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  1. Monday, November 21

    Easy Turkey Pudding Craft Perfect for Thanksgiving

    Before we take off on our Thanksgiving travels, I have to share this super cute, crazy easy Thanksgiving kids craft with you. Owen brought it home from school. It’s so simple and so cute (and so delicious…I love Hunt’s Pudding Snack Packs for some reason!) even I would do this craft with my kids. That is really saying something. I’m like the anti-craft mom.

    Simple and Easy Turkey Pudding Craft Perfect for Thanksgiving!

    Materials:

    • Chocolate Pudding Snack Pack
    • Small Googly Eyes
    • Construction paper, cut into feather shapes and small orange triangles for the nose

    Simple and Easy Turkey Pudding Craft Perfect for Thanksgiving!

    How To Make the Turkey Pudding Craft:

    • Flip the pudding snack pack upside down.
    • Using either a hot glue gun or scotch tape, attach the eyes, nose and tail feathers.
    • All done!

    You could even have the kids make these and then put them on the table at each place setting for decoration. It will keep them busy while the grown-ups are cooking and make them feel like they’ve contributed.

    I never thought I would say this on the blog…but…Happy Crafting!


  2. Sunday, November 20

    Week 513 Menu, THANKSGIVING and ‘Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life’ is Almost Here!

    Happy Thanksgiving Week! I’m going old-school-This-Week-for-Dinner and doing a weekly menu post filled with all kinds of stuff. Here we go!

    THIS WEEK’S MENU

    We were originally going to be hosting Thanksgiving here at our home, but plans have changed and now we’re driving to Utah to be with family there. Which means I don’t need to plan a menu for this week because we’ll be traveling. But if YOU have a menu planned for this week, please share it in the comments!

    classic pumpkin pie with homemade pie crust at @janemaynard

    THANKSGIVING!

    This November I’ve been feeling a lot of gratitude. Things have also been a little quiet here on the blog, on my podcast and on my social media channels. You see, two weeks ago I was in a car accident. I’m not going to get into details for now, and I am recovering very well. That said, the accident was scary and unexpected. In the end, though, it could have been so much worse and, from the moment the car came to a stop and I knew I was okay, I felt nothing but gratitude throughout the entire experience. That gratitude carried me through. And now, entering the busiest time of year, I’ve not only been forced to slow down, but I’ve also thought a lot about just how lucky and blessed I am. Instead of feeling frustrated by not being able to do more this November I’m just taking it in stride and letting it be a positive experience. Here’s to a holiday season that is less about the busy and more about the gratitude and love.

    That is why I haven’t been posting much or sharing any new recipes for Thanksgiving. But that’s okay, I’ve got tons of great Thanksgiving content on the blog already. If you’re looking for assistance for the big feast this week, I have some links you need to peruse!

    If you have your Thanksgiving feast planned, please share that in the comments! Links to recipes always welcome!

    We can't wait to bingewatch "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" on Netflix this Thanksgiving weekend! Woohoo!

    GILMORE GIRLS IS ALMOST HERE!

    Forget the accident, I think the new Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life episodes airing on Netflix the day after Thanksgiving is why I am feeling truly grateful this year. Just kidding! (Mostly.)

    Netflix sent me an adorable package filled with goodies to help us enjoy the new episodes. I’m still not sure if I’m going to bingewatch or spread out the new episodes, but the mailer got me and my girls watching old episodes together this weekend and it’s been so much fun. Nate is still flummoxed by the fact I can watch Gilmore Girls over and over and over again. (To be honest, I’m a little flummoxed by it myself.) Psst…I have an inside source who has already seen the new episodes. This little birdie didn’t give me any details (it’s a good birdie) but she did say that the new episodes are SO GOOD. Are you as excited as I am?!?!?! WOOHOO!!!!

    And with that I am DONE. I kind of love today’s post. I don’t have to plan a weekly menu (I know, ironic). THANKSGIVING! And GIMORE GIRLS! As I mentioned before, if you have a weekly menu and/or Thanksgiving plan to share in the comments, please do. And, of course, any and all discussion of the Gilmore Girls is welcome! Happy Thanksgiving Week!


  3. Friday, November 20

    Friday Show & Tell

    Happy Friday! Soccer season is over around these parts, so I’m looking forward to our first weekend with nothing on the calendar. Sadly I think most of that free time will be spent cleaning the disaster that is our house!

    There is a lot to share today. Ready, set, GO!

    Bagel Snowmen by @janemaynard

    I have a bunch of food links for today, most of them perfect for Thanksgiving!

    And, before we go, just want to share two great causes quickly. It’s the giving season!

    When Cate was in preschool many moons ago, there was a really wonderful group of moms in that classroom. We were all very different from one another but everyone got along beautifully. One of the moms, Rachel Lorkin, had a baby around that time, a little boy named Luke with chromosome 15q duplication. Rachel has an Etsy shop where she sells some of her artwork, which serves as a respite in her otherwise hectic life. From now through December, 100% of the sale price on any of her items will go to the Chromosome 15q Duplication Aliance, an organization that supports research and kindness for families like Rachel’s. If you’ve started your holiday shopping, check it out! It’s a great cause! (The robots on canvas are RIDICULOUSLY cute.)

    rachel lorkin robots on canvas

    Second, last week I had the chance to be a guest judge for a high school speech tournament at an non-profit called Reality Changers here in San Diego. It is absolutely astounding what this non-profit is doing for kids from disadvantaged backgrounds to help get them into college. I was very impressed and loved meeting a few of the kids in the program. If you’re in San Diego and looking for a non-profit to get involved with, definitely check out the volunteer opportunities at Reality Changers. If you’re not in San Diego and would like to support the program with a donation, click here.

    That’s it from me today. If you have anything you’d like to share, please do!


  4. Tuesday, November 17

    Kitchen Tip: The Best Way To Cut Dough for Crescent Rolls

    There hasn’t been much Thanksgiving prep happening here on the blog because, honestly, there just isn’t much Thanksgiving prep happening in my kitchen! I AM cooking next week, and I haven’t done one thing yet to get ready. Honestly, I’m not stressed about it. I’m sticking with the old stand-bys this year, so I pretty much know what we’ll be eating. Just need to do some shopping this weekend. It’s all good. However, if you are actually planning ahead, you can click on my “Thanksgiving Prep” tag and see all kinds of posts related to Thanksgiving!

    kitchen tip: cutting crescent rolls with a pizza cutter from @janemaynard

    I do want to share a quick Kitchen Tip today related to Thanksgiving. It’s one of those tips that is kind of a “Duh” thing to share, but I didn’t figure it out until last year, so I imagine I’m not alone in having not done this before. Every year I make crescent rolls for Thanksgiving. And every year I use a sharp knife when cutting dough for crescent rolls. You know, once you’ve rolled out a circle and cut the circle into triangles. Well, last year, I was about to use the knife and then, for some reason, I thought of the pizza cutter. It worked beautifully. Also, what did I tell you? DUH. How had I never done this before?!

    Please note that it works best to cut from the outside edge towards the center. If you cut from the center, sometimes the tips of the triangles roll up as you roll the pizza cutter.

    kitchen tip: cutting crescent rolls with a pizza cutter from @janemaynard

    Life changer, guys. Well, when it comes to making crescent rolls at least. You’re welcome and happy crescent roll cutting!


  5. Sunday, November 23

    Week 409 Menu + Thanksgiving Menu 2014

    It’s Thanksgiving week – I can’t believe it! Today it’s mostly all about the Thanksgiving menu, but I’ll also share our menu for the whole week, which is pretty sparse because all the attention will be on the turkey!

    This year we will have Nate’s sister Jess and her family here with us for the entire week, and the Czarnecki family will be joining us on Thanksgiving. We will be surrounded by people that we love dearly and I can’t wait!

    2014 thanksgiving menu from @janemaynard

    Time for the Thanksgiving menu! Here’s what we’ll be having. As usual, we’re sticking with everyone’s favorite classics.

     

    As for the rest of the week…here’s the menu plan!

    MONDAY: Malibu Melt Wraps

    TUESDAY: Taco Night

    WEDNESDAY: Taco Leftovers

    THURSDAY: THANKSGIVING!

    FRIDAY – SUNDAY: Leftovers Galore!

    Please share your weekly menu as usual…but we REALLY want to see your Thanksgiving plans! Share, share, share!


  6. Friday, November 22

    Thanksgiving Menu 2013

    Hi everyone! I was going to post my Thanksgiving menu on Monday, but then I was thinking, we’re all probably doing a bunch of our grocery shopping this weekend, so it’s time to get planning for the Thanksgiving feasts NOW. Let’s get to it!

    2013 Thanksgiving Menu by @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.com

    Here is what we are having for Thanksgiving this year. I can’t WAIT for Thursday!

    Dessert is still up in the air. We’re going to have a serious discussion about it once everyone is in town, but there will for sure be Pumpkin Pie and something with chocolate. And maybe makes-its-own-crust apple pie. And maybe even more than that. Who knows? It might get crazy around here.

    P.S. I didn’t get any cooking done ahead of time besides the cranberry sauce. So much for being organized and ahead of the game!

    Click here to see all the Thanksgiving Prep posts I’ve published over the years for even more inspiration.

    And, as always, please share your own menu plan for next week’s Thanksgiving feast! If you have recipes or links to recipes, share those, too!


  7. Tuesday, November 19

    Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce from The Pioneer Woman

    holiday gifts & giveaways on thisweekfordinner.com

     

    This giveaway is now closed, but keep reading for a great recipe!

    I’ve decided this year I’m going to make a lot of our food for Thanksgiving ahead of time. So, this week I’m going to get cooking and freeze it all so that we can really enjoy our time with family next week. To kick off the flurry of pre-Thanksgiving cooking I made homemade cranberry sauce!

    ree's easy homemade cranberry sauce from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.com

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, one of the best parts of blogging has been building relationships with wonderful, amazing people from all over the country. One of those people is Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman. Ree is pure kindness and I am thankful to know her! As you may know, Ree just came out with another fun and colorful cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays.

    ree's easy homemade cranberry sauce from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.com

    I decided since Thanksgiving is right around the corner I should check out the Thanksgiving section of her book, which is chockfull of homemade goodness, including several different kinds of stuffing. I decided to make the cranberry sauce because, well, we need some for next week! The recipe is delicious and very simple to throw together. So simple, in fact, I forgot I was cooking the sauce. Like, as I was typing this paragraph and I started typing the word “cranberry sauce” it reminded me that I was simmering the sauce on the stove for quite some time and had to stop typing immediately and  run to the kitchen to save the sauce from certain destruction. Crisis averted, cranberry sauce is a-okay! So, in addition to being delicious and easy, this sauce is also indestructible!

    the pioneer woman cooks: a year of holidays giveaway + recipe for easy homemade cranberry sauce from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.comThe cranberry sauce and the book are both great, which is just what I would expect from Ree! And today I get to give away her wonderful book! THREE of you lucky people will win a SIGNED copy of Ree’s new book The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays.

    Here is how to enter the giveaway! (Comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Monday, 11/25.)

    • Simply leave a comment, any comment, on this post! That’s it!
    • Bonus entry: Follow This Week for Dinner on Facebook and leave a separate comment telling me you did! (If you already follow, that counts!)
    • Bonus entry: Follow me on Pinterest and leave a separate comment telling me you did! (If you already follow me on Pinterest, that counts!)
    • Bonus entry: Follow me on Twitter and leave a separate comment telling me you did! (If you already follow me on Pinterest, that counts!)

    ree's easy homemade cranberry sauce from @janemaynard at thisweekfordinner.com

    To wrap things up, here is the recipe for Ree’s Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce. Enjoy!

    Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce from The Pioneer Woman {Giveaway!}
     
    Author:
    Cuisine: Side Dish, Thanksgiving
    Ingredients
    • One 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
    • 2 large oranges
    • 1 cup pure maple syrup
    Instructions
    1. Rinse the cranberries under cold water. Zest the oranges. Add the cranberries and zest to a medium saucepan. Squeeze the juice from both oranges into the saucepan. Add the maple syrup and stir it all together. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until it’s nice and thick. If the sauce still seems a little thin, just simmer longer until it’s the right consistency.
    2. Transfer the sauce to a dish and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Can be made up to 2 days in advance. Store in the fridge. (I am going to freeze mine and defrost it the day before Thanksgiving.)

     


  8. Tuesday, November 20

    {Thanksgiving Prep} Green Bean Casserole from Scratch

    Today’s post might be a little controversial. Maybe even more controversial than the 2012 presidential election. I know. Are you ready?

    I don’t like green bean casserole. You know, the casserole that practically everyone else in America seems to LOVE except me. The casserole that graces many a Thanksgiving table every November. I appreciate that it is a staple and I love that other people love it. But, yeah. I’m just not that into it and always pass when it’s available.

    See. Controversy. I may as well just tell you who I voted for for president. That might actually cause less of a stir! So, I voted for…

    What, did you REALLY think I’d fess up about my secret ballot? Yeah right!

    Back to casserole. I decided to invite green bean casserole into my life this year. But I also decided I wanted it to be made completely from scratch. Fresh green beans and mushrooms, no canned soup, homemade onion rings. The task was daunting, but I have to tell you, I am SOOOOOO glad I tackled this challenge. Because the end result was unbelievably delicious. And I am NOT speaking in hyperbole here.

    Our friend Brandon, a renowned casserole hater, took a bite and said, “Where have you been all my life?”

    Is that enough of a build up for you? Are you ready to cast aside the canned soup and the store-bought french fried onions and throw a little blood, sweat and tears into your green bean casserole? Good. Here you go.

    {Thanksgiving Prep} Green Bean Casserole from Scratch
     
    Adapted from two recipes, one from Williams Sonoma the other from Cook’s Illustrated
    Author:
    Recipe type: Side Dish, Thanksgiving
    Cuisine: American
    Ingredients
    • 1½ pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 2″-3″ pieces
    • 1 cup water and a large bowl of ice water
    • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
    • 3 tablespoon butter
    • 1 small onion or ½ regular-sized onion, chopped
    • ⅓ cup flour
    • 1½ cups chicken or veggie stock/broth
    • 1 cup cream
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 3 shallots, sliced very thin
    • ¼ cup flour
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
    • ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. In a large skillet with a lid, heat 1 cup water to boiling over medium-high to high heat. Add green beans. Put on lid and cook for three minutes. Remove beens and place in ice water. Set beans aside.
    3. Pour water off of the skillet. Reduce heat to medium and melt butter. Add mushroom and cook for about 5 minutes. Add chopped onion and cook an additional 5+ minutes, until onions are soft and translucent. Sprinkle ⅓ cup flour over the mushrooms and onions and stir well, cooking for a minute or so. Slowly stir in the chicken broth. Slowly stir in the cream. Mix well. Add ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Stir well then mix in green beans. Transfer to 9×13 casserole dish and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes (you will put fried shallot rings on top for the last 5 minutes of baking…see below).
    4. While casserole is baking, heat ¼ cup oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Mix flour, ¼ tsp salt and ⅛ tsp pepper in a medium to large bowl. Mix shallot rings in the flour, coating well. Use your hands to mix the shallots in the flour so you can break the rings up and get them coated really well. Transfer floured shallots with tongs to the skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, until shallots are crisp and golden.
    5. Sprinkle fried shallots over the top of the casserole at the 25 minute baking point. Bake 5 more minutes. Serve hot!
    6. If you want to make this ahead of time, I would do everything except the fried shallot rings and put the casserole in the fridge BEFORE baking. Bake 5-10 minutes longer since the casserole will be going into the oven cold and make the fried shallot rings while the casserole is baking.

    green bean casserole from scratch by @janemaynard from thisweekfordinner.com


  9. Thursday, November 20

    Thanksgiving Prep: Cranberry Slush

    cranberry orange slush vert web

    Everyone seems pretty excited about the Cranberry Slush on my menu, so I think I better get the recipe out there!  Plus, it’s one of the items you can make way ahead of time, so it’s perfect for this week’s planning.  In fact, you need to make it at least 1-2 days ahead so it has time to freeze.

    It’s my Great-Grandma Blomquist’s recipe.  Everyone in my family, from coast to coast, serves it on Thanksgiving.  Definitely a family tradition and one I’m excited to share!

    Cranberry Slush (Original Recipe)
     
    This is a Blomquist family tradition (my mom’s family). Can’t have Thanksgiving without it! Make sure you make the frozen cranberry stuff a day or two ahead and have enough room in your freezer to freeze it. This is the original version, but I always use the Quick recipe (see below).
    Author:
    Recipe type: Beverage
    Serves: 24 servings
    Ingredients
    • 1 pound cranberries
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 2 cups water
    • 2 quarts cranberry juice
    • 2 quarts ginger ale
    Instructions
    1. Cook cranberries, sugar and water until thickens. Run through a collander. Add 1 quart cranberry juice. Freeze.
    2. When ready to serve, mash up frozen cranberry mixture with 1 quart cranberry juice and 2 quarts ginger ale.

    Cranberry Slush (Quick Recipe)
     
    [i]This is a Blomquist family tradition (my mom’s family). Can’t have Thanksgiving without it! Make sure you make the frozen cranberry stuff a day or two ahead and have enough room in your freezer to freeze it. This is the Quick recipe that I always use.
    Author:
    Recipe type: Beverage
    Serves: 24 servings
    Ingredients
    • 4 cans whole cranberry sauce
    • 3 quarts cranberry juice
    • 2 quarts ginger ale
    Instructions
    1. Run whole cranberry sauce through a colander (pictured here) or press through a fine sieve with a large spoon (pictured here) over a large bowl. Keep pressing until you just have skins left in the colander/sieve.
    2. Add 2 quarts of the cranberry juice, mix well, then freeze until hardened. You need to make this part at least 1 day ahead of time. I freeze the juice in a flat storage containers so it’s easy to break up later.
    3. When ready to serve, mash up frozen cranberry mixture with 1 quart cranberry sauce and 2 quarts ginger ale.
    Notes
    For those of you who like to make it "interesting"...feel free to spike your slush. I have a few friends who evolved dear old grandmother's recipe with a little vodka and were quite pleased with the results. Grandma's rollin' in her grave!

    cranberry slush sieve sideview webcranberry orange slush storage | thisweekfordinner.com


  10. Saturday, November 17

    Thanksgiving Prep: Stuffing

    Below is my mom’s stuffing recipe. This is what I make every year – it’s not fancy, but it is so good. There are TONS of fancier recipes out there that I’m sure are delicious, but I like my stuffing simple & straightforward. As with all my mom’s recipes, there are no measurements. So sorry!!! Also, there’s lots of good info in the comments on the Gravy post, so make sure you read them!

    Quick note on more Thanksgiving Prep posts to come: Tomorrow I will share my entire menu for Thanksgiving, including recipes. Monday is all about dessert – so get your favorite recipes to share ready! Tuesday is about timing the meal prep – this is probably the trickiest part of cooking on Thanksgiving. Wednesday…we may be done, we shall see! The coutdown begins!

    Stuffing
     
    As taught to me by mom. Measurements are mine, based on her very vague instructions over the years :)
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1 cheap white bread, cut into small cubes
    • ½ of a medium yellow onion
    • 1-2 stalks celery, diced
    • 1-2 carrots, grated
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • ¼ teaspoon dried sage
    • 1 stick butter melted
    • ½ cup - 1 cup chicken stock
    • 1 egg well beaten
    Instructions
    1. After you have cubed the bread, let it sit out for a couple days to get stale OR bake in a 200º F oven for about 20 minutes until bread is starting to harden.
    2. Melt butter in large pan on the stove. Add onions and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add celery and carrots and cook over low for about 5 minutes.
    3. Whisk together the egg, salt, pepper and sage.
    4. In a very large bowl, combine the cubed bread with the egg and butter/veggie mixture. Add stock, ¼ cup at a time, until it seems like the right amount of moisture.
    5. Bake in a 350º F oven until hot all the way through. You can also stuff some of this in the bird then mix the "stuffed" stuffing with the "non-stuffed" stuffing and combine well.
    6. I always double, triple or quadruple the recipe, depending on how many people are coming! :)