Tag Archives: thanksgiving

All In The Details

plaid

After a busy week at work and an epic weekend last week, I’m looking forward to some low-key R&R with Kevin at home. I’m looking forward to seeing Burnt tonight, possibly enjoying some fireside wine at the Wine Cellar at the Lambertville Station (a lovely fall retreat for anyone looking for a quick weekend trip), and indulging in our latest Netflix binge: Louie. I’m also planning to get busy in the kitchen with testing out some Thanksgiving recipes to share on the blog over the next couple weeks. I cannot believe it’s less than 2 weeks away; I am just giddy with excitement for all that food, wine, and cozy clothes to accommodate our expanding waistlines.

Speaking of cozy, nothing says fall for me like plaid. After seeing some adorable plaid details at Allie’s wedding last weekend, I’ve been daydreaming about a festive, plaid spread for Thanksgiving. Recently I’ve talked about my efforts to not play the comparison game and lust after the perfect clothes and homes I see on blogs or Pinterest, but one thing I simply cannot give up is a beautiful tablescape. I’ve always loved looking through Pottery Barn magazines or watching Ina’s show for this reason: admiring the impeccable elegance of a beautiful table that is equally effortless and inviting. For me, a welcoming, well-decorated table is a symbol of togetherness and the anticipation of the great meal and memories that are to come. This is why I’m also so excited to meet with our caterer next year to pick out the flatware and linens for our wedding – sounds trivial, but for me, these little details can really tie together your dinner or event and create more of an experience or emotion, not just another meal. So while my Thanksgiving table probably won’t be this Pinterest-worthy, the comforting and classic look of these plaid tablescapes evoke the feeling that I hope to curate at my own Thanksgiving some day.

Images: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

Advertisements

Crispy Acorn Squash Dippers & Chipotle Cranberry Sauce

DSC_0692

The countdown to my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, has officially begun, which means the planning process is now in motion. Much like a vacation, I think I get more pleasure out of the planning and anticipation of the day than the feast itself (though that is a big part of it too). And the better planned your vacation, or Thanksgiving meal, the more smoothly and therefore enjoyable the day will be.

DSC_0712

DSC_0715

My family is pretty traditional when it comes to the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, so I usually like to experiment with some of the sides and appetizers. These Crispy Acorn Squash Dippers with Chipotle Cranberry Sauce that I made on a recent Sunday afternoon while dozing through watching football would be a great addition to your Thanksgiving menu. They’re simple and can be made in advance (make the sauce a day ahead and just bake off the squash an hour before you’re ready to eat), so that’s one less thing to stress about when you’re juggling the turkey, potatoes, and pies. The tangy and spicy sauce perfectly complements the slightly sweet and nutty squash. Even better, they’re nice and light so you won’t feel weighed down before you even dig in to the big ol’ bird.

DSC_0719

DSC_0701

Or, if you want some extra inspiration in finding the perfect recipe or planning your Thanksgiving meal, you can contact me – I’d love to make your day even more delicious!

DSC_0725

Crispy Acorn Squash Dippers & Chipotle Cranberry Sauce

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

2 acorn squash, cut into 1/2″ thick rounds

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/3 cup flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

3/4 cup panko

8 sage leaves, chopped

3 egg whites, beaten

2/3 cup fat-free greek yogurt

2 tbsp half-and-half

1/3 cup cranberry sauce

10-20 dashes chipotle hot sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.
  2. Peel the skin off the squash if desired.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the spices, flour, cornmeal, panko, and sage. Season with salt & pepper.
  4. Dredge the squash rounds in the egg and then coat in the panko mixture.
  5. Place on the baking sheet and bake 20 minutes. Flip and bake 20 minutes more until golden and crispy.
  6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the greek yogurt, half-and-half, cranberry sauce, and hot sauce until smooth.
  7. Serve the dippers hot or at room temperature with the sauce.

Buffalo Chicken Chili

DSC_1190

Welcome back! I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving weekend. I know I did. Mine was filled with a whole lot of nothing: sweatpants, too many desserts, finally watching Frozen, and improvising lyrics to this epic Shia LaBeouf song. Just as a Thanksgiving weekend should be. It’s back to the grind today, but to ease us all back into the kitchen after everyone’s cooking and/or eating marathon, I’m sharing this recipe for a super simple, quick, and healthy Buffalo Chicken Chili. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably know I have a major sweet spot for anything buffalo-flavored, so this recipe was just another way to sneak in one of my favorite spicy ingredients. With just a few ingredients, yet still filling enough to wean our stretched-out stomachs backs to a normal size, this Buffalo Chicken Chili is a warm and welcome departure from Thanksgiving leftovers.

DSC_1192

Buffalo Chicken Chili adapted from Skinnytaste

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled & chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tbsp paprika

1/2 tbsp cumin

1/2 tbsp chili powder

1 lb ground chicken (or turkey)

1 16-oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 16-oz can refried pinto beans

3/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup water

6 tbsp Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Sauce

sour cream (optional)

shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

chopped cilantro (optional)

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, spices, and a pinch of salt & pepper. Cook until vegetables are just softened, about 8 minutes.

2. Make a hole in veggies the center of the pot and add the ground chicken. Cook, breaking up with the back of a spoon, until no longer pink, about 8-10 minutes.

3. Add both beans, broth, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

5. Stir in the buffalo sauce and cook for 5 minutes more. Season with salt & pepper as needed.

6. Top with sour cream, cheese, chopped cilantro, and a drizzle of extra buffalo sauce if desired!

Cranberry Old Fashioned

old fashioned

I’m writing this post feeling like a Thanksgiving turkey zombie. With cranberry sauce stains on my shoes and roasted garlic stuck under my fingernails (I guess there could be worse things), I am READY for a cocktail (or 10). We made these festive and strong Cranberry Old Fashioneds at Thanksgiving last year and they will be sure to make a return in our kitchen tomorrow. If you’re sticking to my Thanksgiving game plan, good for you! If you’re just getting started, then throw back one of these cocktails and get to work! I’ll be taking a break from the blog on Friday as I’ll be in a post-Thanksgiving coma, so have a very happy, healthy, safe, and of course DELICIOUS Thanksgiving!!

drink up

Cranberry Old Fashioned from Cupcakes & Cashmere

Ingredients:

10 fresh cranberries

2 sugar cubes (or 3/4 tsp of sugar)

1/8 tsp of cinnamon (optional)

2 dashes of Angostura bitters

2″ strip of orange peel

2 oz rye whiskey or bourbon

ice

1. Place cranberries, sugar, cinnamon, orange peel, and bitters into a tumbler glass, add a touch of water. Muddle the ingredients until the sugar is broken up and mixed well.

2. Add whiskey and ice, stir to mix, then serve.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie


DSC_1169

It’s Monday and I’m already in the throes of Thanksgiving prep at work. Today is cranberry sauce and soup day and tomorrow I take on the rest of the sides: Stilton potatoes au gratin, creamed swiss chard, herb & apple sausage stuffing, and butternut squash purée. If you’re in the Central NJ area and looking for a last minute Thanksgiving solution, you can still order from Olsson’s by end of day today!

DSC_1157

Since I’m going a little crazy, Kevin has been stepping it up in the kitchen at home, starting with this Salted Caramel Apple Pie from the Four and Twenty Blackbirds cookbook. Talk about go big or go home, right? If you’re lucky to have someone like Kevin make this pie for you, or if you want to go at it yourself, this pie would be a fantastic addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table.

DSC_1180

I already think Kevin is a great cook – if you can’t tell from these pictures – but he always says that he wants to improve his skills, gain confidence in the kitchen, and build his cooking instincts (it’s hard to know when chicken is done if you’ve never really done it before!). So, we thought we would introduce a new weekly column Kevin Cooks when we take you through a recipe from a more novice perspective. One of my hopes with this blog is to help simplify cooking and make it more accessible and less intimidating for those who feel otherwise. I love to cook and I do it a lot, so it’s easy to forget that this isn’t the case for everyone. With Kevin’s added view, we hope to take you through some of the essentials so that you too can gain kitchen confidence along with Kevin. Look out for the first installment  of Kevin Cooks next week!

DSC_1175

Your Thanksgiving Game Plan

Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 8.53.47 AM

It’s Friday! Tonight we’re heading into the city to celebrate Allie‘s birthday. Since we haven’t visited the city since we moved, we decided to make a little trip of it! We’re staying in an airbnb in the West Village near my old Chelsea apartment and planning to hit up some of our favorite neighborhood spots: running on the West Side Highway, coffee at Birch, egg sandwiches from The Commons, maybe a cheap mani-pedi for me (why are they SO expensive everywhere outside of NYC??). Then it’s back to work for me on Sunday where I’ll be getting elbows deep in our Thanksgiving catering menu. And as promised, here is my game plan for how to attack your Thanksgiving prep so that you can spend the actual day with you guests and not in the kitchen. Ready, set, go!

thanksgiving plan

Let me cook your Thanksgiving

thanksgiving table

It’s Friday and this is the first weekend I’ve had off since we moved to NJ. I’m looking forward to bundling up in sweaters and exploring some cute towns in the area and getting started on some holiday shopping. Speaking of the holidays, Thanksgiving is less than 2 weeks away (!!) and while that may seem like plenty of time, now is the time to start planning. Figuring out a game plan now will ensure that you’ll get to enjoy the day and not running out to Cumberland farms to buy last minute butter (speaking from experience). I’ll be sharing some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes next week, but if you don’t want to or just don’t have the time to plan and prepare a whole feast this year, you can have ME do it for you! I’ve put together a menu of delicious side dishes and desserts that we’ll be selling at Olsson’s. You pre-order what you need in advance, pick up your dishes on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and then just reheat and present as needed on the big day. Check out the menu below and email me at catering[at]olssonsfinefoods[dot]com to order!

Olsson’s Cheese BoardA sophisticated and elegant spread featuring our favorite cheeses, fresh fruit, nuts, and crusty baguettes.

$100/10 people or $225/25 people

One tray serves about 6 people

Olsson’s Mac & Cheese

Made with sharp 5 year Old Quebec Cheddar and nutty French Comte

$15 tray

Potatoes Au Gratin

With Stilton blue cheese and roasted garlic

$15 tray

Creamed Swiss Chard

With bacon

$15 tray

Savory Butternut Squash Pudding

$15 tray

Sausage and Herb Stuffing

With apples and cranberries

$15 tray

 Trio of CrostiniBrussels Sprouts & Bacon, Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese, Smoky Eggplant & Ricotta

$15 tray

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

$10 quart

Butternut & Apple Soup

Garnished with pumpkin seeds

$11 quart

Cheddar Corn Chowder

Garnished with crispy bacon

$11 quart

Apple Streusel Cheesecake

Serves 14

$50

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Serves 14

$50

Chocolate Velvet Cheesecake

Serves 14

$50

image via Spoon Fork Bacon