Sweet potato muffins

Sweet potato muffins | Me & The Moose. These one-bowl, whole grain muffins sneak in some vegetables at breakfast, lunch, or snack time. #sweetpotatomuffins #meandthemoose #sweet potatorecipes #thanksgiving #healthybaking

Thanksgiving is here! I love this holiday and the season that follows, but there are definite downsides. I’ve talked about keeping expectations in check with kids and holidays. And while it’s exciting and fun that there’s always something going on: Making cookies, making gifts, buying gifts, wrapping gifts, listening to music, decorating, holiday events, holiday parties, holiday-themed school things, concerts, visiting relatives, etc, it can be…a lot. And for a little one like mine who’s always searching for his equilibrium, it can be.. A WHOLE LOT.

Sweet potato muffins | Me & The Moose. These one-bowl, whole grain muffins sneak in some vegetables at breakfast, lunch, or snack time. #sweetpotatomuffins #meandthemoose #sweet potatorecipes #thanksgiving #healthybaking

So, let’s not add even more by completely abandoning our commitment to balanced eating, mkay?

These sweet potato muffins are a fantastic “sweet” to have around. They feel festive and would certainly make a fitting Thanksgiving breakfast to watch in front of the parade or DOG SHOW (!!!!!!!), but are just sweet enough thanks to the applesauce, a few Tbsp of brown sugar divided between the batter and the muffin tops, a handful of golden raisins, and sweet potatoes.

And did I mention that they only require one bowl? You’ll have enough dishes this week.

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A couple of notes:
- Chop the sweet potatoes into 1/3-1/2 inch chunks. Any bigger and they may not soften enough during baking, but if you shred them, they disappear and make the batter a bit too wet.
- This is a thick batter, almost dough-like in consistency. Don’t worry. It always puffs up well in the oven and results in an airy, light muffin.

Sweet potato muffins | Me & The Moose. These one-bowl, whole grain muffins sneak in some vegetables at breakfast, lunch, or snack time. #sweetpotatomuffins #meandthemoose #sweet potatorecipes #thanksgiving #healthybaking

Sweet potato muffins

4 Tbsp butter or coconut oil, partially melted
½ cup applesauce
1 egg 
1/2 cup brown sugar, divided  
3/4 cup yogurt 
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup wheat flour 
1 cup white flour 
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda 
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt 
1 medium sweet potato, cut into tiny squares (about 1.5 cups)
¼ cup golden raisins

Move your oven rack to the bottom or lower middle portion of the oven. Preheat to 375.

In a large bowl, partially melt the butter or coconut oil. Microwave it for a few seconds until it just begins to liquify, but is still partially solid.

Mix in the applesauce, egg, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined and no streaks of flour remain.

Add the chopped sweet potatoes and raisins and stir again to combine.

Spoon the batter into the cups of a muffin tin, filling about 3/4 of the way. Top each muffin with a large pinch or two of brown sugar.

Bake for 18-22 minutes until firm to the touch and a tester in the middle comes out clean. Check after 12-15 minutes and cover if the sugar browns too fast.

Sweet potato muffins | Me & The Moose. These one-bowl, whole grain muffins sneak in some vegetables at breakfast, lunch, or snack time. #sweetpotatomuffins #meandthemoose #sweet potatorecipes #thanksgiving #healthybaking

Ice cream and candy Thankgiving dinner

Ice cream and candy Thanksgiving pie | Me & The Moose. This genius way to use up leftover Halloween candy is also a hilarious make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert that will please the pickiest kids. #Thanksgivingrecipes #Thanksgiving #dessert #pumpkinpiealternative #icecream #leftoverHalloweencandy

I, for one, don’t need to see another mini candy bar for quite some time. However, I hate throwing food away (which makes parenting around mealtimes interesting when M declares himself full after four bites). So instead of dumping our excess candy, I’m repurposing it into a Thanksgiving dessert that is equal parts adorable and delicious.

Bonus: I promise you will live in the freezer, untouched, until Thanksgiving, which would certainly not happen if that candy stayed in its original form.

Ice cream and candy Thanksgiving pie | Me & The Moose. This genius way to use up leftover Halloween candy is also a hilarious make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert that will please the pickiest kids. #Thanksgivingrecipes #Thanksgiving #dessert #pumpkinpiealternative #icecream #leftoverHalloweencandy

Ice cream and candy for dessert might seem odd after a heavy meal, but let me tell you: We had a store-bought version of this plate last year (from the UConn Dairy Bar) and my family tore through it like we hadn’t just eaten our weight in stuffing.

My version of this pie starts with a layer of salted caramel topped with chocolate chip ice cream and then hot fudge sauce.

I chopped up some mini Snickers for stuffing; green M&Ms are peas; vanilla ice cream covered in crushed toffee bars with a white chocolate, pretzel, and marshmallow “bone” become a turkey drumstick; vanilla ice cream with more caramel are mashed potatoes and gravy; raspberry sorbet is sliced to look like canned cranberry sauce; and candy corn is stuck together with white chocolate as a corn cob.

Ice cream and candy Thanksgiving pie | Me & The Moose. This genius way to use up leftover Halloween candy is also a hilarious make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert that will please the pickiest kids. #Thanksgivingrecipes #Thanksgiving #dessert #pumpkinpiealternative #icecream #leftoverHalloweencandy

Extra bonus: There are many ways for kiddos to help make this pie: They can separate the green M&Ms, chop and smash the candy, unwrap the caramels, and pour and spread the caramel and ice cream layers. If they’re older, they could probably make the whole darn thing themselves.

Ice cream and candy Thanksgiving pie | Me & The Moose. This genius way to use up leftover Halloween candy is also a hilarious make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert that will please the pickiest kids. #Thanksgivingrecipes #Thanksgiving #dessert #pumpkinpiealternative #icecream #leftoverHalloweencandy
Ice cream and candy Thanksgiving pie | Me & The Moose. This genius way to use up leftover Halloween candy is also a hilarious make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert that will please the pickiest kids. #Thanksgivingrecipes #Thanksgiving #dessert #pumpkinpiealternative #icecream #leftoverHalloweencandy

And extra extra bonus: You can make this dessert now and be ready for Turkey day in three weeks.

Candy and ice cream Thanksgiving plate

10-inch graham cracker pie crust
12 oz chewy caramels, divided 
3 Tbsp heavy cream, divided
Flaky salt
1 pint chocolate ice cream
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1 small jar of hot fudge (about 12 oz)
1 pint raspberry sorbet (IN A PAPER, NOT PLASTIC, CONTAINER)
½ cup mini green m&ms
6-7 fun-sized snickers, chopped
12-15 fun-sized toffee bars (or 3 large ones), crushed
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted
1/2 large pretzel rod
1 large marshmallow, cut in half
Candy corn

Step 1: Caramel sauce, part 1
Combine 8 oz of unwrapped caramel candy with 2 Tbsp heavy cream in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Mix and microwave for 30 more seconds. Mix again. Microwave for 15 seconds bursts, stopping to mix the caramel and milk, until it’s completely melted. Spread over the graham cracker crust, sprinkle with sea salt and place in the freezer until set, about 10 minutes.

Step 2: Ice cream
Let the chocolate ice cream melt a bit for easier spreading. I left it out while I made and spread the caramel and it was soft enough to spread. Freeze until solid, about 2 hours or overnight.

Step 3: Hot (but cold) fudge
Once the ice cream layer has frozen solid, dump the entire jar of COLD fudge sauce on top and smooth it out all the way to the edges. (I made the mistake of heating the sauce a bit and it immediately melted the ice cream underneath.)

Step 4: White chocolate
Melt your white chocolate in a tall thinnish glass. Microwave for 30 seconds on high. Stop and mix. Microwave for another 30 seconds on high. Stop and mix. Microwave for 10 second bursts, stopping to mix until the chocolate is melted.

Step 5: Drumstick bone, part 1
Snap a large pretzel rod in half. Cut a large marshmallow in half. Dip the non-broken end of the pretzel rod into melted white chocolate and press one half of the marshmallow on either side of the rod and hold in place for 10 seconds. Place on a sheet of parchment paper and refridgerate until set, about 5 minutes.

Step 6: Corn cob
Pour a nickle-sized dollop of melted white chocolate on a piece of parchment paper. Place a circle of candy corn onto the chocolate with the white facing in and the yellow facing out. Try not to allow any space between the kernels. place another dollop of melted white chocolate on top of the white portion of candy and repeat. Continue until you have between 5 and 7 layers of corn kernels. Place in the fridge until set, about 10 minutes.

Step 7: Drumstick bone, part 2
Dip the set marshmallow and pretzel rod into the melted white chocolate (feel free to microwave for another 10 seconds if the chocolate feels thick) and let the excess chocolate drip off. Place back onto the parchment paper and spoon the melted chocolate over the rest of the pretzel rod, wiping away any excess on the sides. Place back in the refrigerator until set, about 10 minutes.

Step 8: Prep your candy
Chop the snickers, separate the green M&Ms, and crush the toffee.

Step 9: Sorbet
Slice the sorbet with a large serrated knife and put the slices back into the freezer.

Step 10: Caramel sauce, part 2
Place 4 oz of unwrapped caramel candy and 1 Tbsp of heavy cream into a bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stop and mix. Microwave for another 30 seconds, stop, and mix. Microwave in 15 second bursts, stopping to mix in between, until melted. Set aside.

Step 11: Assemble
Scoop 1/2 pint of vanilla ice cream onto the top of pie. Next to it, pour your M&Ms into a pile. Smoosh the cut up snickers in your hands a bit while piling them onto the top of the pie as well. Add the corn cob. Next, form the rest of the ice cream into an oval ball and roll it in the crushed toffee. Place it on the pie and add the pretzel bone. Place the sorbet slice in the middle. Lastly, using a spoon, shape the vanilla ice cream to look like mashed potatoes and make a dent in the middle. Pour some of the cooled caramel into the hole and immediately place the whole pie back into the freezer. Let freeze overnight and then transfer to a box or cover tightly with plastic wrap.

Ice cream and candy Thanksgiving pie | Me & The Moose. This genius way to use up leftover Halloween candy is also a hilarious make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert that will please the pickiest kids. #Thanksgivingrecipes #Thanksgiving #dessert #pumpkinpiealternative #icecream #leftoverHalloweencandy
Ice cream and candy Thanksgiving pie | Me & The Moose. This genius way to use up leftover Halloween candy is also a hilarious make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert that will please the pickiest kids. #Thanksgivingrecipes #Thanksgiving #dessert #pumpkinpiealternative #icecream #leftoverHalloweencandy


Leftover turkey nuggets

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Oh, Thanksgiving. Time of gratitude, feasting, and lots of leftover turkey. Much to my food-blogger chagrin, my kid loves a nugget above most other foods. I've spent a lot of time reading labels on the hippie brands at Whole Foods and some are pretty good at leaving out the scary ingredients, but make up for it with a loooooong list of "organic" and "natural" things like paprika extract and corn starch and stuff that we don't necessarily need in our nuggets.

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Also, I always want to do something creative with Thanksgiving leftovers, but often lack the brain power after a huge meal and no sleep.

Have I mentioned that M refuses to sleep in houses other than ours? It happened gradually: At about 18 months he started waking up crazy early (like, 4:30 am, early) when we slept away from home and refused to go back to sleep. Then, he started refusing to sleep at all. The last time we stayed at my parents' house, he fought sleep until 4 am. And when we last slept at my in-laws', he slept from 9:30 pm to 1 am and that. was. it.

Maybe the turkey's tryptophan will knock him out? Fingers crossed.

Anyway, these nuggets solve a lot of our problems: They use up the leftover turkey, don't require a lot of thought, and are something my kid likes anyway, but without a lot of the additives.

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I used a leftover rotisserie chicken for some of the recipe developing because for us, and I'd imagine for many of you, a leftover chicken is more common than leftover turkey, so this recipe can be used year-round. Also, I prefer to use bread over breadcrumbs in the actual meat mixture (save the panko or breadcrumbs for the nuggets' outside) because I think the slice soaks up the milk more efficiently and acts as a better binder and liquid adder. But use homemade, bakery-made, or ezekiel bread if you can: Don't even get me started on the crap in most commercially available breads. And while grating the onion might seem like an unnecessary step, I think it helps the nuggets hold together better than minced onions do, but if you want to chop, make sure they're done finely.

Leftover turkey nuggets

10 oz leftover turkey or chicken (combination of light and dark meat)
1 piece of stale(ish) bread
¼ cup whole milk
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 small or ½ large onion, grated
½ tsp sage
2 oz cheddar or gruyere, cut into small cubes
1 eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup panko or whole wheat bread crumbs
1/3 cup parmesan
½ tsp salt

Soak the bread in milk while prepping the rest of your ingredients.

Combine the soaked bread with the leftover turkey and pulse in a food processor until the mixture is in coarse crumbs.

Turn the mixture out into a large bowl and add the Dijon mustard, grated onion, sage, and cheese and mix well. Season with salt and pepper and mix a few more times.

In two separate bowls, lightly beat the egg with a fork. In the second bowl, combine the panko, parmesan cheese, and salt and mix with your fingers or another fork.

Using a large spoon, scoop about 2 Tbsp of the turkey mixture into your palms and roll them into balls. Flatten them into nuggets and dredge them first in the egg, then in the panko/cheese/salt mixture.

Heat olive oil over a medium-low flame. Cook the nuggets until the bottoms are golden brown and the cheese inside of the nugget begins to ooze. Flip and repeat on the other side.

Yield: About 12-14 large nuggets

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Green bean galette

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Thanksgiving is almost here folks, hard as that might be to believe.

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I feel very lucky to have like-minded family with whom to share the holidays. But if you're facing a tense gathering next week, just make this galette and shove it into anyone's mouth who steers the conversation down a treacherous path. Or, take your own giant bite, close your eyes, and pretend to be somewhere else. That's what I would do.

We've eaten this galette quite a few times since the calendar struck September and I decided it was time to eat "cozy food." I suppose it's more work than your average green bean casserole made with prefab ingredients, but if you have any inkling to make your own fried onions or mushroom soup, then this galette will require similar skill, time, and brain power, if not less. 

Making a quick bechamel instead of using grated cheese would certainly take this guy up a notch and be even closer to a real green bean casserole, but in the spirit of making things quickly and easily, I went for the more straightforward approach. No need to pre-cook the green beans, but definitely caramelize the onions and toast the breadcrumbs before baking.

This galette is also delicious with some ham (or leftover turkey) and an egg on top.

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Green bean galette

1 sheet puff pastry
3 oz gruyere, grated
6-8 oz green beans, trimmed
½ large onion or 3-4 large shallots
2 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup whole wheat panko
½ tsp salt

Preheat oven to 425. Roll out a sheet of puff pastry dough into a large rectangle on a piece of parchment. Grate gruyere and spread over the puff pastry, leaving a 1-inch boarder.

Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat and add the onions, cooking until they begin to brown and caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add the breadcrumbs and salt and sauté until fragrant and toasted, about 5 minutes.

Place the raw green beans on the puff pastry and cheese, leaving the 1-inch border. Spread the breadcrumb mixture over the green beans and fold the border over the edges of the green beans and breadcrumbs.

Bake for 18-23 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.

Yield: 6 portions

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