Last year, I inadvertently started a new tradition for Thanksgiving. See, my mom’s family decided to have a reunion about a week before the actual holiday, so we decided to have our traditional Thanksgiving feast then. When the following Thursday rolled around, my brother spent the day with his girlfriend and her family, leaving me with just my (long-divorced) parents. Naturally, it would have been a bit silly to do the whole thing all over again, but even stranger to miss the day entirely…and so, what I lovingly refer to as “Thanksgiving: Remixed” was born. I decided to reinvent the meal, if you’ll pardon the awful pun. Using the same ingredients you’d find that same day on nearly every table in these United States, I made a much smaller, and perhaps more original meal. I found it appropriate for the day’s theme to be the all-American burger and fries, and so I made:

turkey sliders stuffed with dried cranberries

which we loaded up with horseradish & garlic, skin-on, red mashed potatoes and gravy on homemade jalapeno cornbread muffins

spiced sweet potato fries with spicy red wine cranberry sauce for dipping

and it’s no milkshake, but the pumpkin pie smoothies didn’t turn out half bad, if I say so myself!

All in all, it was a fun way to shake things up and cook the same ingredients for a much smaller crowd, and I swore that day that I’d do it again any time I could.

Fast forward to this year, and while my brother and his girlfriend were both present this time, as well as an old family friend, the family was insistent on traditional Thanksgiving fare. Undeterred, I decided to host my new tradition over the weekend, since my dad opted to take the easy way out by ordering the bird (and half the meal) from Whole Foods. (To be fair, it was pretty good…it just seems like cheating!) But I digress. The challenge this year was, what creative new way can I again use those same ingredients without doing what I did last year or what’s typically done with them? And then finally, I realized it was right under my nose: brunch. There are few things in the world I love as much as breakfast, brunch, or brinner. And thus began the menu planning for Thanksgiving Remixed, 2012… aka, “brunchgiving.”

I made a mental list of all the things I had to include in one way or another: turkey, potatoes, gravy, stuffing, (which I admit, I don’t care for…but I don’t mind using cornbread somewhere in a meal in its place!) cranberries, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, green beans, deviled eggs, dinner rolls… have I forgotten anything? First of all, I should admit that while I’m queen of my own kitchen, I certainly always have help. I like to come up with an idea, but not the actual recipe. I’m always sure I can find someone else has done that part for me, so I google my idea, get as close as I can, and then tweak it to my own satisfaction. I also cut a few (store-bought) corners from time to time, and I won’t lie and say I didn’t. So, here’s what I ended up with, and I think it’s a great first post because it really gives you an idea of who I am and what I do in the kitchen:

For starters, I made biscuits from scratch for the first time. I think they kinda suck, but at least they didn’t come from a Pillsbury can…

Next I made a batch of pecan corn muffins, also from scratch.

While those were in one oven, store-bought sweet potato tots got cripsy in the other, served with cranberry sauce for dipping (if you like that sort of thing).

Next came turkey sausage gravy to go with the biscuits, and a scramble of hash browns, green beans and egg, and my feast was coming together!

With a little pumpkin butter, the muffins were a perfect less-sweet substitute for Thanksgiving pies

To wash it all down, a “Zombie:” cranberries muddled with ginger vodka, cranberry juice, and a float of sparkling wine with a spiced orange sugar rim. Yum!

And there you have it! My “brunchgiving” was a delicious success.

To give credit its due, I must admit that I altered the muffin recipe from here, using canola oil instead of walnut or sunflower, and plain ol’ pecans instead of flavored or glazed ones. I’d share the biscuit recipe too, but I really can do better, so I’ll wait till I find one I really like first. Everything else is pretty simple. Oh, and about the name of my cocktail? I have a tradition of naming all of them after titles (or lyrics) to songs…nothing good relates to Thanksgiving or cranberries, or felt otherwise appropriate, so I used the title of a Cranberries song instead. I liked it, and that was good enough reason for me.

And in case you’re wondering, I do bake more traditional goodies, too. They’re often a little bit different in some way or another, when they come from my kitchen, than you might otherwise find them, like in the case of these:

My German Chocolate pecan pies are in two sizes: the 4″ mini, which is really equal to two servings, and teeny, which is the size of a muffin.

The “teeny” turned out to be the house favorite, topped with a little caramel whipped cream (from a can, from Safeway, fantastic). This is a PERFECT size, and I may never use a standard pie tin again!

And with that, I bid you adieu for the evening. I never know from where/when my next culinary inspiration will come, so stay tuned, and welcome to my blog!

(And in case it doesn’t go without saying…please feel free to share with all the food, music, and creativity lovers in your world!)

  1. Great first post, Stacy– congrats on the long-awaited launch! :) I *love* this “remix” idea, as I too am a big fan of tweaking recipes. Can’t wait to read more. By the way, I just discovered an awesome recipe for Sweet Potato Biscuits, and they came out great. I’ll be posting it soon on Stellina– give ‘em a whirl! Thanks for the plug as well!

− 1 = three