Simple Thanksgiving table setting

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It’s very hard for me to do anything simple and modern looking.  It just is.  I love to look at trendy simple things: clothes, home decor, scrapbooking pages, patterns….anything.  And I love it.  But when it comes right down to it, it’s impossible for me to duplicate that look in anything I touch.  It starts out simple, but very soon another element creeps in, an extra detail here or there, some brighter color sneaks in….and soon whatever I’m working on is full right up with all sorts of visual junk!  Yes, I am a messy person, and it usual shows up even in my “designing” (art, decorating, crafting,  junk making, whatever you want to call it).  It’s hard to stop myself.  I know, I know,  I’ve heard: Art is knowing when to stop.  And I agree.  And I guess that’s where the line between crafty and artist is drawn.  All this to say, I felt rather proud of myself for creating (in my mind) a simple modern-looking Thanksgiving table setting this year.  It was excruciatingly hard to hold back and not add more and more, but I forced myself and getting some new simple dishes from Ikea helped (and a time crunch helped, too).

Last year’s Thanksgiving table here was more like what I usually do.  This year I tried a new color scheme, and I must say I liked it.  I just loved the bright colors (that is normal for me) what wasn’t normal was the more simple decorations.simple modern Thanksgiving table setting by dennasideas.com - Page 008A plain white cake stand, a dried gourd (from Guatemala), a couple of small pumpkins and pomegranates, a few candles, a bunch of purplish carnations and a few green flowers.  Yes, it did involve a shopping trip to IKEA for a few things: new blue dishes, a couple of blue candles, purple table runner, purple juice jug and purple serviettes.  I had lots of orange things already in my stash :)  simple modern Thanksgiving table setting by dennasideas.com - Page 007No time for place-cards this year, just a few plain wooden leaves from Walmart.  I did print out some Thanksgiving things on kraft paper, but we didn’t really use them…..they were to make a thankful paper chain.  We were thankful without the craft.  The rest of the photos were taken under the dining room lighting so the color looks kind of weird….simple modern Thanksgiving table setting by dennasideas.com - Page 006 simple modern Thanksgiving table setting by dennasideas.com - Page 003I quickly crammed all the flowers into an orange bowl (and left the other non-color-coordinated flowers in the kitchen).simple modern Thanksgiving table setting by dennasideas.com - Page 002simple but pretty, I thought.  And yes, that is an old fashioned jello mold!simple modern Thanksgiving table setting by dennasideas.com - Page 004For that old fashioned, traditional touch.  I enjoyed it, even if few others did!  I had made one awhile ago, from an old recipe, then totally lost the recipe!!  So this was kinda made from my memory: grated carrot, crushed pineapple, orange gelatin (jello), and a cup of plain yogurt.  Does anyone have a recipe like that?  It would be nice to have the exact amounts!simple modern Thanksgiving table setting by dennasideas.com - Page 001My daughter the turkey, I mean, my daughter cooked the turkey this year!  She did a good job, though we had a few nervous moments ;)

There was a kids’ table this year, with a few Snoopy treats…very simple (not like the other Peanuts kids’ table)Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.com - Page 016When the younger kids couldn’t take the wait for supper, we gave them a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving meal.  It’s what Charlie Brown and Snoopy served in the classic cartoon: buttered toast, pretzels, popcorn and jelly beans!  (It’s starting to be a tradition!)Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.com - Page 015Another food that is now a Thanksgiving tradition around here is Guatemalan enchiladas!  I think this was the day after Thanksgiving, though traditionally they are served on Nov. 1st in Guate.  (It was a short weekend with family, so we had to cram a lot of food into it)Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.com - Page 018 Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.com - Page 017Mmmmm good!!  I’ll have to post the recipe someday…. :)   And so that was our little Canadian, American, Guatemalan Thanksgiving!!

 

Thanksgiving Cranberry snack food ideas

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Thanksgiving Cranberry snack food ideas

I’m afraid that when I was planning my little Thanksgiving snack table this year, I forgot that not everyone loves cranberries as much as I do.  Cranberries are just so “in” at this time of the year!!  My eyes were enticed by all the lovely-looking cranberry recipes online…their beautiful shape and color….and especially the ones robed in cheese!!!  I didn’t even think about people in this world who do not favor the red little things.Cranberry cheese dip: Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comFresh cranberries were on my shopping list, and didn’t need no “checking twice!”  Cranberry cheese dip: Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comThis baked cheese and cranberry dip was very easy and quite tasty.  Great for filling one of those hollowed out sourdough breads….Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comI used this recipe called Gooey White Cheddar and Cranberry Dip with only four ingredients: cream cheese, white cheddar, fresh cranberries and olive oil.  Of course I added in a bunch of freshly ground black pepper because that’s what we do at our house.  It was quite a mild tasting dip, but I really enjoyed it; the tart, hot cranberries were delish.

Then there was this spicy sounding recipe for Cranberry Salsa that just looked so gorgeous and used all of my favorite ingredients.  It is pictured in the orange bowl in the middle of the table above.  Now this recipe was interesting…..so easy to make.  But it was not a favorite with my bunch.  In fact, no one really liked it much….except me.  I ate it for days afterwards!  On and in everything.  Sometimes I’d be eating it and it just tasted like a regular tomato salsa, the cranberries didn’t stand out super much.  But other times I really got the cranberry flavor.  And it was sweet.  So sweet and spicy!!  I think I will totally make it again and eat it all, by myself if necessary!  Such a healthy salsa!  The main ingredients are fresh cranberries, cilantro, green onions, honey, cumin, lime juice and a jalapeño (I didn’t have a fresh one, so used some pickled ones. Careful, don’t make it too hot!)  You can click on the link above for the how to.cranberry punch by dennasideas.com -

I also made some hot pink cranberry punch with more fresh cranberries and juices (smells wonderful).  With all the cranberry going on, it was a good thing there were also a few non-cranberry foods on the snack table, like some cheeses, grapes, chips, Texas Trash and Turkey Cheese-ball for those non-fans of the tart berry!!
Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.com Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comIt was a fun Thanksgiving snack table to put together, though almost as much work as the main meal!  Oh well….. Thanksgiving snack table by dennasideas.com -Happy cranberries everyone!

Thanksgiving Turkey Cheese-ball and Texas Trash!

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Thanksgiving Turkey Cheese-ball and Texas Trash!

Gobble gobble!  That’s something you see written a lot at this time of year.  I would say “hear a lot this time of year” but honestly, it’s been years since I’ve heard a real turkey’s garbled yell.  Not something the next door neighbors keep in their yard.  Maybe your neighbors do…..?

I don’t love turkeys, but I do love cheese-balls!  And snacky foods.  And cheesy foods.  So I saw this baby on Pinterest and felt in my bones that I should copy it!  I followed the recipe from Homemade in the Heartland for this handsome gobbler, though I didn’t have all the decoration ingredients.  We ended up having a Thanksgiving snack table before the actual turkey dinner, and this gobbly guy fit right on it!Turkey cheeseball: Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comInstead of starting life out as an egg, he started out as this (cream cheesy, oniony, pinappley goodness):Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comAnd then rolled around in this (pecans):Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comI found that after sitting around a while, the pecans started to soften up (especially the next day).  I think I would try and roll him in pecans at the very last minute before the party!  I used white chocolate chips for his eyes, glued him together with black candy melts.  His neck is a pepperoni stick and candy corn for beak and feet!Turkey Cheeseball: Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comWith the extra red candy melt I made his “gobbler” and wrote….a little word….I was in a hurry, ok?!!  (and my brain has been turning to mush lately)Texas trash: Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comTo go along with Mr. Gooble, I was all excited to try this traditional Texas snack mix!  (Texans, tell me the truth in the comments below:)  A delicious recipe for Texas Trash!  I found it on Little Magnolia Kitchen and just changed her recipe a bit to fit with what I could easily find.  The only Chex cereal I could find was Honey Chex  (see photo above)!!  And the nacho flavored Bugles.  I made up half the recipe, and could barely squeeze it into my pan.  Little Magnolia’s recommendation to use a large aluminum foil roaster is a good one….next time!  I didn’t have steak spice, so just kinda made my own with what I had.  So things were kinda different, but kinda……AWESOME!Texas Trash: Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comIt turned out Y.U.M.M.Y!!  Definitely a hit!!!  I think it might go on our “traditional” list.  We thought of our Texan relatives while we ate it!! ;)  (Oops, should I have said that???)Thanksgiving snack foods by dennasideas.comThere were some other new recipes that I tried out this year…..let me get it together and I’ll do another post…..

Thanksgiving Pies

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Thanksgiving Pies

Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone.  But we are thankful still!  This fall was fairly busy for me, hosting Thanksgiving, several birthdays and a surprise trip!  I haven’t posted any pics from our little Canadian Thanksgiving celebration and thought that now would be a good time, as our Southern Neighbors take their turn to celebrate.  So here’s a word of gratitude for our family and friends who are celebrating this week!  “Thankful for y’all!!”

And there were some pies that I made.  Of course the idea of a “typography pie” was something I found on Pinterest, but I switched it up a bit…Thanksgiving pies and cookies - denna's ideasand cut the letters right into the top pie crust, instead of laying the baked letters on the pie.  Last year I had made a cherry cheesecake pie, and liked it so much I figured we should make it a tradition.Thanksgiving pies and cookies - denna's ideasOf course there was a more traditional pumpkin pie, don’t they look yummy, just out of the oven??   But looks can be deceiving….Thanksgiving pies and cookies - denna's ideasSome little elves were helping me in the kitchen that day…..just sayin’…….

Cookies were baked, for our (also traditional) Linzer cookies (though I tried a new recipe, haven’t found one I love yet).  Little acorn cookie cutters from my sister and leaves for pie decorating!Thanksgiving pies and cookies - denna's ideas

{Linzer cookies are the ones with jam in the middle.  This year I tried baby squirrels inside of mommy squirrels and hearts in hearts.}Thanksgiving pies and cookies -denna's ideasThe pie crust “cuttings” baked up and dipped in cinnamon and sugar (another tradition!)  <3 you!!Thanksgiving pies and cookies - denna's ideasSo the pumpkin pie made it to the Thanksgiving table, all dressed up in it’s Linzer cookie finery….Thanksgiving pies and cookies - denna's ideaswith dollops of maple whipped cream….and thank goodness for that whipped cream!!  After a few bites, I felt that something was wrong with the beautiful pie, the one I had so looked forward to eating.  My husband says, “Don’t take this wrong, but it’s kind of salty!”  And yes, yes it was.  Could it be the “extra twists” I gave to my traditional pie crust recipe this year?  Oh dear, and here everyone was bravely eating away…but I couldn’t stop commenting on it!  And could hardly eat it, even slathered in whipped cream.  Was it the crust or the filling that was so salty?  When I announced that I was going to throw the leftovers away, my husband said, “no offense, but go ahead!” (or words to that effect)  I begged everyone to stop eating and leave the rest.  What a disappointment (for those of us who love pumpkin pie, I don’t think the other people were super heart-broken).

What is happening to my baking? I thought. In the end, I like to think that it happened because of one of those “helpful elves” who helped me in the kitchen that morning….either adding or distracting me!!!

Good thing it was the filling and not the crust, so the really special pie tasted great!!Thanksgiving pies and cookies - denna's ideasThank You God for family and friends, cozy homes and food on our tables.  Love You, God!!

Fall Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

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Fall Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Do you ever find yourself with one cup of pumpkin puree just sitting there in your fridge, a day or two after baking something delicious?  And you think to yourself…what could I do with one cup of pumpkin?  That’s what I was doing yesterday (when I should have been doing something else).  After a few clicks around online, I found this yummy-sounding recipe for Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies, with ingredients mostly found in my house!!  I adapted the recipe from Family Fresh Meals and cut out the stuff I didn’t have.  I also made some modifications because my mixer is deceased and I had to mix everything the old fashioned way…by hand!  Thus the melted butter.  So the recipe is written as if you are going to whisk things by hand. Feel free to use a mixer ;)Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies by dennasideas.com

I’ve never had pumpkin spice in my spice rack, so I improvised.  (You could also pre-mix some for yourself, find it on this idea page).Pumpkin spice for Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies by dennasideas.com Are you excited about fall, and baking with pumpkin?  How about pumpkin+chocolate chips+oatmeal?  Doesn’t that sound good?  Ok, ok, here comes the recipe:

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

2 cups flour

2 cups oatmeal

1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. ginger, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. ground cloves, 1/4 tsp. ground allspice

                                            OR  1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 2 tsp. pumpkin spice instead

1 Tbsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup butter (salted or unsalted)

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup pumpkin puree (I use canned)

1 egg

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In any old bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda,  spices and salt. Set aside.

2. Melt butter in a  large microwaveable bowl, add sugar and brown sugar and whisk or beat until mixed together.

3. Now add in pumpkin puree, egg and vanilla. Beat or whisk until well combined.

4. Gradually add the dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.

5. Now stir in the oats. Mix well.

6. And lastly, stir in the  chocolate chips.  Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for while. (or not. You could do that while you get a cookie pan+baking parchment paper ready)

7. Drop cookie dough by the rounded tablespoon on to the prepared baking sheet.  I tried pressing some of them down with a fork (for the photos) but ended leaving the rest mounded up because I liked the texture better that way, so they were smaller, thicker cookies.

8. Bake cookies for about 14  minutes (cookies are lightly browned). DO NOT OVER COOK. They will seem a little soft, but will firm up as they cool. You want to keep the nice, soft texture!  So here’s the recipe in photos, since I was having fun in the kitchen instead of doing other things…Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips, great cookies for fall by dennasideas.com Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies by dennasideas.com Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies by dennasideas.com

oooo I love this photo with the vanilla swirling around the island of pumpkin...

oooo I love this photo with the vanilla swirling around the island of pumpkin…

whisk up the yumminess!

whisk up the yumminess!

the dry ingredients

the dry ingredients

add that snow-like powder!

add that snow-like powder!

the chocolate chips weren't really purple....they were Costco, ethically sourced chocolate...

the chocolate chips weren’t really purple….they were Costco, ethically sourced chocolate…

oops, the oatmeal was mixed in before the chocochips actually

oops, the oatmeal was mixed in before the chocochips actually

I was going to include a few spoonfuls of molasses in this recipe, but then realized my cupboard was bare!  Anyways, everyone liked these cookies, they are very soft and are getting softer…though they are disappearing fast.  And here are the winning “after” photos:Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with chocolate chips, baked by dennasideas.com I found it hard to do the cookies justice in the photos.  They were nice and warm and just jumped off the plate into my hand and into my mouth….Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies by dennasideas.com The cookies could have been larger, maybe they would have looked more awesome.  Here they are on my favorite fall plate…and now they are… gone….

(so much for my facebook photo voting…I just didn’t want to disappoint anyone, so felt I should add all the cookie photos here. Thanks guys! Wish you could’ve stopped by and had some cookies and tea with me!  Maybe next time…)Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies by dennasideas.com - :)

An asparagus recipe for picky eaters

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An asparagus recipe for picky eaters

How do you feel about asparagus?  I love “Junior Asparagus” from VeggieTales, but haven’t had very much experience cooking with the bumpy green stalks.  Ok, make that no experience.  The other day a very large bag of it came home from Costco, and I had no idea what to do with it.  Resisting the urge to let it quietly grow a fuzzy green beard in the bottom of the refrigerator, I decided to get on the ball and check out Pinterest for some asparagus recipe ideas.

I felt very hesitant about cooking it at all, since I have never been impressed with any of the stalks I’ve tried in the past.  And obviously my kids haven’t been eating it if I haven’t been offering it.  Dilemma!!  But then I found this asparagus gratin recipe over at Apron Appeal that looked so cheesy and good, I figured anyone could choke it down!  :)asperagus gratin recipe tried by dennasideas.com

I liked the way the white sauce was made with water from boiling the bottoms of the asparagus.  I changed up the recipe a bit since I didn’t have the same cheeses and basically used Parmesan in the sauce and a bit of Tex-Mex grated cheese mix to sprinkle on top.  But I didn’t really add much cheese at all (less than the recipe called for)  And added bacon bits, sort of an added incentive for picky eaters.

Since I was busy trying out this new recipe (at the last minute) I ran out of time, so supper was….asparagus gratin over white rice!!  Ta-da!  When I whipped the tray of asparagus out of the oven the reactions were so funny!  Mostly along the lines of “Mom, whaaaat’s thaaaaat??” >insert disgusted emoticon<  ahem, Let me introduce you to asparagus my dear ones.

Long story short, it received a thumbs up from almost all 6 of us, and a double thumbs up from one adult and one child.  I really enjoyed it, but am not exactly rushing out to by asparagus again….not sure why….maybe because someone felt it was sad to be eating “Junior”…..

But I do really recommend this recipe and you should head over to Apron Appeal and try it out the next time you have a bag of lonely asparagus!  I really liked the way the gratin (white sauce) browned up under the broiler, it looked so very nice……………….well now that I’m seeing my photos, maybe we should try it again….!

asperagus gratin recipe tried by dennasideas.com

(click on highlighted links above to get to the recipe)  (se puede encontrar la receta aqui)

Celebrando la independencia de Guatemala: el 15 de septiembre

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Guatemala…

15 de Septiembre,  himno nacional de Guatemala, dennasideas.comhay mas ideas para celebrar aqui:  Arte de la bandera y papel picado,  Pastel de papel para el 15 de septiembre,  y Manualidades para el 15 de septiembre

Que disfruten el dia!! :)