Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Our First Thanksgiving Just Us.....

I hope everyone had a marvelous Thanksgiving this year! It was a bittersweet and extremely fun and exciting one rolled up into one for us. Growing up close to both our families in Indiana we always had multiple homes and dinners to attend on Thanksgiving, not to mention so many family members to see and laugh with! Well this year, we decided not to go back home, and have our first Thanksgiving in our new home with just us. Though we missed everyone back home, we ended up having a blast! I had a Thanksgiving playlist ready to go so we spent the day listening to that, watching the parade (on TV....we didn't even attempt to go), and just laughing and having fun! So today I'm letting you in on how our Thanksgiving went with a few recipes included! 

Our Menu
The Perfect Fall Cheese Ball
Roasted Turkey
Green Bean Casserole
Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
Apple-Bourbon Potpies

Since I knew we would be pretty busy cooking all day on Thanksgiving, I decided to make this super cute cheese ball, found here, for us to snack on (mimosas included) throughout the day. The cheese ball was so amazing! We even had to take it away from ourselves multiple times so we wouldn't spoil or dinner! We served it with crackers, Doritos, and green peppers (the peppers were a healthier option for me, but I did try them all and they were all good options). We already had the chips and peppers so I figured why not use them too. I would make this cheese ball anytime of the year! Just don't include the "stem" and you're golden!

The Perfect Fall Cheese Ball


16 ounces cream cheese, room temp
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
3 Tablespoons onion, minced
3 Tablespoons salsa
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups nacho cheese chips, crumbled
top of 1 green bell pepper for stem garnish

Optional for dipping
nacho cheese chips
vegetables: green, red, or yellow pepper, carrots, etc.

With a mixer combine everything except the chips and pepper. Mix until mixed well and creamy.
Place a big piece of plastic wrap in a bowl and scoop the mixture onto plastic wrap. Wrap the edges up and over, slightly pressing down so the cheese ball takes the shape of the bowl and the top is a little flat (easier to sit flat on a surface). Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

When ready to serve, roll ball into the crumbles chips and place bell pepper stem on top (you might want to make a slight indentation so it's "in there"). Serve with desired dipping ingredients!

I had to get some action shots of the hubby helping with dinner! :) We actually weren't expecting our dinner to turn out that great since it was our first one. Kev looked at me and said "Honey, this will help us prepare for our future Thanksgiving and when it's not just us." Ummmm........swoon! He's so sweet! Ok enough sap, back to the goods. Well, our dinner did turn out extremely well. We did a roasted turkey that we placed overnight in this Crate & Barrel brine. The next day, we rubbed it with a mixture of butter, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper. It was so juicy and had a fantastic flavor! I did individual ramekins with green bean casserole, homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, and a bread stuffing to accompany the scrumptious turkey! We served it with a bottle of Riesling that we purchased from our trip to Cape May for our anniversary. Needless to say, we were stuffed, but that didn't stop us from having our dessert a little while later! After all, it did come from my idol......Martha herself! I made her Apple-Bourbon potpies and served it with an apple wine that we also purchased from the Cape May winery! It was perfect because I didn't think a whole pie would be ideal for two people (I may not always eat the best, but I don't pig out). I cut the recipe into a third and added a pinch of cinnamon to my apple mixture and it was warm and delicious! I served it with the perfect accompaniment, vanilla bean ice cream!      

Apple-Bourbon Potpies 
(serves 6...I cut it into thirds)


4 pounds apples, preferably a combination of Granny Smith and Rome, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup bourbon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 pound thawed frozen all-butter puff pastry
1 large egg, beaten
Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional) 
*I added a pinch of cinnamon to the apple mixture

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together apples, sugar, cinnamon, lemon juice, salt, and allspice. 

In a large straight-sided skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter over high heat. Add half of fruit mixture and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook until fruit is softened, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining 3 tablespoons butter and remaining fruit mixture, then return first batch of fruit mixture to pan. Stir in bourbon, then add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Divide fruit mixture among six 8-ounce round baking dishes (each 5 inches). Place on a rimmed baking sheet; let cool completely.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out puff pastry to a 12-by-8-inch rectangle, about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out six 4-inch squares; place one over filling in each dish. Cut X-shaped vents in tops. Brush pastry with beaten egg. Bake until fillings are bubbling and crusts are golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes, then serve with ice cream.

After all was said and done, we were stuffed (even the dogs got a little treat and were out), happy, and thankful for such a wonderful day to celebrate together! We did get a little family time in with text, phone calls, and playing online games (man that technology has sure come a long with each other! It was the perfect way to spend our first Thanksgiving! So from our family to yours, we hope you had a great day and remembered all you were thankful for! 

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