really successful.  Others, not so much.  We’ve had guests bring things that I can’t imagine not having on the table, even when those guests can’t be with us.  Below are some of the recipes that are always repeat guests o the table.  If you don’t see one you think you’d like, let me know.  I also do sweet potatoes with pecan topping, kielbasa and sauerkraut, stuffed mushrooms, and more!

broccoli casserole

Broccoli Casserole

  • 1 pound broccoli, cut into pieces (or one bag frozen – which is way easier)
  • 1 (10.75 oz.) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar
  • 1 stick (1/4 lb.) salted butter, cut into pieces
  • Pepper
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers, crushed (1/3 of a 12 oz. box)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mist a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Steam broccoli until crisp-tender, 7 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of ice water.
  3. Mix soup, eggs, mayonnaise, cheese, butter and pepper in a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until melted and combined.
  4. Drain broccoli; spread evenly in baking dish. Pour cheese mixture on top. Sprinkle with crackers. Bake for 30 minutes.

creamed corn

Crockpot Creamed Corn

  • 3 bags (12 oz each) Green Giant™ Steamers™ Niblets® frozen whole kernel corn
  • 4 packages (3 oz each) cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  •  Spread corn over bottom of 3- to 4-quart slow cooker. Top with cream cheese cubes.
  • In small bowl, stir together remaining ingredients; pour over corn and cream cheese.Cover; cook on High heat setting 2 to 3 hours.
  • Stir well before serving. Corn will hold on Low heat setting up to 2 hours; stir occasionally.

sausage stuffing

Sausage Stuffing

  • 1 pound mild or sage breakfast sausage
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) butter
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped celery
  • 10 cups cubed French bread or white bread
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon dried leaf sage, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups chicken broth

Lightly butter a 9×13-inch baking dish. Heat oven to 350°.

In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the sausage, breaking up and stirring frequently, until sausage is no longer pink. Use the same skillet and melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are softened.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the bread cubes with the herbs and seasonings. Add the vegetables with the butter and the drained sausage. Stir in chicken broth until well moistened, but not mushy. Pack gently into the prepared baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and broil for about 3 to 4 minutes, or just until browned on top.

Thanksgiving, Fakesgiving, Second Time Around Saturday – OH MY!

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As many of you know, I do not always do Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving day.  As your children get older and enjoy the holidays with their own families or in-laws; or when your own holiday is split among parents, grandparents, in-laws and siblings scattered all over the country, it may be necessary to do Fakesgiving, a holiday I can celebrate with my kids, no matter what their Thanksgiving plans are.

And planning is crucial!  Whether you eat your turkey on Turkey Day or another day that works better for your gang, it’s important to be ready without being stressed.  As always, FoodNetwork.com comes to the rescue!  The planning tips, menu suggestions, and fabulous recipes make planning Thanksgiving – or Fakesgiving – a breeze.  If you haven’t visited Food Network Thanksgiving Countdown Planner – you still have time!

photo courtesy of FoodNetwork.com

photo courtesy of FoodNetwork.com

Just a handful of FoodNetwork.com tips include:

1 Week Before: Shop for Nonperishables
Divide up your shopping list into perishables and nonperishables and get the latter out of the way now. Nonperishables include equipment, decor, paper goods and cleaning supplies – but could also include baking ingredients like flour, sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, canned pumpkin and cranberries. Wait until the day before Thanksgiving to buy fresh vegetables, seafood and bread. Take inventory of tableware, tablecloths and napkins in case you need to pick up anything extra, and make sure each recipe has a serving bowl or platter to be paired with.

1 Week Before: Prepare a Cooking Schedule and Create a Seating Plan
Being organized is the key to keeping stress at a minimum on turkey day. Review your recipes and create a day-by-day schedule for the week leading up to Thanksgiving as well as a day-of plan. Make place cards for your guests if you’ll be hosting a sit-down meal and figure out a seating plan.

1 Week Before: Plan Ahead for Leftovers
Make it easy on yourself (and guests) by having containers and bags at the ready. Leftovers will need to be wrapped up within a few hours of finishing your meal, so better to be prepared.

1 Week Before: Pick Up Your Turkey
If you’ve ordered a turkey, now is the time to pick it up so you can be prepped to defrost it. If you haven’t planned for your turkey yet, purchase a frozen bird today so it will be able to defrost properly in the fridge.

3 Days Before: Defrost Your Turkey and Buy Perishable Ingredients
Thawing a frozen turkey takes time and patience. The best way is to thaw the bird in the coldest area of the fridge with a pan underneath to catch any drips (not on the counter). If you plan on brining (a simple, hands-off way to infuse your turkey with flavor), Anne Burrell’s recipe maximizes taste but minimizes prep with a no-cook apple cider brine. Now is also the time to brave the crowds and pick up any perishable items from the store.

2 Days Before: Make Cranberry Sauce, Pie Crusts and Pie
Try fresh cranberries instead of canned this year, and buy an extra bag when you’re in the produce aisle; they keep in your freezer for up to a year. Cranberry sauce can stay fresh in the fridge up to 2 weeks because of its high acidity, so make it now and refrigerate it in a jar or bowl covered in plastic wrap. If you didn’t freeze your pie crusts ahead of time, make them today and wrap the dough to store in the fridge. If you’ve prepped items and kept them in the freezer, take them out to defrost. This includes any pie crusts or stock you made in advance.

1 Day Before: Prepare Reheatable Side Dishes, Prep Ingredients, Bake Pies
Start to make sides that will reheat well, like casseroles or creamed onions. Prep garnishes, toppings, salad greens and stuffing ingredients. Cook soups and let cool before storing in the refrigerator if you didn’t freeze any options in advance. If your stuffing recipe calls for stale bread, cut the bread now and set the cubes on a baking sheet to dry out. You can go ahead and make your pies, especially Ree Drummond’s Pecan Pie that needs to cool overnight for a natural do-ahead dessert.

Thanksgiving Day: Don’t Stress! Stick to a Day-Of Plan
Preheat your oven in the morning and get your turkey going. If you premade bread, let it defrost at room temperature. Put your wine or beer in the fridge to chill. While the turkey roasts, prepare your other side dishes since they can stand at room temperature for an hour or keep in the fridge. When the turkey is done, let it rest while you make the gravy, reheat side dishes and prep salads.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get started!  And yeah, I’m just getting started!

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Fakesgiving, Happy Second Time Around Saturday!  No matter what you celebrate, as long as you have a loving family, good friends, and great food, you have a lot to be Thankful for!

Merry Christmas Poop-Poop

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Fakesgiving, followed by Thanksgiving, followed by two term papers.  That’s on top of the normal hectic pace of being a mom with three kids, two dogs, one husband, and a great gig with The Mouse.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

In the whirlwind that was the month of November, I decided to pick one of the busiest weekends to order my Christmas cards.  I started, got interrupted, and wandered off.  I came back, started again, and had to go feed someone’s hungry.  I tried again, loaded a few pictures, typed a word, and loaded a dishwasher.

Such is the life of a mom.

After three days with the website up on my computer in various stages of completion, I finally placed my order for my holiday cards.  They turned out so cute, and I was so proud of myself!  I was tickled when I got the email from Walgreens, saying my cards were done!

I opened the box, and just beamed with how cute my girls looked in their pictures.

Then I saw it.  My daughter’s name was misspelled.

Remember the box on the final page of the order that said “Did you preview your card?”  Yeah, I thought I had at some point over the weekend, and I clicked it. But I hadn’t.

Thank goodness it was the kid who’s name is most often misspelled by family and friends, so I doubt anyone would notice if I hadn’t blogged about it.  But yeah, there won’t be a mother of the year trophy on my mantle.  Again.

I’m just worried now that I also didn’t preview the t-shirt I ordered for Pop-pop…..

30 Days of Thanks – Day 17 – Thankful for Leftovers

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You know how you have a party catered, and you have just enough food to make everyone at your party satisfied, but very little left over afterwards to clean up?

Yeah, that never happens when I cook for a party.

I live in constant fear that a small island nation is going to shipwreck on my doorstep, and I will need to feed them in the middle of a party.  If they come any other time, I’ll throw a few cans of soup at them and see if they’re able to open them with those giant machetes they are carrying, but I just know they’re going to arrive during a party, so I make sure there is enough food to feed them.

With Fakesgiving last weekend, I didn’t have to cook a real meal through Tuesday.  We ate leftover turkey and side dishes, and we even had potato pancakes one night when everyone was tired of turkey.

When the turkey was past it’s usable prime, I moved on to using up the ingredients I bought to make other things that had to be chopped due to time constraints at the last minute.  The rest of the week, we enjoyed grape pizza, bacon and swiss dip, and sun dried tomato jelly with goat cheese on crostini.

Yum.  And it’s not even real cooking.

I am so thankful that I suck at properly planning how much food I’ll need to feed a crowd.  We’ve had an awesome week of party leftovers.

30 Days of Thanks – Day 10 – Fakesgiving

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The made up holiday, designed to allow my children to be home with me to celebrate “Thanksgiving” when they get older, while allowing them to spend the actual holiday “day” spending it where they’d rather be, has taken on a new meaning over the past couple of years that we’ve hosted.  Initially, it was just us, our family of five, fighting around the turkey, just like it really was Thanksgiving.  Someone was poking someone else; someone didn’t like peas; someone didn’t want someone else touching them; someone shouldn’t have hidden Mommy’s medicine that stops her eye from twitching.

A year later, with grandparents that hadn’t seen their college aged granddaughter since the summer, we decided to extend the invitation to grandparents.  All went well, no one got hurt.

This year, we included extended family and friends, and honestly, it just keeps getting better.

My mom, who has been so sick the past three years, came and saw my new kitchen for the first time since we redid it almost two years ago.  Neighbors from our old South Philadelphia neighborhood – that we hadn’t seen since 1976 – were here enjoying catching up on what’s transpired in 36 years.  Old friends that have become family and newer friends who we could not love more if they were family joined us in the stress free, no food fight Fakesgiving festivities, and it was awesome!

Day 10 of my 30 days of thanks is just that I am so thankful that we are surrounded by such amazing people.  The love and laughter that filled my house yesterday will carry me through the rest of the stress filled holiday season.

Thankful…

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It’s that time of year – everyone is taking stock of their lives and acknowledging their gratitude for the things in life that they are most appreciative of.  And, of course, I do the same thing.  It goes without saying – I’m grateful for my family, our home, our wonderful friends, and even the dogs.  But here’s a list of things I’m grateful for, because I’m not quite sure I could get through life without them.

Cream Cheese

Yes, I think my life would be decidedly less tasty without cream cheese.  Not only am I a huge fan of cheesecake (for which I am equally as grateful), but I can eat cream cheese on potato chips, pretzels, celery (see, it’s a healthy food!) – anything that will stand still tastes better with cream cheese.

Mickey Mouse Front Door Key

Every time I open my front door, I do it with my Mickey front door key.  And it makes me smile.  And I’m not even all that fond of rodents.

Pine Sol

I don’t smell it often enough in my house, but I love the smell of Pine Sol.  It makes me appreciate a clean house, because I know with three kids, two dogs, and a husband, not only does the house not stay clean very long, but the other, ummmm, smells soon kill that Pine Sol smell.

Hot Tub

I have only gotten to use the hot tub we bought over the summer twice.  With an open wound that has persisted since my March surgery, anytime I mentioned it, Dr. Veitia would get an eye twitch and a lip tremor.  I am, however, nearly healed, and am so excited to sit in my hot tub, with the snow slowly drifting down on me as I relax in the hot water.  I’m so grateful, I haven’t even done it yet and it makes me happy!

Comfortable Shoes

Never underestimate your gratitude for comfortable feet.  I love my Crocs, even if they look obnoxious.  I love my sneakers – even the ones that claimed they would give me buns of steel (but apparently, that doesn’t work while you’re eating buns of cinnamon).  I love my Ugg Boots.  I never leave the house without my very own Happy Feet.

Starbucks

This isn’t just about the coffee.  Although, admittedly, I do love me a hot vanilla latte in the morning.  I like the routine, I like the socialization, AND I like the coffee.

And yes, I am so grateful for Jim, Brighid, Eilis, Granuaile, my parents (all of them!), my sisters, and even my dogs.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you put on your pumpkin pie?

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Do you put oil or cream?  What are we talking about. Oh yeah, this commercial.

Honestly, I like oil on mine.  It feels creamier to me, tastes better to me, and if the Apocalypse comes and I lose the mountain of Tupperware containers I have  under my cabinets to store leftovers in, I know I can rely on good old Cool Whip containers to get me through.

So what do you use?

For the record, my kids will come running if I ask who wants cool whip, but they are looking for this can of foam and the WHOOSH

Pictured taken by my DH who was apparently on a bit of a WHOOSH sugar high himself

Thanksgiving Turkey Cake – Plenty of Room at the Holiday Table!

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Well, as if my fascination with the Cherpumple wasn’t enough- http://beautygirlsmom.com/2010/11/08/cherpumple-its-whats-for-dessert-this-thanksgiving/– my friend, Disney Moms Panel Member Erin Foster Tweeted about this other abomination of Thanksgiving goodness – the Thanksgiving Turkey Cake!

Essentially, this is a meatloaf, made with ground turkey instead of beef.  And then it becomes almost like a shepherd’s pie, as you layer the meat with the other ingredients.  Except instead of layering this with sweet peas or carrots, you’re getting layers of cranberry sauce, sweet potato, and stuffing!

I’m looking at this from the purely practical standpoint of space on my table.  I don’t know about you, but I have a pretty large dining room table, and it never ceases to amaze me how it gets so filled with holiday dishes!  Putting this turkey cake together gives me room for that floral centerpiece my husband used to send – until we realized we never had room for one.  There will be elbow room for company to enjoy, without fear of picking up a glass of wine and spilling the gravy boat.

If you want to replace the traditional spread with this for your holiday meal, check out the instructions on cooking and assembling – http://www.chow.com/recipes/29029-thanksgiving-turkey-cake .  Let me know how it is, because I think it’s gonna be a hard sell at my house 🙁