Curating Our Annual Christmas Feast!

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE! I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling the Christmas cheer like crazy this year. I’m spending ten blissful days in Calgary, Canada with my parents and big brother where it’s actually a white Christmas, unlike the Midwest and East Coast this year. I can’t remember the last time I’ve spent so long at home with my family, so I’m making sure to soak up every minute lounging in front of the fireplace, enjoying my favorite homemade Bengali dishes, drinking wine in the evenings, and catching up on every Bollywood movie that I’ve missed this year. It’s been a crazy December (hence the massive delay in updating my blog), so this period of unwinding is pure BLISS! All that’s missing is the mister, who will be joining us right before NYE festivities 🙂

Anyways – on to the purpose of this post: food! Every year since my parents migrated to Canada, my brother and I curate and prepare a Christmas feast to give my mom a much-deserved break. We both love cooking, so it’s something we really look forward to every year, and spend the weeks leading up to Christmas perusing the interwebs for the most interesting recipes. We like to mix up the classics (mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, etc.) with some unique new additions. I’m excited to share this year’s menu, with links to the recipes for you guys to try on your own! The bread pudding was by far everyone’s favorite – highly recommend for an easy fall or winter dish. Absolutely delicious!

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  1. Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate and Hazelnuts from the Food Network: We replaced the hazelnuts with leftover toasted pecans from the chocolate pecan pie. Still delicious!
  2. Roast Chicken with Cumin, Honey and Orange from NY Times Cooking: I still think Thomas Keller’s Roast Chicken is the best roast chicken of ALL time, but I’m so glad we experimented and tried something fusion this year! The combination of cumin, honey and orange was fingerlickin’ delicious and we couldn’t stop trying the gravy! Basted this baby every ten minutes for a total of four times. So juicy.
  3. Garlic Mashed Potatoes from Martha Stewart: We added extra butter, grated emmental, and topped with parsley. A+.
  4. Orange-Scented Cranberry Sauce from Martha Stewart: Can’t go wrong with a classic cranberry sauce!
  5. Caramelized Butternut Squash, Kale & Gruyere Bread Pudding: This was hands down the family favorite from the entire Christmas meal! My coworker brought this in for Workgiving, and I just had to try it for our Christmas feast. We replaced the gruyere with emmental cheese, but stuck to the recipe otherwise. Definitely repeating this for Thanksgiving next year.
  6. Chocolate Pecan Pie from NY Times Cooking: We cheated with the crust and brought it from the store, but so what? Still a fantastic end to a fantastic meal!

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The chefs! If you have any questions about any of these recipes, don’t hesitate to give me a shout. In the meantime, follow me on Instagram @mrsgcg or Facebook for more foodventures. xo!  

Five Non-Traditional Thanksgiving Sides and Desserts

Happy almost Thanksgiving, all! I am so excited for the upcoming week – only 2.5 days of work, followed by some major R&R and eating to my heart’s content with all sorts of amazing comfort food. Thanksgiving. is. the. best. We’ll be celebrating with my husband’s family this year and have been trying to brainstorm a unique, non-traditional side dish that we can bring. After doing some research, and taste testing (in the form of my office’s “Worksgiving” last week), I thought it would be fun to put together a quick list of the five non-traditional Thanksgiving sides and desserts you can bring to your Friendsgiving, Worksgiving, or family Thanksgiving. These are all very Thanksgiving appropriate, just a little different from your standard mashed potatoes and green bean casseroles. Enjoy, and let me know if there’s anything else you would want to add to this list!

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  1. Bacon Parmesan Stuffed MushroomsSource: Center Cut Cook. I’ve made these ridiculously easy but decadent stuffed mushrooms a few times now, and they’re always such a hit. I brought them in for my company’s Worksgiving last week, and everyone was raving about them and asking me for the recipe. I love these mushrooms because they can be made in less than an hour and satisfies even the pickiest eater. I mean, how can you go wrong with cream cheese, parmesan, and bacon? You really can’t! I like to get a little heavy handed with the red chilli pepper flakes for an extra kick that people just can’t get enough of. Foolproof for any Thanksgiving potluck.
  2. Butternut Squash, Kale, Gruyere Bread Pudding. Source: The Gourmet Monster. My coworker made this kick ass bread pudding with butternut squash, kale, and gruyere last week and I can’t stop thinking about it! The ingredients are perfect for fall, but the dish is unique enough to make sure that no one else will be bringing the same thing to your Thanksgiving potluck. Every bite was so delicious, creamy and packed with wholesome flavors–we’re strongly considering making this for our family Thanksgiving!
  3. Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese and Apple Cider Glaze. Source: Whitney Bond. This was another dish that a coworker brought in for Worksgiving, and I’m completely obsessed. Whitney Bond’s recipe calls for blue cheese, but you can easily replace it with goat cheese (because why would you ever pick blue cheese over goat cheese?!). The apple cider glaze perfectly enhances the already pretty-perfect salty and sweet mixture of bacon and dates. So yum, and great for appetizers before digging into all that turkey!
  4. Pear Butterscotch Pie. Source: Epicurious. Instead of your standard pecan or pumpkin pie, why not surprise your guests with a pear butterscotch pie? My girlfriends and I tried this recipe yesterday while we were snowed in, and it was absolutely delicious. I’m not much of a baker (I hate having to be precise with my ingredients), but this recipe was really easy and we loved the way the flavors turned out. Not too sweet, but the combination of pears and brown sugar was just delightful.
  5. Molten Chocolate Cake with Caramel Filling. Source: Food & Wine. I always was convinced that there should be more chocolate desserts incorporated into Thanksgiving meals. I mean, chocolate is NOT just for Valentine’s Day, am I right?! This is hands down my favorite dessert recipe for entertaining guests. People are obsessed with the gooey warm, melt in your mouth deliciousness of this molten chocolate cake, and the sea salt + caramel mixture elevates this dish into something more elegant than your standard chocolate cake. Perfect for pleasing those who are sick of pumpkin pie. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.