Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving 2014 - Pilgrims

I’m putting together my list for next Thursday and thought I’d share a few recipes I’ll be using.  The Overnight Rolls Recipe is from Trisha Yearwood  and I love it.  I’ll be making the dough and baking these this weekend, then place in the freezer until they are popped back  into the oven to warm up for Thanksgiving..  This is the easiest yeast roll recipe I’ve ever made and they taste like my Grandma Leona used to make.  I’ll also be making my pie crust dough this weekend, patting into discs and then wrapping in saran wrap and foil for the freezer.  These will go into the refrigerator to thaw a day before pie baking time.  In addition to our pumpkin pies, I’ll be making this Caramel Upside Down Cake which was tweaked from a 1940’s cookbook of my Grandma Bertha.

Menu:  Roasted Turkey, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Sweet Potato Casserole, Yeast Rolls, Butter, Cranberry Sauce, Caramel Upside Down Cake, Pumpkin Pie and Whipped Cream

Here is the schedule (I’m doing this more for me than you)

90% of grocery shopping is done

Turkey is in freezer defrosting

This weekend – Make yeast rolls and pie crusts for freezer, Set table

Monday – Last few shopping items

Tuesday – Pie crusts – freezer into refrigerator to thaw

Wednesday – Make pumpkin pies,  caramel upside down cake, whipping cream, and sweet potato casserole

Thursday – Take rolls out of freezer, Turkey goes into oven at 10 a.m., Make stuffing, Cook green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy cranberry sauce, butter and salt/pepper on the table.

Cooking is one way of expressing love to my family.  I pray you have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Apple Cake - finished
Caramel Upside Down Cake

Pie Crust - discs
Pie Crusts shaped in circles and wrapped for freezer.


Cinnamon Cake

Early in our marriage I used to purchase a Pillsbury mix that made a cinnamon swirl bundt cake.  For many reasons (wheat sensitivities, looking for reduced sugar alternatives and an increased knowledge of using unprocessed products, etc) I no longer use the mixes. However, I saw a recipe from Taste of Home and took it to the kitchen to see if I could make something similar to what I remembered with a healthier slant.

Cinnamon Cake - baked

I am happy to say my family feels I’ve been successful.  I have included the original link to the recipe I modified.  But here are the changes I implemented.  I cut the sugar way back and even used a small amount of pure maple syrup to add sweetness.  I substituted the sour cream for 2% plain yogurt which added additional protein into the cake.


I’ve said it before and I’ll encourage once again – don’t skimp on the type of cinnamon you use.  I am a believer in Vietnamese cinnamon. I purchase mine at SurLaTable Kitchen Store by it can also be found on Amazon.  

This cake isn’t too sweet and is very versatile for breakfast, brunch, a snack or dessert.  I can see several variations – add a small scoop of ice cream, fresh berries or a light layer of your favorite 100% fruit spread on top of a slice.

Don’t want an entire cake around?  Cut a portion and wrap and give to neighbor, friend, coworkers or cut in slices, wrap individually and place in the freezer for a future treat.  I shared a portion with my daughter’s family (aka:  The Workout Mama) and she gave it a two thumbs up.

Cinnamon Cake
A cinnamon swirl coffee cake
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  1. 1 cup butter, softened
  2. 1-1/2 cups sugar, divided
  3. 4 eggs
  4. 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  5. 3 cups of flour - I used white spelt flour
  6. 1 tsp baking soda
  7. 1 tsp salt
  8. 2 cups 2% plain Fage yogurt
  9. 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
  10. 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  11. Glaze (if desired)
  12. 1/3 cup of powdered sugar
  13. 1 Tbsp milk (your choice) - I used almond milk.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and 1 cup of sugar until light fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
  3. Place yogurt and syrup in a small bowl and mix together.
  4. Combine flour, baking soda and salt and sift together. Add alternately with yogurt mixture, beating just enough after each addition to keep batter smooth.
  5. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon together in small bowl.
  6. Grease a bundt pan.
  7. Spoon and spread a third of batter into greased pan. Sprinkle a third of cinnamon and sugar mixture over batter in pan. Repeat layers two more times. Bake for 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack or baking dish to cool completely.
  8. If glaze is desired - mix a little milk at a time into powdered sugar and drizzle over cooled cake. Yield: 16-20 servings.
Adapted from Taste of Home
Adapted from Taste of Home
Deliciously Inspired
Cinnamon Cake2

Cinnamon Cake-slice

Cinnamon Cake1

As we enter the holiday season, the reality is that we will eat a treat of two. As much as possible let’s intentionally choose treats that have sound ingredients in them to help nourish our bodies.


Saturday Morning

I love those rare Saturday mornings when the schedule allows a little extra time in the kitchen.  Here in Arizona – the front and back doors are open to 60 degree weather, the birds are chirping and the sky is a lovely light blue.  When I woke up I thought about how nice it would be to go out to breakfast for pancakes.  But then I thought about the treats I had while the Halloween candy was out (PS – my husband has now bagged the leftovers, hidden it and will take to work).  It’s sad but I need this help from him to get it out of my eyesight. 

Quinoa Pancakes - Nov 1, 2014

I look at the calendar and see November 1st.  We are heading into a wonderfully busy season and I decide here and now that I need to do my best to have the energy and health to enjoy the days ahead.  That means being very intentional with my eating and exercising – which are two of the easiest things to let go of when when I get busy.

Does this mean I didn’t have pancakes?  Nope – it just meant that I was going to make my own so I could control the ingredients.  Did it take a little time? – yes, but I now have batter leftover that can be made up and placed into the freezer for future use.  I fortunately had some leftover cooked quinoa so I pulled my Quinoa Cinnamon Pancake Recipe which is full of good ingredients – spelt flour, quinoa, eggs, flax seed, protein powder, lemon juice, almond milk, etc.  These ingredients are going to take me much further in my day that those restaurant pancakes would have. 

Quinoa Pancakes - 2014

Once baked, the sand dollar size pancakes were layered with a little butter and a blueberry fruit spread with just a drizzle of real maple syrup.  The egg was seasoned with salt, pepper, turmeric and cumin.  My refrigerator had just enough fresh blueberries leftover from last week to complete the plate.  My drink of choice hot water with a lemon wedge – it sounds plain but it is so good and a great way to say hello to your body each morning.  Elizabeth Finch, a holistic health coach, teaches this about warm lemon water – “It will help to hydrate and alkalize your body, cleanse your system and reduce inflammation. Now repeat and do this every morning for even more benefits, like improved immunity and digestion.”

Let’s learn from each other.  Please feel free to share a tip/recipe that helps you take care of yourself during the holiday season.