Hosting Thanksgiving At My Home – My First Time Wrap-Up!

Thanksgiving has came and went. Whew! This was my first year hosting the Thanksgiving Day holiday at my home. I gotta say that I was probably nervous about the whole situation for the month leading up to it. I know that a lot of work and prep goes into pulling off this festive day. Our feast that we had here was perfect and excellent from start to finish. I was satisfied with how every single element of it came out. No complaints whatsoever here! I hope all of my readers also had a great holiday and enjoyed their big plate of food!

Here is a look at my dinner plate from Thanksgiving! I have a little bit of everything on my plate: roasted turkey, redskin mashed potatoes with French butter, Brussels sprouts, wild rice stuffing with mushrooms and cranberries, White Castle stuffing, Clean Bean (green bean) Casserole, ambrosia, sweet potato casserole, and my favorite~ Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cranberry Sauce! I am hoping to do a recipe post soon for my famous cranberry sauce. I can turn any cranberry-sauce-hater into a lover! So far it has worked with two haters in my family.

Thanksgiving Holiday Platter
Thanksgiving Holiday Platter

Today I will be discussing Thanksgiving and how we pulled it off. I could not have possibly made this day possible without the help and support of my family. My mom, Kathie, was a huge help. She purchased the turkey and a great majority of the food that was served. Money is super tight right now with my family so I was very grateful that she pitched in (big time) to help me create this feast.

My mom bought the 19-pound turkey and an electric roaster to cook the turkey in. I spotted the roaster when we took a trip over the Costco and I thought it would be a great idea to cook the turkey in there so we could free up the oven space for the side dishes that needed to be warmed up. Turned out to be the best idea ever!

My stepmom, Evelyn, was also a huge help. She came over early on Thanksgiving to help my mom and I prep. Evelyn brought over an appetizer and a side dish to pass as well. The appetizer that she brought was unique. They were bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Well, they were delicious. These got gobbled up pretty quick. For a side dish, she brought her famous sweet potato casserole. My stepmom was incredibly helpful with the kitchen clean up as well. That helped me tremendously.

 

Prepping for the Thanksgiving holiday

 

Paleo & Vegan (Gluten-Free) Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake

The day before Thanksgiving, I did what I could to prep for the big day. The first thing that I did was I created my Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake. This is my favorite fall dessert at the moment. I wanted to get that done early because the cheesecake needs to set for at least six hours. I gave it plenty of time to set by creating it the morning before the holiday. I have a recipe for this paleo/vegan cheesecake on my blog. I did modify the recipe just a tad bit. Obviously, I did something different for the topping. Instead of creating a whipped cream with coconut cream I topped this cheesecake with a ton of walnuts and pecans. I wanted to make it extra nutty. I purchased a can of non-dairy, almond milk whipped cream to top it with. Instead of using the spices individually I used a jar of pumpkin pie spice.

Paleo & Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake topped with walnuts and pecans
Paleo & Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake topped with walnuts and pecans

Paleo cranberry sauce

I also busted out my slow-cooker the day before Thanksgiving to make my paleo cranberry sauce in advance. This is one of those set-it-and-forget-it recipes. I love cranberry sauce and my cranberries have the power to turn cranberry sauce haters into lovers! My husband never eats cranberry sauce. Guess what? This year he did! And I know that he enjoyed it because he helped himself to some for his leftover plate. This cranberry sauce is simple to make. I call it my Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cranberry Sauce! There are many ingredients that go into it but it is very easy to create. There are no refined sugars in this cranberry sauce. I use an entire bottle of pure maple syrup to sweeten it. I also use fresh-squeezed orange juice, orange zest, two ambrosia apples, walnuts, and pecans to create the sauce. The apples are a nice, welcome addition and the nuts give it a great texture. The sauce is heavily seasoned with pumpkin pie spice. I picked up a bottle of the Spice Hunter’s Pumpkin Pie Spice at Nino Salvaggio’s in St Clair Shores. This pumpkin pie spice seemed like a wonderful blend of spices. It worked out well in my Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake too, so the funds I spent on it was a great investment.

Ingredients Cinnamon, ginger, lemon peel, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, star anise, fennel, black pepper

You can pick up a bottle of this awesome pumpkin spice seasoning on Amazon. I highly recommend using this Spice Hunter blend for all of your fall flavored foods.

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cranberry Sauce
Everything But The Kitchen Sink Cranberry Sauce

Continue reading “Hosting Thanksgiving At My Home – My First Time Wrap-Up!”

Shopping At Tastemade – Friday Faves

TGIF and welcome to this week’s installment of Friday Faves! Tastemade is a wonderful cooking and lifestyle website that has some unique items in their online shop. They offer free shipping on orders that are $49+. I am really loving the DIY kits that they offer. Those sound like fun projects to do in the Give It A Whirl Girl Kitchen. Here is a list of some of my favorite items in the Tastemade shop. Be sure to check them out because they offer some nice stuff for your kitchen and home. Many of these items would also make great gifts!

Click the links or images to shop!

Dana’s Bakery – Macaron Making Kit

Dana’s Bakery has three kits to choose from. There is Red Velvet, Fruity Cereal, and Chocolate. Each kit contains the following: 2 mix packets, 2 piping bag, 1 piping tip, and a recipe for filling. You will be making this French pastry like a pro with this kit.

BergHOFF Apero Dinner Party Serving Set

Present your guests with foods to nibble on in style. I love this serving set. Is the food included as well? Just kidding (but maybe not). Looks so delicious. This serving set has five different compartments to organize your hors-d’oeuvre.

Aura Glass Aerating Wine Glasses With Coasters – Rainbow Chrome

I just had to spot a rainbow, didn’t I? These unique wine glasses totally caught my eye. These glasses enhance the flavor and aroma of your wine AND it is spill-proof. LOVE!

Eat Your Coffee Bars – Variety Pack of 8

Looking for an energy surge in your day? I have tried these bars before and they will give you a much-needed energy burst if you are having a sluggish day.

Continue reading “Shopping At Tastemade – Friday Faves”

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