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By Marlena Rice

 

Fall is finally here: We are all “Roll Tide” – ing, enjoying our riding boots and jeans, and already stressing over who will be hosting Christmas dinner - let alone Thanksgiving dinner. As a mother and a wife, I would especially like to note that I am truly always thankful for my son, my husband, my family, my job, and a multitude of other things. I am really just tickled pink all the time when I think about how God has blessed me. However, today I would like to share with you a list of all the things I am thankful for that only mothers would understand.

 

This Thanksgiving, and all throughout the year:

 

·       I am thankful for the kind lady who works at Chick-fil-a, who remembers me and says, “It’s good to see you, you haven’t been here in a while.” Which leads me to be thankful that I am on time for work that particular morning, despite the fact that I was late the day before, and likely to be running late the next.

·       I am thankful for the fact that my two year old finally believes me when I say that bugs will crawl on his butt if he keeps giving me a hard time getting his underwear/pullups back on as we potty train.

·       I am thankful for the logistics coordinator of the new neighborhood Wal-Mart, who strategically placed a miniature toy aisle with mini racecars in direct view of the meat section (because once we take 30 minutes to pick out yet another car, or two, I am then able to quickly pick up the four items we initially came to buy).

·       I am thankful for my boss, who didn’t make me show him the photograph on my iPhone that details why I was late for work. The situation involved a child in a car seat, covered in the morning’s milk and an unseen prayer that an air freshener would just fall into the backseat like a smoke bomb.

·       I am thankful for Ben and Jerry, for making ice-cream concoctions that are so outrageous (and delicious) that when the family is sitting down to watch television in the evenings no one wants “just a bite.”

·       I am thankful for the couch. The one that handles the weight of all three of us, and our huge Great Dane as he leans against to sit at our feet. You have endured baby shoes, spilled milk, spilled chicken noodle soup, the dreaded orange Cheetos powder smears, and everything else that has once left my kitchen or dining room table. And you’ve endured a family that has to sit all but smack right on each other on your cushions while we argue about what to watch on one of multiple televisions in our home.

 

Happy Holidays, and be Thankful!

 

Marlena Rice is a local mom and author. Her new book, “Pacifiers, Flatbeds and Barn Wood Thingamajigs, a 'Come to Jesus Guide' for the New, Southern Mom,” will be available on Amazon.com this fall. Follow Marlena on Instagram at marlena_rice.

 

Photo: Marlena Rice

 

Caption: Beaux William is in the holiday spirit. He’s thankful for pumpkins, obviously.

 

Article sponsored by Med Center North.

Find them on the web at: www.medcenterurgentcare.com

 

 

By Amy Poore

 

Have you started planning the Thanksgiving meal yet? Fall is definitely in the air, and both of these recipes will compliment your holiday table beautifully. The pear chutney is an aromatic delight, and a perfect pairing for your turkey, no matter how you prepare it. And for dessert, I suggest this scrumptious pumpkin Bundt cake with caramel drizzle. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and bon appétit!

Pear Chutney

  • 5 ripe pears, peeled and diced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pears in 2 tbsp. hot olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes (or until tender). Transfer to a bowl; wipe Dutch oven clean. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion; sauté 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Add raisins, garlic, and ginger; sauté 5 minutes. Add sugar, cinnamon, cloves and dried crushed red pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute or until spices are fragrant. Stir in vinegar and maple syrup, and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Stir in pears; cook, stirring constantly, 3-5 minutes. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Pumpkin Bundt Cake with Caramel Drizzle

For the cake:

  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the drizzle:

  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla

For the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine sugar, oil, eggs, vanilla, pumpkin and sour cream in a large mixing bowl. Add flour, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt and stir in to combine. Pour into a greased and floured Bundt pan.

Bake for around 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Test it with a wooden pick to see if it comes out clean. Invert cake onto a cooling rack.

For the Caramel Drizzle:

Heat milk and brown sugar in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from stove and add butter and vanilla. Cool for five minutes and drizzle over cooled cake.

Amy Poore is a new mom, a wife and a foodie. To see more of Amy's delicious recipes, visit her blog, Poore Amy, at www.pooreamy.com

 

Photos: Amy Poore

 

Article sponsored by Interlinc Mortgage.

Find them on the web at: https://www.interlincmortgage.com

 

                                                                           Sponsored by: 

By Chloe Monte

 

Remember the family that would keep the Christmas tree up all year?  Remember them?  You know the ones!  They were the eccentric family on the block whose sanity you questioned.  You asked yourself, “How could someone have such a continuous celebration spirit?  Does that not take away the essence of what Christmas is?  And what is December 25th to them if July 25th is identical?”  Ultimately, you resigned these thoughts to conclude, “To each his own.  If it makes them happy, then go for it!” 

 

What we, the categorical Christmas celebrators, did not realize was that they were ahead of their time!  They were innovative while we were naysayers.  They were trendy before there was an entire zeitgeist industry.  That’s right, they were simply living in the future! 

 

I write this article from the year 2050.  And in this year, we celebrate Christmas all year round.   We live in a perpetual state of green and red.  Stores have created, to continue increasing sales, virtual environments where you are taken back to your happiest Christmas memory via retail time machines and invented ornaments that give you boosts of endorphins whenever you touch them so to classically condition your opinion toward Christmas and excessive spending. 

 

Also, Christmas is no longer called Christmas.  A decade ago, Congress, after realizing the entire United States economy was built on Christmas revenue and any dip in Christmas revenue would cause a collapse to our economy, decided to call the holiday in perpetuity “Thanksgivmas”.  As well, there has been talk about enacting a flat tax that would automatically deduct 30% of our paycheck every month so to be put toward the Thanksgivmas economy to prevent any dips in consumption.  

 

Families no longer receive December 25th off as a vacation holiday, either.  December 25th no longer means anything; it’s just another Thanskgivmas day.  And what has happened to Black Friday, you ask?  Stores have created sections called the Black Daily where deals are had in rotation.    

 

Where did we go wrong?  How did this begin?  I’ll tell you how it began.  It began when we started trampling one another on Black Friday for a TV that is now obsolete and worth nothing!  That’s right, we are to blame!  The temptation was laid in front of us and we fell for it, Christmas tree hook, garland, and bulb.   

 

But this does not have to be your future.  You can change your habits now!

 

You can use this time to volunteer.  You can spend more time with family and friends.  You can go outside and enjoy the fresh air.  You can take up a painting class or travel.   Do anything but buy Christmas ornaments on October 1st

  

Take back Thanksgivmas season and let Christmas be Christmas and Thanksgiving be Thanksgiving. 

 

Article sponsored by Youth for Christ Tuscaloosa.

Find them on the web at: www.tuscaloosayfc.org

 

 

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If you are anything like me, you like to plan out your week so you can be best efficient with your time and money.  However, this does not always happen, especially when one needs to make a large meal for many guests.  So, this list of ingredients was put together to help you manage your time well over the Thanksgiving week. 

 

The meal:

 

Roast turkey

Homemade dressing

Cranberry sauce

Baked sweet potatoes

Green bean casserole

Cornbread or brown and serve rolls

Pickle and raw veggie tray

Pumpkin pie

Apple crisp

 

The Check-Your-Pantry List (buy if necessary):

 

•  Flour, about 4 cups

•  Sugar, about 2 cups

•  Brown sugar, 2-3 cups

•  Honey, 1 cup and maybe a little more

•  Thyme, dried, around 3 tsp

•  Lemon-pepper seasoning, around 2 tsp

•  Cooking oil, plain, a few tablespoons

•  Cooking spray

•  Pumpkin pie spice around 1 1/2 tsp

•  Salt and pepper

•  Cornmeal, 1 cup (if you’re making cornbread)

•  Baking powder, around 4 tsp (for cornbread)

•  Cinnamon, around 1 tsp

•  Oatmeal, around 1 cup

•  Vegetable or chicken bouillon, 4-5 tsp

 

Groceries:

 

•  Frozen Turkey, 10-12 lbs

•  Onions, around 3 lbs

•  Celery, 1 large bunch

•  Carrots, 1 lb

•  Garlic, 1 head, or 2 if you’re keen on it

•  French or Italian bread, sliced, 1 loaf

•  Eggs (you’ll need 7)

•  Butter, 1 lb

•  Cranberries, fresh, 2 bags

•  Sweet potatoes, large fresh, 1/2 = one serving, so as many as you need

•  Potatoes, large baking, if desired

•  Green beans, regular cut frozen, 2 one-pound packages

•  Mushrooms, 1 pound fresh or 2 8-oz cans

•  Milk, 1 quart

•  French fried onion rings, 1 can

•  Pumpkin, 1 15-oz can (plain pumpkin, not pie filling)

•  Prepared frozen pie crust (if you’re not making your own or lack a pie plate)

•  Evaporated milk, 1 12-oz can

•  Apples, tart baking, 2 pounds

•  Whipped cream, 1 spray can of the real stuff, or Vanilla ice cream

•  Veggie and pickle tray items: pickles, olives, pepperoncini, radishes, green onions, etc. to taste

•  Brown and serve rolls if you opt out of baking your own bread or cornbread

•  Green peas or other frozen veg if desired

 

And, do not forget the beverages of choice: beer, wine, juice, coffee, sweet tea…

 

Article sponsored by Bama Bed and Breakfast.

Find them on the web at: www.bamabedandbreakfast.com

 

                                                  Sponsored by: 

 

If you are anything like me, you like to plan out your week so you can be best efficient with your time and money.  However, this does not always happen, especially when one needs to make a large meal for many guests.  So, this list of ingredients was put together to help you manage your time well over the Thanksgiving week. 

 

The meal:

 

Roast turkey

Homemade dressing

Cranberry sauce

Baked sweet potatoes

Green bean casserole

Cornbread or brown and serve rolls

Pickle and raw veggie tray

Pumpkin pie

Apple crisp

 

The Check-Your-Pantry List (buy if necessary):

 

•  Flour, about 4 cups

•  Sugar, about 2 cups

•  Brown sugar, 2-3 cups

•  Honey, 1 cup and maybe a little more

•  Thyme, dried, around 3 tsp

•  Lemon-pepper seasoning, around 2 tsp

•  Cooking oil, plain, a few tablespoons

•  Cooking spray

•  Pumpkin pie spice around 1 1/2 tsp

•  Salt and pepper

•  Cornmeal, 1 cup (if you’re making cornbread)

•  Baking powder, around 4 tsp (for cornbread)

•  Cinnamon, around 1 tsp

•  Oatmeal, around 1 cup

•  Vegetable or chicken bouillon, 4-5 tsp

 

Groceries:

 

•  Frozen Turkey, 10-12 lbs

•  Onions, around 3 lbs

•  Celery, 1 large bunch

•  Carrots, 1 lb

•  Garlic, 1 head, or 2 if you’re keen on it

•  French or Italian bread, sliced, 1 loaf

•  Eggs (you’ll need 7)

•  Butter, 1 lb

•  Cranberries, fresh, 2 bags

•  Sweet potatoes, large fresh, 1/2 = one serving, so as many as you need

•  Potatoes, large baking, if desired

•  Green beans, regular cut frozen, 2 one-pound packages

•  Mushrooms, 1 pound fresh or 2 8-oz cans

•  Milk, 1 quart

•  French fried onion rings, 1 can

•  Pumpkin, 1 15-oz can (plain pumpkin, not pie filling)

•  Prepared frozen pie crust (if you’re not making your own or lack a pie plate)

•  Evaporated milk, 1 12-oz can

•  Apples, tart baking, 2 pounds

•  Whipped cream, 1 spray can of the real stuff, or Vanilla ice cream

•  Veggie and pickle tray items: pickles, olives, pepperoncini, radishes, green onions, etc. to taste

•  Brown and serve rolls if you opt out of baking your own bread or cornbread

•  Green peas or other frozen veg if desired

 

And, do not forget the beverages of choice: beer, wine, juice, coffee, sweet tea…

 

Article sponsored by Bama Bed and Breakfast.

Find them on the web at: www.bamabedandbreakfast.com

 

 

Anyone need some new dishes to enjoy at this year’s Thanksgiving dinner? Both of these dishes are perfect for the occasion. The Pecan Stuffed Acorn Squash looks gorgeous, but it’s fairly simple to make and it takes just a few ingredients. And the Pear Cake offers a delicious alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving desserts (though certainly include them, too).

Enjoy the Thanksgiving holidays, and bon appétit!

 

Pecan Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 acorn squash
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup toasted pecans, chopped
Salt
Pepper
Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Cut each squash in half lengthwise, scrap out and discard seeds. Place squash, cut side down, in 2 baking dishes.

 

Add 1/2 inch of water to each pan.


Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour.


In a bowl, use a hand mixer (or stand) to beat the cream cheese, brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy.

 

Stir in pecans, reserving a few for garnish.


Carefully remove squash from oven and place cut side up on baking sheet.

(Tip: I trim off a little of the bottom so they will lie flat.)


Season squash with salt and pepper, fill with cream cheese mixture and bake for 15-20 more minutes, until filling is lightly browned and squash is tender.


Sprinkle with cinnamon, brown sugar and reserved pecans.

 

Pear Cake

2 cans pear halves
1 package white cake mix
3 eggs
1 stick butter, melted
Confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Drain pears, reserving 1 can of syrup. Chop pears.


Mix cake mix, butter, eggs and reserved syrup on low for 30 seconds, increase to medium-high for 4 mins.


Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan.


Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.


Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Amy Poore is a new mom, a wife and a foodie. To see more of Amy's delicious recipes, visit her blog, Poore Amy, at www.pooreamy.com.  

Photos: Amy Poore

 

Article sponsored by Willcutt Block.

Find them on the web at: http://www.willcuttblock.com

 

 

 

                                                                             Sponsored by:  

By Chloe Monte

 

Painting pumpkins is nothing new, but what is new is using these pumpkins as highly stylized design elements in one’s house.  One of the easiest and most beautiful ways to accomplish a Southern Living type look is to use Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint®, which can be found at various retailers across Alabama. 

 

Chalk Paint® is so easy to use and can be used on practically any surface from glass, metal, wood, or upholstery, without priming, prepping, or sanding.  Equally as great, Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint® comes in beautiful colors.  

 

The blog, Perfectly Imperfect, run by Shaunna West, an Alabama native and star of the HGTV home improvement show Sweet Home Alabama best showcases the beautiful designs one can create this fall.  

 

There are many retailers across Alabama who both sell these paints and offer classes on how to best make your house look beautiful. 

 

An Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint® retailer in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Restoring Piece, for example, offers both introductory and advanced courses that include both written curriculum and hands-on instruction while also teaching techniques that can be applied to any project.  A full schedule of events offered by Restoring Piece can be found on their website: www.restoringpiece.com.   

 

 

An easy way to decorate your holiday table.  

 

Click here for a full list of Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint® retailers in Alabama.

 

Happy designing!

 

Article sponsored by DCH.

Find them on the web at:  https://www.dchsystem.com

 

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