THANKSGIVING is here. It really is. This year swirled by faster than a Simone Biles flip. It came and is almost gone in a really beautiful way, leaving me, maybe even you, in awe of its grace. We’re here to see another holiday season, replete with abundant gifts. I’ve enjoyed so many wonderful blessings this year. So many regalitos I didn’t anticipate. Gifts of time, love, health, family, and great cooking via my work, fitness, and more travell; all of which made their way into my daily grind. I can and do work diligently on ensuring efficiency and effectiveness of most of those elements that make up my life; but I can’t ever forecast the true yield of my efforts. That’s where the beauty lies — in seeing the top layer of the stacked pages telling the story of your nuances. I use Simone Biles as a metaphor of this year’s expediency because this summer’s Olympics reminded me of how agile and strong our bodies can be if we treat it right, including physical training. I started cycling again this year after more than a decade of sitting idle. My return to the bike has changed my life in a such remarkable way, I can only say I’m thankful for the strength, both mental and physical I’ve come to regain from 2000 miles logged. In the process, I’ve also learned to appreciate a few things I think I’ve taken for granted. The sense of community is probably the most significant one. Without boring you, the people I’ve met from organized rides, and basic maintenance appointments, have added happy arteries to my life. The 10 or so people I’ve spent time with this summer have reminded me of how beautiful life is when you open yourself up to community; but not only open yourself to it, but also contribute to it. It’s only natural my contribution to the cycling community is good comida. Feeding those few supportive cycling buddies is the best way I can show my appreciation for their time and talent. I’ve dished out plates to most of them at different intersections in the last 6 months but haven’t been able to round them all up in mi casa for a more formal potluck. With Thanksgiving knocking at our door, the best way I could show them my affection is to visually offer what dinner would be like if I hosted them.
Outside of my cycling community, my blogging mates are quite special. 9 years in this game means I’ve made some pretty good friends. Some of them are quite special people I’ve come to know intimately and would call on outside of our mutual interest in WordPress. These are people that know the value in sharing the goodness breaking bread. And, they’re also people I can count on to offer up a piece of cake or a hearty bowl of mac and cheese when I don’t have time to make, plate, and photograph something for you. And those same people came through again. I asked a few of those friends to share one of their favorite dishes for Thanksgiving… dishes that, combined, would make up a really attractive menu you can enjoy with yours.
Thanks to these friends, I share with you, and my cycling community, a delicious spread of foods anyone can make. Check out the full recipes on their sites. You’ll be sure to stumble upon on more of their goodness.
Braised Round Roast
You know the turkey is king on Thanksgiving Thursday so I forwent giving you what you already have in mind. This round roast is for the true meat lover that doesn’t subscribe to a 6-hour process with the bird. In the pressure cooker, this roast is done in 30 minutes. From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy it.
Classic Mac & Cheese
My friend Edward is my bestie when it comes to simple but decadent platings. This guy get me in a way I didn’t think a social colleague could; yet he does. His mac and cheese is the quentessential dish that can be a main or side, depending on how hungry you are. It’s definitely cheesy enough to keep you full. Cheddar and Havarti marry well. I mean, just look at it. Check out more of his crazy, sexy food shots on Instagram.
Cuban-Inspired Potatoes and Meat Hash
My Cuban-Russian friend, Irina, loves exploring her Cuban roots in a fun way. I love how she interprets our papa rellena, or stuffed potato balls with this skillet. This is a wide open, deconstructed version of sorts. Crispy potatoes and meat never fail. Ever. This is also a full plate (just add a veggie on the side) for the meat and potato kind of eater.
Roasted Delicata Squash Salad
I’ve shared Faith’s dishes with you before. I just love that gal. I’ve never met her in person but something about her spirit makes me smile. I imagine sitting at our dinner respective dinner table and simply escaping the reality of life and enjoying great convo, delicious wine and memorable plates. Because it’s what she does on her blog, An Edible Mosaic. Here’s her really pretty squash salad which will for sure impress your guests. It’s going to impress me, too, seeing I have an unused squash sitting on my counter, begging to be cooked. Hers is a great addition or substition for the basic green salad. Plus, its texture and colors are perfect for complementing the rest of your dinner table.
Ericka from Nibbles and Feast has a great knack for bringing Mexican tradition to the fore without much effort. I saw this colorful rice and couldn’t resist sharing. Rice is such a basic necessity in Latin homes but sometimes can use some doctoring up. I love the use of nuts in his bowl. It gives it the heartiness we all look for this time of year.
Laura is quite cool. She has a colorful family she keeps well-fed. Nots sure how she does it, honestly, but she makes it work. She’s always whipping up something in her fabulous kitchen. This cornbread stuffing was attractive because it brought memories of my 20s when I would clip recipes to make for my family. I made a similar stuffing ions ago and was instantly remind of how delicious it was when she suggested this one. By the looks of hers, it’s the absolute best thing in the way of stuffing, or dressing, as southerners say. Cornbread, sausage, celery? Yes and yes.
Pastry chef Marnely is my girl. Another blogger I’ve not met in person but someone whose love of baking is infectious (and books). It helps she works in Martha’s Vineyard where the expectation is alway to eat amazing. She kind of blew my mind with this pretty Dominican cake, filled with dulce de leche and covered in chocolate sprinkles. I mean, come on. Why in the world would anyone in their right mind pass up a slice or two of this?
Pumpkin Tres Leche
Not sure I need to intro this cake much. All things pumpkin. 3 milks. Moist cake. Yup. That’s all. Oh, yeah, Yvette…she’s a pretty chica doing the most in the Mexican cuisine, space, too. Right.
I’m a cake girl. But I do love a good pie. Nice and crusty will win me over every time. And with a soft and delicate center like this pecan pie I made a few years ago, and I’m willing to make it several it times over for a few friends. It’s on my agenda today.
The Final Say
This drink is fully responsible for my new-found love of Bourbon, Whiskey, and most matter of stiff “manly” drinks. Not because it’s based on classic cocktail mechanics…rather because the bartenders at the Modern Hotel in Boise, ID blew my mind in such a way I’m still talk about it. In fact, I’ve managed to jop draws when I mention “Boise has an underground cocktail scene that will have you considering a flight there.” Yes. It does. This drink isn’t bourbon-based, but will prove my point. Make it tomorrow. And all of winter.
Honey Crisp Apple Spiced Rum
I don’t take credit for this delicious apple and rum cocktail. It’s the creation of Chef Marc Forgione, a classic American cuisine cook. He concocts a sweet drink that even my father would enjoy…Not too sweet, not too dry and holds a high perfume factor for the senses. I did make it my own, tho. An added a pinch of ground nutmeg and clove and kicked up the rum. Everything else worked how he intended it to be.
Pumpkin Butter & Ginger Drink
I can’t even tell you how good this is. I just can’t. I came up with this smooth and ultra buttery —pumpkin butter, no less — cognac-based drink about 8 or 9 years ago and haven’t really played with it since. No reason other than for some considerable time, I thought it shouldn’t be enjoyed alone. It’s worthy of making a big enough batch to have a few friends over. But truth be told… as my palate continues to evolve and explore into things I’ve not typically allowed myself to tickle, I’m letting go of my own pre-conveived notions of what a good time means. I no longer feel it obliged to have someone around when I want to indulge in something so good. I’ll be sipping on this while I cook tonight.
From mi and my friends’ casas, to yours, enjoy a beautiful and peaceful Thanksgiving.
See more Thanksgiving options here.
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.