Tag: Thanksgiving

Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider

What’s better than spiced apple cider on a chilly Autumn day?  Spiked apple cider on Thanksgiving!  Luckily, you don’t have to choose between the two.  This recipe combines the the tangy sweetness of apple cider with Fall-forward spices like cinnamon and cardamom with the family-holiday-coping properties of ale and vodka.  Just in time for those heated political debates that everyone is dreading this year after the  most contentious election in memory!  You’re welcome.

WARNING: this Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider cocktail/punch does NOT taste like alcohol.  However, it is deceivingly potent.  So, pace yourself and your guests–especially the teetotalers among them.  (Every family has one.)

Motley Decor's Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider Recipe

Here’s what you’ll need for the spiked cider:

32 oz mulled cider (see mulling recipe below)

2 12 oz cans amber ale

1 cup Absolute Pear (or other pear-flavored) vodka

the juice from 1 lemon

sprinkle of cinnamon

Just in Time for Thanksgiving: Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider Recipe

Mixing the punch…

Because this recipe contains beer, you’ll want to mix the cider in a large decanter with a stopper (rather than a punch bowl, for instance) to preserve the carbonation.  Aside from that one note, this recipe is extremely straight-forward.  You just  mix all of the ingredients and add cinnamon to taste.

If you prefer dryer drinks, add more beer to mellow out the sweetness of the cider.  If you feel like the vodka taste is too strong, an extra squeeze of lemon with balance it out.

Then, just set out the mixture  with some glasses for all to enjoy.

What to Drink This Thanksgiving | Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider Punch Recipe on Motley Decor

Mulling apple cider…

Ingredients: bottled apple cider, orange slices, cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, cardamom pods

Note: fresh ginger, anise, and cloves are also great for mulling (although I felt that they weren’t needed for this particular drink).  If you want to use them, just be careful with the cloves.  They can quickly become overpowering.   So, taste your cider often.

In a large pot on a stovetop–or even in a slow cooker–combine all of the ingredients and let them cook at a temperature just shy of boiling for about 20 minutes.  If you catch the cider boiling, just turn off the heat and let the liquid cool.

Once at room temperature, strain and funnel the cider back into the bottle and store it in the fridge overnight.  The next day, just give it a shake before concocting the punch recipe above.

All jokes aside, Thanksgiving is not just a glutinous holiday.  It’s an important one as it forces us to take inventory of all we are thankful for.  And, despite tensions in the country at the moment, we can’t loose sight of how lucky we truly are.  Whatever blessings you cherish most in this life, acknowledge them this Thanksgiving, express your thanks, help someone out if you can, and never loose hope.

Spiked & Spiced Apple Cider for Thanksgiving // MotleyDecor.com

4 Easy Thanksgiving Centerpieces You Still Have Time to Make

With all of the madness that comes in the days preceding Thanksgiving, there are often little details that are overlooked.  If your tablescape falls into that category, here are 4 easy Thanksgiving centerpieces you can pull off in the 11th hour and still dazzle your guests…

Sugared fruit thanksgiving centerpieces

Sugared fruit sparkles in candlelight and makes for a festive focal point.  Photo from DiscoverYourJoieDeVivre blog.

Edible cheese centerpiece

If any holiday deserves an edible centerpiece, it’s Thanksgiving!  Steal this clever idea from Southern Living and stack cheeses in a cake formation, adorn them with flowers and herbs, and encourage your guests to nibble in between courses.

scattered candlesticks centerpiece

Modwedding cleverly grouped miscellaneous candlesticks together to light and gussy up this table.  If you have a collection of candlesticks, you might try this easy idea…

Pheasant feather Autumn centerpiece

And finally, why not use season-appropriate pheasant feathers in place of flowers?  Nathan Turner did just that in this lovely Domino feature.

Planning a Thanksgiving Menu

Even though it’s my second favorite holiday (behind Halloween), I gotta be honest: Thanksgiving snuck up on me this year. I didn’t finalize my Thanksgiving menu until Saturday–just in the nick of time to hit the farmers markets on Sunday morning with my shopping list in hand. However, just because I’m a little behind this year, doesn’t mean I’m any less excited or that less care went into my menu.

There was never any doubt that a Peking duck would be at the center of our Thanksgiving. It’s a tradition that the hubs and I started a few years. Neither of us are huge turkey fans and our one attempt at cooking a turkey was uninspiring. Not that I haven’t had good turkey, but even the best turkey in the world doesn’t hold a candle to many other proteins. (Let’s be honest.) And when it comes to the winged beasts, it doesn’t get any better than a delectable, Chinese-style roast duck–at least for my money.

Taking my cue from the East, I usually try to add an Asian twist to traditional Thanksgiving side dishes. For instance, last year, I made curried sweet potatoes, added scallions and water chestnuts to my stuffing, grilled bok choy, and used a miso dressing on my kale salad. Still, I wanted to challenge myself to come up with some new plates for this year. Here’s what I got…

Peking duck
A 50-50 mix of the plum sauce that usually accompanies duck the and–of course–cranberry sauce
Wild rice pilaf with shitake mushrooms
Mashed potato medley with miso gravy
Caramelized butternut squash with Panko bread crumbs
And grilled broccoli in a spicy mustard glaze

I will also mull some red wine, using cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, and orange slices. It’s like hot sangria and the spicy profile suits the menu and the season. In addition, we’ve amassed a small arsenal of pumpkin ales and various other autumn-inspired craft beers to enjoy Thanksgiving day.

Inevitably, someone always wants to make or bring something at the last minute. So, I leave room in my menu for that. You may have noticed that there’s no salad, appetizers, or dessert. (However, my contingency plan is to whip up a last minute cheese plate & veggie platter if needed.) And if previous years are any indication, my husband will beg his our sister to make her famous chocolate souffle. This doesn’t fit with a Thanksgiving or an Asian theme, but more importantly, it’s about appreciating family–and their culinary talents!  It always warms my heart to see the exchange between the two of them.

With that all squared away, I’ve busied myself with styling little Thanksgiving vignettes around the house. Here are some pictures.

Thanksgiving menu ingredients

With my refrigerator overflowing with Thanksgiving menu ingredients, I had to store some fruits and vegetables on a platter on my counter.  I also stuck my parsley in a glass vase.

Orange tulips with clove-studded clementines

Clove-studded clementine oranges not only look festive, but also smell incredible.  I paired them with some orange tulips on my dining room table.

Cornucopia vase and floral arrangement with little white pumpkins

Cornucopias are holiday-appropriate, but this brass beauty sits in my hallway year-round.  For this year’s Thanksgiving, I stuffed it with with white hydrangea and scattered some mini white pumpkins.

What will you serve this Thanksgiving?

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