1. Gobble, Gobble!
Last weekend, an old high school friend hopped in his car and drove 2 hours to visit me. We previously baked the best apple pie (yes, wine is required!) and barbequed a pizza, and we tackled a whole turkey this time—something that’s been on my “Food Bucket List” for years. After applying a Cajun dry rub, we roasted the bird low and s-l-o-w, resulting in some of the moistest turkey meat I’ve ever tasted!
2. Dealing Up Some Fun
My guy and I skipped some of our favorite TV shows to schedule in more quality time together. He found a worn deck of playing cards in the garage, and we dealt out countless rounds of Big Two. Despite my complete lack of knowledge of the order of poker hands (flushes? straights? full houses?), I still managed to win a few games!
3. I “Knead” Father-Daughter Time!
Most people look forward to the stuffing, gravy, or mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving, but ever since I started walking and talking, Dad enlisted me as his sous chef for bread baking. As the first two in the kitchen, we warm up the milk and proof the yeast while everyone else watches the Macy’s Parade. When we gather at the table for the feast, I always sneak the biggest whole wheat roll; it reminds me of my favorite father-daughter tradition.
4. Cranberry Chocolate Breakfast Cake
As another Thanksgiving tradition, my entire family crowds into the kitchen to chop, zest, and stir ingredients for my great-grandma’s Cranberry Salad recipe. Because she scaled it up to feed an army of hungry family members, we end up with two bulging Tupperwares full of leftovers. Erika of The Pancake Princess developed a lifesaving recipe: Cranberry Chocolate Breakfast Cake! With clean nutritious ingredients and lots of cranberry sauce, her cake is healthy enough to eat for breakfast—without any guilt!
5. Pretty Polish
As an active crowd-avoider, I rarely venture outside the house on Black Friday. This year, I spent the afternoon lounging in the sunshine with my mom and a crossword, earning my leftovers with a kettlebell workout, and painting my nails for the first time in months. (The color in the bottle looked like a deep plum, but it became almost black when I layered on the second coat!)
6. Mango Vegetable Spring Rolls
For those of us craving fresh produce after too many slices of pecan pie and servings of mashed potatoes, Denisse of Le Petit Chef provides the perfect solution: Mango Vegetable Spring Rolls! Her raw, vegan, and gluten-free meal is completely customizable to whatever already sits in your fridge. As soon as I locate the wrappers at the store, I’ll start munching on these for lunch!
7. Sing Along!
As a rule, I always wait until after Thanksgiving to break out the Christmas stockings and sing Christmas carols. As I painted my nails on Black Friday, I chimed in—rather loudly—to “Joy To The World” and “Jingle Bell Rock” on the radio. Until my dog started whining on the sofa next to me… Oops!
8. Gingerbread Cookie Dough Bites
I usher in almost every holiday season with a batch of gingerbread treats. This year, I opted for my fail-proof Gingerbread Cookie Dough Bites. They’re healthy, low fat, and 100% safe to eat raw, so sneak as much dough from the bowl as you want!
9. Pop, Pop, Pop!
When I spotted this cake pop maker on sale at Kohl’s for only $10, I caved. After a week of waiting, the package arrived on my doorstep on Friday morning, and I already thought of 27 different recipes I want to try. ’Tis the season for baking, right?
10. Skinny Monkey Bread Bites
After my first batch of Skinny Monkey Bread Bites, I was hooked. The soft dough… The sweet cinnamon… The gooey caramel… Oh my goodness! They’re perfect for a Sunday Brunch or serving to out-of-town guests visiting for the holiday season. And with less than 100 calories, you’ll never feel guilty sneaking an extra one or two!