Thanksgiving ReMix - Open Faced Turkey Sandwich Bites

A Turkey Sandwich.

A post-Thanksgiving staple. We decided to switch it up from the typical cold turkey sandwich and use some of the ciabatta bread we had from Thanksgiving dinner. We spread it with some creamy peppercorn mayonaise and topped with turkey.

We toasted that in the microwave and then topped it with gravy and cranberry sauce.

Thanksgiving ReMix - Pumpkin Spice French Toast with Cranberry Sauce

How was your Thanksgiving? I hope it was wonderful and delicious.

How is your leftover situation? Of course, we have plenty. We had a neighbor over for dinner, but the three of us barely put a dent in our 15 pound turkey. We also had extra of the our side dishes - green beans, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and my favorite, cranberry sauce. Really, after the three of us went back for seconds it still looked as though we hadn't sat down to eat.

This week (and maybe next) I'll be posting some of the ways we used up some of our leftovers. The first leftover meal we had was breakfast. We made these french toast with the leftover french bread that we had made for the stuffing, so it was sufficiently stale - not so great for leftover turkey sandwiches, but perfect for next-day french toast. It tastes sort of like a spicy jelly donut. Yum. 

Pumpkin Spice French Toast with Cranberry Sauce

3 eggs, well beaten
1 tbsp milk
1 tbsp water
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg)
1/2 loaf leftover bread
2 tbsp butter
4 tbsp leftover cranberry sauce (recipe below)

To make the custard mixture, mix the eggs, milk and water together in a wide, shallow bowl. Add about 1/4 tsp of the pumpkin pie spice. I usually find that it floats on the top of the custard, so I add it in batches after each group of bread is soaked so that each piece gets a bit.

Soak each side of the bread in the sauce for a few minutes so that it has time to absorb the custard. If using fresh bread, it will absorb quickly, so leave in the mixture for a few seconds.

Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Remove the bread from the custard mixture and hold above the bowl with a slotted spatula or fork for a few seconds to allow the non-absorbed custard to drain off. Add a pat of butter to the pan and spread around the pan. Place the bread in the pan and allow to get brown and crispy. Flip to the other side when the first side has good color.

Place the cooked toasts in a 350 F oven for 15 minutes. This allows the outside to get crispy while the inside stays nice and custardy. Serve with maple syrup, a dollop of cranberry sauce and powdered sugar.

Cranberry Sauce

3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup water
1 orange, zested
1/2 orange, juiced
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of ground allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp grated gingeroot

Mix the cranberries, sugar and water in a saucepot over medium heat. Stir to mix the sugar and water and wait for the cranberries to pop. Continue to heat, stirring occasionally, until all the berries pop. Add the orange zest, orange juice and spices. Continue to simmer until the mixture forms a syrup like consistency. Remove from the heat and chill.


This year, I have so much to be thankful for.

My friends and family. They helped so much in making our wedding happen and for making it so beautiful. I'm thankful I am able to take off some time at Christmas to visit them. I'm thankful that good things are happening to them, also. New marriages, new healthy, happy babies (Congrats Mike and Laura!), new jobs (yay Kristi!).
I'm also thankful for my job. Whlie it can be stressful and tiring and frustrating at times, I'm thankful that I am employed in a job in my field when so many people are unemployed.

And, of course, I'm thankful for my husband and the life we are building together. While I have been super busy at work, he's been cooking me dinner and keeping our place in a reasonable state of clean. He stays in bed an extra five minutes to cuddle when I ask him to (let's be real, it's everyday). I'm thankful that when he makes a cup of coffee, he thinks of me and brews two. I'm thankful for the apartment that we're making into a home. It's not the most amazing, beautiful place (heck, all the walls are beige), but it's comforting and warm and is relaxing to come home to. So, for him and our new, happy marriage, I'm thankful.

And, last but not least, I'm thankful for the maid that we hired to clean up this mess:

Thanksgiving aftermath
Just kidding about the maid.

Thanksgiving Meal Preparations - Vegetable Stock

We use Alton Brown's Roast Turkey recipe for our Thanksgiving day bird. We've had success with it and it's delicious, which is why it makes it's way to our meal again this year.

The brine calls for 1 gallon of vegetable stock. Buying several containers of the boxed stock last year (at over $4.00 a piece), I thought about making our stock this year. I figured I may save a little money and have really good stock. Win-Win.

Anyway, I used Emeril's recipe as a base, but didn't really measure out ingredient quantities in cups like directed. I find it annoyingly complicated to measure out produce by the cupful - especially for something as uncomplicated and foolproof as a stock. Here's what I used:

3 stalks of celery, large dice
2 small yellow squash, large dice
1 small zucchini, large dice
3 carrots, large dice
1 parsnip, large dice
1 large turnip root, large dice
1 1/2 yellow onions, large dice
3 leeks (white and green parts only), cleaned and large dice
1 bulb garlic, each clove smashed and skin removed
8 oz. mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
8 Campari tomatoes, quartered

2 tbsp fresh thyme
8 parsley stems
2 large basil stems
2 bay leaves

Place all the ingredients in a large roasting pan (we used the one we roast the bird in) and drizzle with olive oil, about 2-3 tablespoons. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and a few pinches of pepper and toss to coat. Place in a 400 F oven for 45 minutes. Every 15 minutes, stir the ingredients so they cook evenly.

Place the roasted vegetables in a large stock pot and cover with 1 gallon of water. Add the herbs and bring to a boil*. Once you've brought it to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and continue simmering for 20 minutes. Remove any scum that comes to the top with a fine mesh strainer. Add two cups of white wine (I used Chateau St. Michelle Chardonnay) and simmer for an additional 30 minutes.

Just like the chicken stock, strain the mixture and place into an ice bath. Store in individual containers in the refrigerator or freezer.

Just an FYI, this really wasn't that cost effective. It may have save a bit of money, costing us about $16.00 to make from scratch. Considering that 4 boxes of  conventional boxed stock would have run me about $18, it was a slight savings. The two items that accounted for about half the cost were the wine ($4.00) and the leeks ($4.00!). I think both add enough flavor to warrant the cost, but if for whatever reason you want to omit them, it would still be wonderful. Just remember that if you don't add the wine, to add a bit more water to the stock as it's cooking to compensate for the evaporation if you want to get exactly a gallon. One easy method of doing this is to make a note of the water line when you begin so you know what to fill it back up to to equal the gallon you started with.

*I submerge the herbs and veggies with a vegetable steamer basket. This makes it easier to remove the foam/scum from the top and keep an eye on the water level.

Thanksgiving Meal Plan & Organization

This weekend, I planned our Thanksgiving menu. To make it easier on myself, keep organized and not have any surprise missing ingredients on the big day, I've compiled my recipe list, listing the ingredients for each recipe individually. I then compiled a master list (shown below), listing all the ingredients together. This way, I hope to not overlook anything by saying "Of course we have enough garlic/sugar/flour/butter," since I really have no idea the total amount we need, leading to a panic on turkey day.

Alton Brown's Roast Turkey*
Mashed Potatoes*
Sweet Potatoes
Apple and Sage Stuffing*
Cranberry Relish*
Green Salad with Cranberry Dressing
Sauteed Green Beans with Thyme and Onion*
Pumpkin Pie with spiced whipped cream
Ice Cream with Pumpkin Seed Brittle  
Turkey Stock (to be made with the two carcasses, not for Thanksgiving per se, but shortly after)
Cranberry Muffins ('cuz something has to sustain your while you are cooking!)

*shown in photos above, from Thanksgiving 2009

Whew. It looks like a TON of ingredients at first, but when I combined the various amounts and then omitted the items we had in our fridge or pantry, it became a much more manageable list. Salt, pepper and water have been omitted completely since we have a pretty substantial supply of each. I also listed by grocery department to make sure nothing was forgotten and to make the thanksgiving day shopping a bit more streamlined. The items we have on hand, and therefore don't have to buy, are listed in italics.

1 (14 to 16 pound) frozen young turkey
1 (10 to 14 pound) frozen young turkey

5 lg eggs

1 c. Manchego Cheese
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 3/4 c. cold butter, plus 7 tbsp
1 3/4 c. crisco
1 package feta cheese

8 tablespoons fresh thyme
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tbsp rosemary plus 4 sprigs
8 parsley stems, plus one bunch
4 basil stems
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons allspice berries

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped candied ginger
1 cinnamon stick plus 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
6 leaves sage plus 3 tbsp
2 tbsp whole dried sage
2 tsp poultry seasoning (oregano, marjoram, thyme, rosemary, sage)
1/2 tsp plus 1 pinch nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Pantry Staples
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
6 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp dijon mustard

3 tablespoons olive oil plus 1/3 c.
Canola oil
1 pound 6 ounces granulated sugar, plus 3/4 c plus 1/3 c, plus 3 tbsp
2 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon vegetable oil, plus additional for coating

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree

1 tbsp white or cider vinegar
3 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp honey

2 cups yellow onion
6 cups white onion
1/2 red onion
2 cups leeks plus 1 leek, green and white parts
2 cups mushroom trimmings, wiped clean
1 cup large dice carrots plus 4 carrots
1 cup large dice celery plus 9 stalks
1 cup large dice turnips
1 cup large dice parsnips
1 cup large dice yellow squash
1 cup large dice zucchini
8 Roma tomatoes, quartered
1/2 cup garlic cloves plus 5 tbsps
1 red apple, sliced
1 bag potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 medium Granny Smith Apples
1 lb, plus 1 1/4 c. cranberries
4 ounces frozen cranberries
salad greens
2 pounds green beans, rinsed, ends trimmed
2 oranges
3 tbsp ginger

2 cups white wine
2 c. Chicken Stock, plus 1 liter, plus 24 oz.
1 whole canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can of peppers
8 ounces red wine
2 cups orange juice plus 3/4 cups
1 c sliced almonds
1/2 cup pecans
7 ounces hulled pumpkin seeds (these are the green ones)

We're going to go shopping early Saturday so that we beat as much of the crowds as possible. We'll make things like the pie crusts, the bread for the stuffing, vegetable stock, the brittle and the muffins the previous weekend to get a jump start. We plan to make the pumpkin pie the day before so it has time to chill. The rest we'll do the day-of, but it all comes together pretty quick once all the prep work (chopping and measuring) are completed. Nick will baby our turkey all day, so that's something I won't have to worry about.

How are you planning on organizing or streamlining your Thanksgiving?

Etsy Love

I was browsing Etsy for some Christmas ornaments since Nick and I have, between us, three. We are only getting a baby Christmas tree this year, but I still wanted to start to grow our ornament collection and what better place to look than Etsy.

Of course, being Etsy, I found so much more than just ornaments. So, I thought I would share with you my favorites.

These (by TimberGreenWoods) were the ornaments we ended up getting. We got the set of 15, so I think it will fill up our tiny tree just enough that it doesn't look pathetic. And I think they are a unique and charming start to our collection.

I also found this travertine trivet. Perfect for the family cook.

These bird bowls would also make a perfect gift.

What are some of your favorite places to get holiday decor?

Congratulations to me!

Um. I made my very first multi-step (ie multiple day) yeast bread ever this weekend. And it was good.

Nick is our resident bread maker. I easily throw together pumpkin or banana bread - quick breads. But I was always a bit timid with the idea of yeast breads. Math isn't my strong suit, so actually having to measure out ingredients precisely gave me the hee bee gee bees. Plus, the kneading and the rising and the overnighting...sheesh.

But I suppose my bagel snobbery won out. I worked at a donut shop from my work permit days up until I gratuated from college, and again during a stint of unemployment, so I was spoiled with freshly baked bagels every day and grew quite accustomed to them and am now a full fledged bagel snob. But over a dollar a day for a fresh baked bagel (and I do mean fresh baked, from frozen, of course) just seems excessive. I'm a food snob, sure, but I'm also pretty cheap.
 Everything (garlic, shallot, poppy and sesame)

 White Poppy Seed 

Sesame Seed

So, when I found this recipe on one of Nick's favorite bread making sites, I knew I had to try it. And what a more perfect time than a three day weekend allowing time for a screw up if I needed?

My fears were all for not, however, as they turned out de-li-cious, not beautiful and somewhat misshapen. I have, with one taste of these bagels, qualmed my fears of yeast breads and decided that they are totally worth the effort. So, I did what any normal person making their first real yeast bread would do and took my bagel outside for a photo shoot. God help my future children.

All in all, even using super sweet (read: expensive) honey gold potatoes, these cost about twenty cents a piece. I can live with that.

I do have a new fear, though. The fear of what would happen if my stand mixer was taken away. Because, seriously, I cannot live without that thing.

Blog Love

This week, I am loving our brand new, free (with registry completion) All Clad 9" skillet with our monogram and wedding date etched on the bottom. It looks totally cute hanging on our pot rack, don't you think?

Plus, here's a few posts/recipes that I am loving this week.

Popovers with Strawberry Butter @ Cinnamon, Spice and Everything Nice
Baked Potato Soup @ Foodies @ Home
Pumpkin Chocolate Oatmeal Raisin Cookies @ Brunchner
Guiness Chocolate Cake @ Natalie Merrillyn
Pumpkin Butter @ Cheap, Healthy, Good
Coconut Milk & Cream Soup Cooked in a Pumpkin @ A Foodie's Footnotes
Potato Puffs @ Num Num
Pumpkin Waffles @ Andrea The Kitchen Witch
Homemade Pumpkin Puree: Can the Can @ Food for my Family

What's your favorite post this week?

Almond Milk Ice Cream

When we had been gifted our Kitchen Aid mixer, I was thrilled to pieces. Since then, I've discovered the fabulous world of Kitchen Aid mixer attachments. My favorite so far is the ice cream mixer. I would have never spent the money or allotted the cabinet space required of a separate ice cream machine, but I had always wanted to try and make my own ice cream. The soy and coconut milk versions at the grocery store are sub par at best. Icy, watered down versions of a creamy dessert that I wished to enjoy.

I don't blame the ice cream manufacturers. They are creating "ice cream" for not only those of us who can't have milk, but they are also attempting to grab the markets of egg-free/ nut-free/ gluten-free/ vegans/ vegetarians. It does limit the ingredients they are able to use - and with milk and eggs being key ingredients to ice cream, eliminating both is sure to be tricky.

But I can have eggs. And nuts. So, why not make an ice cream suited to my specific dietary restrictions? Surely it would taste better than the store bought versions (what doesn't?). So, after a couple variations on the specific ratios, here's a recipe that I found to be light* and creamy (no icy, watered down flavor here!). I used Alton Brown's recipe as my benchmark and worked out the specific ratios for the substitutions from there. 


2 1/2 c almond milk (I prefer the Original to the Vanilla for this recipe since it has less sugar)
1 1/2 c heavy cream**

8 large egg yolks
9 ounces sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I used Penzey's Double Strength Pure Vanilla Extract).

Freeze the ice cream mixing bowl (at least 24 hours prior to the ice cream making fun I'm about to tell you about).

Bring the almond milk and cream into a saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to just a simmer and remove from the heat. 

In a mixing bowl (or mixer), whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar and continue to whisk until it is combined. The consistency should be thick enough so that the mixture forms a ribbon when you lift the whisk out of the bowl (as shown in photo above).

Once the eggs and sugar are combined, add in the cream/milk mixture slowly, tempering the eggs so as not to cook them. Continue to add the milk mixture to the eggs, stirring to combine as you go. Once all the milk has been added return the entire mixture to the saucepan and reheat over medium low heat until 170-175 F. This is a necessary step to ensure that the eggs are cooked (and salmonella is killed) before being made into ice cream. Continue to cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. 

To cool down the mixture quickly, we readied a "ice box" aka cooler (filled with ice) prior to starting the ice cream making process. After the mixture was cooked, we simply placed the entire saucepan filled with the cream/egg mixture into the cooler. This cooled the mix more quickly than in the refrigerator, and there was no need for a cool down period prior (never place hot items in your refrigerator - it will cause the entire fridge to warm slightly, causing the temperature to rise above what is deemed safe). 

Stir in the vanilla extract (or peppermint, banana, etc.) and continue to cool until the temperature reaches about 40 F or below. Once it has cooled to this temperature, it's now time for the fun part! 

Pour the mixture into the the ice cream mixing bowl and turn on the mixer (or ice cream machine). Churn for 25 to 30 minutes until the ice cream mixture approximately doubles in size. 

If you want to add candies or cookies and what not, add about with about 5 to 10 minutes left to ensure that it mixes uniformly throughout. Some recipes suggest adding earlier, and I find that it works well for solid add-ins like candies, but soft add-ins like cookies tend to get soft and absorb moisture if added too early. To ensure they stay crunchy, add at the 20-25 minute mark and continue to churn until just mixed through. Freeze into portions and allow to harden before serving. 

* To make a more dense ice cream, increase the ratio of the cream to the almond milk. I prefer this version since it limits the amount of dairy, but it is lighter and more airy than a premium ice cream (aka Ben & Jerry's).

** I'm going to give this a try next time using only Almond Milk. I think adding a couple more egg yolks will increase the density enough to offset the absence of the cream. I'll update when I get the results.