Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Showdowns

25 Oct

What’s the difference between brining and marinating or mashing and whipping? Find out the answers to all of your Thanksgiving dinner questions.

Written and researched by Meaghan Cameron and Amy Zerello

In or Out? Stuffing vs. Dressing

For those who believe the conventional wisdom, stuffing is the stuff that is cooked inside the bird while dressing is baked on the outside. But Chow notes that both are actually the same thing, according to the National Turkey Federation, which states, “Both terms are used interchangeably.” Since this side dish is most often discussed at Thanksgiving, we think the turkey experts at the NTF may know best. If you do choose to stuff your turkey remember that it must reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees! Sources: Chow.com, usda.gov

Sweet Debate: Yams vs. Sweet Potatoes

Don’t lose your potatoes over this, but these two spuds are not related botanically. Now that you’ve digested that bombshell, here are a few more potato particulars: Sweet potatoes come in several varieties, classified as either firm or soft. Firm varieties remain firm after they’re cooked, while the soft varieties get moist and soft. The Library of Congress says these soft types are often labeled “yams,” but adds that true yams are native to Africa and it is unlikely you’ll find them at your local grocery store. Yams are starchier and drier than sweet potatoes, though they can be used interchangeably in recipes. Sources: loc.gov, rd.com

Turkey Bath: Brined vs. Marinated

Every year on Thanksgiving you hear about people brining a turkey, but not marinating it. Why is that? The difference has to do with acidic marinades versus salty brines. Acid, a strong component of marinades, tenderizes only the surface of meats, thus they are not the best way to add flavor to your large turkey. Brining is a longer, deeper process. The salty nature of the brine “adds moisture to the meat through osmosis.” The salt draws the water inside the meat out while the brine flows into the meat, adding extra water and juiciness. Want to do both? Try this Citrus Marinated Turkey recipe from Iron Chef Jose Garces, in which he first brines and then marinates the meat. Source: exploratorium.edu Continue reading


Behold my Starbucks’ VIA Tiramisu cake!

25 Nov

“Fancy taste, without all the work,” began the Tiramisu Layer Cake‘s submitter in her description of what I hope turns out to be a hit tomorrow. I looked at it for a day with hesitation before clicking my can-do switch up and making it happen. Check it out!

Getting ready...

Cake Pans

Guess which is filled with VIA-batter?

First time I've used Kahlua to bake!

Heavy Cream

If you know me, you know how I feel about this...

Heavy Cream Frosting

Heavy cream turns into frosting! Who knew?!

Laptop Screenshot Michele

My computer wants to know if I want a watch. Hmmm.

Cake Assembly

Assembling the cake! It's looking good!

Frosted Tiramisu Cake

Cannot believe my eyes!

Cake Decoration

Shaved organic dark chocolate... oh, and me.

Finished Tiramisu Layer Cake

Ta-da! My handmade best-ever dessert creation!

Wanna make one? Here’s the recipe. I used VIA when it called for coffee and added a pinch of Splenda to my frosting.

Recipe reconnaissance

3 Nov

Raisins. This year’s secret Thanksgiving challenge ingredient was decided tonight via a Spiderman hat draw. What can I make with raisins besides oatmeal cookies?

Oh google, save me now.

Johnathan in New Spiderman Accessories

Johnathan in new Spiderman hat and gloves

Happiness is a warm quesadilla

23 Oct

LK says quesadillas can make everything better. That obviously doesn’t mean you should have them all the time, but it seems like you could if you made them yourself.  A few nutrient-rich add-ins can transform cheese-filled tortillas into a healthy meal — and the sky’s the limit. You can even serve quesadillas at Thanksgiving! Here’s how I know.

A few years ago my family began a tradition that led to some incredible flavor combos. The challenge:  base Thanksgiving recipes around a single ingredient. For sweet potato year, I wanted to serve something easy (preferably with cheese, because I love it so much). That led to me to black bean and sweet potato quesadillas, which easily passed my “Is it healthy?” test. The ingredients offer so many perks —  antioxidants, Vitamin C, fiber, iron… just make sure to use whole wheat burritos.

From around the web, ways to brighten your day with quesadillas: