Oh Thanksgiving… not one of my favorite holidays. Don’t get me wrong, I love any day where I get to sit around and eat all day and no one judges. But, traditional Thanksgiving food just doesn’t do it for me. I pretty much treat it as my boyfriends holiday because he loooooves it. He appreciates a giant turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes. But the appetizers are all mine =) So here’s how it went for me this year.
A friend of mine gave me a pie pumpkin to make my own homemade pumpkin pie. I was totally excited to give this a shot. I received two sets of instructions on how I should prepare the pumpkin. One set was to boil the pumpkin and the other was to microwave the pumpkin. I decided to microwave because I thought it was less labor intensive. Well, it didn’t work out so well for me. I now know that I didn’t cook it long enough because it was too stringy so what I wound up doing was pureeing it in the blender to get a smoother texture.
I was so proud of myself. It wasn’t perfect but it wasn’t as stringy anymore. So I turned on my oven to get it preheated. Then I pulled out my premade frozen crust and I poured the pumpkin mixture into the shell. Slowly carried it over to my oven once it was heated and set my timer. Phew! I did it. I made my first pumpkin pie. I had only one little hiccup and I fixed it. I was honestly feeling like some sort of master baker. I’m not. Think about it, is there anything I forgot to do? YUP! About 10 minutes into the baking time I realized that I had gotten so full of myself for preparing the pumpkin from scratch that I forgot to add the rest of the ingredients.
So I tried to spoon it out but that was taking entirely too long. That’s when I came up with the brilliant idea to slowly & carefully pour it out. Well the thing is, not only was this idea NOT brilliant, I also didn’t pour it our slowly nor carefully. You can guess what happened.
Yup! I found myself with an uncooked pumpkin disaster. I don’t really know how it happened. One second I was just barely tipping the pie and then the next it was this big pile of gobbily-goop. Ugh… I promised the guys I’d make them a pumpkin pie so….. Off to the store I went for some canned pumpkin. NOTE TO SELF: Boil the pumpkin next time and for goodness sakes READ THE DAMN RECIPE so you don’t forget pivotal ingredients.
Shrimp cocktail is a MUST for an appetizer at my holiday meals. But I did change it up a couple years ago. I made the wonderful discovery of how easy it is to make shrimp cocktail. I almost always have the ingredients in the kitchen anyways. PLUS, I know this phrase gets overused but in this case it’s totally true, homemade tastes soooooo much better than the jar stuff. And because I make it homemade I can tailor it to our taste which means I use a bit more horseradish and a few drops of sriracha. It’s Mmmm… mmmmm… good.
So I made my first cheeseball a few weeks prior and I really, really liked it. So much so that I thought it would be a nice app for Thanksgiving. I made this one slightly different though. This one was ranch, cheddar and chives. I saw on Pinterest how one woman covered her cheeseball in cheddar cheese and then formed it into a pumpkin. I tried it her way and my pumpkin was looking more like a lopsided, fat Gumby. That’s when I had the crazy idea of using rubber bands. Except, I only had 2 rubber bands. That’s when my genius mind thought of connecting twist ties. Yeah. It looks crazy but it worked. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.
My mister has a huge sweet tooth so of course I made him cake but I did them is my cake boss 3 tier baking pan. This is only the second time I’ve gotten the cakes to come out without falling apart. This was just a marble cake box mix from Duncan Hines. He likes it and that’s all that matters. Anywho, I always wind up with these muffin top parts that I throw away. I started to make some cake pops with them but then I remembered I have no sticks left. So then I decided I could take them into the office until I remembered, most of us are dieting. Plus I’m sure they had their own sweets from the holiday. Oh well… in the trash they went.
I used regular old way-too-sweet Duncan Hines icing on the cakes. I died it orange with a little bit of food coloring for some Thanksgiving pizzazz. And while they didn’t turn out exactly how I wanted them to they still turned out very nice IMO.
See! I added some green sprinkles. They were all I had outside of little flowery candies that didn’t really say “Thanksgiving” to me. My misted loved them. He even text me to say “The orange cakes were delicious.” I told him it was from the box but he still wanted to give me some kind of credit for it. Awwww… I love it when he compliments my cooking.
Another holiday favorite of mine is deviled eggs. I normally try to do something fancy with them. Last time I made them I used avocado instead of mayo. Yummy. I’ve made BLT deviled eggs. Those too were super yummy. I’ve made many different versions but this time around I went with the classic deviled egg. Bad news is I forgot to put them out. So when I went to pack the doggie bags for the guys they each got 2 eggs and then I kept the rest. They last one day. When I say I love deviled eggs, I mean it.
And my final app, bacon wrapped water chestnuts, were a last minute addition. You see, my local Acme Fresh Market sent out coupons for a free dozen eggs and pack of bacon. Yahoo!!! But wait! Then, a printable coupon came out that made Reese water chestnuts free! Hot damn! And then the idea for bacon wrapped water chestnuts took hold. My girlfriend used to make these for out potlucks all of the time. She would soak them in soy sauce this. This recipe was quite different. It involved brown sugar, honey and some other stuff. They were really nice but the recipe said to “dip” the bacon wrapped water chestnuts into the brown sugar sauce. That worked but the flavor of the sauce was super mild. On some of them you couldn’t even taste it. Next time, and there will be a next time, I will pour the sauce on them. Just to get a bit more of that sweet sauce.
Excuse the crappy photo. It looked really clear to me the day I took the pic. Clearly I must’ve been suffering from “can’t see sh!t” that day because this photo is crazy blurry. But! I’ll tell you what, that pie was very good. Tim and the guys raved about how good it was. No kidding, I ran into a mutual friend who had seen my honey. He said “I heard your pumpkin pie was to die for.” Color me tickled. I got the recipe from my girlfriend who gave me the pumpkin. You can check it out HERE. Now this recipe is lighter than your normal dense pumpkin pie. I’m told that the Sweetened condensed milk is what gives it that lighter texture. Try it! It’s super yummy!
Ta-da!!! Nice looking spread, right? Like how I took the stem from my pie pumpkin and cut it short to use on my cheeseball pumpkin? I think it really looks nice and festive.
Overall, EVERYTHING was delicious. My mister and friends really enjoyed and was thankful for the meal he and I created. And truthfully, that’s the best part of Thanksgiving day. Well, no. It’s second best. The best is the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade. It’s been the tradition of my mother and I to watch it every year and even when I moved out I kept the tradition going. As does she. Difference is, I’m watching it in Ohio and she’s watching it in New Mexico.