Thanksgiving Menu Ideas

Here are a few Thanksgiving recipe ideas to serve with your turkey this year. 
Have a Happy Thanksgiving! 

Cranberry Fig Muffins


Here's a delicious recipe to make this year for Thanksgiving.

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup chopped cranberries
1/4 cup chopped dried figs
1/2 cup chopped English walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Create a well in the center and add the milk, egg, and melted butter. Stir just to combine. Fold in cranberries, figs, and walnuts. Spoon into paper liners, filling each almost to the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes until brown. Makes 12 muffins.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Poppy Seed Bread

Here's a recipe I received from my Aunt Ruth. It's a super moist bread to share with your loved ones and friends at Christmas.

3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/8 cups canola oil
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons poppy seed
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons butter flavoring
1 1/2 teaspoons almond flavoring


3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring

In large bowl, mix together top ingredients. Pour into 2-3 greased loaf pans. Bake 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees. Top with glaze while warm. Garnish with candied cherries and sugar sprinkles. Freezes well. Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Wine Pairing Party


Every now and then, I like to have a wine-pairing party to try new wines as well as new appetizers that might go with them. 

Your go-to food pairings are always a variety of cheeses, crackers, grapes, nuts, and olives. But be adventurous and try a few of the recipes below!

Pair with a Mascato D' Asti or a Dry Rose.

Pair with Pinot Noir or Gamay

Pair with a Pinot Grigio, a Dry Riesling or a Gewurztraminer

Pair with a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot

Pair with a Dry Rose or a Chardonnay

See more wine and food pairing ideas HERE.

Chicken and Dumplings

Comfort Food Deluxe! 

6 cups water
6 chicken thighs, with skin and bones
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 cup frozen peas
1 medium onion, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 cubes chicken bouillon
salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk, divided
3 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste

In a large stockpot, place chicken in water. Add carrots, celery, peas, onion, thyme, oregano, and bouillon. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Bring to a boil and cook on low heat for 25 minutes. 

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the dumplings. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add 1 1/2 cups milk, stirring gently to combine. Set aside. 

Remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool on a plate. Remove the skin and bone from the chicken. Shred and place the chicken back in the pot. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup milk and flour to form a paste. Slowly add it to the broth and whisk to combine. 

Drop tablespoons of dumpling dough into the simmering pot. Add parsley and salt and pepper. Cover the pot and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to set uncovered for 12 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Here's a recipe for you to try when you want something a little different for supper. Great with Salmon or Rice and Barley Pilaf with mixed vegetables.

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled, and diced into 2" cubes
1/3 cup Russian salad dressing
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons parsley
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, pour dressing and oil over cubed sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir well to coat evenly. Prepare a square baking pan with cooking spray and place mixture in pan, spreading to edges. Bake for 25-30 minutes until tender. Serves 4-6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Julie Arduini's Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

Julie Arduini loves to encourage readers to find freedom in Christ by surrendering the good, the bad, and ---maybe one day---the chocolate. She’s the author of the contemporary romance series SURRENDERING TIME, (Entrusted, Entangled, Engaged,) as well as the stand-alone novella, MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN. She also shares her story in the infertility devotional, A WALK IN THE VALLEY. Her latest release, YOU’RE AMAZING, is a book for girls ages 10-100, written with her teenaged daughter, Hannah, and is book 2 in their SURRENDERING STINKIN’ THINKIN’ series. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Learn more by visiting her at, where she invites readers to subscribe to her monthly newsletter full of resources and giveaway opportunities.

Julie's Latest Book Release - Restoring Christmas

Holly Christmas left Geneseo Valley and her family’s holiday tourist attraction, The Christmas Mansion, as soon as she graduated. Now both her parents have passed, and Holly returns when her uncle needs her help running the mansion. On Holly’s first day back, a blunt middle-schooler proclaims Holly hates Christmas. His comment forces her to reconcile the past while planning for the mansion’s future.

Kevin Holt is invested in offering hope to students with challenges. His best friend’s son is in Kevin’s class, and Nathan needs guidance. Their community project placement at The Christmas Mansion is an opportunity to make a positive difference. When Nathan blurts out his thoughts to the beautiful co-owner, Kevin wonders if he has what it takes to help restore the mansion to its former glory, mentor Nathan, and convince Holly Christmas she’s exactly where she needs to be.
 Buy the book HERE.

Julie's Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

These were a favorite snack growing up when I visited my best friend’s house. I don’t love bananas, yet these are just a hint of banana against the gooey chocolate chip. My son still asks for these, and he’s 21.

1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ¾ cups unsifted flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sour milk
1 cup mashed banana
2 cups chocolate chips

Cream shortening. Gradually add sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in separate bowl. Add alternately with sour milk and bananas to shortening mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by teaspoon on greased cookie sheet. 375 for 10-12 minutes.

Ham and Hashbrown Egg Casserole

Here's a recipe my husband and I enjoyed recently. It works well when you have company or to eat during the week. 

3 cups frozen hash browns (the cubed kind)
8 oz. Monterey jack pepper cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cups cubed cooked ham
6 well-beaten eggs
12 oz. half and half
2 tablespoons dried minced onion
2 tablespoons dried chives
1 teaspoons seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Grease a 2-quart baking dish. Arrange hash browns evenly on the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle with cheese and ham. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, onion, chives, salt and pepper. Pour over potatoes and ham. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes until eggs are set. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Serves 8-10
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Blueberry Sourdough Biscuits


Here's another biscuit recipe using my sourdough starter. Grands Biscuits used to sell a blueberry biscuit that I absolutely adored. But then they stopped making them. Here is a recipe that rivals those sold in stores. So good! Enjoy!

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
1 cup "unfed" sourdough starter
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 oz. dried blueberries

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cut in butter until coarse crumbs form. Add sourdough, buttermilk, and blueberries. Stir until dough forms. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead 10-12 times. Roll into 1/2" thickness. Cut with large biscuit cutter. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. Makes 12-15 biscuits.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

A Traditional Italian Meal


Here's a Traditional Italian Dinner I served to our family with six courses that lasted over 2 hours. This type of meal is more like an "event"--perhaps on a Sunday afternoon with family and friends and plan for plenty of visiting in-between courses. Because there are so many courses, the portions are quite small. It was such fun learning about the courses of an Italian dinner and the wines to serve with each dish. Here's to Italian Food! 
Buon Appetito!

Cheese, Pistachios, Salami, and Olives, served with Pinot Grigio
First Course - Antipasto - "Before the Meal" similar to appetizers in America.

Fettuccine with Truffle Butter and Sourdough Baguettes served with Chardonnay
Second Course - Primo - A pasta dish, risotto, gnocchi, or soup served with a hard bread.

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin and Zucchini Boats served with Pinot Noir
Third Course - Secondo with Cortorno - A meat dish with a vegetable.

Spinach Salad with Fig Dressing served with Sauvignon Blanc
Fourth Course - Insalata - A salad, served after the main dish to cleanse your palate before dessert.

Crescent Lined Baked Brie with Apricots served with a Sweet Riesling
Fifth Course - Formaggio e Frutta - Cheese and Fruit

Cannoli with Ricotta Filling served with Prosecco followed by a cup of coffee
Sixth Course - Dulce - A final sweet or dessert

See more Italian Menu Ideas HERE.

Fettuccine with Pesto

Here's a delicious side dish to make before the frost gets your herbs! 

2 whole heads garlic
3/4 cup olive oil, divided
4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1 cup each loosely packed fresh parsley and basil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound Fettuccine (homemade recipe HERE)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the tops for the garlic and wrap each in tinfoil, drizzling each head with 1 tablespoon olive oil and seasoned with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Roast until softened, 45 minutes. Allow to cool.

Squeeze the roasted garlic into a food processor. Add pine nuts, parsley and basil and red pepper flakes. Process to make a paste, and while machine is running, add 6 tablespoons olive oil. Scrape pesto into a serving bowl. 

In a large pot, bring water to boil, adding a tablespoon of salt to the water. Cook fettuccine to al dente. Using tongs, move pasta to the bowl of pesto and gently fold to mix. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add a little pasta water to the dish if it seems too dry. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan to serve. Serves 4-6.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Pumpkin Walnut Scones


Pumpkin isn't necessarily my "favorite" ingredient, but these scones are wonderfully delicious. Our family loves them!

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup half and half
1 egg
1/2 cup English walnuts

Cream Cheese Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In medium bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and baking soda. Cut in butter with knife or fork until mixture is crumbly. Add pumpkin, half and half, egg, and walnuts. Stir into flour mixture and work together until completely mixed. Pat out onto a floured surface. Cut into eight pieces and place each in lightly greased scone pan. Press to form into the pan. Bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and remove from pan.

In small bowl, combine powdered sugar, cream cheese, milk, and vanilla. Whisk together until smooth and creamy. While scones are still warm, drizzle cream cheese icing over tops. Makes 8.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Kathy McKinsey's Boston Brown Bread

Kathy McKinsey grew up on a pig farm in Missouri, and although she’s lived in cities for nearly 40 years, she still considers herself a farm girl. She’s been married to Murray for 32 years, and they have five adult children. She’s had two careers before writing—stay-at-home-Mom and rehabilitation teacher for the blind. She lives in Lakewood, Ohio with her husband and two of her children. Besides writing, she enjoys activities with her church, editing for other writers, braille transcribing, crocheting, knitting, and playing with the cat and dog. Learn more about her and her writing HERE. 

Kathy's Latest Book Release: Millie's Christmas
Ruthie says Millie will love Christmas. Ruthie is Millie’s best friend, so she’s sure Ruthie’s right, but why does Millie keep finding Ruthie and her brother Jake crying?

Millie, an orange kitten, shares about her first Christmas. Her best friend Ruthie, six years old, teaches Millie about Christmas—food, decorations, music, presents, and Jesus!

Millie’s friend Bruce, the family dog, also helps her celebrate Christmas, and sometimes gets her in trouble.

When Ruthie’s big brother Jake breaks his ankle, Millie learns about sad things, like divorce, when Jake can’t visit his mommy for Christmas. Millie watches Ruthie’s family love each other through the sadness, and find joy in Christmas. Buy the book HERE.

Kathy's Boston Brown Bread

My mom baked this every year at Christmas, and I believe I’ve managed to do the same most of the 32 years of my marriage.

2 cups water
2 cups raisins
2 tablespoons margarine
2 heaping teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 eggs

Boil water; Add raisins, margarine, and baking soda. Let this mixture soak for four or five hours. Then add cinnamon, flour, sugar, and eggs. Mix and pour into two greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes.

Variation: For cute round loaves, pour into, and bake in, four or five 15 or 16 ounce vegetable cans.

Lemon Balsamic Glazed Salmon

Here's a quick and easy recipe when serving Salmon to your family. Serve with Rice and Barley Pilaf and Glazed Sweet Potatoes. Enjoy!

16 oz. frozen salmon fillets
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon minced garlic

Place fish in a shallow baking dish. Drizzle each with olive oil. Sprinkle with lemon pepper and salt. Bake at 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until the salmon flakes easily when tested with fork.

Meanwhile, in small saucepan, combine orange juice, brown sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, cornstarch and garlic. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until mixture thickens. To serve, pour sauce over salmon. Serves 4.
Wine Suggestion: Cambria Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir

Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Octoberfest Recipes

Being Lutheran, our family always enjoys Octoberfest and German food. Here are a few of our favorite recipes to try this month.

Apple Fritters

See more German recipe ideas HERE.