It’s easy to rekindle our love with a lot of things this time of year: (most) Christmas music, twinkling lights, super thick sweaters, and, of course, our crock pots. With the holiday hustle in full force, I typically have a tendency to neglect my home cooked meals and I really don’t think I’m the only one. I mean, we’ve got enough time commitments on our plates that we can’t even fathom piling food on them too! That is, until we remember the crock pot we have sitting in the storage closet. It’s the time of the year for that baby to shine.
I’ve been craving Chicken Tikka Masala lately, but as anyone who has ever dabbled in Indian cuisine is well aware, it’s not very easy to whip up. (Or maybe it’s just me?) Tikka Masala just is one of thoserecipes that I’m always dying to make, but I don’t actually want to go through all of the steps to make it. There’s the toasting of the spices, and the chopping of the veggies, and the marinating of the meat, and the cooking of the chicken, and the stirring of the sauce, aaaaand I’m boring you. Well, you get the point. There’s just a lot to do. But wait! There’s more…
We have a problem this time of year. Too often we feel as though the long, cold months require us to simply hunker down and endure; as though the holidays are just there to grin and bear. We find little actual joy in the most joyful time of the year, instead we stress over extended work hours and diminished refrigerator space, cluttered rooms when company arrives and empty wallets when it’s time to buy presents.
This year, we have only 27 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we’re already thinking ahead. Stressing ahead. I’m writing “leftovers” posts and making up holiday gift guides before Thanksgiving. Black Friday is now starting a day early. Christmas music starts playing in department stores in October. October.
So sometimes it’s good to cut out a few steps and expenses this time of year. It’s good to cut back on waste. It’s good to enjoy ourselves. And that’s what this recipe is about– having fun, enjoying yourself, taking something old and turning it into something new, and not wasting those delicious turkey leftovers you slaved over just a few days before. That would be unforgivable. But wait! There’s more…
I’m a carb fiend by nature, so Thanksgiving, with its glorious mounds of mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, and (most importantly) stuffing is a day straight out of my dreams. Sure, the turkey is great, but come on. Stuffing. The stuffing is where it’s at, people.
This year, I really wanted to experiment with stuffing recipe, because I feel like there’s so much more that you can do with it that’s outside the box. Literally, outside the box, as in let’s just put that Stove Top easy mix back down and explore our options. One of which being replacing the old bread with flaky, buttery croissants. Bam. I just blew your mind.
I loaded this Croissant-Sausage Stuffing up with my favorite stuffing ingredients, but you can easily switch ingredients around to your own liking. If you’re not a cranberry fan, forget them. Celery not your thing? Good-bye, celery. Or if you want to add in some crazy stuff, go on ahead. I put a bit of cheese on top of mine because I was feeling particularly rebellious.
I am a heavy proponent of two things at family gatherings:
1) Serving yourself, because the potatoes won’t seem to cook, there are kids running around everywhere, Aunt Terry is discussing conspiracy theories, the potatoes still aren’t done, you can’t remember your third cousin’s name and you don’t know how much longer you can avoid saying it, your dad keeps making inappropriate jokes, DAMMIT POTATOES!, your ex decided to make good on your half-hearted invitation, you burnt the potatoes… and you have neither the time nor the patience to plate everybody’s meals for them.
2) Alcohol. I don’t think I need to further elaborate here.
Truthfully, my family get-togethers aren’t messy like that at all, but no matter how much you love your family and how smoothly everything goes, serving yourself just makes everything easier. As does alcohol. And when you can do both together, like with a huge bowl of Cranberry Punch, magic happens.
So, this punch isn’t actually strong at all, mostly because many members of my family can’t handle much alcohol. However, if your family is made up of booze-chugging aficionados like myse— er… like… well, if you guys would prefer more alcohol, you can always add a bit of your favorite orange or raspberry flavored tipples.
I love that word. Tipples. Gotta use it more often.
This punch would be great for your Thanksgiving feast or upcoming holiday parties. I just keep making it to keep in the fridge because it’s tasty, so you could do that, too. Also, it’s insanely easy to make. Like, the open these bottles, pour, and mix kind of easy, which makes it perfect for this very busy time of year! Check out the recipe below, I’m serious when I say this is pretty much as easy as it gets.
Seeing as it’s getting to be “that time of the year”, I feel like I should let you know about one thing I’m particularly thankful for: the fact that I never was served brussels sprouts as a kid. I don’t know what it is about parents, but they seem to go through a phase once their kids reach about 5 or 6 where they feel that mushy, dull, boiled brussels sprouts will be the perfect side dish to convert their children into long-time veggie fans. Luckily, my parents never put me through that taste-bud torture. May I offer my heartfelt apologies if you were not as fortunate.
The good news is, even if are one of those scarred adults who has sworn off brussels sprouts for life (or you know someone who is), these Roasted Honey Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Pomegranate Seeds will turn anyone into a brussels-believer. But wait! There’s more…
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