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Saturday, November 30, 2019

Turkey Salad Sandwiches

I have a new favorite way to use up turkey left-overs and it's so simple to make.  We normally do this with chicken, but white turkey meat is a lovely alternative.

  • 2 cups of pulled turkey (white meat)
  • 1/3 cup mayo
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, smashed
Mix all together and serve on buns, so easy and delicious!  It's a little plain, but most of my family likes plain, I personally like to sprinkle some curry powder and add sliced purple grapes to mine.  These are also excellent on croissants if you are feeling extra fancy! 

Thanksgiving 2019 Menu and Game Plan

Recap so that next year we have notes to reference! 

Turkey - This year we opted for a fresh turkey, not because of preference, but because Aldi had run out of Butterballs by the Monday before Thanksgiving!  I'd say it was a success in that we didn't have to stress about the turkey being thawed in time, the taste was very good, and the leftovers were very tender. 

Gravy - we are terrible at making gravy, there is so much to do right before we eat and the few times we've tried the process was too long, delayed dinner, etc. so I've started buying packets.  Note to self for next year - buy them several weeks in advance as they are not in stock the week of Thanksgiving and we used Chicken gravy this year.

Cornbread Stuffing - I dream of this days before Thanksgiving, it's truly a favorite but for the love all all that is great and wonderful in this world, stop making a double batch!  It doesn't get eaten, doesn't taste as good as leftovers so just stop doubling it!!!

Mashed Potatoes - I added one potato per adult and it was enough for one day of leftovers. 

Green bean casserole - we followed the recipe on the back of the crispy onions, it was wonderful.

Butternut Squash Casserole - I made a double recipe and due to it's popularity with my kids, this definitely gets eaten by the weekend.

Corn and Jalapeno Dip - this was a hit throughout the afternoon.

Pies - made Pumpkin and Strawberry Cream, neither got completely eaten but both were delicious and gone by the weekend. 

Cookies - we had Mint Chocolate Cookies from a few days prior, they seemed quite popular.

We forgot to serve the Cranberry Sauce!

Might consider shells and cheese for the kids next year.

I made a lasagna several days in advance and popped that in the oven right around 5pm, it was delightful.  I've always wanted to have a lasagna in the evening and this year I finally pulled it off.  My cousin called me an over-achiever.  Ha, you have no idea!

I used cardboard to lay over casserole dishes, right on top of the foil, this helped me to stack items that had no lids all the way to the top of the next shelf.

It is also critical to clean out the fridge first, it's quite a massive amount of food that needs to fit in there right before Thanksgiving day! 

Practical suggestions for next year:

  • Paper plates for dessert
  • Need more glasses for adults (labeled with names would be helpful)
  • Try pizza rolls for kids in the evening, sadly they do not like lasagna
  • Buy a 6' table to extend our dining room table - we keep using the 8' table from game room and I'd rather leave that alone for games and not have to shuffle tables.
Pre-cooking plan:
  • I made the butternut squash 3 weeks in advance and froze it
  • I made the cornbread about 2 weeks in advance, the meat was cooked several days prior along with the veggie mix separately and each saved in separate containers to be combined the morning of Thanksgiving so nothing would get soggy
  • Pies and Cookies were made 2-3 days in advance
  • Lasagna was made a week in advance and froze

It's our biggest guest day of the year so we like to go all-out!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Purple Sweet Potato Cheesecake Recipe

I searched the internet for recipes but found options that required coconut milk, which I'm not fond of so I decided to make up my own recipe.  I don't normally post the first attempt, so this is more of a work in progress with notes so that the next time I make one, I can start here and improve upon the recipe.

The first step is to steam the purple sweet potatoes for 1.5 hours at 350 in a glass container with lid, this helps steam the skin off easily and brings the potato to a nice soft but dense texture that's easy to work with.


  • 11 oz. purple sweet potato, skin removed and steamed
  • 3 - 8 oz blocks cream cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 - 1 cup crushed graham crackers
Let me start by saying the crust was a disaster, it took more than 10 minutes to bake solid enough, it had way too much butter and in summary needs to be completely re-worked.

The cheesecake was very good, my brother said best I've ever made, that's a wow compliment, but to my taste it was a little bland.  With this much purple sweet potato you have to really love the taste and while I do love it, the total flavor was not quite as dessert like as I'd prefer, might need more sugar or maybe it needs another complementary flavor?  Or maybe it just needs a better crust!  I've watched other recipes for a no-bake version but I just don't think that's cheesecake - to me.  I want a proper baked cheesecake that is solid gorgeous purple.  I think next time I'll try it with a chocolate crust, and white chocolate topping.  Sorry no photos until I get this right and as I said earlier, these notes are for my benefit and I'll totally update the recipe once I'm happy with it.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Strawberry Coffee Cake

This is a family favorite that I created in high school.  Mom always had frozen strawberries in the freezer for winter fruit pies so occasionally I'd snag a bag and make this recipe.  

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup strawberries, cut in quarters, thawed if frozen, also works great with fresh 
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix flour through butter with a mixer or fork until it is crumbly.  Mix milk, vanilla and egg in a separate bowl and then add to the mixer for 1-2 minutes until well blended.  Add strawberries and mix with a spoon, very gently so they do not break down.  I've tried using the mixer and it turns the entire dough pink and you don't get chunks of strawberry which I think are important to the taste.

Prepare coffee cake pan with shortening and add the mixture.

Put all topping ingredients into a food processor and pulse until crumbly, or use a fork to crumble, then spread evenly over the top of the coffee cake.

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.