It’s only four days after Thanksgiving, and aside from a few slices of the Oprah-recommended smoked turkey we ordered all the way from East Texas (Will was a huge, huge fan, while I preferred the decidedly less smoky roasted turkey breast I made instead), all the leftovers are long gone. It’s a little sad, really. But at least there’s a little spare room in the fridge now…

I’m always amazed how quickly the holidays come and go, but it sure was fun giving thanks and celebrating. Not only did both of Will and I’s football teams win big, but all the food turned out really well.

And after 6+ hours of cooking, something that was way, way more fun than it sounds, I’m sure glad it did.

Half of dessert menu almost ended in disaster, but fortunately I caught my mistake when I accidentally measured out a teaspoon of baking soda instead of baking powder into the first batch of carrot cake cupcake batter. Knowing that one is definitely not a substitute for the other when you’re baking (for the uninitiated, not only will they not rise properly, but they’ll taste downright nasty and chemical-y), I realized what I did before I baked them off and promptly started over.

Thank goodness.

I also tried a brand-new recipe for cream cheese icing since the jarred variety simply won’t pass muster on a national holiday (thank you Slashfood for the tip…it was delicious). The only slight modification I made was adding another teaspoon of vanilla and a bit of heavy cream. Yum. After all, we all know that cupcakes are really just a convenient portal to justify eating a ton of delicious frosting, and that’s exactly what we did with these (see pic on the left).

Aside from the requisite sweet stuff, I also tried a new recipe for stuffing (dried cranberry and sausage to be exact) that I really ended up loving. Normally, I really can take or leave stuffing, but this was both moist and perfectly crisp on top, which is exactly how I think it should be. Plus, the savory sausage was such a nice flavor complement to the tangy cranberries, so basically, I’ll definitely be making this one again.

Other highlights included the red-skinned sour cream mashed potatoes (a once-a-year delight), the green bean casserole that a holiday isn’t complete without, the cheddar bay biscuits, and of course, Barefoot Contessa’s famous orange-cranberry compote, the only thing I didn’t make from scratch. Well, that and the pumpkin wine (it’s simply delicious with just a hint of that fall flavor) that my pal Kat brought for the festivities from a local vineyard. I’d never tried a Minnesota wine until this one…I think I may be a believer since you wouldn’t necessarily think of Minnesota and wine-making.

And now that I’m all done reminiscing about the Thanksgiving vittles, I’m already thinking about what I can make for Christmas. Oh the possibilities…