Offer Thanksgiving for those loved ones who have remained true blue through the past year with a dinner party featuring a fresh blue color scheme, ubiquitous holiday turkeys, and modern china that complements family heirloom dishes and crystal. This is the perfect way to symbolically honor ancestral tradition while celebrating present day family as well… because family is made from so much more than DNA.
The beautiful 10 inch antique turkey plates are used as salad plates in this modern setting, though they functioned as dinner plates during the era in which they were made. They are placed upon ivory patterned dinner plates, by Mikasa Italian Countryside, which are technically vintage even though the pattern is modern as they remain open-stock.
The wild tom turkey patterned platter and dishes featuring scalloped edges, by Flow Blue by Ridgeways England, are family antiques made in the late 1800s. They were originally purchased by my Great-Great-Grandmother.
The delicate crystal stemware displays a subtle floral motif that echoes the bouquet border of the dishes. They were inherited from another line of the family.
Stretched across a blue patterned tablecloth is a joyfully patterned runner sporting bluebirds of happiness. This was kindly crafted by my mother who hand-stitched the navy trim border just for this occasion.
Guarding the antique crystal salt and pepper shakers, of yet another pattern, are a blue owl and blue bird handcrafted by an artisan in Chile.
“O Lord that lends me life, Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.” — William Shakespeare
P.S. If you have any trouble identifying your own pattern of crystal or china, there is a reputable company who will identify it by picture for free! Just upload images to http://patternid.replacements.com/ They are researching the stemware seen above for me. I’ll add a comment with the information when I find out!
P.P.S. Also, if any of you out there are interested in purchasing anything you see in my articles, from party supply sets to dishware, just send me a reasonable offer via the contact page!
Easily DIY your own antique looking napkin rings crafted with crochet trim to coordinate beautifully with any china pattern for your Thanksgiving. Then make place-cards using my free turkey and china printables that will double a doggie bag tags when the evening closes. Also, print some to use as food tents cards to identify pies or even as thank you notes or tags for hostess gifts.
To make each napkin ring, you will need to cut 6 inch sections of wide ribbon in a solid color that coordinates with your dishware or linens. (For a 6 place setting that equates to 36 inches, or 3 feet, which is the size of many standard ribbon rolls.) You will need to cut the same size lengths of crochet trim, which may be found in the sewing section of craft stores. (Ivory matches beautifully with most china patterns.)
Next, lay a line of hot glue (or liquid fabric glue) onto all edges of the base ribbon. Lay the crochet trim over it in a way that showcases the pretty edges. (If using liquid glue, let this dry completely before forming the ring.) Then just form a ring and connect the edges with a single line of glue on one side. (Clothes pins will need to be used as clamps when using liquid glue.)
These really look like they could have been inherited, but took mere minutes to make.
The napkin rings serve as a beautiful bridge coordinating my antique china with my modern linens, and they can do the same for you too!
To make your own, right click on the image above and select print. Choose color and photo settings, and print them on sturdy cardstock paper. Cut along the image edges and dotted lines (or coax a relative into helping) then fold in half. Voila!
Use these as place-cards during the meal (to strategically place guests for mealtime peace), and then attach them as labels for individual pie boxes or doggie bags (to ensure the holiday pounds are well distributed).
These also make great hostess gift tags, thank you notes, or even food tent cards (to properly identify the mysterious pie everyone keeps asking about… in my family that would be Chess Pie).
Steamed Dumplings are an absolute must serve “lucky” dish for the Chinese New Year, but unfortunately they were also a dish I must not have… and I know I wasn’t the only unlucky one. Different restaurants have varied recipes for them, but nearly all make them with allergens. So I decided to make my own recipe that played on the basics but omitted the soy sauce, pig lard, pork, shellfish, mushrooms, etc. Plus, by using my optional substitutions, just about everyone can enjoy these delightfully delicious dumplings!
Shell Ingredients: (note that ~ means approximately)
~ 3½ cups sweet rice flour + a good bit more for rolling (a.k.a. glutinous rice flour… that is 100% gluten free!)
~ ⅔ cup boiling water
~ ⅓ cold water
~ ¾ pound ground chicken (or turkey… or minced water chestnuts/mushrooms/tofu for vegan)
3 tablespoons sesame oil (or another flavored oil of your choice)
2 tablespoons Coconut Aminos (a.k.a. soy sauce that is 100% soy free… or soyu if you like)
2 teaspoons minced ginger root (or garlic)
¼ cup minced leeks (or spring onions, bamboo shoots, shredded cabbage, etc.)
Filling Seasoning: (I used these, but add whatever you like adapting it to your tastes.)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander (try adding 1 tsp. ground ginger if not using minced)
3 teaspoons of Eden Shake + more for garnish (a.k.a. black & white sesame seeds plus pickled redshiso leaf… Anyone with sesame allergies can use hemp seeds which are the perfect high protein substitute.)
↑ This is a picture from my grandmother’s old recipe book that called for pig lard, soy, and the other things I spoke of earlier. I’m sure it was a tasty recipe, but I changed every ingredient but the rice flour… which I increased the portion of because the dough was too sticky to roll as it was. Note that even more flour than this will be needed as you roll.
First mince the ginger and leeks. Then mix all of the filling ingredients well.
The ground meat will absorb all of the liquids, but you can tell when it is well mixed when the minced ingredients seem well dispersed. Let this marinate in the refrigerator until you’re ready to fill the dough.
Place your measured rice flour into a larger mixing bowl.
Boil about a cup of water then use just a ⅔ cup of it. This is the easiest way to ensure the right amount. Mix it into the flour well, making a gooey paste. Then add the other portion of water, and mix it well. Let this sit about 15 minutes while you get everything else ready for your dumpling preparation… rolling pin, pastry mat, steamer, dumpling mold if you have one, etc.
Mix the dough again by hand and see if it’s the right consistency for rolling. Note that it will be much stickier than any wheat based dough, but you should be able to dust your hands with sticky rice flour and roll little 1 inch balls of dough in your palms. Mix in more flour if you need to. Take each ball and smash it flat with a floured palm into a floured surface. You will be making little pancakes. Then roll them out with a floured rolling pin into about 3 inch diameter circles, like tiny tortillas. In fact, this is exactly how I would make wheat based tortillas growing up. Working gluten-free is admittedly a bit trickier though.
Use the smallest size dumpling mold, if you have one. Molds are a speedy way to make perfect portions, but don’t fret if you don’t own one. Either way, you just spoon about a teaspoons worth of filling into the center of the circle. Close the mold tightly and remove the excess dough… or close the circle by hand into a half moon shape over the filling, and pinch pleat the rounded edges together. You could even use a fork to press the edges like you would a pie crust.
Inexpensive bamboo steamers are widely available, but here I’ve used a stainless one that sets onto my wok base. I love this thing! I actually made enough dumplings to fill it twice with this recipe. If using metal, use cooking spray on the top portion that the dough will rest on. If using bamboo, the Chinese recipe advises lining the bottom with a cloth.
Place the dumpling portion over already boiling water set on high. The Chinese recipe advises 15 minutes steaming, but I intentionally overcooked mine because I left the chicken filling out a good while during rolling… and no one wants salmonella. I actually left the second group on almost 30 minutes and they were fine, so just use your judgment.
Any leftover dough and filling can be combined into meatballs (like these that are uncooked), and baked at 325° for about 30 minutes.
Use two forks to plate your dumplings, or just bring a bamboo steamer to the table. Next time, I think I’ll roll mine out thicker and use a bit less filling. They seemed to expand as they cooked. I garnished these with more Eden shake because I love the flavor, but you can serve them with any sauce.
Here are the leftovers reheated in the microwave with marinara to morph them into an Italian ravioli fusion! They were fantastic this way! I just garnished them with parsley. You can even try adding rice based parmesan if you avoid dairy.
Though more work than an everyday food, these little dumplings are worth the effort… especially when other family members help by making a chatty assembly line. It’s a great way to gather for a holiday!
The following recipes have been recommended from Le fidèLe Designs affiliate Abe’s Market who has sponsored this article. I thought I’d pass them onto to y’all because I don’t invent recipes that include chili powder, corn, or soy… but I think there are many of you out there who would enjoy these anyway. (If you have allergies, you can try adding more beans to replace the tofu in the vegan chili, omit the corn in the turkey chili, and replace the chili powder with other spices of your choosing.)
Nobody wants to be stuck in the kitchen during the Big Game. Make the following recipes ahead and keep them warm until kickoff. The use of an all-natural slow cooker sauce made entirely of vegetables and seasonings speeds up prep time considerably. Using lean ground beef, turkey or all vegetables ensures a low-fat delicious meal!
(Click the link here to take an extra 25% Off Jesben Slow Cooker Sauces from Le fidèLe Designs affiliate Abe’s Market with Code: SNOWDAY until 2/1!)
Super Bowl of Chili – 3 Ways: Beef, Turkey, or Veggie:
Place meat in slow cooker.
Sprinkle spices over beef and beans.
Pour entire jar of Jesben® Italian Tomato, Peppers & Herbs Slow Cooker Sauce on top of meat, beans and spices. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours or until meat is fully cooked.
With large spoon thoroughly stir cooked chili, breaking up ground beef into chunks and then into smaller pieces with back of spoon.
Serve in bowls and enjoy!
Makes 8-10 servings
Place turkey in slow cooker.
Sprinkle spices over turkey and beans.
Pour entire jar of Jesben® Italian Tomato, Peppers & Herbs Slow Cooker Sauce on top of turkey, beans and spices. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours or until meat is fully cooked.
With large spoon thoroughly stir cooked chili, breaking up ground turkey into chunks, and then into smaller pieces with back of spoon.
Serve in bowls and enjoy!
Makes 8-10 servings
Place mushrooms and tofu in slow cooker.
Sprinkle spices over veggies and beans.
Pour entire jar of Jesben® Italian Tomato, Peppers & Herbs Slow Cooker Sauce on top of vegetables, beans and spices. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
Stir thoroughly and keep warm in slow cooker until ready to eat.
Serve in bowls and enjoy!
Makes 8-10 servings
Note: If you prefer less heat, chili powder can be reduced in any of these recipes by 1 tablespoon. On the other hand, if you like your chili hot, add a dash of hot sauce or cayenne pepper to taste. Also, feel free to get creative with your ingredients!
With the winter season so turkey saturated for the holidays, I thought I’d utilize my overabundance of rooster décor and host a cozy dinner party by the fire. I used my Healthy “One-Pot” Cocorico Roasted Chicken (or Turkey) & Root Vegetables Recipe as a family-style centerpiece of food. And with my printable place-cards, it’s an easily emulated dinner party that offers a warm welcome for out-of-towners in for the holidays!I love the idea of taking dinner out of the dining room, especially in winter when there is a cozy fire available. So, my first task was to move the couches into a dining configuration. I have a large round antique coffee table that is mechanized to pop up to dining height. To accommodate more guests, I topped it with a $12 precut 4’ x 4’ plywood square from a chain hardware store. The edges of this were taped to avoid snagging the tablecloth. A card table is another easy option. Layering fabrics is a quick and easy way to add warmth to a gathering, so I draped layers of tablecloths over the square. The first layer was chocolate brown, then beige burlap with added trim, and a fall paisley print over the top.I exchanged the usual living room décor with various bits of rooster ephemera. I set a ceramic chicken on a side table next to cranberry colored candlesticks, and tucked feather tassels under the large candles. By the fireplace, I placed a rooster painting on an easel atop an old burgundy leather suitcase. Another served as a base for a spiral topiary. It was housed in an inexpensive and lightweight cranberry pot meant to simulate glazed pottery. In front of that, I positioned a small vintage brass rooster doorstop. I actually have many more roosters, but I was able to (somewhat) contain myself.I gathered sage and chocolate colored throw pillows to coordinate with the linens and dishes. These softened the deep chocolate leather sofas. Switching out small elements of your décor for an evening is an easy way to experience a change of scenery without breaking the bank. I set the table with wood-handled flatware and layers of dishware in various patterns. This included wooden plates as chargers, sage green bordered dinner plates, and a selection of chicken and rooster plates. Though completely untraditional, I figured these could be set to the side for bread later… they just looked too cute stacked this way! I actually found these little gems for $3 clearance at Dillards. Now they’re a part of my last minute rooster dinner party arsenal.My other go-to elements are antique chicken salt and pepper shakers from my grandmother, and vintage multicolor rooster stemmed glassware from my mother.It’s really great to have coordinating pieces that can be thrown together without much forethought, while having the appearance of effort. In this way, a simple chicken dinner is elevated to a special evening. Make a point of collecting what you like, and pull it out for your get-togethers.Another component which you can make for yourself is my DIY Rusted Rooster Chicken Wire Votive Holder Craft. Because they were so easy, I actually made many more than I used in the pictures. (These can be made with any shape you like, fall leaves for example.) They really added a beautiful glow to the table.I transformed, recolored, combined, and resized vintage images to make 3 free printables for invitations, labels, signs, menus, food tents, name place-cards, recipe cards, etc… (These are free for personal use only.)
These are available at the end of the article (simply right click on each image, and print in color and on photo settings on cardstock). Then just cut out your place-cards as needed… or enlist a significant other or kiddo to do it while you prep for dinner!The last step was to add the food… artisanal rosemary bread in terra cotta to compliment the Cocorico, compound butter in a rooster dish, mixed olives seasoned in flavored oil and spices, and the off-center centerpiece of roasted chicken and multi-colored root vegetables of carrots, beets, parsnips, radishes, and fingerling potatoes. Cocorico roasters are perfect “one-pot” wonders that deliver beautifully from oven-to-table. Root veggies may be peeled and seasoned the day prior to an after-work gathering if need be. Simply pick up bread and dessert to accompany your meal. Or, try out my Easy No Cook Layered (N)ice-Cream Pie with Nut Crust (Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free) which may also be made with traditional ice cream, and can be made and frozen well in advance.Happy Fall Y’all! (…I couldn’t resist.)Faithfully Yours,
Making healthy roasted chicken and root vegetables is so easy with a Cocorico Roaster. I love to use mine as an easy “one-pot” wonder that presents beautifully from oven-to table. The night before a long day, I can peel the veggies and add herbs so it only needs to put it in the oven for a hardy home-cooked meal. Larger roasters will also accommodate a small turkey for the holidays.
1 roasting chicken (or turkey, in a size that will fit your Cocorico roaster)
2 teaspoons thyme
2 teaspoons rosemary
1 fresh lemon
1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
Olive oil (enough to coat chicken & drizzle a little over veggies)
Multicolored root vegetables in season (enough to fill the cocorico base):
~1 pound carrots
~1 bunch radishes
~1 or 2 pounds fingerling (or new) potatoes
(& turnips if you have better luck than I did finding good ones)
Cocorico roasters in glazed terra cotta are available locally and online. I ordered mine from Napa Style because it was the biggest I’ve seen, and also had a larger turkey cone that fit over the chicken cone. Soak the whole thing under water at least 30 minutes before cooking. This prevents any heat damage to the vessel. I saturate mine in a bleached clean sink.
Preheat your oven to 400ᵒ, while you soak the roaster and prep your veggies. There are a beautiful variety of purple, orange, red, and white root vegetables available. Peel and cut them into about 2 inch chunks to ensure even cooking. Some recipes will advise you boil potatoes ahead of roasting, but I’ve found that to be completely unnecessary if you buy small fingerlings. They roast just like baked fries. They’re prettier, easier, and quicker… so save the big ones for baked potatoes. Radishes may seem like an odd choice for roasting, but they completely change character after cooking. They mellow out, losing their sharpness and spicy heat. I really do prefer them this way.
Place these in a bowl with herbs and add just the smallest drizzle of olive oil. (The chicken juices will flow over the veggies while cooking thus providing more flavor.) Squeeze a little of your lemon over the veggies, and save the rest to place inside the chicken cavity before setting over the roasting cone. Add sea salt and toss to coat everything well. This may be done ahead of time, just cover the bowl and refrigerate it until needed.
Many recipes will also instruct you to wash chicken inside and out before cooking, but I read a study that found it only served to spread dangerous bacteria all over your kitchen. Thorough cooking will kill bacteria while rinsing will not. Drain the fluid and remove any extra gifts left in the cavity (neck, gizzard, giblets). Then set the chicken onto the soaked Cocorico. Other recipes will also say to do this with the legs up and trussed, but this is really subjective to the size of your roasting cone versus the size of your bird. I used a smaller chicken in the pictures, which would have been physically impossible to set upside down. It cooked beautifully and tasted great. Just place the chicken whichever way you can get it onto the cone. It’s really hard to mess up dinner with a Cocorico!
Roast in the oven at 400ᵒ for about 15 minutes, and then reduce it to 375ᵒ for an hour longer (for ~4 lb chicken). Because every oven heats differently, the safest way to cook is with a meat thermometer. Place it in the thickest part of the thigh, but not to the bone. www.foodsafety.gov says 165ᵒ is poultry’s magic number! I’ve also read to rotate the Cocorico every 15 minutes. Thinking of how heavy it was, how that would let heat escape, what else I could spend my time accomplishing, and burn potential… I decided to forgo that. Once again, the simplest way proved itself. The chickens turned out exactly the same.
Use a serving spoon to gently toss the roasted veggies, so that the juices are fully distributed. It’s easiest to serve the veggies first and then carve into the meat, using the newly empty well to hold the pieces. Or it can all be transferred to other serving dishes… but I prefer to avoid washing extra tableware, and the filled Cocorico looks so lovely. If trying this, be sure to use adequate hot pads beneath it.
In the past, I’ve saved time by omitting the oil and placing the roots directly into the Cocorico. When it finished cooking, I would sprinkle fresh herbs and orange juice over the top, stirring it right in the roaster. Whichever way you chose to prepare it, with whatever vegetables, with either chicken or turkey, and legs cooked up or down… Cocorico roasters make it all turn out so beautifully! (See this for yourself at the link: Last Minute Cocorico Rooster Theme Dinner Party Décor Ideas.) So think about getting one for yourself, and leave the “beer-can chicken” to the tailgaters! 🙂
This simple gluten-free recipe is vitamin packed and quick to prepare. These incredibly versatile savory sweet potato tortas may be topped with anything your palette desires, as the sweet potato taste doesn’t overpower. Eat them as a satisfying lunch, with a salad for dinner, or as sweet hotcakes for breakfast. It makes an efficient brunch menu as everything may be prepared and served at once. You can also make tiny tortas as appetizers.
The completed tortas are pictured with my Dairy-Free Egg-free Turkey Salad, but you can also turn them into Sweet Potato Hotcakes by omitting the salt and adding 1 tablespoon of sugar. Serve them hot and drizzled with maple syrup and topped with toasted pecans or walnuts.
15 oz can organic unsweetened sweet potato purée (or purée 2 cups of sweet potato)
1 cup gluten-free multi-purpose flour (for non-gluten-free use 1 cup AP wheat flour)
1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 375ᵒ F. Trim parchment to line 2 cookie sheets with. Gather the ingredients.
Mix sweet potato purée with flour and salt until smooth.
The mixture will thicken and lighten in color. It should stick to the spatula.
Spoon the dough into similar sized dollops onto parchment. Evenly smooth each into about a 4 inch circle with a silicone spatula (as if icing a cake). Don’t worry about making them look perfectly round… the artisanal look is in!
Bake approximately 20 minutes, depending on your oven’s temperament!
Using parchment paper keeps the underside of the tortas from browning or sticking too much. It also speeds up the cleaning afterward, which is especially great when you have guests.
parsley garnish (I always have the dried version on hand for this.)
Mix all of the ingredients, and salt according to taste. It can be prepared the night before and refrigerated. Spoon the mixture onto the centers of my sweet potato tortas recipe, when completed. Garnish with parsley. Bon appétit!
Nutrition: Since I concocted this recipe myself, I have no idea how many calories it has. Does that mean it doesn’t have any!?! Well, at least I know it’s super healthy and vitamin packed! 🙂