Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Caramelized Onion, Swiss & Gruyere Mashed Potatoes

Yes, really. All those ingredients.


You’re welcome.

Actually, we first have Emily from the Daily Garnish to thank for this one — she came up with the idea, and then I adapted it, making it totally not vegan. I made it her way last Thanksgiving, changed it a little bit at Christmas, and then made it my own this year.

I used A LOT of potatoes and onions for this recipe. After all, I was cooking for 25 people.

Don’t believe me? Check it out.

That’s nine pounds of potatoes and eight onions. Yup.

That’s two big pots full of potatoes…

And a huge bowl full of diced onions.

… which resulted in two — yes, two — 9 x 13 pans-full of mashed potatoes.

Don’t worry. I’m scaling the recipe down for you here.

Caramelized Onion, Swiss & Gruyere Mashed Potatoes

makes about 10 servings


  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3-4 sweet onions
  • ~4-6 pounds (about 7-9 medium) potatoes
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded swiss & gruyere
  • salt & pepper to taste


Dice onions.

Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over low heat. Pour olive oil in and add onions and a pinch of salt. Cover. Cook for about 40 minutes, stirring often! You want to let your onions get a lovely even light brown color without actually burning or browning them. The key is to keep the heat low.

While your onions are caramelizing, quarter the potatoes. Put them in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil and then cook the potatoes at a simmer for about twenty minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

Drain potatoes and put into a bowl. Add cream, butter, salt and pepper.


Blend with an electric mixer.

Set electric mixer aside and add caramelized onions (once they’re done). Use a spoon to mix the onions in. Add cheese and mix completely.


I promise you — you will love this dish.

You can quote me on that.



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Happy Thanksgiving! Praline Spice Cookies (Vegan)

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Today, I am thankful for so much. My life is rich and full. I have an amazing family, a huge circle of incredible friends all around the world, a base of readers that I see coming back day after day (I really love you guys), a job I love, and so much more. I am a lucky girl.

I know I was supposed to share these with you yesterday (sorry about that), but it’s better late than never, right?

Plus, these are some of the best cookies I’ve ever made. Seriously.

And now you can be thankful for that. ūüôā

(And maybe just ignore how awful the pictures are since they were taken in my garage at night. I did my very best without a lightbox!)

Oh, and this is actually an adaptation of my own recipe — for my Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Praline Spice Cookies

makes 2 dozen cookies


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tbs cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coconut oil (liquified, at room temp or higher) (use unrefined — trust me on this)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup vegan chocolate chips (Ghiradelli makes really good ones!)
  • 1 cup pecan pralines (I get the amazing ones from Trader Joe’s)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together. Set aside.

In a separate bowl blend white sugar, brown sugar, liquified coconut oil and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and blend again.

Set mixer aside, add chocolate chips and pecan pralines, and use a wooden spoon to mix the chips and nuts into the dough.

Spoon tablespoon-sized balls of dough into your baking trays and leave them rounded. You can even round them with you hands,if you want, as they will keep their shape.

Bake for 12-14 minutes.

And then you’ll get these babies.


These are also the closest to cookie dough balls that I’ve ever made by accident. They are hard on the outside while being crumbly, doughy and chewy all at once on the inside.

Plus, the pecan pralines add an incredible sweet/ salty aspect to them!

So, back to Thanksgiving — aside from this awesome recipe (I kid, I kid)…

… What are YOU thankful for today?


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Thanksgiving Recipe: Maple Acorn Squash

So, for Friendsgiving, AKA Thanksgiving #1 of 2011, I made two things. One of them was a batch of Praline Spice Cookies, which I will post tomorrow.

The other was Maple Acorn Squash, which is a recipe that comes from my mom and my childhood.

As I’m sure you know, anything that tastes like your childhood tastes like comfort and memories — unless your mom was a bad cook, in which case, I’m sorry… but I can’t relate. My mom is an amazing cook.

I like to think I get that from her.

Anyway, this recipe, in theory, is incredible easy. In fact, it has very few ingredients and very few steps. The only thing I will say as a point against it is that some of the steps are fairly labor-intensive.

Those labor intensive steps are the ones in which you A) wear your arm out while trying to saw the damn squash in half and B) wear your arm out while scooping the hot squash out.

I want you to know how terribly difficult it was to not make a TWSS joke there. I’m still trying.


Let’s get to the recipe, shall we?

Maple Acorn Squash

makes enough for side dish servings for 10-15 people


  • 4 acorn squash
  • nonstick spray such as Olive Oil spray or Coconut Oil Spray
  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup – 3/4 cup Pecan Pralines


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut each of the squash in half, Or, if you’re like me, have your roommate (or boyfriend, or man-friend, or, you know, brother) do it.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Scoop the seeds out of each acorn squash half.

Place acorn squash halves flesh side-down on baking sheets. Spray halves (skin-side) with nonstick spray.

Bake squash halves for one hour.

Take squash out of oven and scoop flesh out into a large bowl.

Add maple syrup and butter, then add salt to taste (start with a sprinkle and add until you feel satisfied).

Using an electric mixer, mix until thoroughly combined.

Sprinkle pecan pralines on top, arrange in a circle, mix in, or cover the top. (I kind of did all of the above. No big deal.)

That’s it! Enjoy. This is actually a really lovely and inexpensive dish to make for Thanksgiving!


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Early Friendsgiving

I have somany recipes coming at you in the next few days, but I first want to share that I’ve already had a Friendsgiving! That’s a Thanksgiving with friends, just in case that was in any way not clear.

This was a potluck, meaning that everyone brought something. I brought Maple Acorn Squash — AKA the recipe you get to look forward to tomorrow — and Praline Spice Cookies — AKA the recipe you get to look forward to on Wednesday. ūüôā

Anyway, Friendsgiving. I’ll break it down for you.

The Guests

(That’s me with Laura, one of the lovely hosts!)

(The girl with the awesome turkey hat is Amy, the other lovely host!)

Oh and my favorite guest (sorry, friends), Andy!:

You’ll see many of those faces repeated at the Thanksgiving Mark and I are hosting on Thursday!

The Food

Homemade Pumpkin Hummus with carrots:


Pumpkin bread with homemade butter (OMG good), cheese & crackers:

Yummy pastry puffs (one of these became my main dish):

Bacon Corn Muffins (I couldn’t have these):

Maple Acorn Squash:

(That’s mine! I swear it looked nicer than in that light.)

Turkey, of course (which I also, obviously, couldn’t have):

Cauliflower Gratin (soooo good):

Sweet Potato Casserole:

Sourdough & Wild Rice Stuffing and Spicy Mac & Cheese:

Garlic Mashed Potatoes:

Garlic Button Mushrooms (one of the top two dishes of the night, to me — I cannot WAIT to recreate these!):

Harvest Rice (which I somehow missed!):

Balsamic Glazed Onions (the other highlight of the night — again, I cannot wait to recreate this dish!):

Those were so good that I couldn’t not post the picture, even thought it (the picture, not the dish!) was so terrible.

Pumpkin Biscuits with Cinnamon-Honey Butter (AKA crack butter!):

Beer Apple Pie:

Bourbon Cheesecake (SO GOOD!):

Pecan Pie & Ice Cream (both Pumpkin & Vanilla):

And Praline Spice Cookies (my other contribution):

There was so much food that I only took a little taste of (nearly) everything. My dinner plate:

And I somehow lost the picture of my dessert plate, but I only (barely) had room in my stomach for a tiny sliver of cheesecake and a tiny scoop of pumpkin ice cream.

I’m still full.

Anyone else already have an early Thanksgiving dinner this year?


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HAPPY November!

I’m not going to lie to you.

October was not my favorite month.

First, I was sick.

Being sick meant I had to postpone my surgery.

I’m pretty sure I got sick in the first place because I was so anxious about the surgery, so I guess I had it coming.

Then, I actually got surgery.

It went pretty well, but I think we can all agree that I found it, at times, both painful …

…and frustrating.

Granted, I kept powering through (and still am!), but recovering from an injury is nothing I’d consider in any way easy.

And don’t think it escaped me that I’m just about a¬†year out from when all of this business started¬†(I’m pretty sure I can now pinpoint that day — in November, though —¬†as the day I tore my meniscus).

And then, when you take into account that I took a few emotional hits on the personal end of things (no need to get into that business on here), I think you can understand that I just kind of feel that October… well, October just kind of sucked the big one.

Sorry, Grandma. Language, language.  


That’s why the title of this post is called HAPPY November! Because I need November to be happy — and I will make SURE that is is!

It shouldn’t be hard. I love November.

It’s the month before December, which is my favorite month of the year.¬† That makes November my second-favorite month of the year.

It’s the month of the beginning of Christmas season, which means Christmas music (happiness!).

And, being the month before December, November is OBVIOUSLY the month of Christmas decorating (double happiness!).

…Probably in like a week, if I’m being honest.

It’s also the month of Thanksgiving!


Thanksgiving is going to be SUPER fun this year because Mark and I are hosting something called an Orphan Thanksgiving (similar to the one we attended elsewhere last year).

Finally, and perhaps most importantly for me, it’s going to be a big month of healing. I’m supposed to fully healed by mid-December, which means I’m planning on making some great strides this month.

And THAT means it’s going to be¬†a HAPPY November.

What are you most looking forward to this month?

Leave a comment

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Sweet Potato Muffins

So, I already shared one of my mom’s famous Thanksgiving recipes with you.

Now I’m going to share another, because I can’t get enough of my family’s cooking. This recipe has been passed at least between my mom and my grandma, and I’m assuming others in my family have used it as well. My sister, currently in New Zealand, even just made them for her own Thanksgiving across the world.

The way my family makes these muffins has always been delicious, but they have also always been very buttery. In fact, my mom told me that she has long suspected that the recipe has twice as much butter as is necessary.

So, naturally, I then cut the amount of butter in half. Everything else remains untouched from the recipe my mom sent me. They were still delicious, post butter-cutting. In fact, I’d argue that they’re better… because… well, this way you can eat them without getting a stomach ache. ūüėČ

Also, we didn’t have any canned sweet potatoes and were running out of time, so this year they were made with pumpkin at the KWH house. For the record, that works as well. However, I think they’re better with sweet potato.

Sweet Potato Muffins

makes about 2-3 dozen mini-muffins


  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups canned mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk (we used 2%)
  • 1/4 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins


Grease (a) mini-muffin pan(s).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and mix well.

Add sweet potatoes (or, in our case, pumpkin) and blend well.

Sift in flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add alternatively with milk. Do not overmix.

Fold in raisins and nuts.

Fill muffin tin(s) 2/3 full and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Good news: they freeze well, too.

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Mom’s Famous Cranberry Sauce

Every Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember, my mom has made the same amazing cranberry sauce. It’s one of the dishes that I find myself most looking forward to as Thanksgiving nears.

Thanksgiving, as one grows older and starts to spend the holiday away from family, can be touchy. So often, most of us crave and prefer that which we grew up with. Cranberry sauce, I think, is a particularly sensitive area – meaning, if you grew up with canned cranberry sauce, you probably find yourself craving canned cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving.

But that’s silly. Really. Because this is so much better than canned cranberry sauce.

Just take my word for it…. and try it. After all, I made it by request from friends who had it last year.

Mom’s Famous Cranberry Sauce

makes 12-15 servings


  • 1 bag fresh cranberries
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (or more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves(or more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pecans
  • 1 can mandarin oranges


Rinse and drain your cranberries.

Peel and chop your apple.

Combine all ingredients except nuts and oranges.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put two slits in the wrap. Microwave for 12-14 minutes, or until cranberries are soft and popped.

While the mixture is still hot, stir in walnuts and oranges.

Chill overnight and serve.

In related news, while I highly suggest eating cranberries in said cranberry sauce form, I do not suggest eating raw cranberries.

Check out what happens when you (okay, I) try.

It’s like a photobooth for the deranged.


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