Thanksgiving 2013

Who went out shopping this morning for Black Friday?  I have gone out the past few years really early but didn’t this year.  I did go to Kohl’s this afternoon for a toy and walked right out.  The line was wrapped all the way around the store.  At 1:00 pm!  I would rather spend the extra money and not spend over an hour in line.

Anyway, let’s recap Thanksgiving!  This is the third year that we hosted and it was a success.  Matt primarily does the cooking for the main meal, especially when it comes to the turkey.  And although I may not cook the main meal, I search for the recipes that we will use.  However, I do take care of the appetizer and desserts.  My two favorite things to make.

So let’s start with the appetizer.  I made a baked BLT dip.  I found this recipe from Betty Crocker, made by The Girl Who Ate Everything.


IMG_5069As part of the Thanksgiving meal, we had sour cream and onion mashed potatoes by Glutenista.

IMG_5062I don’t know if mashed potatoes would ever look nice in a picture…

For one of the vegetables, we had green beans.  I saw a recipe for cheese sauce on an episode of Trisha’s Southern Kitchen on Food Network. Any vegetable tastes better with cheese!


IMG_5071And then of course, there is the dessert.  I made Joy the Baker’s Pumpkin Cream Pie.  Yum!!!


IMG_5073After we finished at our house, we headed to my aunt and uncle’s for more dessert.  I made Averie Cooks’ loaded M&M oreo cookie bars to bring.  My version has peanut butter oreos and peanut butter m&ms.


IMG_5052Because there were so many desserts at my aunt and uncle’s, I was asked to bring them home.  I was happy to!

Choosing recipes for Thanksgiving, I looked for ones that are simple.  There is no time for complicated or involved recipes on Thanksgiving because there is so much going on.

From the food to the company, it was a great day!  Bring on Christmas now!!!


Homemade Mozzarella

I was very excited to see that Love and Olive Oil’s June Kitchen Challenge is mozzarella.


Mozzarella is something that’s always in the house so I knew giving this a try would be worth it. Looking at various recipes, I was a bit intimidated.  I had never heard of half of the ingredients, such as rennet.  So I bought a kit where everything I would need would be together.  I got it from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company.  Buying the kit made me feel like a cheater, but it’s really no different from buying everything separately.


Reading recipes, including the one that came in the kit, I found that the type of milk you need to use is very specific. It can’t be ultra pasteurized.  I just got a name brand rather than the grocery store brand.  It didn’t say ultra pasteurized so I hoped for the best.

I quickly got to a step that was not going right.  What I had going on the stove did not match the picture in the recipe book or on the website.


I am supposed to be able to slice through the curd but it didn’t really solidify.  It stayed loose and chunky.  I think this is where using milk from the grocery store became a problem.  I didn’t stop though.  I figured I would just keep going and hopefully the cheese would turn out to be edible.


I am glad I kept with it.  The cheese just came together towards the last step.  Talk about excited!


Once I stretched it out and put it in an ice bath to hold its shape, it was ready to go!


I am so glad I didn’t give up on making the cheese when I realized something wasn’t exactly right early on.  I will definitely try this again with milk from a local dairy farm.  I think that will help with the curd.

Matt and I first enjoyed the mozzarella by making made paninis with it along with bacon and tomato on ciabatta bread.  Delicious!  Sadly I don’t have a picture because the bread burnt just a tad and that is just embarrassing.

I am so glad I took part in this month’s kitchen challenge.  I love making food homemade rather than buying it at the grocery store.  It always is so much easier than you think (usually!).  I’ve also made my own pumpkin puree, mozzarella sticks, ranch dressing, marshmallows, ginger alecaramel sauce, and pita bread.  Also, I recently got the book Classic Snacks Made From Scratch.  I can’t wait to jump in and try the various recipes in it.

If you want to try and make your own cheese, check out the New England Cheese Making Company website.  They have tons of recipes with photos and they are broken down by level of difficulty.

I can’t wait to see what July’s challenge is!