friday fun: teenage mutant ninja turtle tumblers

TMNT tumblers

In a perfect world, I’d have a cabinet full of Kate Spade china and gorgeous Waterford crystal stemware. I’d also love to be blonde, a self-made millionaire, and never shiver through another Chicago winter again but that just isn’t me. I’m a brunette, I pay with coupons, and I love these Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle tumblers ($29.95). Colorful, witty, and all sorts of nostalgic fun, the turtles on a half shell have been immortalized in 16 oz. glasses from Neatoshop. Dibs on Michelangelo! –Katie D.

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post off: how do you take your cranberry sauce?

cranberry sauce

As a kid, my favorite part of Thanksgiving was the cranberry sauce. I was morbidly afraid of the stuffing (I mean really, what was in there?!) and stuck to a safe plate strategy that tended to be very biscuit-heavy. But the cranberry sauce was what I looked forward to most. Thanksgiving is the only time we eat it, and I was enamored with everything about it: the color, the taste, the sugar content and perhaps best of all, the way my mom could get it to slide out of the can and onto a plate in one glorious can-shaped piece of jelly heaven. I was mesmerized. (And, by this logic, you’d think I also liked Spam, but let’s not get crazy). We were a jellied cranberry sauce house, and my allegiance was firmly in that camp, so you can imagine my surprise when we ate at a neighbor’s one year and they served a whole berry sauce. You’d have sworn someone put a plate of prickly brambles in front of me to eat. I was horrified. Since then I’ve come to embrace both varieties, but when I have a choice, still relish the dichotomy of sliding a slick knife through a can-shaped piece of awesome and serving it on our best china. Serious Eats put the store-bought brands to the taste test and crowned a winner in both camps, but let’s get to the heart of it: When it comes to cranberry sauce, which team are you on? Jellied? Or whole berry? – Sarah C.

Need more store-bought recommendations? Stop by Serious Eats for the turkey gravy and stuffing taste tests as well!

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real life test kitchen: grandma b.’s rosemary nut rolls


This recipe has a bit of a backstory: The first holiday season that my husband (then boyfriend) spent together, my mother-in-law-to-be made us a HUGE batch of his favorite cookies. These cookies, or “nut rolls”, made from a recipe she got from her mother-in-law, were delicate, buttery, and yeasty, and filled with a not-too-sweet ground walnut filling. After one bite, I was hooked. Next time I saw the M.I.L, I made a point of asking for the recipe, thinking she would be excited to share it with her son’s new love. She said sure, but that it would be a while before she had time to type it up. So I waited. Almost a full year. And I asked again, with a similar response. So I kinda gave up on them, and hoped that someday, I would earn the right to the recipe. As luck would have it, I was reading through one of my favorite cookbooks, the Fannie Farmer Baking Book, and stumbled upon a recipe which sounded EXACTLY like what these “nut rolls of mystery” tasted like. So I made the recipe — in the book entitled “Sugar Horns”, and lo and behold, they were the same. Victory! Over the years, I’ve made these so many times that I’ve kind of evolved them into my own thing, subbing out the walnuts for pecans, and adding finely chopped fresh rosemary to enhance the almost-savory quality of these lovelies. They are incredibly good right out of the oven, warm, with a hot cup of coffee and keep beautifully if sealed well. They look beautiful too, and one batch makes so many that they are a great choice for holiday gift giving and potlucks. Hopefully the recipe will become a closely guarded family heirloom for you, too! –Megan B. Click for Grandma B.’s Rosemary Nut Rolls! (more…)

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kitchen essential: the thermapen thermometer


When asked what the trick is to perfectly cooked turkeys and roasts, and… well, just about anything, I generally say the secret is a good thermometer. Being able to properly monitor your internal cooking temperature is an absolute MUST for a perfect, juicy bird that is delicious AND safe for your guests. That said, the best thermometer I’ve ever tried is the Thermapen by ThermoWorks. I’ve been using one at work for years, and have found it to be an indispensable kitchen wizard. It reads instantly, and has a huge temperature range (-58°F to 572°F ), and can switch from Fahrenheit to Celsius effortlessly. The one problem (aside from the steep price, but it’s worth it) is the original model’s tendency to short out when wet — which happens quite a bit in kitchen situations. Well, the fine folks at Thermoworks came up with a solution, and it’s the new Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen (yes, that’s really the name). This hot little waterproof number comes in a rainbow of colors: yellow, red, green, brown, orange, and white just to name a few! Order one now, and you should have it in time for the big day! –Megan B.

From our partners

real life test kitchen: roasted turkey, chevre, and black bean enchiladas

turkey enchiladas

I’ve mentioned before how much I LOVE Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday all about food and gratitude — how can it be anything less than awesome? As much as I adore the savory and sweet bouquet of sage-roasted turkey and pumpkin pie, this dish is what I always look forward to the most, oddly enough. It’s become a “black friday” tradition in our house to have these turkey enchiladas instead of yet another plate of reheated stuffing and mashers. This recipe is built off (mostly) turkey day leftovers and pantry staples, but mixes up the flavors and turns up the heat. I like to think of these as a “moderate enchilada”, meaning they aren’t really gooey and cheesy — and I really love how the little tangy pockets of creamy goat cheese bring out the earthiness in the turkey and mellow the spice from the enchilada sauce. You’ll end up with enough enchiladas for two pans from this recipe — I always wrap one up and pop it in the freezer for later or gift it to a friend. Now that I’ve shared my favorite Thanksgiving leftover remix, I’m dying to know what you readers love to do! –Megan B. Click for post-Thanksgiving enchiladas!


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