Le Thanksgiving Tail

When spending the day with relatives, I highly recommend a few of these.  Cheers to a day filled with too much food and too much family.  


Literally the best Thanksgiving side dishes

The turkey may be the main event but that's no reason why the sides can't be fun too.  What's your favorite side dish?


The Best Thanksgiving Turkey
Hedin Thanksgiving
Hedin Thanksgiving
Ali Hedin | Thanksgiving

POMEGRANATE RUBBED TURKEY

serves 16

STEP 1

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Unwrap and rinse the turkey (be sure to remove the insides). Pat the turkey dry and place in a roasting pan. Rub 1/2 of one of the pomegranates all over the turkey coating the skin entirely. Be sure to squeeze as you go so you really get the juice out.

STEP 2

Slice the second pomegranate into 4 pieces and stuff inside the bird alternating with the sliced onion. Give the pomegranates a gentle squeeze so some of the juice comes out - but not all of it.

STEP 3

Season the top of the bird with salt, pepper, and the crumbled sage. Pop it into the preheated oven.

STEP 4

Check the turkey every 20 minutes and baste when the skin appears dry. When the temperature inside the turkey reads 100 degrees, rub the remaining 1/2 of pomegranate over the turkey and top the skin with the butter.

STEP 5

Reduce the heat to 400 degrees and continue to cook. Use a thermometer to check for doneness. The temperature should read 180 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.

STEP 6

Remove from the oven, cover with foil, and let rest on a cutting board for 20 minutes.

NOTE

Gage the time it will take by assuming each pound will cook in 15 minutes. For a 16 pound turkey, that’s 240 minutes or 4 hours.

1 - 20 lb turkey

2 large pomegranates

2 large onions, sliced into quarters

1/4 cup dried sage, crumbled

4 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces

Ali Hedin | Thanksgiving
A Pumpkin Patch Party + easy dessert bar ideas
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Years ago I hosted a pumpkin patch party at my in-law’s farm house. Everyone had tiny babies and they rolled around in the pumpkin patch and ate cookies. It was so darling. When I was looking back on some old photos I decided these were too darling not to share. Especially that little face of Lars?! Are you kidding me?

This party is also timeless. These babies can be tiny and eating sugar cookies or ten years old and let them carve pumpkins on their own. You can host this anytime and all of the kids will love it. Serve some spiked punch and the adults will love it too.

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5 tips for a dessert bar

  1. Create a backdrop. It makes everything look more professional & like you planned it. I used an old Pendelton blanket (I have a collection) but you can use almost anything.

  2. Make your favorite desserts that you have tried a million times and you know they work.

  3. Fill in with store bought favorites. I adore Trophy Cupcakes and can’t think of a reason why I’d make my own when Trophy is done and delicious.

  4. Napkins! Plenty of napkins.

  5. Have something that’s “non-dessert” like a bowl of apples or cheese sticks or something that can take down the sugar high.

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Pumpkin Recipe Palooza
Ali Hedin | Pumpkin Palooza

Want to know a secret? I think Pumpkin Spice is the worst thing to ever happen to pumpkin. I know that’s highly controversial. But here’s the truth. Pumpkin Spice doesn’t have one thing to do with an actual pumpkin. It’s clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon. THAT’S IT! Poor pumpkin has taken a bad wrap for this awful flavor combo that’s literally everywhere this month.

Real pumpkin, actual pumpkin, the squash that grows in the ground is delicious. It’s sweet, packed with vitamins, and really really good for you. The dreadful people who brought you the pumpkin pie have made it even easier (we’ll give them a pass) to integrate pumpkin into every day by pureeing it for you. Just don’t buy “Pumpkin Pie Filling” - they’ve already added the ‘Pumpkin Spice’ to that and you DO NOT want that on your pasta. Trust.

Pumpkin is such a perfect seasonal choice for dinner. It’s readily available, healthy, and gets you in a fall spirit like crunching through leaves on a sunny day. Only at dinner. Preferably with a cocktail in your hand. Here are my three favorite pumpkin dinners (one is squash, but you can sub in pumpkin, so close enough) PLUS a few bonus recipes at the bottom. The Crinkle Cookies are dreamy so don’t skip those!

All of these recipes are available on the Weeknight Society app so don’t forget to download! When you get the app you also get step-by-step instructions, a grocery shopping list, AND menu planning tools. You seriously can’t live without it.

Ridiculously simple Pumpkin Pasta

Ridiculously simple Pumpkin Pasta

PUMPKIN PASTA

serves 4

STEP 1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a pot of water to a boil.

 

Whisk together butter, honey and cayenne.  Toss pecans in melted butter mixture and lay out on a cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with salt.  Pop in the oven and bake 15 minutes until toasted.  

 

STEP 2

Whisk together pumpkin, yogurt, ½ cup parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.

 

STEP 3

Cook pasta in boiling water. Reserve one cup of cooking water when straining cooked noodles.

 

STEP 4

Stir together pasta and pumpkin sauce. Slowly add pasta water as needed to thin out the pasta sauce. Sprinkle pecans and extra parmesan cheese over the top.

 

1 lb pasta

½ cup pumpkin puree

½ cup plain greek yogurt

¾ cup parmesan cheese

1 cup pecans

4 tbs butter, melted

1 tbs honey

½ tsp cayenne pepper

Pumpkin Soup that tastes like fall

Pumpkin Soup that tastes like fall

PUMPKIN SOUP

serves 4

STEP 1

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss pumpkin with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast on a baking sheet 15-20 minutes until fork tender.

 

STEP 2

In a soup pot, melt 2 tbs butter.  Add onion, garlic and sage and cook until onion is tender. Remove sage from the pan.

 

STEP 3

Pour in broth and bring to a boil.  Drop roasted pumpkin into the soup and blend with an immersion blender.

 

STEP 4

In a small bowl whisk together cream and egg yolks.  Slowly pour in ½ cup of the hot soup to the bowl whisking constantly.  Pour cream mixture into the soup pot and whisk in. Cook 10 minutes until thickened.

 

3 ½ lbs sugar pumpkin, cut into cubes

2 tbs olive oil

salt

2 tbs butter

1 medium onion, diced

2 cloves garlic

2 sprigs sage

8 cups vegetable stock

1 cup heavy cream 

2 egg yolks

salt & pepper

Roasted Squash Pasta can be made with butternut squash or sugar pumpkin

Roasted Squash Pasta can be made with butternut squash or sugar pumpkin

ROASTED SQUASH PASTA

serves 4

STEP 1

Preheat oven to 450 and bring a pot of water to a boil. Toss squash in oil with thyme and roast in the oven until tender.  (20 mins)

 

STEP 2

Cook pasta and drain reserving ½ cup pasta water.

 

STEP 3

Whisk together ricotta, vinegar, S&P

 

STEP 4

Toss pasta with ricotta and add pasta water 1 tbs at a time until pasta does not seem dry.  You will probably not need the whole ½ cup.  Serve with roasted squash and extra thyme on top.

1 lb pasta

2 cups butternut squash, chopped

2 tbs olive oil

1 cup fresh ricotta

1 tbs cider vinegar

4 sprigs fresh thyme

salt & pepper



More pumpkin for your kitchen!

Weeknight Family Halloween Party + your new favorite chili recipe
Ali Hedin | Family Halloween

When I was a kid Halloween was the best time of the year. We lived in a neighborhood that had very few children, but lots of adults who were happy to buy loads of candy. We scored. Every year my dad and the dad next door would take all of us out around the neighborhood. Living in Seattle meant that there were many years where it rained. When that happened, we all piled in the back of my dad’s Ford Explorer with the hatch open (it was the 90’s after all) and he’d drive us from house to house.

Halloween smelled like rain and leaves and whiskey (as a kid I didn't recognize the smell, but as an adult I’ve figured out what was in those flasks.)

Ali Hedin | Family Halloween

As a kid, Halloween is full of magic and fun. The years between being a kid and having a kid are a little more ambiguous. There were parties and fancy dinners but the magic just wasn’t the same. If you’re lucky enough to have little ones around this Halloween, take advantage of it. Host a party, make a big batch of chili and revel in the magic and fun of youth.

Ali Hedin | Family Halloween
Transform styrofoam balls with hot glue and candy corn. These last for years.

Transform styrofoam balls with hot glue and candy corn. These last for years.

Ali Hedin | Family Halloween

HALLOWEEN CHILI

serve 8

STEP 1

In a small bowl blend together cornmeal, sugar, cumin, salt, pepper, and chili powder.  In a warm pan cook spice blend with two tablespoons olive oil until aromatic (just a minute or two).  

STEP 2

Add onions and butter to pan and cook over medium heat until translucent. Add sausage and stew meat and cook, turning often, until browned. 

 

STEP 3

When sausage is completely cooked and stew meat cubes are browned on all sides, pour in 1 cup beef broth to deglaze the bottom of the pan.  Add the second cup if needed to retain some liquid in the pan.  

STEP 4

Pour in tomatoes, beer, beans, and bay leaf and bring to a boil stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat to low and simmer about 3 hours stirring occasionally to prevent sticking until stew meat is tender and flaky.

 

STEP 5

When ready to serve, break up stew meat chunks with a fork and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with cheese, sour cream, and fresh chopped onions.  

1 medium onion

3 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons butter

1-2 cups beef broth

1 pound sausage

2 pounds beef stew meat

2 bay leaves

12 ounces Pale Ale

1 - 8 oz. can garbanzo beans

1 - 8 oz. can kidney beans

1 - 8 oz. can pinto beans

2 - 9 oz cans tomato sauce

3 tablespoons cornmeal

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon cumin

¼ cup chili powder

½ tablespoon salt

½ tablespoon pepper

olive oil

Ali Hedin | Family Halloween

Here’s how to pull off the perfect Family Halloween Party

  1. Make a giant batch of chili. More people show up? No problem, add more beans & more stock.

  2. Make or buy loads of cookies and treats. Not totally for the kids - but for the parents to snack on so they don’t dig into their kids bags (yet).

  3. Cocktails! Set up a simple bar with gin, vodka, tonic, and soda water. A few bottles of red wine & beer will round out the bar.

  4. Weeknight Family Halloween parties tend to wrap up around 8pm. Let friends know ahead of time that you’re putting your kids to bed at a certain time.

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Ali Hedin | Halloween Party

1./ 2./ 3./ 4./ 5./ 6./ 7./ 8./ 9.

Ali Hedin | Family Halloween
Ali Hedin | Family Halloween
Salted Caramel Corn
Ali Hedin | Salted Caramel Corn

This recipe was my grandmother's.  She made this every year at Christmas time and it was possibly my favorite part of the dinner at her house.  My grandmother had very specific times of year that she made recipes and she did not stray from her very EXACTING menu plans.  So it could have been that I got so excited about this caramel corn because I only got it once a year, but I'm pretty sure it's actually because it is so amazing.  

I've added a little flaked salt to the top as it cools because I have never had anything that wasn't better with a little salt.  Espcially caramel.  

Ali Hedin | Salted Caramel Corn

SALTED CARAMEL CORN

makes 12 cups

STEP 1

Spread popcorn out on a baking sheet lined with a sol-pat or buttered parchment paper.  

STEP 2

Place sugar, corn syrup, butter, table salt, vanilla and baking soda in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.  Once the sugar has completely dissolved, boil four more minutes without stirring.

STEP 3

Remove from the heat and pour over the popcorn.  Stir quickly to caramelize every kernel,  Sprinkle flake salt over the popcorn.

STEP 4

Place in a safe place at room temperature for at least three hours until dry.  Break into pieces and store in an airtight container for up to one week.

12 cups air popped popcorn

1 1/2 cups tightly packed brown sugar

3/4 cup light corn syrup

3/4 cup butter

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon flake salt or fleur du sel

Ali Hedin | Salted Caramel Corn
Pumpkin Spice Crinkle Cookies
Ali Hedin | Pumpkin Crinkle Cookies

Pumpkin Spice isn't my favorite.  I won't order it in a latte and I really don't want it in a pie.  But I tried it as a fluffy and delicious cookie this week and I might be sold.  These crinkle cookies are easy to make and thanks to the addition of a little pumpkin, they stay super tender and fluffy even after they've cooled.  Usually you can only get that from a fresh out of the oven cookie which is why I usually only eat cookies the minute they come out of the oven.  But these suckers are light and fluffy and have a hint of fall flavor which is exactly what I need right now on these blustery fall mornings.  

Because clearly, cookies are for breakfast.

Ali Hedin | Pumpkin Crinkle Cookies

PUMPKIN SPICE CRINKLE COOKIES

makes 24 one inch cookies

STEP 1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

 

In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice.

 

STEP 2

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together granulated sugar and butter and whip until light and fluffy.  

 

STEP 3

Mix in pumpkin, egg yolk, and vanilla until just combined. 

 

STEP 4

Add dry ingredients slowly until just incorporated. 

 

STEP 5

Scoop cookies in one inch balls and roll in powdered sugar.  Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet and bake 10-15 minutes.  Let cool on a wire rack.

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup softened butter

1 cup granulated sugar

¼ cup pumpkin puree

1 large egg yolk

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup powdered sugar

Ali Hedin | Pumpkin Crinkle Cookies
Ali Hedin | Pumpkin Crinkle Cookies
the house update you didn't ask for
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House

From the beginning Mr. Hedin and I have said that this house will take one year to build. When you casually say “one year” it doesn’t sound like a long time. But then… ONE. YEAR.

The Chip & Joanna Gaineses of the world don’t make it any easier. They manage to have the whole house completed in one episode. We all know it takes longer but there’s something so satisfying about watching one hour of a house going from nothing to completed. It also sets a weird expectation that things will HAPPEN. They don’t discuss 12 week lead times for windows or that the tub wasn’t delivered when they went to the plumbing supply house the first time so they needed to go back the next week.

But here we are. This week marks six months of being out of our house. Five months of actual construction (permits took more than a hot minute). There are days when it feels like absolutely nothing has gotten done and there are days when excitement takes over and I can see progress.

I’ll walk you through where we are now and what’s to come. It’s actually getting really exciting.

Plumbing has started going in. I had already chosen all of the finishes I wanted before we even started so that part has been easy. We ordered everything from Ferguson and it has been so simple. Not only because they have a great showroom but because we were able to pick up all of the rough-in pieces as soon as we needed them. Not an ad, just a fan.

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House

One of the plumbing choices we went for is wall mounted toilets. The plumber talked us into these when he first came out because we have one room that’s a little small and hanging the toilet on the wall gains us an extra six inches in the room. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but in that space, it will help. The other bonus of a wall hanging toilet is that there is nothing on the floor - I can now mop all the way under the toilet. No weird seam where the toilet meets the floor that gathers funk. No yucky floor smudge that you can’t get up. If anyone else has boys then you understand the need to be able to COMPLETELY clean under a toilet.

Fingers crossed these things don’t break. If they do, we’re taking apart a wall…

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House

This outdoor space has been the most work recently. First, we had to wait for the steel to get fabricated and delivered. Once it was in place, our painters came over and coated it with a primer so it won’t rust. Mr. Hedin then had to notch out each beam so it fit over the part you see sticking up on the beam. It was a tedious project and the tool he actually needed to do the job got stolen from the job site the day before he was going to use it. Ugg. Life in the city.

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House

Here’s what the end goal will be…

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House

Which is a huge improvement over what it used to be…

Sorry it’s fuzzy, it’s all I’ve got of the original.

Sorry it’s fuzzy, it’s all I’ve got of the original.

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House

This living room plan has changed a bit since we first concepted it. While the basic bones of the plan have remained the same, a few things have changed. Here’s the original plan and here’s what it will more likely become.

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House
In order to see where the new chandelier will hang in the living room, I used spray chalk to mark out where all of the furniture will live.

In order to see where the new chandelier will hang in the living room, I used spray chalk to mark out where all of the furniture will live.

There’s also a chance that my dream fireplace may have to change a bit. I’m not thrilled about it, but I think we’ve come up with a plan that I’ll be ok with. Stay tuned for what that may change to. The good news is that we have time to change our mind.

Due to the fire codes and UL codes and what ever else, we can’t have a gas fire without glass all the way round it. Since I don’t love that idea, we’ve been targeting a bio-fuel solution for the fireplace anyway. It’s clean burning and it’s super simple for a fireplace. What that all means is that nothing is plumbed into the floor that would be a hassle to move. We can pop this thing into place when we want to. Simple.

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Party House

Thanks for following along. I can’t wait to get things really rolling in the next few months. Just in time for the rain in Seattle! Here’s hoping our tarps hold.

Weeknight Halloween in 2 Easy Steps

Any reason at all to celebrate anything at all is a win in my book.  Halloween is right at the top of that list because it can be SO QUIRKY!  And quirky is the best way to celebrate anything.  I put together a quirky little Halloween that is so simple you can pull it off with almost no lead time.  Especially those rats!  Keep scrolling for a cocktail that does have to sit overnight (jell-o) but is ridiculously good (stick to one of those!) and a step-by-step of the rats that are really easy and really fun.

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween

Here's why this is the coolest cocktail; the jell-o shot melts as it sits in the martini delivering, not only a 1-2 punch, but also a spooky 'bleeding' effect.  You can always skip the martini part and just serve jell-o shots (yum).  I make loads of jell-o shots so take my advice: 

1. Do not use cheap vodka.  You will notice.  Everyone will notice.  If the bottle is on the bottom shelf, then leave it there.  

2. Let sit overnight.  Do not rush these.  It won't set up as well and they get sloppy and weird.

3. Don't try to add more vodka.  There's plenty.  Remember this is still science and you need the right balance for these to set up. 

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween

You know that when you've totally creeped out a three year old that you've done your job.  And when you can do it for about $5 at the dollar store - BAM!  You feel like a freaking genius.  The trick with these rats is to cut all the way through so the candle can touch the table.  When it does that, it gives it a more stable resting place than if it is attempting to balance somewhere inside the plastic rat.  

Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween
Ali Hedin | Weeknight Halloween

I hope you have a fabulous Halloween!  Let me know how you're celebrating and follow me on Instagram for all of the goods I'm serving up this year!