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Three easy ideas for conquering the kitchen during Thanksgiving – and its not too early to start  organizing for Thanksgiving! And don’t forget the wine…

Organizing Tip #1

An imposed deadline like a holiday or entertaining is perfect motivation for getting projects completed around your home. Make a list of what you want to get accomplished before Thanksgiving and prioritize it. You may not have time for everything but go ahead and write it down for the future. Now make those calls to hire a painter, or finally take the plunge on getting the new sofa, or get that lightbulb changed. Sometimes we need that external motivation to drive us to complete the project we’ve been mentally planning but not physically completing.

Our first wine to kick off a festive occasion…

Chateau Rousset-Caillau Vin Mousseux is a beautiful pink bubbly from the Southwest of France. Made in the traditional Champagne method, its 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Easy Crab Stuffed Mushrooms and MORE

This easy recipe can be stuffed into almost anything! Since the crabmeat is already cooked – try stuffing it into tomatoes. peppers or small, sweet peppers.

  • 12 – 16 Mushroom Caps, precooked in the oven at 400F for 10 minutes
  • 4 OZ Goat Cheese, softened
  • 3 – 4 OZ Crabmeat – Special or Backfin
  • 2 TB Grated Parmesan Reggiano
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 Tsp Fresh Thyme
  • 1/2 Tsp Fresh Chopped Rosemary
  • 2 TB Panko optional -if stuffing and cooking mushrooms

Mash the goat cheese in a small bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Stuff into mushrooms, top with panko and return to the oven for 5 minutes to warm up. OR stuff into veggies like the ones listed above.

Perfect Pairing with the crab stuffed mushrooms is the Sixth Sense Syrah from Michel David in Lodi, California. A cherry flavored umami flavored (the taste of meaty-richness) wine, its a fun change from the classic pairing of pinot noir.

Organizing Tip #2

Every home has an excess of 2 things: cardboard boxes and plastic grocery bags. Go through yours and take the true extras to be recycled. Only keep enough plastic grocery bags to fill one bag and recycle the rest. You’ll get more unless you remember to take your own cloth grocery bags. J Everyone keeps the cardboard boxes that contain electronics but don’t throw out the boxes when they get rid of the appliance or phone. Apple boxes are cute but you don’t have to keep them. Unless you are putting it to use to contain something else, recycle it. Boxes from deliveries like Amazon have a habit of accumulating so don’t hang on to many. You can always buy a box for shipping for only a couple of dollars.

South American Inspired Seafood Soup

  • 2 Cups Coconut Milk
  • 1 Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 TB Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • ½ tsp Sea Salt
  • ¼ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 (15 oz) Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes or 6 Roma Tomatoes, cut in half and placed skin side up under the broiler until blackened
  • 2 Lbs White Fish like Cod or Haddock, cut in 2” Pieces
  • 1 Lb Medium Shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Juice of 2 Lemons
  • ¼ Cup Chopped Cilantro Leaves

Step One

Heat oil in a large sauté pan. Add onion and red pepper and sauté over medium heat until softened, about 1 minute. Add coconut milk, oregano, paprika, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Bring liquid to a boil and then simmer over low heat about 5 minutes.

Step Two

Add the tomatoes to the soup, and simmer until warm. Stir in fish and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the shrimp and simmer until shrimp are just cooked through. Add lemon juice, taste for salt and pepper. Serve garnished with cilantro.

Tea Roa Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is a crisp, clean pairing for the delicious soup. About $12 from Kroger!

Organizing Tip #3

Clean out your winter coats, scarves, gloves, and hats. Use the paper shopping bags to contain these items to take them to donate. Here in Atlanta there are several resources like churches and synagogues that are accepting winter coats for donations. Also there are charities such as MUST Ministries in Marietta and several retail locations you can drop off for One Warm Coat project. If you have a lot to donate and no time to drop off you can schedule a pickup with American Kidney Services. I’m sure you have at least one coat you can let go to someone else in need.

Use your freezer to make sweet treats ahead of time..defrost and enjoy. This recipe makes 2 loaf pans, good for one cake now and one later during the busy holiday season!

Apple Cake

  • 1 ¼ Cups Raw Sugar
  • 2/3 Cup Grapeseed Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Applesauce
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 Large Egg Whites
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Cups Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 1 ¼ Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • ½ Tsp Cinnamon
  • ½ Tsp Allspice
  • ¼ Tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 Cups Chopped Granny Smith Apples
  • 1 Cup Chopped Toasted Walnuts
  • *1 Recipe Sage Honey
  • Nonfat Greek Yogurt

Step One

Preheat the oven to 350F. In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the sugar, oil, eggs, whites and vanilla until well blended.

Step Two

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice and baking soda. Gradually beat the dry ingredients into wet mixture until blended. Fold in the apples and walnuts. Spoon into 2 non-stick sprayed and loaf pans that have been lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Step Three

When the loaves have cooled, cut into 1” slices and top with the yogurt and drizzle with honey.

*Sage Honey

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 6 large sage leaves, chopped

Combine the honey and sage in a small nonstick saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before using.

A Tawny Port like this one from Dow enhances the nutty flavor of the apple cake. Versatile and a great quality for the price, (less than $20) you can keep the open bottle in the freezer for 3 to 4 weeks – all the way through the holiday season!


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