Cooking with my Kids: “Pilgrim” Meatballs With Cranberries


My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, hands down. Any chance I get, I’ll find a way to ¬†Thanksgiving-ize something. I came up with this recipe a few years ago and it’s been a favorite. I’ve since made it gluten free and simplified it for my little (big) sous chef.

These turkey meatballs are the very essence of Thanksgiving Рtender sagey turkey, studded with tart cranberries. I served them (obvi) over mashed sweet potatoes and with  sweet corn.

Pilgrim Meatballs with Cranberries

1 lb ground turkey

1 egg, beaten

2/3 C corn flake crumbs

1/3 C chicken stock

Handful of dried cranberries (I used Trader Joe’s orange flavored ones and I soaked them in cooking white wine/sherry)

1/2 t sage

S&P to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F. Prepare a baking sheet with tin foil and Pam. Mix all the ingredients, except for ground turkey. Once fully combined, add the ground turkey. Form into balls and place on the baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes.

Gobble Gobble!



Thursday Lunches

I used to love Lunchables. I am not sure if it was the compartmentalized container (for which I am a shoe-in), or the make-it-yourself situation. Either way, they were so fun for me. Unfortunately, they aren’t too healthy for you, which is why I like to make a homemade version for my buddy. Sure, it would be healthier if I made the crackers from scratch, but I can only do so much, ya feel? So, for today’s lunch for my Bigs, I made a Lunchable. He told me that he loved it and finished every bite.


I packed a few Ritz crackers, some honey maple ham (rolled up and cut), colby jack cheese, raisins, yogurt covered raisins, some seasoned corn, a mandarin orange, and a chocolate chip cookie.

And for my Smalls:


I packed a PB&J, assorted raisins, peanuts, an apple, and a chocolate chip cookie. I think there may be some dried fruit in there too, but I can’t remember (even though it was less than 12 hours ago that I packed it #Mommybrain).

His teacher told me he was very excited about his cookie. I can relate.

I love when lunchboxes come home [mostly] empty.


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas…

Twas the night before Christmas

It’s here, it’s finally here! The night to start or finish wrapping gifts, the night to put together all the toys and bikes, the night to play Santa, the night to set out milk and cookies for yourself to enjoy later. It’s here!

My husband and I have so many plans!

Buddy the Elf



I just don’t know if we’ll have enough time!

We’ll OBVIOUSLY be turning on A Christmas Story just as soon as it starts tonight. It’s a family tradition that I grew up with that I am imposing upon my own family. Best movie ever.

And so is Elf. But they haven’t played it on the channels we have, yet.

We really do have so much to do today. I’ll be making some casseroles for tomorrow’s brunch (Cracker Barrel inspired cheesy hash brown, and a white chocolate and cranberry bread pudding – all of which you’ll see here soon!). We’ll be cleaning the house for guests, we’ll be doing special traditions with our sons and we’ll be going to Christmas service. It’s going to be lovely.

Our elf Duncan was here again. And today is his last day with us.

Yesterday, he set out a birthday party for Jesus!

Elf on a Shelf Day 23

And today he packed his bags up and left a good-bye note for the boys. We’ll miss you, Duncan!

Elf on a Shelf Day 24

Also, I made a turkey dinner last night.


I got this HUGE (almost 10 pounds) turkey from Publix for $7.80. I couldn’t believe it. It’s actually the first whole turkey I’ve made. I think it came out great. Was it a leeeetle bit dry? Sure. Whatevs. It’s my first. The prep was easy (olive oil, Kosher salt and poultry seasoning), but I don’t care how strong your stomach is, pulling out a half-thawed, leaking bag of innards will make you queasy. Well, me, anyways. Blech. And that neck. I am southern, but that neck. *Shudder!* I cooked it (the turkey, not the neck – dat nasty went right in the bin, although I am sure someone somewhere has a great recipe for it, lolz) according to directions and the whole time it was cooking, I was drooling. Whenever there is a cooked turkey around, I am like The Old Man Parker (the dad on A Christmas Story). I cannot resist sneaking (which…as an adult who made the turkey, do I really have to sneak bites? I guess I sort of do, with kids around, if I want peace while eating.) crispy skin or breast meat pieces. Oh just yum! I made a quick gravy from the drippings and corn starch and pepper. Gravy is one of those foods that, and my parents will back me up on this, I got really sick on after eating too much in one sitting as a child and came back for more AFTER…um…disposing of it. Know what I mean? I love gravy. I’m gross.

I love gravy

Anyways. Enough about my grossness.


I served the turkey with steamed fresh green beans and sweet potato casserole (basically the same meal as the other night, but subbing turkey for ham). It was SO good. And yeah, I’ve served my family sweet potato casserole with marshmallows three weeks in a row.




I tried to show my older son how to make a wish using the wishbone, but for some reason, it didn’t work. Neither of us got our wish. That dang thing was as slippery as an eel. We sure did try to break it. He even tried to break it with all his three year old might! It wouldn’t budge. Whatever. He still thought it was cool.


Enjoy this last night before Christmas!

To all a good night

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!



Guten Morgen. Srevotfel. Sounds like a lovely German dish, doesn’t it? Um, it’s not! It’s “leftovers” spelled backwards. Sort of fancies it up, yeah? I was listening to the radio years ago, and the talk show host said that he grew up with his Mother calling leftovers “srevotfel”. I never forgot that because it made me giggle so!



I think there are two camps when it comes to leftovers. There are those that say YES! and those that say NO!. I am in the YES! group. I actually think most foods taste better as leftovers. It gives the seasoning and flavors a chance to really soak into the foods, making them more flavorful. Now, some meals should just never ever be leftovers. I am no stranger to those.

Inventing Leftovers

Sometimes, instead of reheating the same meal, I’ll turn parts of last night’s dinner into a different meal. Re-purposing. Re-furbishing. Those are nice because it isn’t just the same thing again. When I make a whole chicken or buy a rotisserie, I have a favorite go-to meal for the next day. I almost always make a chicken and rice casserole with a homemade cream-of soup. My boys really love it and I do too! I always add vegetables to it (butternut squash, peas, carrots and corn) and typically do not make the cracker topping, although it is good on there. Here is that recipe:

Two nights ago, I made mashed potatoes from scratch and had a boatload leftover the next day with not a clue on how to serve them. I sort of made up a casserole and it came out REALLY good! Please please excuse the picture. I couldn’t get one of the plated meal (boys were in rare form!) and could only snap a picture after the leftovers (again HA!) were in my Corningware.


I whisked 2 eggs and added them to about 2 C of mashed potatoes (I heated them up in the microwave to make them easier to stir). I browned some ham cubes in a skillet with a little bit of butter, fresh garlic and onion. I added that to the potatoes with 1/2 C shredded cheddar and 1/4 C mozzarella cheeses. I baked it in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes and then about 10 minutes more, after cranking it up to 400 degrees (added some browning to the top). It was delicious!! I served it with steamed veggies and fresh pear. Everyone ate it and that’s my marker of success. Although I will say that Smalls spit it out, but it wasn’t because he didn’t like it. He’s in a phase where he finds it hilarious to spit out everything he eats that could go flying and land on my face, his high chair, the wall, the floors (mashed potatoes, applesauce, yogurt). I mean, he’s so cute when he does it but dang. Don’t even get me started.

Also! Today is the last day of school for Bigs before Thanksgiving break. How cute is that! His first ever break in school. I love it. I am also the Helper Mommy in his class, for which I am so excited and grateful! I adore the opportunity to spend the day with him in his territory and it’s so lovely to get to know his classmates and teacher better. I REALLY enjoy their company! Since it is almost Thanksgiving, Bigs and I put together some goody bags for his classmates.


Aren’t these little turkeys adorable? Gobble gobble! I found the idea for the bags on Pinterest (the answer to almost everything) and decided to put little snacks inside. I used snack-sized Ziplocs and put popcorn (healthier Newman’s Own), pretzels and some pumpkin spice M&M’s in there, labeling the little bags, “Turkey Dinner”. I think they came out cute and I hope the kids (and teacher!) enjoy them.

And I made lunches for Bigs and for me. So fun to make a bento lunch for me too! I loved Bigs’ turkey lunch from earlier in the week, that I just did a variation on that again. It’s the last of its sort for a full year!

Turkey Themed Preschool Lunch 2

Bigs has another turkey shaped PB&J. I used my Food Writers to add a beak, gobbler-thing, feet and feathers. I went a little crazy on the colors this time. What the heck! He also has a clementine, some dried mango, a few orange yogurt raisins, some corn-off-the-cob and a squeezy fruit. I am telling you – this kid eats a lot. The Babybel cheese is for snack (with a rice cake) and I’m not sure how it snuck into the picture. Well, obviously it was me. I haven’t had coffee yet. You can see that the box is crooked in the picture. I need coffee. Now.

And just for fun, I’ll show you my lunch too!

Mommy Preschool Lunch

My lunch is two rice cakes with peanut butter and a blackberry Shiraz jam (thanks Mom!), a Babybel cheese, a clementine, some dried mango and coconut (I found a cheaper bag of that brand I thought I could only find at Costco at Target!!).

Have a blessed day!