This holiday season we’ve partnered with some of our favorite bloggers who will be showing you new and inspirational ways to bring the holidays home.
A kids’ table may be a well-established tradition at many Thanksgiving gatherings, but that doesn’t mean the setup has to be traditional. This year, we partnered with Nikki Baxendale, founder of Literally Life, to bring some of her signature whimsy to kid-friendly Thanksgiving recipes. The result is a feast straight out of a fairytale.
I love this time of year: the change of the seasons and it’s kaleidoscope of colors and especially, the tempting smell of autumnal spices and flavors filling my kitchen.
While my British family doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving as a tradition, my American family cannot wait to share this special day together. Becoming citizens last year was an important event for my husband Mark and me, and with our three American-born children, we truly find many ways to be thankful on this day.
This year to help us celebrate in style, we decided to make some kid-friendly Thanksgiving recipes that our children would never forget. Chloe, Lily and Hudson each invited some special friends, and then together we built a feast fit for young princes and princesses.
We live now in the most beautiful part of British Columbia where forests are plentiful, and it felt only fitting to set the scene deep in the woods where our forest friends could join us. After all the treats were devoured, the kids played and ran off the sugar highs in the woods before we all returned home to a roaring fire and a hot cup of apple cider.
Wish Bone Recipe
Makes about 15 wishbones
- 2 cups of white candy melts
- Silver confectionary spray
Melt candy melts according to instructions on package. Transfer the melted chocolate into an icing bag. On a tray covered with parchment paper, pipe the wishbones in irregular sizes. It really doesn’t need to be perfect. I think even rustic and wobbly are received with equal smiles as long as they’re delicious.
Once set, use confectioner’s silver spray to coat a little silver color over each bone. Let dry and serve.
Turkey Berry Sliders with Thick Cut Bacon Recipe
Delicious, juicy, topped with sweet relish and a thick rasher of caramelized bacon, these kid-friendly sliders are a hit with the grown ups, too. These are just so easy and super quick to make. All you will need is some good quality ground turkey, salt and pepper to season, and maybe a little minced garlic and red onion for extra flavor.
Cranberry Relish Ingredients
- 2 cups of fresh cranberries
- Zest of 1 large orange
- 1/2 cup of orange juice
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
In a small saucepan, mix all ingredients until well combined. Place over high heat until the mixture starts bubbling. Turn heat to low and simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Tip: Avoid stirring too much as this will turn your cranberries to mush. Instead, lightly toss the cranberries around the pan several times while cooling to mix the ingredients and distribute the heat.
Turkey Burger Ingredients
Makes 8 to 10 patties
- 1 cup red onions finely chopped
- 4 cups of quality ground turkey meat
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Salt and pepper to season
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 8 to 10 rashers of thick cut bacon
- Brown sugar for sprinkling on the bacon
- Mini parbaked rolls
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In an oven-safe skillet, sauté onion and garlic with 1 tablespoon butter until just browning. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, salt, pepper, garlic and onions until thoroughly mixed. Separate into about eight to ten small balls just a little larger than your mini bread buns.
Add 2 tablespoons of butter and return the skillet to medium heat. Once the butter is sizzling, place your patties in the skillet and cook until browned on both sides. Then transfer your skillet to the oven for approximately eight minutes or until they are cooked to desired doneness.
While your patties are in the oven, sprinkle your thick-cut bacon with a little brown sugar and arrange on a griddle pan. Cook on high until bacon is fully cooked and edges of bacon are a nice caramelized brown color.
Now simply load up your sliders with cranberry relish and bacon rashers and serve.
DIY Thanksgiving Popcorn Turkey
Because no Thanksgiving table is complete without a turkey, we decided to make one with a little creativity, a mountain of popcorn and some common craft supplies. It was a lot of fun and I hope this newfound tradition of ours will delight you, too.
- 1 large brown paper bag, turned inside out
- 2 smaller brown paper bags, lunch kit size, to be used for the drumsticks
- 1 sheet of 8×11 white paper
- A lot of popcorn, enough to fill all three brown bags. I used about 3 cups of corn kernels.
- A hot glue gun
Starting with the large brown bag, fill the cavity approximately 3/4 full of popcorn. With the bag upright, press the left side inward. Then, as if you are wrapping a parcel, fold the two flaps on either side of the pressed side inwards and hot glue them down. Repeat this on the right side. Close the opening by folding the top edge over the bottom and hot gluing it closed.
For the drumsticks, first create the white frilly ends, which will help close each leg. To make them, take the white paper and cut in half lengthwise, then fold each sheet in half lengthwise. Using scissors, snip small incisions, approximately every centimeter along the length of one of the longer sides. Set aside.
Open up the smaller bags and fill 2/3 with popcorn, then twist to close the top of the bag. Wrap the white frill (cut edge facing out) tightly around the end of the drumstick and hot glue in place to secure and seal.
Once your done making the legs, hot glue the drumsticks to either side of the body of the turkey. To finish wrap with a seasonal bow, which will also help keep everything in place.
Now just stand back and watch as the fun begins. It’s amazing to see how excited the kids will get about something as simple as a brown paper bag and popcorn!
Candy Apple Poppers Recipe
Makes about 15 apples
- Apples of your choice. I used Gala.
- 1 cup of corn syrup
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 1/2 of water
- A bowl of ground gingersnap cookies
- A packet of popping candy
- Cookie crumb sprinkles
- Cooking spray
- Cinnamon sticks
Prepare a tray with parchment paper and coat lightly with cooking spray to avoid apples sticking.
Clean apples. I recommend organic apples, as they have less waxy coatings which makes it easier for the coating to adhere. Twist out apple stems and push the long cinnamon sticks in firmly.
Combine the corn syrup, water and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to allow the mixture to boil.
Using a candy thermometer to check often, heat mixture until you reach 300 degrees F, about 25 minutes. While this is cooking, arrange your apples, tray and toppings within arm’s reach as you will want to move through the process pretty quickly once the candy is ready.
Tip: If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the mixture using a metal spoon. When the candy is ready, it will start to form hard strands when you dip the spoon and pull it away quickly.
Turn off the heat. Being very careful as the mixture is extremely hot, swirl an apple in the candy. I like to fully cover the apple up to the cinnamon stick to ensure no slippage of coating. Allow to drip over the for a moment to get rid of excess, then sprinkle with the cookie sprinkles and popping candy.
Set on the tray to cool and repeat until all apples are covered. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Mallow Candy Twigs Recipe
These marshmallows are a simple but delicious and fun addition to our forest-themed feast.
- Giant marshmallows
- 1 cup of dark chocolate candy melts
- Gingerbread cookies, ground up
- Caramel pieces, ground up
- Small apple tree twigs or candy sticks
Cover a tray with parchment paper and set aside. With a sharp paring knife, twist a hole about 1/4-inch-deep on the top of each marshmallow.
Melt a cup of candy melts or baker’s chocolate as per the instructions (you may need more, but I only melt in small batches to avoid reheating and re-melting if you do not use them quickly enough).
With a small spoon, take a little chocolate and fill the hole on top of the marshmallow. Then with a cleaned apple branch that has been trimmed and the end cut at an angle to leave a sharp point, push into the center of the chocolate and set upright on tray until the chocolate has hardened.
Prepare two small bowls, one with melted chocolate and one with ground up gingerbread cookies. Taking the set marshmallows, immerse the bottom half in the melted chocolate. Then dip the base in the ground-up ginger cookies and sprinkle sides with caramel chips.
Tip: it’s easier to coat the marshmallow in chocolate if you use a very small bowl to hold the chocolate so the chocolate naturally rises around the sides of the bowl and the marshmallow as you dip.
Set on tray until cool. Serve.
Baked Gingerbread Cheesecake Recipe
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 3 packets of cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
- 1/4 teaspoon fine ground sea salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Preheat oven to 335 degrees F and butter your pie dish.
Place gingersnaps in a food processor and pulse until ground to breadcrumbs. Pour cookie crumbs in a large bowl and add room temperature butter cut into small cubes. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the cookie mix until well combined.
Transfer mixture into the pie dish, pressing firmly to make a smooth base. Create a rim by pressing 3/4 of the way up the sides.
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese on medium speed for approximately two minutes, until light and soft. Add sugar and beat for another minute until well combined. Reduce speed, and add vanilla and eggs one at a time. Add remaining ingredients and beat for one minute.
Add mixture to pie crust and bake for approximately 50 minutes until the cake is almost set. Remove and cool. Top with cranberries and seasonal cookies, and serve with whipped cream.
My girls were eager to help make these chocolate turkeys. To be honest, I think possibly more turkey parts were secretly eaten in the process than made, so make sure to have extra! Once you establish a solid base, you can really create any combination with your favorite treats.
- 2 mini sandwich cookies
- 1 chocolate peanut butter cup
- 1 bite-sized chocolate candy
- 1 jelly candy, cut to create the beak
- 3 fall-colored small candies
- White icing and a candy bead for eyes
- 1 cup dark chocolate candy melts for the glue
First, prepare chocolate feathers by pouring a small amount of molten candy melts into an icing bag. On a tray covered with parchment, pipe quickly and irregularly a fan pattern making sure to cross over lines to make one solid shape. Allow to set for a few minutes before using. Set aside.
To build the turkey, use one mini sandwich cookie placed flat on a surface. Using the melted candy melts, glue the second mini sandwich cookie upright onto the edge of the first cookie to create a back. Then glue the peanut butter cup in place, followed by the bite-sized chocolate candy, to create the body.
Glue a bite-sized chocolate candy in place for the head, adding colored small candies behind it on the edge of the mini sandwich cookie. Pipe a small amount of white icing onto the head for eyes.
Using the chocolate candy melts, glue on the jelly beak and then complete by attaching the chocolate feathers.