As people whose professions focus around creating happy homes, it’s no surprise that Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays. With nature serving the perfect color palette, it’s the time of year that allows us to slow down and remember all that we are grateful for while being surrounded by family, friends and endless food!
We thought it would be fun to share our favorite Thanksgiving traditions and recipes. Please add your Turkey Day favorites in the comments section — thank you!
What I love most about Thanksgiving is that the entire focus is about gathering family together and sharing food. When my mom, sister or I cook, each of us brings our largest Tupperware containers (appropriately nicknamed “The Trough”) so we can bring home the leftovers.
Thanksgiving weekend also includes a family trip to the farm to chop down the Christmas tree. My son and husband have an ongoing joke/excuse that they don’t know how to string the tree lights. So every year, I play along and am the one responsible for making sure the lights are on just right. After that, we all decorate the tree with ornaments — even the cat likes to help with that job!
Crust: Oreo Cookie (remove all the cream and process the cookies in a food processor). You can add in some graham crackers or shortbread cookies to mix it up a bit. Add about 1/4 cup melted butter and then press in to pan.
- 3 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup Baileys irish cream
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Optional: 3/4 cup of mini chocolate chips (they don’t sink to bottom like regular size chips)
Top: Whip cream
Mix the cream cheese, cornstarch and the sugar together softening up the cream cheese. Then beat the eggs just slightly and then add them to the mixture. Beat the mixture (2-5 minutes) but don’t over beat it. The more you beat it, the more air you add and lighter it becomes. We like it a little more dense so I don’t beat it too much.
Preheat oven to 350. When you’re ready for the cheesecake, reduce the temp to 325.
Creating a water bath keeps the moisture high to avoid cracking and also provides a slower, more even way of cooking. To prevent water from seeping into the removable bottom of the springform pan, wrap aluminum foil completely around the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan. Then put your springform pan into a larger pan and fill the larger pan with water only going about 1/3 the way the springform pan.
Bake for 1 hour or until the center is just about done. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in there for 5-10 minutes. Crack the oven open just slightly to slowly cool the cake about 30 minutes. Remove cake from oven and let stand for another 20-30 minutes. It should be cool enough to pick up the pan. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
Just before serving, whip up 1 container of whip cream and pipe or spread on the top. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings if desired.
Our family hosts Thanksgiving each year, but the dinner is a collective effort with each family bringing a favorite dish or dessert to share. We eat, drink and enjoy spending time together.
My favorite Thanksgiving dish to prepare is Brown Sugar Glazed Sweet Potatoes:
- 4 Pounds red-skinned sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2/3 Cups packed golden brown sugar
- 5 Tablespoons butter
- 1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- ¼ Teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch of ginger
- 2 Cups miniature marshmallows
- ½ Cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange potatoes in a 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Combine sugar, butter, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and ginger in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Pour over potatoes, toss to coat. Cover dish tightly with foil.
Bake potatoes 50 minutes. Uncover and bake potatoes until they are tender and syrup thickens slightly, basting occasionally, about 20 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Top potatoes with marshmallows and almonds. Return to oven and bake until marshmallows begin to melt and almonds begin to brown, about 3 minutes.
Makes 8 servings.
How many families can say that their Thanksgiving meal includes Pez candy? 15 years ago, my sister started our annual tradition of passing a Pez dispenser around the table, popping a piece of candy and sharing what we are thankful for. When she got married in Ireland around Thanksgiving time, she had Pez dispensers at every table and wedding guests shared their gratitudes. (I’m sure we confused the Irish attendees who thought Thanksgiving centered around Turkey, not rectangular sugar candy!)
Besides Pez :), my favorite Thanksgiving dish is when my husband deep-fries fresh turkey from Harrison’s Poultry in peanut oil. He whips together some crazy marinade concoctions and injects them into the bird. I always make sure there is a fire extinguisher nearby, but it’s so worth it!
Happy Thanksgiving from our families to yours!