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December

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Cranberry crockpot turkey meatballs

Looking for an easy way to feed a crowd this holiday? This delicious recipe makes for a fantastic appetizer or a tasty twist on your classic meatball sandwich. Turkey meatballs swimming in a sea of cranberry chili sauce is the new must-make recipe of the season. These meatballs are tangy, sweet, and oh-so-addictive! Guests can pick them with toothpicks or plate them for a fancier affair. And the best part? You — you fabulously smart and savvy holiday host — just dump three ingredients into the crock pot, walk away, and about two hours later, you have a hot and hearty snack everyone will love. Now that’s a happy holiday. Also try this Warm brie with cranberry jalapeño jam recipe.  Note: I use turkey meatballs since a lot of people shy away from red meat. Plus, the turkey and cranberry combo is obviously a classic. But feel free to use whatever kind…

Beet apple walnut fall harvest salad

Farmers markets everywhere are still brimming with vibrant beets and crunchy apples. Put them together in this delicious Beet Apple Walnut Fall Harvest salad. See what else is still in season in November.  The crisp combo of tart apples and earthy sweet roasted beets is the perfect way to continue to enjoy the best flavors of fall as we head into the second half of the season. Serve as a side salad to your weeknight meal or earmark this one as a fresh new surprise for the Thanksgiving table. It’s easy enough and pretty enough for just about any occasion. But don’t think this salad is just about looks. Beets are a low calorie root veggie with an impressive record: they can help keep your blood pressure in check, improve athletic performance, fight inflammation, improve digestion, support brain health, and they may even have some cancer fighting potential thanks to…

Everything you need to know about freezing cookies

Nothing is better than freshly baked cookies. But during the holidays when fresh, homemade cookies matter most, we’re also needing to split our time between cooking, hosting, shopping, and celebrating the season, leaving little time to spend rolling out and filling dozens of dainty little cookies. This is when having a magical holiday depends on the magic of the freezer. Freezing cookies or cookie dough now can save you later when you’re just too busy to bake. Just follow these tips and you’ll be good to go. What types of cookies can I freeze? Lots of cookies are great candidates for the freezer. Cutout cookies, slice and bake (icebox) cookies, drop cookies, and biscotti are all excellent choices. Any cookie with a lot of butter or fat will freeze well. Try to avoid freezing cookies that are decorated, filled, or delicate — like meringues — since they would loose a…

Starbucks releases 2019 holiday cups

And the holiday season has officially begun. Starbucks announced the much-anticipated return of its annual holiday cups, just days after Dunkin’ came out with its new decked-out designs. The new designs feature a modern block letters, polka dots and pops of holiday colors. Coffee lovers across the U.S. and Canada can kick off the holiday season beginning Nov. 7 with the four brand-new designs: Polka Dots, which is basically a traditional red cup dotted with green circles; Merry Dance, has red and green letters spelling out ‘MERRY COFFEE’ overlaying a white cup; Merry Stripes uses a dark green cup and features small white lettering spelling out ‘MERRY COFFEE’, and Candy Cane Stripe is adorned with red and white stripes and large, green letters spelling out ‘STARBUCKS.’ According to the official press release, they’re meant to “evoke mini moments of joy for our customers and partners — it’s fun, festive, and…

Onion ring and fresh green bean casserole

I know, I know. You’re saying to yourself, “Don’t mess with the classics.” But hear me out. Green bean casserole isn’t all that great. There. I said it. Under all of those oily little french fried onion bits is nothing more than a mess of hacked up rubbery green bean pieces swimming in a sea of grayish liquid. I’ve never been a fan, mostly because it means we take one of the only Thanksgiving side dishes that has a chance to be healthy and we smother it with loads of greasy ingredients. Also see our Handy guide to planning a Thanksgiving feast. A delicious green bean casserole doesn’t have to include unhealthy cans of slop. You can make it fresher, healthier, and tastier with just a few ingredients. So why not make the switch? This green bean casserole uses fresh green beans, mushrooms and onions, along with fresh thyme, whole…

Mistakes you should avoid when cooking potatoes

Potato problems? Potatoes may seem basic, but there are a lot of ways to mess them up. Whether they come out partly raw, mushy, or generally flavorless, the good news is there is usually a simple solution. Read on and see what you might do differently next time to achieve those perfectly tender, flavorful spuds you salivate over. You don’t choose the right potato for the job. You’ll come across more than a dozen different kinds of potatoes at the grocery store, so how do you know which will work best for your recipe? Well, a good rule of thumb is to use russet potatoes for baking or steaming, and use red or gold potatoes for roasting or sautéing. Russets and yellow potatoes are best for mashing. Round red potatoes and fingerling potatoes are best for boiling. Not sure what to use? Those round white potatoes that you see at…

Classic pumpkin roll recipe

Pumpkin rolls are a classic fall dessert that everyone goes crazy for. This homemade pumpkin roll recipe will give you the most deliciously moist spongey spiced pumpkin cake with dreamy cream cheese filling rolled up inside. These rolls might look difficult, but don’t let that perfect swirl intimidate you. It’s actually quite simple! Just follow these easy directions and you’ll master this must-make dessert in no time. Classic Pumpkin Roll Ingredients For the pumpkin cake: 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp baking soda 2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground cloves 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 1/4 tsp ground ginger 1/4 tsp ground allspice 1/4 tsp salt 3 eggs, room temperature 2/3 cup pumpkin puree (I like to use Libby’s) 1/2 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 cup sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar For the cream cheese frosting: 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature…

Does pumpkin pie have to be refrigerated?

If you only eat pumpkin pie in the fall, it’s easy to forget the rules of safely storing them. You may wonder if pumpkin and other custard-style pies can be left on the counter overnight or if you need to clear space in your fridge. And now that we’re on the topic, can pumpkin pie be frozen? Here are the answers to all your pumpkin pie problems: How to store pumpkin pie from a store This time of year you’re likely to see pumpkin pies at the grocery store sitting out on a table, rather than stacked in the fridge or freezer sections. Store-bought pumpkin pies are loaded with enough shelf-stable preservatives that they can sit out. Rule of thumb: if you purchased a pie that’s been sitting out, it can continue to sit out on your kitchen counter for a few days (or until its expiration date, if it…

How to pick the best butternut squash

Fall has finally arrived and winter squash are stocked on the shelves — acorn, spaghetti, and of course, butternut. Butternut squash a must-have fall vegetable that dates back nearly 10,000 years ago.  It’s true. Archaeological evidence suggests that squash was first cultivated in what is now known as the Isthmus of Panama. Squash was one of the three main crops (known as the “Three Sisters” — maize, beans, and squash) planted by Native Americans. If you’re looking for authentic North American fall foods for your Thanksgiving feast, squash certainly qualifies. (Read more at: How Americans Became so Obsess with Pumpkins) The most noticeable difference between winter squash and summer squash, like zucchini and yellow squash, is the exterior skin. Summer squash have thin, flavorful skin you leave on and eat, while winter squash have a tough, inedible outer shell. It’s because of this shell, however, that winter squash can be…

17 fruits and vegetables in season in December

It sure is cold outside! You’re definitely not going to stumble upon a strawberry outside anytime soon. But winter isn’t all bad. Thanks to modern methods of extending the growing season, farmers are able to produce fresh food well into winter. It can be easy to ignore what produce is actually in season come December when you can walk into any grocery store and it still looks like summer. Thanks to shipments from South America and beyond, we are spoiled, eating whatever we want, whenever we want. But if you want to eat food that hasn’t been picked before its prime, artificially ripened, and trucked thousands of miles, it’s worth considering making your selections from this list. Depending on where you live, these crops may continue to grow locally, or they’ll be trucked in from shorter distances. Plus, they’re naturally in season this time of year so they’ll taste best.…