Pre Thanksgiving Dinner

Mike and I don’t usually spend Thanksgiving together so I make a Thanksgiving Dinner Not On Thanksgiving a week or so before. Usually I make him listen to cheezey Christmas music while we’re eating but this year I forgot! Doh!

It’s pretty much always the same menu, a copy of the first Thanksgiving (which really was on Thanksgiving) we spent together when he was still living in Phoenix:

  • Appetizers- this year it was spiced nuts, olives, and potato chips with blue cheese dip
  • Roast chicken
  • Mashed potatoes- this year it was cream cheese mashed potatoes
  • Green beans with onions
  • Stuffing- usually I get a mix, this year it was from scratch
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Gravy
  • This year I also made baked sweet potatoes with honey butter, too
  • Pumpkin Pie- this year I made it with bourbon whipped cream
  • I also made hot buttered rum this year

Recipes:

  • Spiced Nuts– usually I follow this recipe except I mix everything together and coat the nuts, THEN roast them for a few minutes in the oven
  • Blue cheese dip– be sure to get sturdy chips for this dip! I don’t usually use Maytag Blue and it turns out great anyway.
  • Olives are from a can or the olive bar at Whole Foods
  • Roast chicken is easy. Rinse and clean a whole chicken. Dry it off really well. Rub it with softened butter or brush it with olive oil. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper and dried herbs if you want. Roast in a preheated 400 degree oven. Starting after 45 minutes of cooking, test with an instant read thermometer. It should register 160-165 degrees when it’s done. Mine usually take about an hour for a 4 or 5 pound chicken. Let it rest outside the oven for 10 minutes before carving.
  • This year I made cream cheese mashed potatoes.  Clean and peel potatoes (I used 2.5 pounds and it made enough for about 4 servings). Cut into quarters and put into a pan. Cover with water to just over an  inch above potatoes. Add a bay leaf. Cook them till they’re soft. Drain them, remove the bay leaf,  and then put them back in the pan with the heat on and toss them till they are very dry and sort of crumbly. In another pan put in about a cup of milk and 4 oz cream cheese and cook it on low till the cream cheese melts into the milk. Then add it to the potatoes and whip them with a mixer. Add some chopped up chives or green onions.
  • Green beans with onions- I meant to make this one that I always make. But I made this one on accident and it wasn’t nearly as good.
  • I am not good at making stuffing. I usually get the instant kind from Whole Foods but they didn’t have it.  So instead I bought their dried bread with a recipe on it and it came out way too salty. It was OK, tho. But I need to really get a good stuffing recipe going if they aren’t going to carry the instant anymore.
  • I thought that Whole Foods also made their own cranberry sauce. But I didn’t see that either so I bought their canned kind. It was pretty good. Maybe next year I’ll make my own.
  • Gravy recipe from The Joy Of Cooking.
  • Baked sweet potatoes with honey butter- Scrub a couple of sweet potatoes, dry them well, prick them with a fork, and wrap them in foil. I had to bake mine in the oven with the chicken so they were in a 400 degree oven for about an hour. They weren’t done then, tho so I turned the oven up to 450 degrees and cooked them another half hour or so. If you have two ovens you can cook them at 450 the whole time and they’ll take less time. Or just start them before the chicken if you have to share the oven. The honey butter was really easy, just soften a stick of butter then whip it with a mixer and add about 3 TBS of honey- more or less, depending on taste. Whip it really well. You can serve it soft or put it in the fridge to harden.
  • Almost all pumpkin pie recipes are the same. Here’s how I did mine:

Pumpkin Pie:

  • Your favorite pie crust
  • 3/4 cup combined white sugar and brown sugar
  • 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk
  • 1 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1  15oz can pureed pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Cream for making whipped cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees while you’re making the filling. To make the filling you just whisk together all the ingredients from the sugar down thru the 1/2 cup of heavy cream till smooth. Then pour it into a pie shell and cook it about 45-55 minutes, till a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. You should make this pie the day before your dinner, or at the very latest, early in the morning the day of your dinner. It needs to completely cool before serving, which takes several hours.

Serve it with whipped cream. I made bourbon whipped cream this year but I like the plain kind better. I usually make it really plain,  just whipped cream, not even any sugar. The bourbon way is just 1 cup of cream, 2 TBS sugar, and 3TBS bourbon whipped together.

Hot Buttered Rum goes great with fresh pumpkin pie! I did not use the slow cooker, I did it on the stove, but I did simmer it for at least an hour. I also left out the cloves because I didn’t have any. If I were to ever serve this at a party I’d for sure do it in the slow cooker. Next time I’ll try to have cloves on hand so I can try it with them.

Thankgiving Appetizers: Spiced nuts, blue cheese dip, olives

Thankgiving Appetizers: Spiced nuts, blue cheese dip, olives

The annual Thanksgiving Not On Thanksgiving Dinner

The annual Thanksgiving Not On Thanksgiving Dinner

We usually have chicken instead of turkey

We usually have chicken instead of turkey

Roast chicken, stuffing, cream cheese mashed potatoes, green beans with balsamic onions, cranberry sauce, and gravy

Roast chicken, stuffing, cream cheese mashed potatoes, green beans with balsamic onions, cranberry sauce, and gravy

Pumpkin Pie with bourbon whipped cream

Pumpkin Pie with bourbon whipped cream

Hot buttered rum- Yum!

Hot buttered rum- Yum!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

El Taco Rey, Ted’s Montana Grill,Three Margaritas, Dogtooth Coffee, Bubba’s in Dallas and Lots of Home Cookin’

This stuff is not in any order- I can’t keep the days straight when I wait so long between posts!

El Taco Rey Colorado Springs. DangerMike did a review of this place the other day.

The weather has been the usual for Colorado- warm, then snowing, then warm, then snowing and so on and so forth. This was a snowy day!

Lunch at Three Margaritas. I’d never been there before! I guess it’s pretty famous. DM had some kind of combo plate and I had spinach enchiladas that were really good. Their chips and salsa are yummy, too. Did not have any margaritas, tho.

Monday I went to Dallas for the day to do a photo shoot. Here’s the world’s best chicken that I toted back on the plane. It’s from Bubba’s Cooks Country in Dallas and it is SO GOOD! I didn’t bring back any sides, just chicken and dinner rolls. Gotta actually go there for the sides cuz they’re too messy to go. This family also has a bunch of other chicken restaurants in Dallas called Babe’s.

Another snowy day. Cart got stuck in the snow in the parking lot at Whole Foods. LOL.

Some home cookin’- this is the beginning of spaghetti red sauce.

Graeter’s ice cream is an Ohio made ice cream. I had it when I went to Ohio and an old friend  brings it to me whenever he visits L.A. and I’m there, too. BUT NOW they sell it at Kroger/King Sooper’s here in COS- isn’t that amazing? It’s so awesome. This flavor is Blackberry Chocolate Chip- their chips are actually huge hunks of chocolate. DM was stunned by the size of this one, so he had to take a picture. LOL.

More home cookin’- this is baked polenta with apple compote.

The other day we went to Ted’s Montana Grill for lunch. They specialize in bison. This guy was looking down at us saying “Dudes, WTF? I’m awesome, why you gotta eat me?”

One of my recent clients brought me a bottle of this German mulled wine type stuff. I warmed it up and had some and it was really good. There was no way I could drink the entire bottle tho so I decided to make a pot roast with it. I marinated it with the wine, some onions, etc. and some herbs. Then cooked it in the liquid.

It was really good. I highly recommend using mulled wine (next time I might try that premade sangria) for pot roast or stew or anything else that calls for red wine.

Two huge meals in a row! We didn’t actually have them in a row, tho! They were a couple weeks apart. Mini Thanksgiving dinner- roast chicken, green beans, and mashed potatoes with gravy.

This whole thing started because I had a half a can of pumpkin left from trying to give to the cats for digestive issues- they didn’t like it so I wanted to do something with the leftover. So I made a pie. And you can’t just have a pumpkin pie. You need the dinner, too.

Last night we went out for like half an hour to a ridiculously crowded bar (Southside Johnny’s). I wore the usual witch costume (no pics, sorry) and DM didn’t dress up. We didn’t even get to drink at the bar cuz it was so crowded. So this morning we woke up early- it was especially early for us because of the time change. It was also super nice out. So we decided to take a bike ride up to Dogtooth Coffee. Had a couple of Americanos and shared a bagel. Then we rode back and on the way a guy from the TV news interviewed me about the weather. LOL. I didn’t watch it because I don’t want to see how hideous I looked with no makeup and after a bike ride and in the AM. EEEEK. At least the guy let me keep my sunglasses on!

 

We also went to a cafe called Aiga Sofia in Old Colorado City last week. It was really neat but since I don’t have any pictures of it I’ll talk about it next time and get pics then, too. They put vanilla syrup in their hot chocolate, which was delish. Just thought I’d mention that so I don’t forget next time.
We’re leaving for the L.A. road trip on Thursday so next time I post I should have lots of pics from that.

Thanksgiving Dinner

Since I was in L.A. last week and DM had vegan Thanksgiving with his mom on Thanksgiving, I decided to make my annual Thanksgiving Not On Thanksgiving dinner tonight. It’s a rerun (now a tradition!) of the first one I made for DM in Phoenix two years ago.

Roast chicken
Stuffing from a package from Whole Foods with added green onions, celery and mushrooms
Buttermilk mashed potatoes
Green beans with red wine vinegar roasted onions
Gravy
Whole Foods cranberry sauce
I also made a pumpkin pie which I’ll take a picture of later.

In a little while we’re going to walk down to the dive bar we first went to on this very date two years ago when we moved in here. We walked then and it was snowing like mad. Tonight it’s cold but I think it’s done snowing for now.

BTW we’re moving again in a couple weeks. Not far, just downtown, which will be fun and walking distance to all the bars, shops and restaurants we like to go to.

Turkey Dinner

So I was in LA this year for Thanksgiving so I couldn’t make DM our annual (hee hee) Thanksgiving dinner. So I’m making it tonight. I’m upgrading the chicken to a turkey breast and the stuffing to semi-homemade (still from a bag but from a Whole Foods bag- and adding sausage, celery, and onions). Also I made an apple cake last night that we’ll have for dessert instead of pie.

The rest will remain the same as last year:

Mashed potatoes
Stuffing from a box
Green beans with carmelized onions in vinegar
Cranberry sauce (from Traders)
Gravy
Pumpkin Pie (frozen from Traders-this was surprisingly delicious)

We had a HUGE lunch today- I had a buffalo burger (yum) in Manitou so I dunno how hungry we’ll be in an hour when it’s ready.

Meanwhile we’re listening to cheesy Christmas music (I think DM has had just about enough of this part) and drinking eggnog and rum (after trying several other cocktails that were no good- see photo below) and taking pictures.

Jim Beam and Cola in a can! Who’s ever heard of such a thing!?