This recipe appealed to me because of its enticing combination of ingredients. It is a perfect recipe for fall.

The Brussels sprouts and onions are roasted, until they are beautifully browned and caramelized. Once the apples are added, the recipe takes on an entirely new, rich depth of flavor. Finally, it is topped with honey roasted pecans. The result is a fantastic, savory dish which exceeded my expectations. 

This is a simple recipe. The only thing you have to be very careful about is roasting the pecans. You really need to set your timer and be vigilant about checking them. They tend to burn easily if you are not careful. The honey roasted pecans add a layer of nutty, salty crunch. They are so delicious, you might find yourself popping one or two in your mouth! Just make sure to leave some for the Brussels sprouts.

When roasting the Brussels sprouts, check them as well, and remove them from the oven when the tops are browned, and the sides are still a beautiful shade of green. This will ensure that they are not overcooked.

This is a recipe that I will definitely be making again. It might even make it to my Thanksgiving menu next year!

This recipe is courtesy of The Meatball Shop cookbook and will serve 4-6 people who will be delighted with this different, delicious, new combination of ingredients!

Ingredients for the Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Apples and Honey-Roasted Pecans

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. salt or to taste
2 baking apples, such as Braeburn or Granny Smith, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar 
1 cup honey roasted pecans (recipe follows)
Freshly ground black pepper

For the Honey Roasted Pecans:

1 cup pecan halves
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325.

Place the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle on the honey, add the salt and toss to coat.

Roast, tossing every 5 minutes, until the pecans are deep brown, well roasted, and emit a strong, nutty aroma, about 20 minutes.

Remove pecans from the oven and allow to cool before using or serving.

For the Brussels Sprouts:

Preheat oven to 500.

Place the Brussels sprouts and onions in a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. (I cheated and used an aluminum pan. Feel free to do the same. Easier clean-up!)

Add the olive oil and salt, and toss to coat.

Roast until the Brussels sprouts begin to brown, about 15 minutes.

Add the apples, mix, and return to the oven. 

Continue roasting, turning every 10 minutes, until the Brussels sprouts and onions are fully cooked and tender and the apples are beginning to soften, about 20 minutes.

Remove the dish from the oven, add the vinegar, and toss to incorporate.

Season with additional salt, if desired, and transfer to a platter.

Top with the pecans and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Serve immediately.

It’s that simple!

Thanksgiving 2017 was a wonderful celebration. We have about 50 guests at our home every year, and I try very hard to make it special.

I wanted to share some of the pictures from our holiday festivities. It takes a lot of planning and hard labor, but it is worth every minute. We had a magical evening.

I had fun creating an actual “menu” to let everyone know what was being served, so they could choose what they wanted when it was presented to them. This year, I bought a chalkboard and had a calligrapher write the menu on it. How fun did this come out?

This year I choose the color blue as the theme, and designed everything on the table with the color blue in mind.

The flowers were especially beautiful this year, and again I had them designed around the color blue. For the first picture, I used a giant 3-tier dessert rack as the “vase”, which I purchased at Home Goods, as well as the last one, which is a long wooden blue box.I have been collecting single vintage china salad and dinner plates for many years. I wanted each salad and dinner plate to be different. I did not want them to match. I think this makes my table settings very distinctive from most table settings as well as elegant. (I know the first setting on the left is missing a salad plate, but my little nephew was sitting there, so I did not put one down as a “safety” precaution!)And of course there is always my cooking team. They come every year the night before to help, and we have the best time, even under all that pressure. Even my great-niece, Jenna and my great-nephew, Aaron, help. Here they are juicing the lemons. They also juice all the grapefruits, limes and oranges! This is me, my sister-in-law, Shelley, my two nieces, Leslie and Lara, on Thanksgiving morning, up early, no make-up, ready to make Thanksgiving 2017 happen. And we do—with so much love in our hearts! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

It’s that simple! (No, this actually is not simple:)

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! As has become the norm, I will be entertaining about 50 guests. As you can imagine, it is quite an undertaking. The process has forced me to maintain an organized kitchen, and as a result, I have become a much better cook.

I cook everything. This includes six or seven appetizers, soup, two twenty pound turkeys, 12 large turkey thighs (we are a dark-meat family), short ribs and another mystery dish. This year, I will be making veal stew. I also prepare about six or seven side dishes, including sweet potato pie, cranberry relish, and roasted mushrooms. I change the other three or four to add some unpredictability to my menu. 

How do I do this? Firstly, I spend about an hour making some physical changes to my dining room to accommodate everyone. Then, with the assistance of 3 other family members, I set the table, which takes about 3-4 hours. Making the table look different each year is a challenge so I start planning and coordinating my decor very early. My family helps me bring my vision to fruition.

The trick is to do as much as you can as early as possible. I start cooking and freezing about 2 weeks before the holiday. I buy my nonperishables a week before and my produce two days before Thanksgiving. I also prep early on too. Thankfully, I have family members who help me prep and cook on Wednesday, and we always have so much fun. They sleep at my house so they are here Thanksgiving morning, thankfully, (no pun intended).

So, now you can see how I accomplish hosting  50 guests and staying somewhat sane. Throughout the years, I have learned a few things, the most important of which is that when entertaining, your guests always come first. Thanksgiving is my families’ favorite holiday. I am honored that everyone chooses my home for this annual celebration. It is a blessing that I will never take for granted. Of course, my family did not start out this large. But nieces and nephews are getting married and having children, so it gets bigger every year. I will always find a place for them. No one misses Thanksgiving at my house. For that, I am grateful.

I will be taking the next week off to prepare for Thanksgiving. I wish all of you a very happy holiday!

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s that simple!

Nothing conjures up images of fall more than sweet potatoes. This highly nutritious root vegetable is not only healthy, but delicious as well.

This southern comfort food is sometimes topped with marshmallows. However, in this recipe, the sweet potatoes are combined with pecans, giving it a nice, crunchy texture. The rich, buttery taste of the sweet potato filling blends perfectly with the crispy topping. The welcoming aroma of the casserole cooking in the oven is enough to make you fall in love with it. When you taste it, it is so delicious and satisfying, you can’t help but look forward to Thanksgiving.

You can definitely use this as a side dish or dessert on that wonderful holiday (which is right around the corner)! This dish will absolutely be on my menu this Thanksgiving. I hope it will be on yours too. 

This recipe is courtesy of myrecipes and will serve 18 people who will love this delicious casserole with its crispy, crunchy topping.

Ingredients for Streuseled Sweet Potato Casserole

14 cups (1 – inch) cubed peeled sweet potato (about 5 pounds)
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten 
Cooking spray
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375.

Place potato in a Dutch oven, and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 12 minutes or until tender. 


Combine the half-and-half and next four ingredients (half-and-half through egg) in a large bowl.

Whisk ingredients together.

Add potatoes to egg mixture; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth.

Spoon potato mixture into a 13 x 9 -inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Combine flour and sugar in a food processor; pulse to combine.

Add chilled butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Stir in pecans.

Sprinkle pecan mixture over potato mixture.

Cover and bake for 15 minutes.

Uncover and bake for an additional 25 minutes or until topping is browned and the potatoes are thoroughly heated.

It’s that simple!

A cipollini, or little onion, is a smaller, flatter and thinner-skinned version of a regular onion. It contains more sugar than the regular variety of white or yellow onions, making it much sweeter in taste. 

In season until December, cipollinis caramelize beautifully when you roast them in the oven or brown them on the stove. As an alternative to a regular white or yellow onion, they make a wonderful addition to any recipe, enhancing the depth and flavor.

The only downside to cipollini onions is that they are very difficult to peel. Usually, you can find them at your supermarket already peeled. If you cannot, try boiling them for a few seconds to loosen the skin, which should make them easier to peel.

This recipe is addicting. The onions are first sautéed in butter, then finished off with a red wine-balsamic vinegar reduction. They have a delectable, deep flavor that will heighten your taste sensation to a whole new limit! Even if you have to peel them, it is well worth the effort.

This recipe is courtesy of Food Network and will serve 6-8 people who will be in love with these tasty little onions!

Ingredients for Cipollini Onions Braised in Red Wine

2 tbsp. butter
2 pounds cipollini onions, peeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup red wine
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

cipollini onions on plate

In a large straight-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt butter and add onions.

cipollini onions in pot

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Sauté until nicely browned.

cipollini onions browning

Add the wine and vinegar.

cipollini onions wine and vinegar

Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat and simmer until onions are completely cooked through and tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove lid, turn heat up and let the liquid reduce and thicken until it forms a glaze and coats the onions well.

It’s that simple!

pictures of dogs