Now, who doesn't like Thanksgiving? It happens to be one of my most favorite days of the whole entire year. It always involves lots of laughs, kitchen chaos, fun company, great food, and tons of butter...good times. To me, the few trips to the grocery store (which occur almost daily) before Thanksgiving, mark the commencement of the Holiday Season. Bring on the cheer, the food, the friends, and the pounds!
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This is the famous cornbread stuffing. It happens to be one of my favorite Thanksgiving decadent treats. My mother probably starts this goodie before any of the other dishes that fall on the dinner table and stumble into our bellies. She makes the cornbread days in advance. This year some of it found its way into our freezer to maintain freshness. In the cornbread (made from the Jiffy mix...oldie but goodie), she incorporates cream style sweet corn, hot jalapenos, and other varieties of corn to add kick and texture. The broken bread is then mixed with butter drenched onions and celery, more corn and seasoning deliciousness, and thrown back in the oven to crisp up. In the end, it is crunchy, sweet, spicy, indulgent and mildly (euphemism) addictive.
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Because Hurricane Sandy deprived us of power for more than a week, all the things in our freezer were forced to be evacuated and mutilated into use. We always stock up on the fresh cranberries because during this Holiday Season, cranberries are a featured star. So our freezer was full of the berries. We cooked the berries with lots of sugar and brandy to create a chunky cranberry sauce, perfect for the Thanksgiving dinner table, but also a filler for one of our favorite cookies (more on those later). The sauce is sweet and tangy, and with every bite a berry bursts and brings a new flavor with it, making it interesting and never the same.
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Most times Thanksgiving dinners at our house deffo lack in the vegetable department and are laden with butter, corn, brown sugar and other delicious decadence. Other than greens (this year a mix of collard and kale), there is not much to offer in the realm of vegetables. My Aunt has been bringing another vegetable to help balance our meal. The fresh green beans, dotted with colorful bell peppers, garlic and spice add variety and color. They are crunchy, flavorful and fresh, brightening the rich meal.
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I can't say the turkey is always my favorite part of the meal or the accoutrement that I look most forward to. Turkey is just a platform, a subtle foundation to our Thanksgiving meal (in my mind that is), but this year, the brined and grilled turkey was delicious. It was smoky and moist, flavorful, but heightened the other flavors that danced on the dinner plate. This turkey was a success, and brining it shortened the cook time, which is always a plus when people are starving for the dinner of the year.

Unfortunately, some of my favorite Thanksgiving things are not shown, but check out my tumblr to see them. The corn pudding, which is a strange creamy, buttery rich, corn dish, that can pass as dessert, is probably at the top of my food list. This year I ventured to make it, and with mild modifications, it was as delicious as ever. The cinnamon and nutmeg make the side dish magical, as well as the cream style corn suspended in the custardy mixture. Another at the top of my list is the kind of sweet potato casserole that we make for every year, involving heavy amounts of brown sugar, rum, butter and marshmallows. This is a treat that reminds me of home and family, and it will be a tradition that follows into my Thanksgivings.
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And who doesn't like sweet endings? Why not end the meal with a meaty slice of pecan pie? Sweet and syrupy, but nutty and heavy at the same time, topped with a healthy scoop of cold vanilla ice cream. Sounds good to me. This year instead of making pumpkin or sweet potato pie, I made my popular pumpkin cupcakes, that turned out scrumptious once again. Their spicy sweetness reflects the fall flavors and all the aromas that make me feel like the holidays are around the corner.

I hope everyone had a super delicious, fun and food filled Holiday...counting blessings not calories.


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food for thought...