Turkey Pancakes

Turkey Pancakes

Inspired by some festive Halloween pancakes, I decided to create a fun Thanksgiving Turkey Pancakes. This would be a great way to use up some of the candy eyes I bought for my Bat and Spider Cookies and please the kids with a special breakfast. In fact, when grandpa comes to visit they always look forward to his pancake with faces (a.k.a. candy cakes).

For these Turkey Pancakes I used a bit of food coloring to dye the pancake mix and then used condiment squeeze bottles to make a feather shape on the pan/griddle.  With this method, you can easily change out colors and get creative with shape.

Turkey Pancakes

By making each feather separate I create the turkey shape one piece at a time, and then garnish with candy eyes, candy corn, and colored food decorating gel to complete the Turkey Pancakes. 

The kids thought they were a hoot, though they did tell me Grandpa is the one who makes fun pancakes. Oops – I guess I stepped on Grandpa’s specialty.

 

Turkey Pancakes


Turkey Pancakes

2 cups pancake mix
Milk or water per mix directions
Red and yellow food dye
3 Condiment squeeze bottles
4 Candy eyes
2 pieces candy corn
Red decorating gel
Black decorating gel

 Mix pancake mix with water or milk according to package directions, then divide into four bowls. Use  the red and yellow food dye to color one bowl red, one yellow, and one orange.  Scoop the colored pancake mix into each of the three condiment bottles. Prepare a griddle or pan over medium high heat.  Once hot, use the squeeze bottles to pour the colored pancake mix onto the pan/griddle in the shape of feathers.

Remove from heat and set aside.  With the remaining uncolored pancake mix make two large and two small, round pancakes.

 To plate, evenly divide the colored feathers between two plates in a fan shape.  Place one large, round pancake on each, and then one small round pancake on top. Using the dab the back of the candy eyes with gel and place on the small round pancake, then place one candy corn in the middle of each small round pancake as a beak. Use the red gel to paint on a waddle, and use the black gel to draw on wings and feet and serve.

 

Note: Making each feather separate allows for better control. While you can make the feathers and body in one pancake, it is challenging to flip and gets heavy which can cause the pancake to tear.

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cornucopia gratefulness cookies

Cornucopia Gratefulness Cookies

My children are now old enough that they can comprehend the idea of Thanksgiving. So this year I wanted find a fun way to decorate my thanksgiving table while letting all my guests voice their prayers of thanksgiving.  What came to mind was these Cornucopia Gratefulness Cookies which are a take on a fortune cookie. Rather than finding a fortune inside, each cookie has comments from each guest on what they are thankful or grateful for. Quotes can be about general items of thanksgiving or specific thanks about each other.

cornucopia gratefulness cookies

I started my experiment by asking my kids what they were grateful for just before bed. Here is what they said:

  • I am thankful for all the special activities you do with us
  • I am grateful for Grandma and Grandpa
  • I am thankful for cuddle time with you and dad

 Pretty special, right? I can’t think of a better way that to start a meal with those that I love by reading aloud our Thanksgiving praise. Not to mention this easy cookie craft is a colorful way to dress up the table and is super quick to put together.  Older kids can even help put them together (I found that my 3 and 5 year old were more interested in eating them than completing the craft on the day I tried this).

cornucopia gratefulness cookies

cornucopia gratefulness cookies

cornucopia gratefulness cookies


Cornucopia Gratefulness Cookies

Sugar cones (one per place setting)
Vanilla wafers (one per place setting)
Frosting
Thanksgiving/fall sprinkles such as Wilton’s fall leaves mix
Paper and pens

Collect comments from family and guests ahead of Thanksgiving regarding what they are thankful or grateful for.  Write on strips of paper, roll up and place inside sugar cones. Place a bit of frosting around the edge of the vanilla wafer and gently place in the opening of the sugar cone (tucking the paper strip inside) until it fits snuggly.  Frost the entire exposed surface of the cookie and then dip into a shallow bowl filled with the fall sprinkles.  Set aside and repeat with remaining sugar cones and vanilla wafers.  Use as decoration for Thanksgiving place settings and break open cookies to read the notes of thankfulness.

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Autumn Bellini

I happen to love shopping at the warehouse stores, though sometimes they can result it much larger quantities of items than you really need. For example – canned pumpkin. Visions of pies and breads danced in my head as I picked up the package of three, 28 ounce cans. Of course I’ll use all this pumpkin!

This trio of cans could make about 6 pumpkin pies. Hmmm. Am I really going to eat make that much pie? Hence, I wanted to craft a few other uses for my pumpkin-o-plenty. What first came to mind was a holiday mocktail – an Autumn Bellini.

It uses a bit of canned pumpkin puree and pears (and a dash of apple pie spice) to replace the typical peach puree in a bellini,

autumn Bellini

Which then gets topped with sparkling apple cider.

autumn Bellini

A simple, yet festive mocktail that tastes like your favorite holiday pie in a glass. Cheers!

autumn Bellini

autumn Bellini


Autumn Bellini

15 ounce can of pear slices in heavy syrup, drained
¼ cup canned pumpkin puree
½ teaspoon apple pie spice
1 bottle of sparkling apple cider*

 

In a food processor or blender, mix the pears and pumpkin puree until a smooth puree is formed. Stir in the apple pie spice, and then evenly divide the puree between 8 champagne flutes, then pour the sparkling cider into the flutes until they are full but not overflowing. Serve immediately.

*Note, Prosecco can be substituted for the sparkling cider if you prefer a cocktail over a mocktail

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Sweet Potato and Curry Corn Chowder

For the first course at my Thanksgiving meal I usually start with a festive salad, but this year I wanted to try a soup. While smooth, root based soups typically abound for the holiday meal, I wanted to go for a chunky, curry corn chowder.

sweet Potato Chowder

One of the key ingredients I wanted to use is sweet potatoes.   I LOVE sweet potatoes, but my husband doesn’t care for them. Somehow that doesn’t stop me from picking up a large bag full this time of year. My thinking is that if I sneak them into a soup so filled with other vegetables, maybe he won’t even notice that they are there.

In addition to the sweet potatoes, I used a variety of other vegetables: carrots, celery, onion and corn, plus acorn squash to thicken the soup, eliminating the need for flour or corn starch (whoo hoo – gluten free!). To give it a kick, I stirred in just a bit of hot madras curry powder. Not only did it add just a hint of exotic flavor, it ramped up the golden hue of the soup.

The resulting sweet potato & curry corn chowder is a perfect start for a Thanksgiving meal – full of fall flavor yet not too rich that you can’t enjoy the rest of your meal. But why wait for a holiday meal? It is easy to whip together and is a great addition to any dinner feast or a tired lunch box.

sweet Potato Chowder

 


Sweet Potato and Curry Corn Chowder

2 lb acorn squash
¼ cup butter
¼ cup diced shallots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced carrots
1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic
3 cups peeled and diced sweet potato
2 cups frozen corn kernels
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups cashew milk
2 teaspoons hot madras curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
Crumbled, precooked bacon (optional)

 

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Cut the acorn squash in half and place cut side down in a 9×13 inch pan filled with 1 in of water. Roast for 1 hour or until flesh becomes soft.

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, celery, and carrots. Saute for 3 minutes to soften, then add garlic and saute for 1 minute longer. Add the sweet potato, corn, stock, and cashew milk and bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes or until the sweet potato pieces are tender. Scoop the acorn squash flesh from the skin (equals about 3 cups) and add to a food processor, along with 1 cup of hot liquid from the soup. Blend the acorn squash until smooth, and then add to the soup pot; stir to mix evenly. Add the curry powder and salt to the pot, stirring to evenly distribute. Ladle into bowls and serve with crumbled bacon, if desired.

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Persimmon and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

I know it is only mid-October, but my brain is on planning for Thanksgiving already.  You can blame it on a multitude of house projects, a few out-of-town guests between then and now, and a few other odds & ends tasks. With the flurry of activities I fear I am going to blink and find my expectant Thanksgivings guests looking back at me, wonder what is on the menu.

Hence, I am going to try to work in new ideas over the next few weeks so that come Turkey Day my preparation is smooth and stress free. First up – an appetizer – Persimmon and Goat Cheese Bruschetta.

persimmon

As the weather turns colder, a common grocery store item is the persimmon. For whatever reason, I haven’t experimented much with persimmons until now. The fuyu persimmons, which are shaped like a tomato and are a vibrant orange are ripe and ready to eat when firm (basically as-is from the grocery store), unlike the hachiya persimmons which must be soft before eating. Similar to a vine-ripe tomato a fuyu persimmon can be eaten simply by slicing off the top and remove the slender core.

persimmon

To keep it simple, I mixed the diced persimmon with dried cranberries, and served it over to sweet potato & cinnamon crackers topped with goat cheese that had been flavored with garam marsala and ground cloves. Even my two kiddos loved the snack, so I’m sure it will be a winner on Thanksgiving.

persimmon

I chose the crackers mainly since they went with my theme (they were not sponsored) and because I didn’t want to go to a second grocery store just to find the rye cocktail bread that had been my original intent. If you decide to try my Persimmon and Goat Cheese Bruschetta on the rye bread I’d love to hear how it turned out!

persimmon


Persimmon & Goat Cheese Bruschetta

2 Fuyu persimmons
½ cup dried cranberries
10 oz creamy goat cheese
1 teaspoon garam marsala
½ teaspoon ground cloves
48 sweet potato & cinnamon crackers*

 

Remove the stem and core of the persimmons, dice, and add to a bowl. Add the cranberries and stir to combine. In a separate bowl add the goat cheese, sprinkle the garam marsala and cloves over the cheese and stir until well mixed. Lay out the crackers on a platter, then roll ½ teaspoon of the spice goat cheese in a ball, press onto a cracker and top with a bit of the persimmon & date mixture. Repeat with the remaining crackers, cheese, and persimmon mixture. Serve immediately.

*note – if you can’t find the sweet potato & cinnamon crackers, substitute 24 rye cocktail bread squares.

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