This Week's Meal Plan, The Thanksgiving Menu Edition {2014}

11.25.2014



This week's menu is a little different because IT'S THANKSGIVING, PEOPLE! My favorite holiday of the year! Today is the day I start cooking and I won't stop until the meal is on the table. Pulling of the perfect Thanksgiving takes a great deal of planning, so try out my Thanksgiving printable, which I gave a little update so that you can use it every year (it used to say 2013 on it). Check out last year's menu, too.

Having a house full of guests means planning to feed a bunch more people, too, so I picked recipes leading up to the main event that are easy to make and easily feed a crowd. Wish me luck!

Sunday

Dinner:
Classic Chicken and Wild Rice Hotdish {Amy Thielen via Food Network}

Monday

Dinner:
Leftovers

Tuesday

Dinner:
Quick Creamy and Tomato Soup {Rachael Ray}
Garlic-Rubbed Grilled Cheese with Bacon and Tomatoes {Tracy's Culinary Adventures}

Wednesday

Dinner:
Eat Out!

Thursday - Thanksgiving

Breakfast:
Pumpkin Scones with Cinnamon Butter {Bon Appetit}

Appetizers:
Apricot Gorgonzola Cheese Spread {Sweet Little Bluebird}
Baked Camembert with Cranberries {Food Network Magazine}

Dinner:
Butter Glazed Turkey {Real Simple}
Chili, Garlic, and Rosemary Baste {Real Simple}
Ultimate Gravy Recipe {Real Simple}
Simon & Garfunkel Stuffing {Rachael Ray}
Cornbread, Chorizo, Cherry, and Pecan Stuffing {Bon Appetit}
Green Bean-Cheddar Casserole {Good Housekeeping}
Julia Child's Garlic Mashed Potatoes {Saveur}
Sweet Potato Puree {Bouchon via Saveur}
Brioche Rolls {Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day}
Dinner Rolls {Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day}

Friday

Breakfast:
Baked French Toast {The Pioneer Woman}

Dinner:
Potato and Turkey Soup with Parmesan Dumplings {Rachael Ray}

Saturday

Breakfast:
Stuffing Hash {Bon Appetit}

Dinner:
Leftovers

Star of Last Week



You guys, this Chicken Pot Pie from last week's menu was so good we were restraining ourselves from licking our bowls. The Easy Pie Crust recipe from Martha is easy to make, so don't be intimidated by that part!

Here's the site I use for meal planning and creating grocery lists:

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

 I'm linking up to Menu Plan Monday!





{This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support! Please see my disclosure policy here.}

The Best Recipes from the Thanksgiving Issues {2014}

11.19.2014


Christmas comes early to my house every November in the form of the Thanksgiving issues of my favorite food and lifestyle magazines. I went through all of them and whittled the recipes down to the ones I consider the absolute best. Here they are! I also have a Thanksgiving Pinterest board if you would rather see them there.

Breakfast


Appetizers

Baked Camembert with Cranberries {Food Network Magazine}
Smokin' Hot Cheese Ball {Every Day with Rachael Ray}
Blue Cheese and Fig Cheese Ball {Every Day with Rachael Ray}

Turkey

Roast Turkey with Gravy, Onions and Sage {Ina Garten via Food Network Magazine}
Dry Brined Turkey and Gravy {Every Day with Rachael Ray}
Fresh Herb-Brined Turkey {Taste of Home}
Butter-Glazed Turkey {Real Simple}
The Turkey: 3 Ways (Chipotle-Cinnamon-Orange Glaze, Southern BBQ Rub, or Lemony Herb Butter) {Good Housekeeping}
Good Eats Roast Turkey {Alton Brown} - Not included in a magazine, but this recipe has a five star rating with over 4,800 reviews!

Green Sides


Taters and Pasta

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes {Ina Garten via Food Network Magazine}
Sweet Potatoes and Marshmallows {Sunny Anderson via Food Network Magazine}
Smashed Potatoes with Garlic Oil {Food Network Magazine}
Mashed Potatoes with Herbed Butter {Food Network Magazine}
Nutty Sweet Potato Casserole {Every Day with Rachael Ray}
Cheesy Parsnip Potatoes {Every Day with Rachael Ray}
Julia Child's Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes {Saveur}
Bouchon Sweet Potato Puree {Saveur}
Bouchon Macaroni au Gratin {Saveur}
Bouchon Pomme Puree {Saveur}
Buttery Mashed Potatoes {Real Simple}
Italian Sweet and Sour Potatoes with Rosemary {Real Simple}

Gravy and Sauce

Stuffing

Bread

Classic Cornbread {Food Network Magazine}

Leftovers

Turkey Posole {Bon Appetit}
Stuffing Hash {Bon Appetit}
Potato and Turkey Soup with Parmesan Stuffing Dumplings {Every Day with Rachael Ray}
Turkey and Spinach Stuffing Casserole {Taste of Home}
Cobb Salad Sandwich {Martha Stewart}
Turkey Monte Cristo {Martha Stewart}

Now I just have to decide which ones to make!!! Which ones grab you?

Inside the Test Kitchen by Tyler Florence {Cookbook Review}

11.18.2014


Tyler Florence's newest cookbook, Inside the Test Kitchen, has a great concept. Tyler went into his test kitchen and worked like crazy to perfect 120 recipes. The cover price is a spendy $35, but Amazon has it for $22.14 as of this writing.

This cookbook carries its the test kitchen experimentation theme by looking and feeling like a notebook. It's got a black cover and a stretchy band on the outside to keep it closed. Inside, the book continues the theme with handwritten notes, pictures that look like little slips of paper, and in depth descriptions of the process used for testing. It is organized by unique categories: Burgers & Meatloaf; Cheese, Fresh Cheese, & Cheesecake; Chicken & Turkey; Eggs and Souffles; The Five-in-One Baking Mix; Pasta; Pork Chops; Pork - Larger Cuts; Pork Carnitas Tacos; Potatoes; Risotto; and Sides & Vegetables.

I tried the recipe for Meatloaf with Tomato Relish, which was accompanied by a handy dandy recipe for what to do with the leftovers (Meatloaf-Avocado Sandwich, in case you were wondering). How thoughtful, right?  To say this meatloaf was a hit was a major understatement. A tomato relish made from scratch was mixed in to the meat and was poured along the top for baking. The loaf was baked on a cookie sheet rather than in a loaf pan, which provided way more crusty bits for munching.

This recipe was, by a mile, the most flavorful meatloaf I have ever tried. We loved the quick sauce made from the pan drippings blended with ketchup. The result was a tangy flavor that made my Dad ask: "What else can we pour that sauce over tomorrow?" When mixed with the tomato relish in a forkful, the result was heavenly.

The recipes in this cookbook look stunning, but not many of them appealed to my particular palate. I have a few cookbooks that I want to make almost every recipe in (Keepers, Look + Cook), but I had to really hunt around to find one that I knew would be a winner. I'm not normally going to make fresh pasta and Seared and Chopped Chicken Liver Toast just doesn't sound appealing. But Five-in-One baking mix is a great idea and I'd love to make a Slow Cooked Bolognese Sauce or a Super-Crisp Roast Chicken.

Before purchasing this one, I'd try to get my hands on a copy to flip through to see if the majority of the recipes appeal to you. If the Meatloaf with Tomato Relish is any indication of the quality of the recipes when executed, you are in for a treat.

{I received this book complimentary from Blogging for Books for review. This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support! Please see my disclosure policy here.}

This Week's Meal Plan {November 16 - 22}

11.17.2014



My first grader has a week of half-days this week (I swear school is part time in November!) so she will be eating lunch at 10:45. As a result, I made her lunches more on the snacky side. Here's this week's menu:

Sunday

Dinner:
Pot Pie {The  Pioneer Woman}
Easy Pie Crust {Martha Stewart}

Monday

Lunch:
Pumpkin Pie Yogurt Dip {Momables member exclusive}

Dinner:
Meatloaf with Tomato Relish {Inside the Test Kitchen by Tyler Florence via Williams-Sonoma}
Baguette

Tuesday

Lunch:
Party Platter {Momables member exclusive}

Dinner:
End of the Soccer Season Pizza Party

Wednesday

Lunch:
Strawberry Cheesecake Bites {Momables member exclusive}
Dinner:
Leftovers

Thursday

Lunch:
Ham, Cheese, and Tomato Skewers {Momables member exclusive}
Yogurt
Tomatoes

Dinner:
Roasted Pork Loin with Kale and Polenta {Rachael Ray}

Friday

Lunch:
Cookie Dough Dip {Momables member exclusive}- Don't judge me! It's made with chickpeas!

Dinner:
Singapore Style Noodles {Cooking Channel}
Perfect Potstickers {Alton Brown}

Saturday

Eat Out

Star of Last Week




Given the chance, my daughter will choose Spaghetti and Meatballs any time she's given the chance, which gives her mother the chance to try out a bunch of recipes! The recipe for Spaghetti and Meatballs from last week's menu came from Bobby Flay on his Throwdown show.  Man, oh man, this was so crazy good.  Give it a try!

Here's the site I use for meal planning and creating grocery lists:

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

 I'm linking up to Menu Plan Monday!










{This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support! Please see my disclosure policy here.}

Twitterature {November 2014}

11.15.2014


Twitterature doesn't really have much to do with Twitter, other than the idea of a short description of a book that could fit in a 140 character tweet. I don't hold myself to that limit, but I do try to keep my comments pithy! What I love about this event, hosted by Modern Mrs. Darcy, is that the reviews are casual and to the point. Head over there to read more reviews, but be warned that you will fill up your to-read list.

Here's what I read this month:


Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy #1), Robin Hobb

Oh, the joy of finding a new fantasy series to read! I had so much fun diving into the world of the Six Duchies. There were details, twists, and turns that kept me interested.


Mad About the Boy, Helen Fielding

I struggled, and I mean STRUGGLED, to get through the first half of this book. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but I was not amused with the first few chapters and, frankly, felt duped! This wasn't the story I wanted to read, but I am glad I read it in the end.


The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Gabrielle Zevin

This novel about a bookstore owner felt like the cliff notes version of the novel. Things moved so quickly, with big leaps in time, that I never felt like I caught my breath. There was a whole lot about loving books in there that spoke to me, but not enough to recommend this one.


The Gate Thief (Mither Mages, #2), Orson Scott Card

This book answered a whole lot of questions, but created a whole lot more. I will continue reading this series because I just love the concept of gods living among us. And I love anything written by Orson Scott Card, so there's that, but the first book in the series seemed to have a better story.


Dear Mr. Knightley, Katherine Reay

Predictable? Yes. But also a fun, quick, and sometimes thought provoking read, which is more than I expected. I'm looking forward to reading Reay's next book, Lizzie and Jane.

Judging a Book By Its Lover, Lauren Leto

Some funny passages about the type of people who like certain books, but mostly snobbish and condescending. I just didn't see the humor in tricks to fake that I've read a book - I would just be honest that I haven't read it! Maybe I wasn't the intended audience for this one.


Royal Assassin (The Farseer Trilogy #2), Robin Hobb

I loved this second installment in the Farseer Trilogy. People on Goodreads were sorta whiny about it, but I thought the story was moved along and the plot was engrossing.


A Rogue By Any Other Name, Sara MacLean

After reading this, I can say with certainty that I do not like historical romances. There, I said it. I received this in a box from Quarterly - the theme was pushing yourself outside your reading comfort zone. I gave it a try, but this genre is not for me and I'll just leave it at that! (By the way, this made me realize that calling Outlander historical fiction is just completely wrong. That book is its own genre and entirely lacking the cheesy factor).

New Little Passports Subscription for Preschoolers {Early Explorers}

11.12.2014

We are big fans of Little Passports around here, but until recently, they only offered their global adventures to kids in the age groups of 5-10 and 7-12. While my 6-year old daughter loves getting packages in the mail full of fun activities and stickers for her big world map, my 4-year old son was not amused. So, I was very excited to see Little Passports announce that they have a new program for preschoolers, called Early Explorers, covering the 3 to 5 age range.

Early Explorers is a monthly subscription that introduces preschoolers to a new theme like animals, music, and landmarks. If you sign up for a 12-month subscription, the costs is $12.95 per month. The 6-month and monthly subscriptions cost $14.95 per month.

According to Little Passports, Early Explorers is designed with preschoolers in mind and provides fun and educational activities, souvenirs and stickers. During the first month, a Traveler's Kit arrives in a fun orange suitcase. It holds everything a child needs to start learning about the world:
  • An activity book introducing new characters Max, Mia, and their dog Toby.
  • A wall-sized world map
  • Stickers and a wall decal
  • A luggage tag
After the first month, a monthly World Theme Kit arrives, which contains:
  • An activity booklet
  • Souvenirs
  • Flashlight Adventures
  • Stickers and wall decals
Think about asking grandparents for a subscription to Little Explorers for Christmas instead of another random, loud, plastic toy!  Learn more about Early Explorers from Little Passports.

{This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support! Please see my disclosure policy here.}

This Week's Meal Plan {November 9 - 15}

11.10.2014



Sunday

Dinner:
Spaghetti and Meatballs {Bobby Flay via The Daily Meal}
Green Salad
Garlic Cheese Bread Sticks {Pioneer Woman}

Monday

Lunch:
No School

Dinner:
Cashew Chicken and Greens Stir-Fry {Real Simple Magazine}

Tuesday

Lunch:
No School

Dinner:
Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole {Picky Palate Cookbook}

Wednesday

Lunch:
Mini Corn Dog Muffins {Momables member exclusive}
Apples
Grapes

Dinner:
Leftovers

Thursday

Lunch:
Ham and Cheese School Sushi {Momables member exclusive}
Yogurt
Tomatoes

Dinner:
Bacon Macaroni and Cheese {Martha Stewart}
Roasted Broccoli {Rachael Ray}

Friday

Lunch:
Leftover Mac and Cheese
Leftover Broccoli

Dinner:
Kale and Broccoli Chicken Tortellini Soup {Good Life Eats}

Saturday

Eat Out

Star of Last Week




When he tasted the Cheesy Chicken and Vegetable Soup I made last week, my husband declared: "This is much better than I thought it would be!" Not the most exciting praise I have ever received, but it was darn good. And my daughter ate it up as leftovers in her lunch the next day.

Here's the site I use for meal planning and creating grocery lists:

Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

 I'm linking up to Menu Plan Monday!











{This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support! Please see my disclosure policy here.}