Thanksgiving Recap

Rabbit rabbit – Happy December! I hope everyone had a fabulous/relaxing/productive/whatever you wanted it to be Thanksgiving break. I love hearing/reading about everyone’s different family traditions. I know a lot of Baltimore folks do raw oysters before their Thanksgiving meal and some families have a yearly touch football game.  We have our special traditions to like having cheesecake for dessert instead of pumpkin pie, playing hours of bridge and having a giant turkey balloon. Here are the highlights of my Thanksgiving and some of my favorite traditions:

Food

Thanksgiving Plate

Like I mentioned, I was in South Carolina and enjoyed two Thanksgiving feasts with various aunts, uncles and cousins. As always, the food was delicious with my faves being the candied sweet potatoes and the brussels sprouts and root vegetables. The desserts were also exemplary with my aunt’s using family recipes to bake a cheesecake and pineapple upside down cake. As per yearly tradition, second Thanksgiving on Friday included the addition of a green bean casserole which I always look forward to!

Pulled Chicken Taco Salad

We also went out for a couple delicious meals in Columbia: salmon and cheesy grits (they just never taste as good up north) at Mr. Friendly’s and a taco salad with pulled chicken from Cantina 76. Cantina had a fairly limited menu compared to some tex mex places, but touted their extensive taco selection. Adam tried a Thanksgiving taco with fried turkey and cranberry salsa, a Peruvian shrimp taco and a fish taco. He loved them all!

 

Turkey

Turkey Balloon

No, not the food, the traditional giant Turkey balloon! We had quite a full car on the ride down with three humans and one dog so I brought a deflated Turkey with me and took him to Publix to get him his helium fix. We had a fun time making Turkey take silly pics and tracking his holiday on social media. #turkeygoessouth

 

Staying Active

Cheetah Yoga HandstandsYoga Crow Pose

With all the aforementioned food, we tried our best to do something active every day whether it was going for a jog or just a long walk. We also did a mini yoga class Thanksgiving morning since my cousin is certified as an instructor. She showed off with handstands and helped us practice our crow (yes, I know Adam’s is better than mine). We also took the traditional post meal walk and took family photos.

 

Playing Games

Bridge Card Game

We are big game players in my family and there’s nothing we love more at Thanksgiving than hanging out around the house with a cocktail and a card game. We played a lot of bridge, apples to apples and a game called Vices from the 80’s that was essentially a dirty version of trivial pursuit.

 

Catching up with Friends

Spoons Baltimore QuesadillaSpoons Baltimore Pulled Pork Benedict

We came home from South Carolina on Saturday, just in time for Adam’s 10 year high school reunion at Barcocina.  They had a nice private space and an open bar where I probably had one to many gin and gingers. We had a lot of fun spending time with Adam’s friends who were visiting from out of town. On Sunday, I met up with my friend Jessie (who you may remember from my trip to New York) for brunch at Spoons. Remarkably we were seated without any wait and enjoyed a tasty meal and some girl talk. Jessie had the pulled pork benedict and Spoons’ version of a Bloody Mary (made with sake) and I had a goat cheese, chorizo and spinach quesadilla (sans drink because of Saturday night’s open bar).

All of that fun plus some holiday shopping, laundry, cleaning and decorating the apartment made for the perfect Thanksgiving week! Now on to all of the holiday festivities that December brings to Baltimore!

What was the highlight of your Thanksgiving? What are your special traditions? 

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Friendsgiving Recipes

‘Tis the season for Thanksgiving potlucks! There is something special about gathering with your closest friends to enjoy a plate full of homemade dishes.  I have a couple different Friendsgiving and work potlucks coming up in the next couple of weeks and I am in full on research mode, gathering up recipes and choosing which dishes to bring. I figured many of you might be in the same boat so I wanted to share some of my trusty potluck standbys and some new recipes I am considering!

Thanksgiving Potluck Friendsgiving Recipe Plate

Appetizers:

Brie and Jam Bites – these little sweet and savory morsels are so easy and delicious, they are my go to appetizer for any event or potluck. These require minimum prep thanks to using the pre-made phyllo shells and I usually use this version from She Wears Many Hats with brie and apricot jam, but you can switch it up by using goat cheese and fig jam or cream cheese and pepper jelly.

Turkey Meatballs – If your friends are anything like my friends, your Friendsgiving may be missing the main event, the turkey. Cleaning, stuffing, basting, hours in the oven – ain’t nobody got time for that. These meatballs are just the trick to get a taste of turkey without spending hours in the kitchen – just swap out the marinara sauce for gravy!

No time to cook? Pick up one of these apps: Meatballs or Arancini from DiPasquale’s, Hummus and Pita from Samos Greek Island Grill

Sides:

Sweet Potatoes – my family’s Thanksgiving dinner includes not one, but two sweet potato dishes. My Aunt Diane makes a sweet potato souffle with marshmallows on top that is fairly similar to this Traditional Southern Sweet Potato Casserole. When I make the recipe I typically cut the amount of sugar and spices in half because sweet potatoes have such an amazing flavor on their own, but of course the traditional southern version must have ALL the sugar and butter 🙂 Diane also makes a candied sweet potato dish that looks similar to this candied yams recipe.

Macaroni and Cheese – Oh Pioneer Woman you do no wrong – especially with this ooey gooey mac and cheese. And for good measure here’s another recipe I’ve been scoping out with panko bread crumbs on top from the Mac and Cheese Chick.

Squash Casserole – my Mimi’s secret recipe is the best, but this Paula Deen version won’t steer you wrong either.

Brussels Sprouts – If you’re looking for a little veggies in your Friendsgiving feast look no further than this super easy recipe from Ina Garten. The most time consuming part is chopping the sprouts, but worth it for the finished product.

No time to cook? Pick up one of these sides: Mac and Cheese from Mission BBQ, Whipped Sweet Potatoes from Dinosaur BBQ (new to Harbor East), Brussels Sprouts from Whole Foods

Desserts:

Pumpkin Cookies – these crazy easy pumpkin spice cookies from PB Fingers (with cream cheese frosting!!) are delicious – just make sure you cook them for long enough. One year I took them out a little early thinking they would continue cooking on the pan and ended up bringing lumpy, under cooked pumpkin cookies to Friendsgiving. #fail

Chocolate and Strawberry Trifle – This isn’t particularly Thanksgiving-y but it is one of my absolute favorite desserts to make for a group. It tastes even better if you make it the night before and allow all the flavors to ooze together.

No time to cook? Pick up one of these desserts: Pumpkin Pie form Dangerously Delicious Pies, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Patisserie Poupon

Strawberry Chocolate Trifle Potluck Dessert

Are you going to a Friendsgiving potluck? What are you bringing?