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.
Since I started experimenting in the kitchen a few years ago, there hasn’t been much that I’ve been too scared to attempt. Most of the time, my eagerness to jump right in to a new technique or use a new ingredient has proved well worth it, although I have to admit that I’ve had more than my fair share of culinary disasters. (In fact, that might be an understatement). Even so, I usually brush it off as a “learning experience” and keep trying until I get it right– no big deal. There hasn’t ever been much apprehension on my part, even with cheesecakes, which I’ve somehow managed to botch just enough to not be able to use them for the blog at least 5 or 6 times now. Yes, there have been a lot of “learning experiences” regarding cheesecakes. Don’t do this or it’ll crack. Don’t do that other thing or it’ll crack. Do a water bath and it won’t crack… oh wait, it still cracked.
And I still keep trying to get it right, and I’m never that worried that I won’t.
However, there is one thing that up until this point I have been too scared to even attempt: making my own pasta. I don’t know what about it seems so difficult, but I’ve always viewed pasta-making as sort of secret technique that Italian grandmothers labored over, wielding old rolling pins as aromas from simmering sauces filled the rooms of their warm Tuscan farmhouses. I’ve had no Italian grandmother to teach me her secrets. I’ve had no idea where to start. But wait! There’s more…
Now that the cold weather has finally kicked in, most people are dreaming about baking up cookies, apple creations, and pumpkin masterpieces. You can definitely lump me in with that bunch– my kitchen has been smelling like brown sugar and cinnamon for the past several weeks now, and there’s no sign of it stopping any time soon. However, there is one thing I get even more excited to make every year when the temperature drops– a different scent I love lingering throughout the house as the oven gives off an extra boost of warmth– and that, my friends, is bread.
When I decided to make bread, I knew I wanted to load it up with some of my favorite ingredients, because the beckon to creative freedom in a loaf of bread is just too inviting to deny. I thought about packing in chocolate chips, fruit, or nuts, but none of it seemed exciting enough. I wanted a flavor explosion, because I believe there’s really no other way to live than going all in. Keeping that in mind, I loaded this up with all of my favorites: blue cheese, garlic, onions, and beer… and it was glorious. But wait! There’s more…
For me, football season has always been about the dips. In fact, when I was just getting interested in cooking, I made a few trays of dip for a Super Bowl party at my years-later-to-be-boyfriend’s fraternity house, and he even just recently reminded me of how kick-ass it was and how quickly it was devoured. Now that I think about it, that might have been one of the first times he ever went out of his way to talk to me. (He’s kind of shy, or introverted, or whatever you’d like to call it, but if he’s already opening his mouth to yell at football players in between shoveling down half a tray of dip, he’ll also use it to genuinely thank you for your delicious contribution.) You could say our relationship is owed to a football season dip. It wouldn’t have much truth to it, but you could say it if you wanted to.
But this isn’t about my relationship. It’s about football season, dips, and how everyone will suddenly think you’re the one of the greatest human beings to grace the face of the earth if you make a good one. (I’d even venture to say the same holds true for any party or event you attend.) But wait! There’s more…
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