Author Archives: Nicole Letts

Everything But the Turkey:: Use Leftovers

Thanksgiving

Today is my last post in our Everything But the Turkey series. I hope that throughout the past few weeks, you’ve become equipped with some fantastic recipes and entertaining ideas for Thanksgiving. I can’t believe that we’ll be surrounded by family and friends enjoying a huge festive spread in just a few days.

It’s no secret that I love takeaway gifts. Who doesn’t love getting a little something to take home after a great party? Of course, Thanksgiving shouldn’t be any different, and the secret is to use leftovers!

I like to give guests a few leftovers to enjoy the next day. I always think Thanksgiving leftovers are better the next day anyway, don’t you? Be prepared with a few microwaveable containers ready on hand to load leftovers into. That way, when guests take them home, the leftovers can be popped right into the fridge until the next day.

Of course, I love any excuse to add a little pizzazz. Make leftovers look special, and leave a sweet burlap bag at the front door for guests to grab on their way out. It’s a simple detail that can make all the difference.

Grab a copy of my book, Picture Perfect Parties, for more great holiday entertaining ideas.

xx Annette

Photo Credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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Everything But the Turkey Decor:: Pumpkin Pepper Place Settings

Tie pumpkin peppers onto a napkin roll for Thanksgiving to create the perfect pumpkin place settings. Tie pumpkin peppers onto a napkin roll for Thanksgiving to create the perfect pumpkin place settings.

Pumpkin peppers are one of the cutest, most festive fresh items out there this time of year. You can typically find them in the cut flower section of Whole Foods or even at Trader Joe’s. They are branches filled with tiny baby “pumpkins.”

A few years ago, it occurred to me that they’d be super sweet tied onto a napkin roll for Thanksgiving to create the perfect pumpkin place settings. To spruce them up a little bit more, attach the pumpkins to a cinnamon stick using linen ribbon and add a tag with the guest’s name to tell them where to sit at your table.

Sometimes inspiration is just sitting around waiting for you at the grocery store, right?

xx Annette

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Everything But the Turkey Recipe :: Pumpkin Bread Pudding

This pumpkin bread pudding is so easy to make and is a great alternative to pumpkin pie. Prepare it ahead of time to wow your guests at the end of the meal.

This pumpkin bread pudding is so easy to make and is a great alternative to pumpkin pie. Since it makes a large batch, you can easily make as much as you need to fit your crowd. Plus, you can alleviate some stress by making the raisin bread ahead of time. Or, simply use a good-quality store bought bread. Your guests will never know the difference, and you’ll be stress-free hostess.

Assemble this dessert first thing Thanksgiving morning, cover it with foil, and place it in the fridge until you’re ready to bake it. You can pull it fresh from the oven and serve it warm. Don’t forget a dollop of fresh whipped cream (or even ice cream), too. Look for this and more recipes plus great entertaining tips in my book Picture Perfect Parties. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Makes 8 servings

You will need:
– 1 cup heavy cream, *milk can be a substitute for cream
– ¾ cup canned solid-pack organic pumpkin
– ½ cup sugar
– 6 large eggs
– ½ teaspoon salt
– ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
– ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
– 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
– 6 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old raisin bread
– ¼ cup chopped toasted walnuts
– 1 stick unsalted butter, melted

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Whisk together cream, pumpkin, sugar, eggs, salt, and spices in a bowl.
Toss bread cubes with butter in another bowl, then add pumpkin mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish and bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes.
Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Photo Credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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Everything but the Turkey Recipe :: Apple Cranberry Sauce

I am excited to bring you some of my best Thanksgiving recipes for our "Everything but the Turkey" series this month. Up next is my apple cranberry sauce.

I am so excited to bring you some of my best Thanksgiving recipes for our “Everything but the Turkey” series this month. Up next is my apple cranberry sauce. It’s a flavorful twist on traditional cranberry sauce and is sure to spruce things up at your Thanksgiving table.

To avoid being a frazzled hostess, prepare this sauce a little ahead of time. In fact, it can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks if you store it in a closed jar. I recommend preparing it the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and jarring-up a few miniature versions to send home with Thanksgiving dinner guests. Tie some ribbon on the jar, and you’re all set!

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_FRJ5032 I am excited to bring you some of my best Thanksgiving recipes for our "Everything but the Turkey" series this month. Up next is my apple cranberry sauce.

Cranberry Applesauce
Serves 6
You will need:

  • 8 cups of cranberries
  • 8 small or 6 medium apples sliced
  • 1/2 cup sugar

To prepare:

In a large sauce pan place cranberries, sliced apple, and sugar. Simmer on low heat, stirring regularly to prevent sticking, for 45 minutes until completely cooked and softened. Press the cooked cranberries and cooked apples with a fork to completely combine. The fruit should have a smooth yet chunky consistency. Let the applesauce cool then scoop into mason jars for keeping.

Stay tuned for more Thanksgiving fun later this month!

xx, Annette

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Feeling like Fall: The Pumpkin Monk Cocktail

Frangelico_CCC3861

Now that November is here, we can set our sights on the next holiday: Thanksgiving. It will honestly be here before we know it. This month on the blog, I’ve decided to do a series: Everything but the Turkey. I’ve rounded-up a few of my favorite recipes and entertaining tips for one of my favorite events of the season.

Using these recipes and entertaining ideas, you’ll be armed with everything you need to throw a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner – minus the bird of course. But don’t worry, I’ve got a great recipe for that too. I wouldn’t leave you stranded.

Today, I’m kicking it off with a fabulous cocktail, the pumpkin monk.

Frangelico_CCC3267_1

Frangelico_CCC3230

I have always loved Frangelico; it is a hazelnut liqueur that is traditionally served as an after dinner digestivo. There is a legend that Frangelico was made by Friars in the Piedmont region of Italy where hazelnuts are abundant, it has a beautiful, nutty flavor profile.

Every year I try to come up with our signature Thanksgiving cocktail, and this one is a palette pleaser and crowd favorite. It’s not too sweet because the citrus notes take care of the sweetness. Plus it has a lovely mouth feel.

Grab a coupe and enjoy the flavors of the season.

xx Annette

The Pumpkin Monk

You will need:

– 1 oz. Frangelico
– 1 oz. Appleton Reserve Rum
– ¾ oz. lemon juice
– ½ oz. pumpkin spice syrup

To prepare:
Shake all ingredients and either pour over ice in a rocks glass or serve up in a coupe. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

*Optional Note: run it through a strainer before adding the cinnamon stick and serving.

For the Pumpkin Spice Syrup
*
this makes 1 cup which is 16 servings

You will need:
– 4 teaspoons cinnamon
– 2 teaspoons ginger
– 1 teaspoon nutmeg
– 1 teaspoon allspice
– 1 cup water
– 1 cup sugar

To prepare:
Place in a pot, then bring to a boil and reduce about 10 minutes, set aside to cool.

Photo Credit: Dane Sponberg

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