Thanksgiving Favorites

Yes, I have been a slacker lately, I have lots of new and delicious recipes but I just haven’t gotten around to posting them, it is on my to do list this week though. Since November seems like it is flying by and I wanted to post some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes before the big Turkey Day.

Spiced Pear Sangria

Spiced Pear Sangria

 

 

Creamy Pumpkin Dip

Creamy Pumpkin Dip

 

 

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Jalapenos 

Creamy Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Jalapenos

 

Spiced Rum Cranberry Sauce

Spiced Rum Cranberry Sauce

 

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

 

Chipotle Maple Acorn Squash

Chipotle Maple Acorn Squash

 

Spicy Pumpkin Hummus

Spicy Pumpkin Hummus with Beer

Enjoy!

Christmas Entertaining: Bloody Mary and Hot Chocolate Bars

Hot Chocolate Bar

Hot Chocolate Bar

Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to be difficult, it just has to be festive and fun. A couple of years ago I had a Christmas Brunch complete with a Bloody Mary bar and a Hot Chocolate bar for the kids, (and adults too, just add some Baileys’).

For the Hot Chocolate bar, have hot water in a carafe, packets or a container of hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, chocolate chips, whipped cream, festive sprinkles, and candy canes for stirring. Let the guests make there own favorite concoction, this was a big hit with the preteens.

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For the Bloody Mary Christmas Bar, make pitchers of Basic Bloody Mary’s 3parts tomato juice, to 1 part vodka (have regular tomato juice on hand for those who don’t drink alcohol) Then set up the bar with ice,  Worcestershire, celery salt, hot sauce, old bay seasoning, picked vegetables, lemon and lime wedges, celery, cooked shrimp, olives and any other topping or garnish you desire. Again let the guest play bartender, set out some pastries, breakfast casseroles and a salad and the party is complete.

Bloody Mary Christmas Bar

Bloody Mary Christmas Bar

What the heck is that?, Adventures at the Produce Stand and Cactus Pear Margaritas

As you may or may not know, I am a sucker for produce stands and farmer’s markets. I love to look at all the fresh offerings begging me to take them home and invent some new recipe. My younger son also likes to go and find the one fruit or vegetable that he has never tried before. This time it was cactus pears, and well you know I wasn’t going to say no.

So we got them home but now what, I had no idea what part was even edible much less what to do with it. Thank god for Google, my son had already told me no salsa, so after researching a bit I found that really the only other thing to do was a margarita. Well I  had no problem and he was game as long as I didn’t put the tequila in his, if he only knew what he was missing, but he has at least 6 more years before he finds out. Now to figure this “pear ” out.

First step was to peel it, the easiest way is to chop off the ends and then run your knife down the fruit and then carefully remove the peel in one big chunk.

This fruit is full of seeds which are edible but not appetizing, we tried a little piece, it tastes like a not so sweet melon, or a slightly sweet cucumber. Very refreshing though, would be yummy without those pesky seeds.

I threw my fruit into a food processor and pureed it, then strained the seeds out with a sieve, not the easiest process, but worth it in the end. I was left with the juice.

I added the juice from my 2 pears, the juice of 1 lime, 2 T agave nectar, and 2 cups of ice to the blender, and pureed until smooth.

I split this between 2 glasses and added a shot of tequila to mine, my son added Sprite to his, we garnished them with lime and pieces of the cactus peel.

Pretty darn tasty, not too sweet and very refreshing, I could probably drink a lot of these, they go down smooth, but thankfully we only bought 2 pears.