Browned Butter Sage Stuffing with Walnuts & Cranberries (& a Thanksgiving Menu)

This is better than I thought it would be. Truly, when I went to put together suggestions for this year’s festivities I thought it would be slim pickings. That there wouldn’t be much to choose from because I hadn’t gotten up nearly as many posts as planned. I’d been behind, slacking, negligent about my duties and responsibilities. Turns out, that wasn’t (entirely) the case. It’s rewarding to look back on the year and see what’s been accomplished. I got more up than I planned! And a lot of it would fit nicely on the Thanksgiving table, if there’s still room.

Browned Butter Sage Stuffing with Walnuts & Cranberries

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Thankful Things

A quick list of things that I am thankful for, in no particular order.

  1. A second pot of coffee for extra guests.
  2. For cakes that turn out.
  3. Learning better and then doing better.
  4. A job that is closed on Thanksgiving, giving me time with my family and time to myself.
  5. The same stories told by the same people, because some things should never change.
  6. Support from loved ones, in every imaginable way.
  7. For snapchat and Instagram and iMessaging – keeping my connected to those, near and far.
  8. My dog.
  9. All the other dogs.
  10. Traditions carried on, even after years away from home.
  11. This space to write and babble and share with y’all.
  12. And so much more.

 

 

Sweet Potato Cream Pie with Marshmallow Whipped Cream (& procrastination)

I found this gif while scrolling aimlessly on Imgur.

Sweet Potato Cream Pie with Marshmallow Whipped Cream via Midwest Nice Blog

I identified with it so much – what with my terrible habit of procrastinating (which is what I was doing on Imgur in the first place, obviously). I’m working on it, little by little. But, I know I can do better.

For instance, maybe I should’ve posted this recipe yesterday? Given y’all a little more time to add it to your menu. But then I thought – hey, maybe there are other people like me out there. Perhaps there’s truth to the whole “procrastinators unite…tomorrow!” thing? Me waiting to post this and you waiting to figure out what dessert to make could be the perfect balance we as procrastinators need!

Sweet Potato Cream Pie with Marshmallow Whipped Cream via Midwest Nice Blog

Plus! This can be made today and be ready for tomorrow – saving time and valuable oven space on the big day. Look at us, procrastinators planning ahead! Baby steps, folks. Baby steps.

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Sparkling Cider Sangria (& a Thanksgiving Recipe Round-Up)

Our turkey was delivered via the USPS today. I came home from baking pie at my aunt’s house and there it was – just sitting on the stoop. Ready and waiting. Easy as that.

Sparkling Cider Sangria via Midwest Nice Blog

Is your turkey taken care of? What about sides? Desserts? I’ve got plenty of ideas (and one more post to share) if you need a little something sweet to finish off your meal Thursday.

Everyone loves pie. Try my perfect pie crust with your favorite fillings! Not sure what to put in the pie crust? Maybe some bourbon coated pecans? Or apples? When you have leftovers – turn them into a shake! Or throw some pie crust into ice cream and have yourself a semifreddo.

More of a cake person? This caramel apple cake is a show stopper. Or this sweet potato cake (with toasted marshmallow frosting!!!) that turns a much beloved side into an even better dessert! A bundt cake filled with brandy and pears is just as beautiful and delicious (and a touch easier/quicker) as any layer cake. Does cheesecake count as cake? Does this butternut squash cheesecake count as a vegetable dish? Let’s say it does.

Believe it or not, I have actually made some vegetable recipes before! And I’ll be making my famous bacon braised Brussels sprouts for the festivities like I do every year. And then eating this salad to detox the rest of the weekend.

The cider will be flowing at dinner, after steeping with mulling spices for over 24 hours. If you need a drink to please a crowd, try this easy sangria I made a few weeks ago. It’s to die for!

Sparkling Cider Sangria via Midwest Nice Blog

Sparkling Cider Sangria 

1 bottle dry red wine – I like a nice cabernet

2 bottles sparkling cider

1/4 cup bourbon

1/4 cup Grand Marnier

1/4 cup orange juice

juice of one lemon

1 apple, thinly sliced

1 pear, thinly sliced

1 orange, thinly sliced

3 cinnamon sticks

Pour all liquid into a large pitcher and stir in fruit and cinnamon sticks. Allow to steep in fridge for at least four hours, preferably overnight. Serve chilled with extra fruit and garnish with cinnamon sticks, if desired.

*inspired by Sally’s Baking Addiction

Sparkling Cider Sangria via Midwest Nice Blog

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Y’all. This. Pie.

Ugh.

Pecan pie is not something I ever ate before moving. French Silk? Yep. Especially if my mom took the trouble to defrost if fresh for us that day. Apple? Only if it was my grandma’s or from the Amish bakery an hour away. Banana Cream? Truly, this may be where my love affair with pie began, thanks to Back In The Day Bakery.

But, you know what they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. And when in the South, put bacon fat in your piecrust and bourbon in your pecan pie.

bourbon pecan pie5

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Perfect Piecrust

I have a tattoo of a butter label on my forearm. Yes, you read that right. I’m a baker. It makes sense to me. All of my tattoos are baking themed. My right arm will eventually be a sleeve dedicated to baked-goods. (Much to my father’s chagrin.)

Right off the bat though, most people don’t get it. They think it’s a joke, or fake, or a stamp (Idk why tho…). Once I convince them it’s real and explain that I’m a baker the next words out of their mouths are usually, “What’s your favorite thing to bake?”

“Pie.”

Always. Without hesitation.

And it’s largely because of this piecrust. After years of testing and trying (and failing), I’ve finally gotten the ratios down and the method perfected. I’ve added a secret Southern ingredient that makes all the difference, too.

Bacon fat. Yes, you read that right, too. Ba.con.fat. Bacon is bountiful here. It’s in mac ‘n’ cheese, on top of doughnuts; it’s even the namesake of one of my favorite restaurants. It’s also a staple in my fridge. I always have a jar of drippings ready to cook with. And now, bake with.

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