The Day After

I really hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving, and continues to enjoy company of family this weekend. I loved spending the day/morning in the kitchen, but after our meal was eaten, our walk was walked and the horses were taken care of…I was more than happy to sit down!

We never have big holiday celebrations. I am perfectly okay with that…I’m not much of a “big gathering” person. It feels weird to say my family isn’t very bonded because it makes us seem like shut-outs…but I our family is very small and spread out across the states. I can’t remember ever having a Christmas or a Thanksgiving with more than 6 people!

That said, we didn’t go overboard cooking, either. There was just enough food to still be “special,” but not enough to feel like it was wasteful. We were only missing a green bean casserole! Which I don’t actually like, nor does anyone else…hence why it was missing. There was asparagus on the menu, but it was bad and we just figured we’d have enough food without it. Which was certainly true…but I would have loved a broccoli casserole, too Smile with tongue out

Anyways. I left you guys with some mysterious rolls and cakes…


…but what were they?


Firstly, Monet’s Sweet Potato Rolls. My knots are nowhere near as gorgeous as hers – but these were a mega hit. I made them just as is, taking the vegan option and using a flax egg and oil. The dough came together perfectly, and were easy and fun to make, too.

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But this is Thanksgiving. Who stops at one carb?! I was completely torn between recipes for rolls – and so bright and early yesterday morning, started working on Monet’s Herbed Monkey Bread.

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This dough was so nice to work with, too – so soft, smooth and elastic. Dare I compare food to a baby’s bottom? It’s a guess – I’ve never changed diapers to know.

Of course, these could have turned out horrible and it’d have been okay – I’d already sauteed garlic in basil oil, and that does me in every time.




These, too, were raved about. Just their aroma brings a smile to my face! I wanted to serve them with a garlic butter, but my mom immediately said “nah, they’re garlicky enough.” Sometimes I forget that I could easily add two cloves to something I’m making for one serving and not even blink an eye.


The only change to the recipe was using unbleached bread flour for the all purpose, and basil oil for the olive oil (which is just olive oil infused with basil) and for the oil coating, used the basil oil, two cloves of garlic and a tablespoon of dried italian seasoning. Wondrous. Who doesn’t love pulling off a hunk of monkey bread?!



Next on the list was frosting my mysterious cake – which was Angela’s Pumpkin Gingerbread Loaf with Buttercream Icing.

I had the pumpkin chiffon cake planned, but when I read the recipe closer, it called for 9 eggs. I thought it meant a total of 5 (4 eggs + 5 egg whites) but when I read closer realized that was a lot of eggs. I told my mom why I wasn’t making it and she exclaims

That’s a lot of eggs! That’s expensive, don’t make that.”

I love moms because they tell us not to do something after we’ve already said we aren’t.


I made as is (cutting back a hair on the sugar) and was shocked at how much batter I got. It said 8 servings, but I’m pretty sure this could feed at least 16.

I also halved the buttercream. It looked really thick and none of us are “frosting-y” people. You know those cakes that you buy at the store, all frosted? Yeah, my mom ad I would always scrape it off as soon as it hit our plate.

My thoughts on it:

  • buttercream was still really sweet – but I can’t complain because the family likes it and it’s easy enough to scrape off Smile with tongue out
  • it tastes just like my gingerbread muffins…which is odd because this one is a looot more decadent.



And thennnnn….stuffing!! Er, dressing, whatever. I feel weird calling it dressing, but it wasn’t stuffed in anything so dressing it is. I’d rather call it…bread casserole or something.

Either way, it’s something I’ll be making again whether it’s Thanksgiving or not!



This never would have happened without inspiration from Sarena. I’d never had cornbread stuffing before, and when she first posted it – I had to have it.

The recipe, however, was a combination  of a couple ideas. I promised myself I would strictly follow recipes for Thanksgiving…but c’mon…who was I kidding? That’s not very “me.”



Maybe I’ll share the recipe, even though everyone is probably stuffed from all the stuffing they’ve had Smile with tongue out It is my favorite part!! This cornbread dressing was probably the best I’ve ever had, too. My mom also made some of her “traditional” stuffing, to stuff the actual bird with.


I went very simply with the butternut. And it may have been one of my favorites. This mixed with the cranberry sauce? Ahmgaw. I may or may not have cleared off the table faster than I should have because I wanted to make sure I had some for lunch today. And finished what wasn’t left for snack. And it was a big squash.

I just tossed it with a bit of olive oil, salt, and a tiny sprinkle of brown sugar.




My other favorite part (because I clearly can’t pick a favorite part)? Cranberry sauce! I sort of winged this, too. I used hot apple cider to boil/simmer it in instead of water, and spiced it with ground clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I sweetened it with maple syrup and cane sugar as well as the jucie of one clementine and its’ zest.


And no, those are not raspberry seeds – I did not add raspberries. I did, however, add chia seeds. Don’t look at me like that…I needed something to thicken it! It wasn’t thickening quite like I wanted it to. Chia seeds did the trick and no one was ay the wiser, though after I did it I was sure I was going to get “what are these whitish things in the cranberry sauce?!?!” questions. I also left it nice and tart. Which means…perfect leftovers –


…for pancakes this morning! So yum. I don’t know why I don’t just always make up a batch of cranberry sauce with my cranberries – but I think I’ll start now!

Yesterday, though, I had a little bit of everything except for Turkey and my mom’s stuffing. This was my first Thanksgiving birdless…and honestly, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it. I try not to view anything as “off-limits,” though – so I came to an agreement with myself that if I wanted Turkey, I’d eat Turkey. But I really didn’t want any. It just wasn’t appealing to me, after being meat-free for so long. Dairy and other animal products are becoming the same way as I use less and less of those, too.

And I just realized that I kept capitalizing turkey, which is a little weird. Guess I had that much respect for the big guy?

Another thing I noticed? I’m really becoming in-tune with my body. While usually Thanksgiving is a day to stuff yourself silly, ignoring all “full” signals…I was able to eat just enough. Happily content, but not feeling deprived. It was so nice to be able to go for a walk with family after and not feel so weighed down Smile with tongue out

What’s your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner?



Filed under baking, cooking, dinner, holiday

27 responses to “The Day After

  1. Hehe.. I find it kind of weird that you’ve never changed a diaper. I’ve spent many hours taking care of my baby cousins so my hands have changed many diapers… I guess I kind of forget that not everyone does that 😛 That’s not to make me sound like I have a huge tight knit family though.. because much like you our holidays and celebrations are pretty small. Don’t feel bad!

    I’m pretty much drooling by now, after reading so many festive posts and not having my own Thanksgiving this weekend because I’m Canadian. I actually want to make myself stovetop stuffing for lunch tomorrow. Hah.

    I’m so glad you had such a successful holiday… both food-wise and family-wise 🙂 You definitely owned the kitchen. Everything looks flawless!

  2. Monet really knows her stuff! I want to try the sweet potato rolls once I work up the courage to work with yeast… lol
    Your dinner looks amazing! I’m a HUGE stuffing fan, so you know I went back for seconds on that one…

  3. I’ve always wanted to try monkey bread! Oh man, you have me jealous!!

    Another thing is, just like you, I’ve never been one to call myself “Vegetarian” but I’ve just been meat-free for so long that it’s lost its appeal to me! I’ve been eating less and less meat and now I just don’t eat any, hmm.. Bodies are weird things… 😛

    Now I’m wondering WHY meat loses its appeal when we go without it for so long! Omg, if you can think of something please enlighten me!!

  4. The monkey bread looks amazing! I love garlic rolls. Everything else looks great too! You are making me hungry 🙂 This was my first year without turkey too but I’ve never really liked it (I mainly ate just a little bit so I would “fit in” with the rest of the family.) I’m glad you had a good thanksgiving. My favorite part would have to be the green beans (not in casserole form) and dessert!

  5. The rolls you made look amazing! I really need to try my hand at breadmaking. I don’t know why I’m kind of intimidated by that thought!

    Love, love your addition of chia seeds in the cranberry sauce. Never thought of that! I could just imagine it’s thick, jam-like, gooey deliciousness just looking at it!

  6. Mmmm, all your food looks so good! Now I really want to try that gingerbread loaf. 🙂
    My family loves cranberry sauce. In fact, we buy bags and bags of cranberries when they’re in season and freeze them, so that we can make sauce all year round! I love putting a scoop in plain yogurt for breakfast.
    Glad you had a good day!<3

  7. We’re not really into huge gatherings either. For the most part holidays are just the 4 of us..although we usually do end up cooking WAY too much (that’s mostly my fault, though. :P) The food all looks so good! Especially those rolls…kind of like a mix between bread dipped in olive oil and butter rolls. We’re pretty big on the bread & olive oil I bet those would be a huge hit here.

    Glad you had a great Thanksgiving!

  8. Oh, wow! I want Thanksgiving! Everything you made looks perfect. You made your family happy!

    I just did some bookmarking and I am pretty sure there will be monkey bread on our table for Christmas 🙂 .

  9. I feel the same way about turkey…I’d eat it if I wanted it, but I just don’t. I’m starting to lose taste for fish and dairy too. I still eat them occasionally, but only if it’s the only option. Or if it’s dairy in dessert…because I can never turn that down 🙂

  10. Ashlei

    You really did a great job cooking for Thanksgiving!

    I sometimes think things like that about eggs and expensive ingredients too 😛

  11. I’ve seen so much cornbread stuffing on blogs these past few days! You should definitely post your recipe because I’m curious to try it. I love cornbread and I love stuffing, so I’m sure I’d love them together. 😀

    Haha I love that you found a way to sneak in a few healthy twists here and there, like kale in the stuffing and chia seeds in the cranberry sauce.

  12. Oh love this made my morning! I’m so glad that these turned out so well for you. They look BEAUTIFUL! I brought Ryan over to look at them, and we were both so impressed. We also had a small and simple Thanksgiving, but I like that the best. I get overwhelmed with too many people (but not too much food…we certainly had a lot of that!) Thank you for sharing all of your eats, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  13. I want to sleep with those rolls. They look like they would make a perfectly acceptable pillowy bed to just sleep in after eating some Turkey. with a capitol T 🙂

  14. Wow! Everything looks amazing! I’m so glad you make a couple of Monet’s recipes–I love her blog and I have been wanting to make the monkey bread for a while now–I need to. And that stuffing! Yum! Thanks!

  15. Wel, I sure don’t have a favourite part of thanksgiving dinner! BUUTT that squash/cranberry sauce thing looks DEEEEvine! And I’ve seen a lorra sweet potato mush on blogs, so I can imagine I’d like that too 🙂
    Haha, I love how you said about 2 cloves of garlic for one person – I have 3-4 with my dnner!! I must smell so bad :p

  16. Everything looks so good! Especially those garlic rolls…I love garlic! 😛
    And I know what you mean about the whole meat/dairy thing! Although I’m a vegetarian, since I’ve been eating more vegan foods, dairy has been appealing much less to me! Interesting…
    And I’ve bookmarked your gingerbead muffins, cos they look so delicious! 😀

  17. jen

    The rolls look incredible!!!

    I paid attention to my body on t-day as well, and even though i had full intentions of trying everything, I finished half of my plate and I was done for. I tried a little of my pumpkin trifle, but a couple of bites was all i needed.


  18. Stuffing and cranberry sauce are my two faves!

    Although your rolls would probably be my favorite part if I tried them for real. They look *awesome!* 😀

  19. Oh my goodness! You went to so much work on your dinner – it all looks AMAZING Jess!

  20. teenagehealthfreak

    PUMPKIN PIE!!!! i made some and it was oh so yummy..still eating it!! 🙂 i’ve also got a thing for cranberry sauce now too! to make mine thicker i just cooked it longer and strained it..i never thought about using chia or even flax!!! glad you enjoyed your thanksgiving!! mine continues tmro…..

  21. I am all carb happy after this post! I want that monkey bread! Dressing is my favorite and I want to know what you did!

    Listen, I would rather keep the gatherings small on the holidays. I was with my entire side of the family and you know what happens when you do that…drama! I am so glad you enjoyed your day and your family. Your meal sounds like it was incredible!

  22. You’re really instilling this crazy craving for carbs now!! I recently made sweet potato rolls, except I shaped them into a loaf because I was too lazy to roll them up into rolls.

    That’s funny though. For me, I have not eaten meat in quite some time, so I suddenly got this mad craving to sink my teeth into roasted chicken or fish. The Thanksgiving turkey (or turducken in my case) was quite a welcome sight!

  23. My favorite part of Thanksgiving is in the preparation. I love being in the kitchen cooking and preparing for the meal.

  24. I actually didn’t get any stuffing this thanksgiving because it was all turkey-fied…boo. I really would love a thrown together recipe if you could share! The cranberry sauce sounds amazing…and the bread….swoon!

    We definitely do large thankgivings because most of my moms family is in NY or NJ. I missed out this year and am so bummed about it.

  25. Hey! I just saw these pretty rolls on Tastespotting-wish I could have one now with my hot tea. They looks so good, but then everything does;)!

  26. your food looks amazing. especially those monkey rolls. how cool.

  27. Pingback: You Are Cordially Invited to Our Christmas Eve Dinner « Smithereens

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