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Holiday Food Traditions!

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Happy Thanksgiving, neighbors in Canada!  Have a wonderful holiday weekend :>)  OMG...I can just hear that gelled Ocean Spray glob plop onto the serving plate.  I haven't eaten it in years (once I made the switch to the kind with the berries in it, & then made another switch to making my own, I never went back). I can't believe it's holiday menu time already.  I think I'd rather go out to eat (can't break my record of never having roasted a turkey in my life).

Edited by annzeepark914
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While the centerpiece of my Thanksgiving meal will always be a traditional roast turkey, I like to mix up the first course and the sides. I've made sweet potato vichyssoise from the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook from time to time,but I also like either pumpkin or butternut squash soup. I always look forward to Bon Appetit and the Food Network magazines to see what new twists on the usual stuff they dream up. Over the last couple of years, I've started my own dessert tradition. I buy sour cherries during their brief summer season, pit and freeze them, and make a cherry crisp for Thanksgiving. 

Christmas is generally more open-ended because sometimes I cook at home and sometimes I'm invited to a relative's. Duck makes a nice variation of poultry for a small group. On New Year's Day I make Vasilopita, a Greek tradition. It's a citrusy pound cake with a coin inside. Getting the coin in your slice gives you good luck for the year.

For Easter I generally go with traditional Greek lamb, unless I'm feeding people who don't care for it. 

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23 minutes ago, annzeepark914 said:

Happy Thanksgiving, neighbors in Canada!  Have a wonderful holiday weekend :>)  OMG...I can just hear that gelled Ocean Spray glob plop onto the serving plate.  I haven't eaten it in years (once I made the switch to the kind with the berries in it, & then made another switch to making my own, I never went back). I can't believe it's holiday menu time already.  I think I'd rather go out to eat (can't break my record of never having roasted a turkey in my life).

 

LOL!  I think I've had glob plop ONCE in my life.  I make mine with frozen berries and maple sugar or maple syrup (always the day before).  Yes, I make that too. :)

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On 10/8/2016 at 1:43 PM, Blergh said:

I don't know exactly why but it just isn't Thanksgiving for me unless I hear the sound of that cranberry gel glob from the can onto the dish and can see the can's impressions and grooves when I'm eating it.

I still insist on a knife at the table to slice the glob along the grooves.

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I do that too!

I never eat cranberries ( I do drink cranberry juice), but am compelled to buy a can so it is served with holiday dinners.  My son will eat some though.

When we've had holiday meals with family and they've gone to great lengths to make some fresh cranberries, he is deeply disappointed because it is not the canned stuff.

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I am obsessed with cranberry-orange (but fuck all the pumpkin everything) and found a recipe for an amazing cranberry orange sauce. We still had glob-o-sauce on the table. With a knife.

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On 10/8/2016 at 2:22 PM, GreekGeek said:

While the centerpiece of my Thanksgiving meal will always be a traditional roast turkey, I like to mix up the first course and the sides. I've made sweet potato vichyssoise from the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook from time to time,but I also like either pumpkin or butternut squash soup. I always look forward to Bon Appetit and the Food Network magazines to see what new twists on the usual stuff they dream up. Over the last couple of years, I've started my own dessert tradition. I buy sour cherries during their brief summer season, pit and freeze them, and make a cherry crisp for Thanksgiving. 

Christmas is generally more open-ended because sometimes I cook at home and sometimes I'm invited to a relative's. Duck makes a nice variation of poultry for a small group. On New Year's Day I make Vasilopita, a Greek tradition. It's a citrusy pound cake with a coin inside. Getting the coin in your slice gives you good luck for the year.

For Easter I generally go with traditional Greek lamb, unless I'm feeding people who don't care for it. 

I love the Silver Palate cookbooks!  I will make that vichyssoise this year, good idea.    I will also do a cherry crisp for dessert.    I usually make a cherry pie but a crisp in less work so I will do that.  Okay that holiday is done.  :>)

  I will have to buy the cherries in a jar but it will be okay.   I usually go to a friends house for Thanksgiving and I will bring those 2 dishes.   Glad I saw your post.  I forget about this thread. 

Christmas has always been my cooking thing.  It varies from year to year but rarely a big dinner and certainly never turkey if I do have a meal.   I did a prime rib a couple of times and leg of lamb a couple of times, too.  Why repeat Tday dinner 4 weeks later, I say.  

I usually serve a unique xmas brunch and have small plates later in the day or boiled lobster.   Since I moved to Phoenix, the price is too high for that but I will order steamers if reasonably priced.  I miss New England.  :>(  

I always did an xmas eve buffet for many friends and it varied but often shrimp bisque, clam fritters, tomato/cucumber salad with tons of fresh chopped parsley and lemon cake (from Silver Palate) or orange cake from Pie in the Sky.  Salad would vary but something refreshing, clean and simple to balance the fritters and soup. 

I love seafood, can you tell?  :^)  

I am getting excited even though I have moved away from my friends and don't entertain anymore,  so it will just be my 2 sons and their families.  4 adults and 4 kids (picky eaters) so no lobster for them!  hmmmmm  Maybe I could splurge and get 4 lobsters. 

All this turkey talk has me thinking about my traditional 4th of July meal.  LOL!  I had the local chicken farm (they raised turkey too) cook the turkey for me and I made the sides.  Potato salad (I make the best), fruit salad, veg salad (light and crisp) and chocolate cake (best and easiest EVER).  Plus good crusty white bread from the local bakery.  

Now I am hungry!  

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21 minutes ago, annzeepark914 said:

Geez, Wings707...now I'm starving and I just had dinner! :>)  I'd do the lobster if I were you!

I have to order them so they are shipped live, of course.  Timing is tricky.  I won't be able to pick them up xmas day and my fridge is too small to hold them overnight; it will be full to the brim with other food.   :>(  

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13 minutes ago, wings707 said:

I have to order them so they are shipped live, of course.  Timing is tricky.  I won't be able to pick them up xmas day and my fridge is too small to hold them overnight; it will be full to the brim with other food.   :>(  

Gulp!  I can't imagine having live lobsters in my kitchen (I have them steamed at the market).

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On October 23, 2016 at 11:33 AM, wings707 said:

I love the Silver Palate cookbooks!  I will make that vichyssoise this year, good idea.    I will also do a cherry crisp for dessert.    I usually make a cherry pie but a crisp in less work so I will do that.  Okay that holiday is done.  :>)

  I will have to buy the cherries in a jar but it will be okay.   I usually go to a friends house for Thanksgiving and I will bring those 2 dishes.   Glad I saw your post.  I forget about this thread. 

Christmas has always been my cooking thing.  It varies from year to year but rarely a big dinner and certainly never turkey if I do have a meal.   I did a prime rib a couple of times and leg of lamb a couple of times, too.  Why repeat Tday dinner 4 weeks later, I say.  

I usually serve a unique xmas brunch and have small plates later in the day or boiled lobster.   Since I moved to Phoenix, the price is too high for that but I will order steamers if reasonably priced.  I miss New England.  :>(  

I always did an xmas eve buffet for many friends and it varied but often shrimp bisque, clam fritters, tomato/cucumber salad with tons of fresh chopped parsley and lemon cake (from Silver Palate) or orange cake from Pie in the Sky.  Salad would vary but something refreshing, clean and simple to balance the fritters and soup. 

I love seafood, can you tell?  :^)  

I am getting excited even though I have moved away from my friends and don't entertain anymore,  so it will just be my 2 sons and their families.  4 adults and 4 kids (picky eaters) so no lobster for them!  hmmmmm  Maybe I could splurge and get 4 lobsters. 

All this turkey talk has me thinking about my traditional 4th of July meal.  LOL!  I had the local chicken farm (they raised turkey too) cook the turkey for me and I made the sides.  Potato salad (I make the best), fruit salad, veg salad (light and crisp) and chocolate cake (best and easiest EVER).  Plus good crusty white bread from the local bakery.  

Now I am hungry!  

I have about 100 potato salad recipes, but since you make the best, would you please share yours? Thanks!

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14 hours ago, Spunkygal said:

I have about 100 potato salad recipes, but since you make the best, would you please share yours? Thanks!

It is the classic style which is the only kind I like so not different in that respect.  I have just perfected a couple of things that makes it notable; I get a lot of compliments. 

I always use waxy potatoes (Ykon gold if I can find them).  After boiling them in bite sized pieces (I watch them like a hawk so they don't over cook) I spread them on a cookie sheet with salt and pepper and put them in the fridge uncovered and bring them down to cold over night.  They lose some moisture and remain firm.  I mix the mayo and a touch of Frenches mustard in a separate bowl with a little water to loosen it up so the ingredients slide a little when you mix it.  I don't like sticky potato salad.  

I blanch sliced carrots and green beans for 3 minutes so you can stab them with a fork.  The other stuff is the same.  Onions, celery, poblano pepper or other mild choice, radishes and fresh chopped parsley.  Sometimes a little fresh dill.   For me it is all about the texture, each time the raw vegetables can vary.  I cut them very small so you get some with every bite.  I hate getting hunk of potato with nothing else. 

Edited by wings707
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On 10/27/2016 at 5:00 PM, wings707 said:

I have to order them so they are shipped live, of course.  Timing is tricky.  I won't be able to pick them up xmas day and my fridge is too small to hold them overnight; it will be full to the brim with other food.   :>(  

Check your local grocery stores. They tend to put live Maine lobster on sale for $9.99 /lb around the holidays. They'll cook them or sell them live.

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12 hours ago, theredhead77 said:

Check your local grocery stores. They tend to put live Maine lobster on sale for $9.99 /lb around the holidays. They'll cook them or sell them live.

In Phoenix???!!!! Oh how I would love that 9.99 cannot be right. Can it?

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I'm know it isn't quite November yet, but I've spent a few hours today gathering idea for Thanksgiving. I picked up a bunch of Thanksgiving-themed magazines and have visited a bunch of my regular cooking websites for their Thanksgiving sections (NY Times, Martha Stewart, Bon Appetite, Food & Wine, Serious Eats). Anyone else starting their planning? 

Edited by MargeGunderson
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1 hour ago, MargeGunderson said:

I'm know it isn't quite November yet, but I've spent a few hours today gathering idea for Thanksgiving. I picked up a bunch of Thanksgiving-themed magazines and have visited a bunch of my regular cooking websites for their Thanksgiving sections (NY Times, Martha Stewart, Bon Appetite, Food & Wine, Serious Eats). Anyone else starting their planning? 

Yeah, planning on what restaurant we'll be making reservations at. :)

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9 hours ago, wings707 said:

In Phoenix???!!!! Oh how I would love that 9.99 cannot be right. Can it?

I'm in California. A couple years ago we picked up Maine lobsters at Gelson's for $9.99/lb. I see them on sale for $9.99/lb at Ralph's (Kroger) too.

Costco also has them in their seafood case, right around the holidays. Those are cooked but are also $9.99/lb (and are traditional size, in a Costco size package).

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CA, of course.  Everywhere I have ever lived had lobster tanks in grocery stores.  Common. I was shocked to find that is not the case in Phoenix. 

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10 hours ago, MargeGunderson said:

I'm know it isn't quite November yet, but I've spent a few hours today gathering idea for Thanksgiving. I picked up a bunch of Thanksgiving-themed magazines and have visited a bunch of my regular cooking websites for their Thanksgiving sections (NY Times, Martha Stewart, Bon Appetite, Food & Wine, Serious Eats). Anyone else starting their planning? 

Oh yes. I tried to order my fresh turkey last week, only to be told they aren't accepting orders until November. I've been looking through my Bon Appetit and Food Network magazines. No firm decisions yet, though.

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14 hours ago, chessiegal said:

Yeah, planning on what restaurant we'll be making reservations at. :)

We're not traveling this Thanksgiving so we too are thinking about making a reservation.  But the restaurant we were really interested in (Ebbitt's Grill near the White House) is just serving a Thanksgiving platter and I have no interest in eating turkey in a restaurant (I want seafood!)  I love not having to do dishes :>)

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I ordered my turkey a couple of weeks ago from our milk farm (we have a milkman... we get milk delivered to the house once a week in glass bottles. It's the best) so we'll get the fresh turkey delivered on the 18th I think. Just in time to brine! 

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3 hours ago, Lisin said:

I ordered my turkey a couple of weeks ago from our milk farm (we have a milkman... we get milk delivered to the house once a week in glass bottles. It's the best) so we'll get the fresh turkey delivered on the 18th I think. Just in time to brine! 

Oh wow.  That is so cool.  In MA I would buy a turkey from a local farm but no milk and delivered in glass bottles yet!  

Every show features Halloween food.  Now really, how many people do this?  The recipes or I should say stuff to make is involved and labor intensive.  Some are to the point of ridiculous and created by people who want to show off on their brief TV segment.  AND none of them look like they taste good!

Anyone here go all out and make Halloween food?   I am keeping the lights off tonight and will watch TV in the back bedroom.  This has been my favorite holiday for years.  We loved taking the kids out and going to adult costume parties ourselves.  BUT, things in life change and the shine wears off of some traditions.  :.>)  

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Since it's Halloween today, what's everyone's favourite candy?  I'm a KitKat girl.  And Coffee Crisp (another wafer chocolate candy - I don't think it's available in the US.  Back in the early 90s, there were a couple not-so-PC commercials (like this one) where an English language learner with a very thick Eastern European accent would ask a random person sitting next to her how they liked their coffee.  The Canadian would then tell the other person they liked their Coffee Crisp, puzzling the immigrant...I doubt these ads would pass today, but they were HILARIOUS!)

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I have a set of small Halloween cookie cutters that I use every other year or so.  I make chocolate cookie dough and cut out little bats.  They don't even need decorating.  I also use a round cookie cutter and then draw a white frosting spiral.  Drag a toothpick to and from the center and bingo:  spider web cookies.

ETA: I've also made this.

Edited by Qoass
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Costco lobster tails -  I bought them for New Years Eve from their road show.    They were large tails & cost about $15.00 each.  They looked & smelled good. I broiled them & the texture was mealy.  I think they were frozen, defrosted & frozen again.  I didn't keep my receipt so I couldn't return them.  I wound up using my stick blender to make a lobster bisque.  It was a great LB, but I didn't intend on spending $30.00 to make it.

I tried again a few years later buying the lobster tails at the road show.   I broiled them &  again they had a mealy texture. -  frozen, thawed & frozen again. This time I keep my receipt & as able to get a refund.

I have bought the Alaskan King Crab Legs from the road show.  They cost an arm & a leg, but they were great. I will be buying them again for NY Eve.

Edited by ariel
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4 hours ago, wings707 said:

Oh wow.  That is so cool.  In MA I would buy a turkey from a local farm but no milk and delivered in glass bottles yet!  

Every show features Halloween food.  Now really, how many people do this?  The recipes or I should say stuff to make is involved and labor intensive.  Some are to the point of ridiculous and created by people who want to show off on their brief TV segment.  AND none of them look like they taste good!

Anyone here go all out and make Halloween food?   I am keeping the lights off tonight and will watch TV in the back bedroom.  This has been my favorite holiday for years.  We loved taking the kids out and going to adult costume parties ourselves.  BUT, things in life change and the shine wears off of some traditions.  :.>)  

I forgot to plan any Halloween food for supper this year. Last year, I wrapped hot dogs in strips of Pillsbury croissant dough. That's about as much as I do. I meant to make feetloaf this year (meatloaf in the shape of a foot), but got busy and forgot.

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9 hours ago, annzeepark914 said:

We're not traveling this Thanksgiving so we too are thinking about making a reservation.  But the restaurant we were really interested in (Ebbitt's Grill near the White House) is just serving a Thanksgiving platter and I have no interest in eating turkey in a restaurant (I want seafood!)  I love not having to do dishes :>)

I think you can find some seafood in the area. Last year we went to Sam's on the Waterfront in Annapolis, who had salmon on the menu. The whole meal we had was okay. The year before we went to The Severn Inn in Annapolis which had a buffet. Excellent food but too much of it, lots of seafood on the buffet. I googled open on Thanksgiving and found places that had some variety.

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6 hours ago, wings707 said:

Every show features Halloween food.  Now really, how many people do this?  The recipes or I should say stuff to make is involved and labor intensive.  Some are to the point of ridiculous and created by people who want to show off on their brief TV segment.  AND none of them look like they taste good!

Anyone here go all out and make Halloween food? 

I know what you mean. I have no desire to cook anything that looks horrifying. No raspberry sauce for blood for me! But I will make M&M Brownies out of the packets of candy that the neighborhood kiddos did not collect.

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13 hours ago, annzeepark914 said:

We're not traveling this Thanksgiving so we too are thinking about making a reservation.  But the restaurant we were really interested in (Ebbitt's Grill near the White House) is just serving a Thanksgiving platter and I have no interest in eating turkey in a restaurant (I want seafood!)  I love not having to do dishes :>)

Just off the top of my head, I checked OpenTable for Oceanaire (on F Street between 11th and 12th)...they are open on Thanksgiving and have reservations available.  I've always enjoyed dinner there.

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I have bought the Alaskan King Crab Legs from the road show.  They cost an arm & a leg

I see what you did there, ariel!

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17 hours ago, PRgal said:

Since it's Halloween today, what's everyone's favourite candy?  I'm a KitKat girl.  And Coffee Crisp (another wafer chocolate candy - I don't think it's available in the US.  Back in the early 90s, there were a couple not-so-PC commercials (like this one) where an English language learner with a very thick Eastern European accent would ask a random person sitting next to her how they liked their coffee.  The Canadian would then tell the other person they liked their Coffee Crisp, puzzling the immigrant...I doubt these ads would pass today, but they were HILARIOUS!)

I loooooooooooove Coffee Crisp!  They are definitely not available in the US; I always buy several when I'm in Canada on business.

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On 2016-11-01 at 10:17 AM, Lovecat said:

I loooooooooooove Coffee Crisp!  They are definitely not available in the US; I always buy several when I'm in Canada on business.

Get a few bags of fun sized ones if you come up around Halloween.  But keep them for yourself and don't give the to trick or treaters.  :)

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It's my birthday.  My colleagues and I have decided I will just have cake, over and over again, all day long. Each time I blow out the candles, I will wish that saner, and cooler, heads will prevail today.  I hope I'm that powerful, y'all. 

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Two separate cupcake deliveries to my office today.  And to top it off, at the end of the day, a large bottle of Baileys.  

Now I'm going to watch my Friends boxset (all 10 seasons) and avoid the news for the night.

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I found a place in Phoenix that has live lobsters!  I am so happy.  A moment of well deserved joy in my life given how things have been for some of us lately.  Oof

And here we go with the rushed holiday cooking segments on the morning shows.  Then we will get the "how not to gain weight over xmas." 

I say just eat and enjoy yourself. Cut back for a couple of weeks in January.  Another oof

Edited by wings707
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My mom is hosting this year although I'm still bringing about 5 things to contribute to the meal! My parents finally moved to my neck of the woods and she was eager to host Thanksgiving and invite all MY in laws! Ugh! The great thing about them living close is that now all my holidays don't have to be spent with my inlaws. Whatever, I'll put on my fake smile. There will be about 24 of us. 

 

We were discussing Christmas Day plans and mom implied that my family of five would be coming to her house for dinner as well as several of her church members (I put the kibosh on that real quick). My family stays home on Christmas. Anyway, she and my dad will come over for dinner and she can figure out what to do with her church people. Last year I made prime rib this year In thinking of making Coq A Vin. Never made it before it's  something different and doesn't require tending to the stove all day.

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Lobster on xmas for me! No one eats sides with lobster, it the star and total focus.  I will make clam fritters and salad a little later.  I like to keep the day  relaxed with little cooking and clean up.  

We never had a big meal on xmas growing up. A fancy brunch and good things to eat casually for the rest of the day. I continued that with my family.  After the kids left home we continued the tradition with friends. I hosted the brunch and they brought the other food. We played parlor games off and on during the day.  

Edited by wings707
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We do a turkey breast, too -- Sprouts has natural turkeys, and we always have them de-bone and roll (with skin on) a breast so we wind up with about four pounds (which is still more than the three of us need, but, hey, leftovers).  We brine it, and then baste with butter while cooking it on a charcoal grill (we go camping in my parents' motor home for Thanksgiving) and it comes out wonderfully moist.  I also pick up some legs and wings while I'm at Sprouts so I can make gravy (even though I find it unnecessary).

The dressing is cornbread based, as it's my dad's family recipe and he's from Oklahoma.  I know it has celery, onion, egg, and chicken gizzards from grinding those ingredients, but I don't know what else as my mom does the rest.  My mom's family recipe is bread-based, and she makes that one for Christmas.  I don't eat either one, so I don't care which one gets made when.  I do, however, get a strange hankering for wheat brown-and-serve rolls.  I'm not much of a bread person, but for some reason I must have those at Thanksgiving.

Add the ubiquitous mixed-greens salad and whatever roasted or steamed vegetable we're in the mood for and that's Thanksgiving dinner; it's not all that much more than a regular meal, because our Thanksgiving feast comes in the form of the snacks we graze on all day while watching football.

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Wednesday or Thursday (pending travel timing), I'll be baking an apple-cranberry-candied ginger pie, which has become a tradition with my family over the years.  I'd like to bake my great-grandmother's roll recipe as well (so much butter.... yum) but that got vetoed as we are having Thanksgiving with my future in-laws and they want to use their bread machine.  I'll just have to make the rolls at home soon!

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You just reminded me of a couple cookies that my mom used to make. Now that she's no longer capable of doing so, I think I'm going to need to make them myself and bring them down to my dad and her. He'll really appreciate it.

I'll see if I can get the anisette cookies done before I visit them this weekend. 

And sometime in December I'll bring down the cream cheese cookies (my favorites), which were originally made my my Hungarian grandmother, and then my mom, and now me.

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On 11/18/2016 at 10:10 PM, forumfish said:

At dinner, the conversation turned to dressing/stuffing, and we compared notes on in/out of the turkey, types of bread, and additional ingredients. Being southerners, most of us use cornbread as the base and do not stuff the bird.

There will just be the four of us for Thanksgiving, so I only need to fix a turkey breast. I got a 7-pounder at Target (frozen) and with a coupon, it was just under $5. Woo hoo!

I got a turkey for .49/lb. didn't have turkey she just wanted one for her freezer. 

There were also some bottles of sparkling wine half price so snatched  those up

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I made this cranberry-walnut tart and it was a big hit. The tartness of the cranberries really cut through the sweetness. The only change I made was to use a gluten-free crust (I used Bob's Red Mill Pie crust mix) as my father and sister-in-law both have celiac.

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My cousin Larry loves pecan pies, so I made this for Thanksgiving, but he ended up going to his brother's house for the holiday.  No one else is a real pecan pie lover, but let me tell you, we torn this damn thing apart.  It's not that different from a traditional recipe, but if I had been searching for the best pecan pie recipe, I would be done now.

Toasted Pecan Tart with Bourbon Whipped Cream

For Christmas, we celebrate our heritage and make pierogis, cabbage rolls, and braised sausages, along with either ham or a roast, and a dessert that changes every few years.  We also serve our pierogis with just heavy cream and black pepper, we don't saute them in the traditional Polish way.  My Ukrainian great grandma always did it this way, so I have to assume it's just a regional difference, considering that she's not Polish?

The last 2 years, I've made a gorka for our Ukrainian background (which is one of the most delicious desserts I've ever made), but this year, I think we're going German with a black forest torte, but I think we're going to do it jelly roll style so we can really make the decoration special and holiday-worthy.  

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Our holiday/special-day tradition is a side we call "cheesy potatoes". It involves a bag (or bags) of blotted dry hash brown potatoes layered with monterey jack cheese and salt and smothered in heavy cream. Baked to a browned top perfection. It probably also involves arteries slamming shut.

We usually also do some lazy entertaining after the actual HoliDay and have found that a Publix Deli Ringleader works great. Add some chips, Publix slaw, Publix potato salad and/or quinoa/couscous salad, a relish tray and Bob's your uncle!

Hubby and I did a smaller one, and sides, for T-Day and it worked perfectly. That's become more of a teevee and decorate day. No one had to cook. A little snack hungry? Just grab a slice.

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I've never seen a circular big sandwich before. (If anyone else does not have Publix near them and doesn't know what ZIP code to put in to find one to see the ringleader, No. 63 will get you one in Sarasota.)

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