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Thanksgiving GIFs: Eat All The Food!

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By Cooking Panda

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Turkey Day is finally upon us, and it’s time to have a little fun.

So go ahead celebrate the big day by relaxing with your loved ones, watching football and eating a ton of delicious food!

Like mashed potatoes …

So tasty!

And stuffing, or dressing — whatever you prefer to call it.

Whether you like it crammed inside of your bird …

Or served on the side in a neat little dish …

I think we can all agree that it’s delicious either way!

The veggies are pretty nice too …

Make sure to balance out your greens with some lovely carbs!

Like mac and cheese …

I mean really, does it get any more scrumptious than gooey, creamy cheese sauce and chewy little noodles?

I think not!

And don’t forget about the turkey!

Or the ham, if that’s more your thing.

A turducken, maybe?

Whatever your spread looks like, there’s one crucial thing that really ties it all together: gravy!

Smother everything in it!

If you think you have enough, you can still probably use more!

Douse it!

Wash it all down with a nice bubbly cocktail, if you’re in the mood.

Make sure to save some room for dessert!

It’s all about the pie.

Pumpkin, apple, pecan, it’s all good!

Or maybe all of the above?

Have it all! Calories don’t count on Thanksgiving. 

Featured Image: vxla/Flickr

Tags: foodporn, holiday gif, thanksgiving, Thanksgiving foodporn, Thanksgiving gif
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9 Thanksgiving Breads That Aren’t Sister Schubert Rolls (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

Zero shade intended toward Sister Schubert’s rolls (which are undeniably pillowy and delicious), but we can all do better in the bread department this Thanksgiving than sticking a tin of premade rolls in the oven.

No one is suggesting you go all “Great British Baking Show” and impress guests with intricate homemade loaves, but with just a bit of extra effort, you can create a carbolicious side that you’ll want to make for years to come. Here are nine recipes for simple and tasty breads, biscuits, cornbreads and rolls.

1. Sweet Potato Biscuits

These fluffy, versatile disks of goodness come together in 20 minutes with ingredients you likely already have in the pantry. It’ll be impossible to have just one with dinner, but if you manage to save a few, they’re perfect for leftover Thanksgiving meals, like turkey sandwiches or soup.

2. Creamy Cheesy Cornbread

Imagine corn pudding in handheld form, and you’ve got these dreamy squares of cornbread mix, creamed corn and cream cheese, irresistibly combined with oodles of cheddar for a side that will steal the show. 

3. Pumpkin Dinner Rolls

If you will make homemade bread just once in your life, make these adorable, pillowy pumpkin rolls, complete with pecan stems and your choice of savory or sugary butter. They’re sure to incite smiles on guests both young and old.

4. Garlic and Rosemary Skillet Bread

There’s no better aroma than garlic and rosemary to add to your kitchen’s symphony of scents on a holiday morning. Since it bakes in an oiled cast-iron skillet, the bread will have a perfectly crispy bottom with a fluffy, cloud-like interior.

5. Cheesy Cauliflower Muffins

Going easy on the carbs this Thanksgiving? Try these cauliflower muffins, which go easy on the flour without skimping on cheesiness or seasoning.

6. Popovers

Ina Garten’s tried-and-true popovers prove that a simple combination of butter, flour, eggs, milk and salt can never taste bad — especially when that combination is baked until perfectly puffy and golden.

7. Sweet Potato Cornbread

This sweet and savory cornbread is an unbeatable vessel for puddles of rich gravy. Be sure to cover it when it’s done baking — or you’ll find yourself sneaking forkfuls before dinner makes it to the table.

8. Cheddar Chive Drop Biscuits

Want to bring the essence of Red Lobster to your own inviting home? Give these extraordinarily cheesy biscuits a shot. It doesn’t get better than chives and cheddar.

9. Pull-Apart Stuffing Rolls

Want the flavors of stuffing in one convenient, fluffy package? Pull-apart stuffing rolls are the buttery treasure for you. The doughy knots are intertwined with sausage, celery, onion and garlic for a side that forms two classic dishes into one.

Featured Image: Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture/Wikimedia Commons

Tags: biscuits, bread, Cornbread, recipes, rolls, side dishes, thanksgiving
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10 Unconventional Pies To Bake This Thanksgiving (Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

By now, you’ve attended plenty of Thanksgiving dinners, and the selection of pies has probably varied little between pumpkin, apple and pecan.

But since it’s 2017, and freshness is needed, it’s time for a change-up. Here are 10 autumnal pies that combine traditional seasonal flavors with wonderfully unexpected twists. Happy baking!

1. Cinnamon Roll Apple Pie

This spectacularly messy take on apple pie combines three decadent textures: a soft and sweet crust made of refrigerated cinnamon rolls, a tender apple filling and a buttery, crumbly brown sugar topping. Take it to the next level with vanilla ice cream and a caramel drizzle.

2. Pear Butterscotch Vanilla Pie

Forget caramel apples — butterscotch pears are where it’s at this time around. Thinly sliced pears, sweetened with sugar and vanilla bean, are drizzled with a homemade butterscotch sauce and blanketed with an all-butter pie crust. It all sounds very peaceful, until you realize the whole house will go to battle over the last slice.

3. Cranberry Orange Custard Pie

This pie looks like a treat you’d see on “The Great British Baking Show,” but it comes together with a pre-made pie shell and fewer than 10 ingredients. The way the tart cranberries mingle with the sweet custard filling will make your heart sing. 

4. Apple Butter Pie

If you prefer your apple pies on the smoother side, this is the chunk-free dessert for you. It combines the taste of cinnamony fruit with the texture of pumpkin pie.

5. Brown Sugar Rum Raisin Pie

Deep flavors and rich textures are the name of the game in this appropriately autumnal pie. The spiced rum raisin filling is even thickened with a surprising ingredient: Greek yogurt. A perfect dollop of whipped cream on top doesn’t hurt, either.

6. Pecan Pie Cheesecake

Pie and cake combine their mighty forces in this delightfully gluttonous dessert: a magnificent monstrosity of vanilla wafer crust, velvety pecan and dense cheesecake fillings, sticky dulce de leche drizzle and crispy candied pecans. Sincerest apologies for triggering all of your cravings at once.

7. Fresh Fig Pie

This fuss-free, relatively healthy pie is perfect for the fig lover in your family. The fragrant fruit is brightened simply with ginger and lemon and uses just a skosh of butter and sugar, since, you know, it is still a fun dessert.

8. Chocolate Pie

It doesn’t involve pumpkin, apple or even cinnamon, but no guest in their right mind would be upset about eating this after a turkey dinner. You’ll be tempted to eat the chocolate pudding filling with a spoon as soon as it’s ready, but if you exercise a bit of discipline and allow it to set and cool in a store-bought crust, you won’t be sorry.

9. Gooey Butter Pie

Words like gooey, butter and pie hardly need justification, but here’s another tidbit: The custard filling and flaky crust make the perfect canvas for whipped cream, fruits, nuts, caramel sauce or just an eager fork. 

10. Amaretti Pumpkin Pie

Because no Thanksgiving pie list would be complete without some variation on classic pumpkin, here is a twist that will blow your mind with its complexity of flavor and simplicity in execution: a crumbly crust of amaretti cookies. Their deep almond flavor adds a layer of deliciousness that you never new pumpkin pie needed.

Featured image credit: Student150/Wikimedia Commons

Tags: Apple pie, dessert, pie, recipes, thanksgiving
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Next Day Thanksgiving Grilled Cheese

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By Cooking Panda

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Pumpkin Pie Cornucopias

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By Cooking Panda

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Watch These Kids Try 100 Years Of Thanksgiving Side Dishes (Video)

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By Cooking Panda

I bet you didn’t even know much about the Thanksgiving food traditions of the last 100 years. These kids, however, are here to let us know how it all tastes.

Check out the video below, where a group of kids tries a couple of different Thanksgiving dishes that were popular each of the last ten decades.

Starting in 1920, when oyster shooters and Yorkshire pudding were staple side dishes to your Thanksgiving feast (spoiler alert, the oyster shooters were not popular with the children), and ending with customs for today.

Did you know that pickled walnuts and cream of peanut butter soup were popular Thanksgiving dishes in the 1930s? How about that creamed onions and tomato consomme were common in the 1940s? I’m not sure what either of those things are, but according to the kids, the creamed onions “tastes like onions in a ball” and the tomato consomme just “tastes like tomatoes.”

In the 1950s we have instant mashed potatoes and canned gravy with canned cranberry sauce. These aren’t much different from the mashed potatoes and cranberries most of us are used to eating today. Unless I’m behind the times? In the 1960s we are introduced to sweet potatoes with marshmallows (still good!) and a not-so-great looking garden vegetables in aspic dish. Seriously, what is that? Not surprisingly, the kids were not fans of a jello-y vegetable loaf.

The 1970s brought us cauliflower surprise and Watergate salad, while the 1980s brought us almond cheese pinecones and carrot wreathes with creamed peas. I don’t think we have to brainstorm on why the carrot loaf and creamed peas isn’t still on our Thanksgiving tables today. What were we thinking with that?

The 1990s brought turnip puree with fried onions (which apparently tastes like sour milk with sweet onions) and wild rice pilaf with cranberries. The rice pilaf actually sounds pretty tasty. The 2000s have brought us healthier foods consisting of kale, dates, beet-filed deviled eggs and braised Swiss chard with hot sauce.

I have to hand it to these kids for being brave enough to try each of these dishes. Watch below for all reactions.

Source: Bon Appetit/Youtube / Photo Credit: Bon Appetit/Youtube

Tags: side dishes, thanksgiving
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Watch How They Celebrate Thanksgiving In Space (Video)

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By Cooking Panda

Have you ever wondered how astronauts practice Thanksgiving? The rest of us get time off to be with our families (for the most part), but of course those in space don’t have that luxury. So what do they do?

Well, they celebrate in their own way. Nasa has shared a video on YouTube answering just that, and when you watch the video below, you’ll get to learn all about Thanksgiving for astronauts in space. Spoiler alert, they watch football too!

The Space Station Commander starts out by letting us know that the crew will have a dinner. Great news already! The dinner will consist of most of the things we’ll have with our own dinners back home. The main course will be turkey, but with a space twist on it. It’s dry packaged and will be heated up to taste just like ours (maybe …). Cherry blueberry cobbler will be for dessert, and candied yams out of a pouch will be one of the side dishes. The dehydrated food (we knew there’d be some!) will consist of cornbread stuffing, green beans and mushrooms and mashed potatoes.

I’m not much of a fan of dehydrated foods, but I’d be curious to try each of these in the Thanksgiving fashion. I imagine it’s all great when you’re up in space and not used to eating much else. Still, nothing will compare to mom’s home cooking when they touch back down. For those Southerners who love their sweet tea, don’t fret. These guys get that, too. Sweet tea with lemon is available in packets for them to wash down their feast with.

You know that awkward moment at home when you have to go around the table and say what you’re thankful for? Well they’ll be doing the same up in space, except their answers are probably pretty interesting. I mean, they’re up in space!

And what Thanksgiving is complete without football? That’s right, they’ll even be watching live football, needed to “complete the experience.” Watch the video below to see the neat little food packages that we described above!

Source: Nasa/Youtube / Photo Credit: Nasa/Youtube

Tags: nasa, Space, thanksgiving, Turkey Day
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Yes, You Can Deep Fry Your Entire Thanksgiving (9 Recipes)

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By Cooking Panda

Why stop at just deep-frying your turkey? If, say, you acquired a massive deep fryer recently and you want to go HAM on turkey day, consider going all out and plunging ALL THE THINGS into a vat of hot oil. If you are planning on whipping up more traditional fare but expect to stock up on a fridge full of leftovers, you should totally bookmark this post for the day after Thanksgiving. You can thank us later.

1. Deep Fried Turkey with Southern Rub

Everyone knows that there is nothing quite like a moist, tender deep-fried turkey with potato-chip-crispy skin. The key to the perfect deep fried turkey? A nice flavorful southern-inspired rub that really brings that crunchy turkey to another level.

2. Beer-Battered Deep Fried Turkey

If you don’t intend to cook a whole bird, or you’re just gearing up to your leftovers, grab some thick slices of cooked turkey (chicken will work just fine too, for some year-round appeal), dunk it in some nice beer batter and toss it in the deep fryer. Honestly, this might actually be better than the freshly roasted stuff.

3. Deep Fried Thanksgiving Balls

Got leftover mashed potatoes and stuffing? What better way to down them than deep fried and dipped in sweet, tart cranberry sauce?

4. Tempura Green Beans with Sriracha Aioli

Green bean casserole is cool and all (and we bet your leftovers will make awesome fritters), but have you ever tried battering your long beans in tempura and deep frying them for the perfect crunchy snack? We bet these would make the perfect appetizers as well.

5. Deep Fried Cranberry Sauce Fritters

Cranberry sauce is perfect to dunk your fried stuff into, but don’t forget that you can deep fry the sauce too! This is absolutely great if you want to put a special spin on that stuff that comes out of a can.

6. Fried Mashed Potato and Gravy Bombs

The trick to getting that perfectly lush pool of gravy in the middle? Freezing cubes of it in an ice tray. You’re welcome.

7. Crispy Fried Brussels Sprouts with Honey Sriracha Glaze

It can be tricky to deep fry Brussels sprouts — you have to make sure the greens are completely dry and the oil is the right temperature — but oh boy does it pay off! These perfectly crunchy treats are sure addicting, but it’s the sweet-spicy dressing you drizzle on top that really will keep you from eating them any other way.

8. Deep Fried Stuffing

Make sure to cook up extra stuffing on Thanksgiving! Sure, it’s delicious in the classic Thanksgiving hangover sandwich, but have you ever tried deep frying it? It might change your life.

9. Deep Fried Pumpkin Pie

Because why not? Pro-tip: you can and SHOULD do this with pecan pie, too.

Featured Photo Credit: 12 Tomatoes

Tags: deep fried, leftover recipes, thanksgiving, Thanksgiving leftovers, unique Thanksgiving recipes
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The Ultimate Thanksgiving Dinner Make-Ahead Schedule

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By Cooking Panda

Whether you are hosting your loved ones for Thanksgiving for the first time ever, or you’re a seasoned old hand at it, one thing’s for sure: cooking up and serving a huge feast can be a little daunting. But don’t worry, we’re here to help, and you totally got this.

The closer you can get to sticking to an actual formal Thanksgiving schedule, the better it will be. Plus, you want to be a good host and spend time with your guests, so the goal here is to get as much cooking done ahead of time as possible so you can catch up with your cousins and a couple cocktails for at least part of the evening.

Do what you can on or before Thanksgiving Eve. If you can make anything on Monday night and freeze it, like freshly baked rolls, cranberry sauce or gravy, go right ahead. Start with our plan:

Saturday/Sunday

Thaw your frozen turkey now. That sucker needs at least 24 hours to thaw in the fridge for every four pounds on the bird, so get to it. You won’t hurt anyone if your turkey finishes thawing a day or two early, especially since a 16-pound turkey takes around four days to thaw. If you procrastinate on this and find that it’s still rock solid on Wednesday, throw it in a clean sink (giant pot, whatever) full of cold water for a few hours for a faster emergency thaw.

For a fresh turkey, check your local specialty grocer, but see if you can reserve it in advance, and place your order as soon as you can. They go fast!

Monday/Tuesday

Plan your menu. Finalize your grocery list and recipes. Adapt this schedule to fit your needs.

Go shopping. The last thing you want is a frantic and crowded mad dash across town to try and find sold-out pumpkin puree at the grocery store the day of. If you haven’t bought your turkey yet, grab one ASAP as they do tend to sell out. Buy ice now, if you’re going to use it for cocktails later.

Prep your space. Clean up your kitchen so you have room to work, clean out the fridge so you have space for the bird and an army’s worth of food and start cleaning the house now, if that’s your job. Wash and iron your cloth napkins now, and figure out how you are going to set the table. Have all your dishes clean and ready to go.

Make your perfect cranberry sauce, if you haven’t already. We like this one, but for the record, we have nothing against the canned stuff either.

Make and freeze your stuffing.

Seriously, you can do this! Here’s our favorite, which gets some extra flavor enhancers from apples, sage and sausage. Freeze in small batches and defrost on Wednesday, then bake normally.

Wednesday

Set the table! One less thing to worry about.

Brine your turkey, if you’re doing that. If you’re not in the mood for a mess, a dry brine is just as good as a traditional one. Here’s how to do it both ways.

Turkey isn’t your thing? Consider an alternate meat form (like one of these) that is less intimidating but still super festive. Prep it the day before.

Chop and prep all the veggies you’ll be using for your sides, like:

Green Bean Casserole

This one will rock your socks off if you want to break away from the usual condensed soup/fried onions element. Chop and parboil your green beans and dice whatever needs to be diced now, then assemble and cook it the day of.

Brussels Sprouts

You’ll love this slightly sweet, bacony version. Again, do all your chopping now.

Thaw anything frozen that you made in advance.

Bake your pie today and throw it in the fridge, especially if you’re serving it cold or room temperature.

Prep your appetizers. Not sure what to serve your hangry guests? Consider whipping up some of these to keep them from complaining.

TURKEY DAY

6 Hours Before Dinner

Bake that pie, if you haven’t already. Not sure what to serve for dessert? Here are some ideas.

Peel and chop your potatoes, and throw them in the slow cooker for at least four hours on high, to save yourself time and a mess. Mash them up whenever you have a spare moment. Bonus: they’ll stay warm and be ready whenever you are. Here’s how to make the easiest ever slow cooker mashed potatoes.

If there is anything you need to cook, like stuffing or a vegetable dish that needs a different temperature than the turkey, bake it now and warm it in the oven later.

5 Hours Before Dinner

Fire up the oven and throw in your bird. Make sure the turkey is nice and dry on the inside and outside before tossing it in the oven, especially if you wet brined it. Want an easy, foolproof way to make a flavorful, fall-off-the-bone tender bird with minimal hassle? Pick up a poultry oven bag and cook your turkey in that. Here’s how.

Remember that you want to give your turkey about an hour to rest and get carved up, so plan accordingly.

An Hour Before Your Guests Arrive

Prep all your cocktails and warm up your apps. If you aren’t using any fresh herbs or anything, you might be able to get away doing this the night before. Not sure what drinks to serve? Try one of these.

1 Hour Before Dinner

Remove your turkey from the oven when it’s done. Throw your veggies and anything else that needs to roast in there. In the meantime:

Use the drippings from your turkey to make gravy, if you haven’t done so already. Here’s how to make our favorite easy turkey gravy.

Carve the turkey, reheat whatever needs to be reheated, and most importantly:

ENJOY THE CRAP OUT OF YOUR AMAZING THANKSGIVING DINNER! You worked hard on this, and most likely it came out awesome.

Featured Photo Credit: Stanford Grill/Instagram

Tags: how to cook Thanksgiving dinner, how to roast a turkey, thanksgiving, Thanksgiving checklist, Thanksgiving schedule
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Good News: Your Thanksgiving Turkey Can Fly With You

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By Cooking Panda

If you’re traveling for Thanksgiving, you might like to know that your turkeys and turduckens are safe for transport. That is, the TSA wants to allow you to fully enjoy your holiday by making it possible for you to travel with these things.

The TSA isn’t quite known for being friendly and fun, so take advantage of this offer if you can. According to Tasting Table, the TSA has offered guidelines, including the foods that can and cannot be taken on planes this holiday season. For example, gravy can’t be transported, but a live turkey totally can be!

There are even guidelines for traveling Pilgrims, as far as buckles and blunderbusses are concerned. Don’t let your large buckles set off the metal detectors. The TSA blog reports that the holiday season is the busiest travel time of the year — no surprise there — and that 2.27 million passengers travel between Nov. 18 to 23, and Nov. 26 to 28. You can work on expediting the travel process with TSA Pre-Check, where the average wait time is only five minutes in line. Travelers won’t even have to remove shoes, electronics or jackets if they use this process. Try bringing your turkey along and using TSA Pre-Check!

The best part about these new guidelines is that you can actually bring the live turkey if you want to. You’ll have to check into those guidelines more specifically, and I’m sure there’s no guarantee that the turkey will still be alive when you reach your destination, but you can only ask for so much, right?

Enjoy your holiday season knowing your dinner can come with you, and leftovers can come back. No need to waste food or cook last minute! If you have questions about certain food items, or your Pilgrim buckles, you can get live team assistance by tweeting @AskTSA, or by reaching out via Facebook Messenger. Get all of your questions answered and have no trouble going through airport security? Sounds like a holiday dream come true. There’s no excuse this year to forget the turducken now!

Sources: Tasting Table, TSA Blog / Photo Credit: Artie Fishel/Instagram

Tags: Holiday Travel, holidays, thanksgiving, TSA, Turducken, turkey
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Man Pulls Gun On Starbucks Barista Over Coffee Price

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By Cooking Panda

We know that people are passionate about caffeine, but this is taking it to such an extreme and unacceptable level!

The holidays are upon us, and tensions are high. Most of us turn to coffee to give us that much needed energy boost to help us make it through these last few days before we get to take the night off and tuck into a holiday meal with family, friends, alone or with strangers.

Ray Hunter Shortridge, however, reached a new level of extreme when, after getting into a disagreement over the price of coffee in a Starbucks drive-thru, he allegedly brandished a freaking firearm at the poor barista at the window!

According to Patch, Shortridge, 59, was booked into the Bartow County Jail and charged with aggravated assault and possession of schedule II drug and drugs not in their original container.

At around 5:15 p.m. on Nov. 14, an employee recalled the entire scary ordeal to the police who arrived at the scene.

“Once Mr. Shortridge pulled up to the window, he had an unknown type polished pistol with an unknown gold engraving on the slide in his right hand,” the incident report states. “Mr. Shortridge’s finger was on the trigger and stated that, ‘The price would be $1.50, correct?'”

How terrifying is that? We wouldn’t want to be the poor barista who had to inform Shortridge that he owed more money, if that were the case!

However, apparently the employee played it totally cool, and had the nerve to even inform Shortridge that not only was his price estimation one dollar too little (the coffee cost $2.50), but he went so far as to tell Shortridge to “take his finger off the trigger due to a safety concern.”

We are not worthy! That is so cool!

“Mr. Shortridge was heard in the recording describing the firearm as a 45 long slide with a 6 inch barrel,” the report states. Shortridge apparently also stated that “the gun was unloaded and the gun would blow him right away.”

Luckily, Mr. Shortridge was booked into the Bartow County Jail, which must be a relief to the employees, one of whom stated to Patch that this was “not the first incident that Mr. Shortridge has showed up to the window with a firearm at the window.”

Stay safe this holiday season, everyone!

Sources: Patch / Photo Credit: Starbucks/Instagram

Tags: coffee, coffee heist, holiday, Starbucks, thanksgiving
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Forget Pumpkin Pie: 9 Unique Thanksgiving Desserts

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By Cooking Panda

Are you burnt out on pumpkin pie? Does your family start a rift every year because they can’t agree on whether to serve pecan, pumpkin or sweet potato pie at Thanksgiving? Don’t worry, we have a solution for you. No matter what the problem — whether it’s picky eaters or just a bad day — we’re pretty sure you’ll find the solution in at least one of these perfect dessert recipes that will knock your Thanksgiving spread right out of the park!

1. Malted Walnut Pie

If pecans are too mainstream for your Thanksgiving, whip up this festive, not quite as sweet spin on the usual dessert, with barley malt syrup for an extra kick.

2. Cinnamon Streusel Dessert Pizza

If there’s ever a right time to eat dessert pizza it’s…Every. Single. Day!

3. Pioneer Vinegar Pie

It sounds a little weird, right? But trust us (and Martha Stewart) on this one — if you and your guests love lemon and tangy sorts of pies, you’ll adore this relic from the covered wagon days. It tastes just like lemon custard.

4. Lemon Cranberry Pie Bars

Tired of pumpkin spice? Make these simple bars, with an easy crust and tangy lemon curd filling swirled with gorgeous, festive cranberry puree.

5. Polenta Grape Cake

Want a rich, creamy sturdy cake? Try this one, studded with beautiful red grapes and fragrant rosemary.

6. Sweet Potato Pie With Marshmallow Meringue

We know you love sweet potato pie, but if you aren’t doing it with toasted marshmallow creme, you’ve got a thing or two to learn. Pay attention.

7. 2-in-1 Pumpkin-Praline Pie

If indecision is what ails you, look no further. Nothing bad ever came of mixing pumpkin and pecan pie. Nothing! Would it be too much if you topped this with a little homemade chocolate syrup? We think not!

8. Apple Crostada with Brown Butter Streusel

Never underestimate the power of a nice buttery streusel to bring the family together!

9. Sweet-Potato Bourbon Bundt Cake

If you want something that screams tradition, but you’re just not really into pie filling and crust (who ARE you?), go ahead and make some magic sweet potatoes and bourbon for a rich, moist cakey (and way lighter than pie) after-dinner treat.

Featured Photo Credit: Justin Bernhaut/Food And Wine

Tags: dessert recipe, holiday pie, pie, thanksgiving, Thanksgiving desserts
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19 Gifs That Prove Thanksgiving Food Is The Actual Best

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By Cooking Panda

The air is chilly and crisp, the trees are shedding their crunchy multi-colored leaves, and we can just about smell that turkey roasting in the oven. And that means it is just about time for one of the best days of the year.

THANKSGIVING IS HERE!

Time for football, loved ones, and stuffing your belly to full capacity.

And, most importantly, the star of the show: TURKEY!

What’s better than a juicy, flavorful tender bird with a nice crisp skin?

NOT MUCH, we say! Especially when it has a lovely, crunchy herby crust…

We would absolutely love a slice just about now…

And don’t forget that green bean casserole! You can’t go wrong with those yummy crunchy fried onions.

Even Brussels sprouts taste heavenly this time of year…

But whatever you do, don’t forget the carby motherload that is stuffing!

Rivaled only in carby heavenliness by the starchy, creamy wonder of mashed potatoes.

And then there’s the mac and cheese. You can never EVER go wrong with mac and cheese…

Eat whatever you want, just as long as you smother gravy all over your feast fit for royalty.

But don’t forget to scoop a ton of sweet/tangy cranberry sauce on the side as well. You’ll need something to cut through all the wonderfully rich and heavy savory dishes.

Or, if you prefer the good old American way of eating things that are both questionable and delicious, you might slice this up instead:

And then there’s this little angel of a dish, speaking of perfectly sweet Thanksgiving sides:

Or, as we like to call it, pie foreplay. Because you know what is coming after you finish your sweet potato casserole and gear up for the big finale.

THIS.

Or, if you prefer, THIS.

Or both, if you’re lucky! Whatever is on the table, we should all be thankful to share it with loved ones.

Happy eating!

Featured Photo Credit: Sharon & Winter/Instagram

Tags: food gif, foodporn, Hump Day, thanksgiving, turkey gif
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7 Thanksgiving Appetizers That Might Outshine Turkey

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By Cooking Panda

Thanksgiving is nearly here! We understand that hosting people can be a little terrifying, especially if you are the one responsible for cooking dinner, and we know that your oven, stove, slow cooker and maybe even grill will be operating on full-capacity. But even so, don’t neglect your appetizers, because they are exactly what will be keeping your guests happy and patient while you scramble to stir the gravy and frantically throw an underdone turkey back into the oven. Plus, most of these are either super easy or can be made in advance.

Of course, you can totally use any of these dishes as sides for the big meal, if you’re looking to do something slightly unconventional with traditional fall flavors.

1. Bacon-Wrapped Brussels Sprouts with Creamy Lemon Dip

No one will complain about eating their veggies when they are wrapped in bacon and smothered in bright, zippy cream sauce. That’s just a fact.

2. Caramelized Onion and Bacon Pull-Apart Bread

Stuff melty smoked cheese, savory bacon and sweet caramelized onions into a hearty, rustic loaf of bread. Serve it as an appetizer, and no one will bug you about the turkey every five seconds.

3. Holiday Bacon Appetizers

If you find yourself short on time and appetizer-less, whip up these crunchy bacon snacks in no time. All you do is wrap a cracker and parmesan cheese in bacon, then just toss in the oven until crispy for the ultimate savory treat.

4. Sweet Potato Gratin with Chile-Spiced Pecans

Nothing against the usual sweet potato side dish, but there’s no shame in mixing it up every now and again. Upgrade your typical cloyingly sweet yam mash by adding a little texture and spice.

5. Green Olive, Walnut and Pomegranate Dip

If you want something sweet, tart, savory and salty all at once, try this chunky Iranian dip. You’ll love the perfect balance of bright, bold flavors, and they’ll cut right through the thick, heavy holiday entrees.

6. Apple Blue Cheese Flatbread

You can use pretty much whatever you want for the crust — flatbread, naan, pizza crust or whatever else you have on hand. You can probably even roll out a can of croissant dough if you want something a little sweeter.

7. Kabocha Bean Dip 

The best part of this squash dip, beyond its satisfying creaminess, is the esthetic factor, since you can serve the bright dip in the actual squash if you want. If you want bolder flavors, feel free to mix in curry powder, smoked paprika, chipotle, or any other similarly awesome seasonings.

Featured Photo Credit: Food Network Kitchen

Tags: Appetizer, holiday appetizer, holiday food, Tasty Tuesday, thanksgiving
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Ina Garten’s Perfect Thanksgiving Dinner

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By Cooking Panda

We all have our turkey questions when November rolls around. Some people stuff the bird before roasting, while others run straight to the deep-fryer. But how does a professional do Thanksgiving?

Ina Garten has answers to all of the normal every-year type questions that are bound to come up so that we can throw the best turkey-day feast imaginable. Garten answered several turkey-day questions for The Huffington Post, covering everything from turkey prep to the cranberry sauce.

Want quick answers without sitting through the seven-minute video? Well, here are some highlights.

If you’re wondering whether you should have a fresh or frozen turkey, Garten says fresh is always better.

Wondering if you should brine the turkey? She says that brining is great, but a dry brine is much better since you don’t have to deal with a watery mess and lack of fridge space.

If you’re not sure whether to roast or deep-fry your turkey, Garten recommends roasting, although her reasoning is that deep-frying scares her. She didn’t say if it was for health reasons or because the process is slightly dangerous. Avoid both scenarios by roasting, anyway.

As far as the giblets are concerned, Garten prefers to toss them. But if you like them, you like them.

Wondering if you should use the plastic pop-up thermometer? Garten says that once that thermometer has popped, the turkey is already overcooked, so best to avoid using it altogether.

Carve your turkey ahead of time if you want to follow Garten’s example. She says it’s best not to get your party clothes dirty!

Serve your gravy both with the turkey and at the table. In her opinion, you can never have too much gravy at Thanksgiving.

As for the stuffing, Garten feels it’s best to cook it outside the turkey, all on its own. That way, you don’t have to overcook the turkey to get the stuffing just right.

Now that we’ve covered the turkey, check out the video to catch the side-dish advice from this cooking expert.

Source: The Huffington Post / Photo Credit: Omaha Steaks/Instagram

Tags: Ina Garten, Roasting Turkey, thanksgiving, turkey
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Don’t You Dare Brine Your Turkey This Year

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By Cooking Panda

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, then there is a good chance you will soon find yourself staring at a giant bird with your mouth hanging open, completely at a loss.

People will probably tell you that you should brine your turkey before you cook it — in other words, soaking it in salty water for hours, maybe even days. Culinary heavy hitters like Alton Brown and Martha Stewart swear by brining, saying that it gives the bird more tenderness and flavor, according to BuzzFeed.

Wet brining a turkey is a huge nuisance. After you make a brine out of water, salt, sugar and seasoning, you need to find a huge pot that will hold the whole turkey, and then you need to figure out how you’re going to keep that pot cold for no fewer than 12 hours.

One commonly used turkey brining method involves putting the huge bird in a brine bag and then surrounding it with ice, changing it out as it melts.

But here’s the thing: considering all the hassle, wet brining does not work all that well.

BuzzFeed tested three different ways to flavor a turkey — wet brined, dry brined, and not brined at all — and cooked all three turkeys the same way.

After taste-testing, turns out that wet brined turkey was the worst of the bunch. It had very little flavor, was not particularly tender and the skin was rubbery. Tasters preferred the juicy, flavorful dry brined turkey by far.

Here is how you dry brine a turkey:

Combine 1/3 cup kosher salt, 1 tablespoon light brown sugar and 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Rub the mixture all over a 14 to 16 pound turkey. Try and get it over the skin, under the skin, and inside the cavity. Refrigerate uncovered for 8 to 16 hours. Rinse and thoroughly pat dry before roasting.

When you are ready to cook it, consider using Bon Appetit’s dry brined turkey roasting recipe, which uses a quartered medium onion, a halved head of garlic, and 1-2 bunches of herbs. Instead of water, pour two cups of chicken broth into the pan for extra flavor and tenderness.

Sources: BuzzFeed, Bon Appetit / Photo Credit: BuzzFeed

Tags: brine, dry brine, recipe, thanksgiving, turkey
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10 Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren’t Pie

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By Cooking Panda

1. Cinnamon Sugar Cider Doughnuts

You can coat these delicious, fresh doughnuts in cinnamon sugar, or you can work a little harder and make a simple glaze with boiled-down apple cider, butter, and confectioner’s sugar. It’s hard to imagine there being a wrong choice here.

2. Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

If you want something new but are worried that you’ll miss pumpkin pie, try these crowd pleasing three layer hybrid bars and finish with the topping of your choice.

3. Healthy Apple Cake

This super moist apple cake is low on fat and calories, but it doesn’t taste like it. Add lemon zest and thinly sliced apples to a low calorie cake batter.

4. Pecan Pie Rugelach

Fusing favorites from two different holidays has never tasted better. Serve these little buttery, crunchy pecan pastries to your Thanksgiving guests and they’ll never ask for pie again.

5. Vanilla Bean Tarte Tatin

This buttery upside-down pastry is topped with carmelized apples and is absolutely scrumptious.

6. Pumpkin Magic Custard Cake

It tastes like pumpkin pie, but  better.

7. Spiced Pear Upside Down Cake

Impress your guests with this beautiful upside down cake, flavored with pomegranate molasses, orange zest, and cardamom. They’ll never know how deceptively easy it is to make. The best part is that you can make it a day in advance, and no one will ever know.

8. Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler

Never have to choose between pumpkin and pecan again.

9. Pecan Bread Pudding

Because who doesn’t love bread pudding? Update this classic dessert by adding butter, brown sugar, and pecans to make it taste like Thanksgiving. The topping gets crunchy, like a streusal, but the inside remains moist and bread pudding-y. You really can’t lose here.

10. Creamy Pumpkin Caramel Panna Cotta

These are super easy to make, but they look deceptively fancy and taste like heaven. Make them ahead so that you have plenty of time to frantically defrost the turkey you could have sworn you already prepared.

Sources and Photo Credits: SaveurRoxana's Home BakingAs Easy As Apple PieBuzzFeedBon Appetit (2)The Gunny SackLauren's LatestCall Me PMCFoodness Gracious

 

Tags: creative, dessert, thanksgiving
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Easy, 5-Minute Mug Cake Recipes

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By Cooking Panda

It’s no wonder why mug cakes are all the rage. They’re easy to make and fun to eat. Whether you’re craving a spoonful of Nutella or want something to fulfill your Holiday cocoa craving, there’s a mug cake recipe for you. The best part is that you can make all of these recipes in under 5 minutes.

1. Nutella Mug Cake (Recipe)

2. Double Lemon Mug Cake (Recipe)

3. Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake (Recipe)

4. Chocolate Espresso Mug Cake (Recipe)

5. Peanut Butter Mug Cake (Recipe)

6. Chocolate and Salted Caramel Mug Cake (Recipe)

7. Chocolate Chip Cookie Mug Cake (Recipe)

8. Strawberries and Cream Mug Cake (Recipe)

9. S’more Mug Cake (Recipe)

10. Vegan Sweet Potato Mug Cake (Recipe)

Tags: dessrt, food, holiday, mug cake, thanksgiving
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10 Genius Thanksgiving Recipes You Can Make In a Muffin Tin

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By Cooking Panda

Thanksgiving is a busy day! Make your life easier with this simple recipes that can be made in a muffin tin. Just pop them in the oven and serve these adorable, party-sized recipes at any holiday event.

1. Rosemary Sweet Potato Stackers (Recipe)

 

2. Pancetta and Sage Stuffing Muffins (Recipe)

 

3. Mini Pecan Pies (Recipe)

 

4. Cheesy Mashed Potato Puffs (Recipe)

 

5. Cornbread Chorizo Stuffing Muffins (Recipe)

 

6. Individual Scalloped Potatoes (Recipe)

 

7. Apple Pie Cups with Cinnamon Streusel Topping (Recipe)

 

8. Sweet Quick Dinner Rolls (Recipe)

 

9. Mini Garlic Monkey Bread (Recipe)

 

10. Spinach Artichoke Dip Cups (Recipe)

Tags: food, muffin tin, recipe, thanksgiving
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