Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pro Power! A New Name and Benefits for Allrecipes’ Fans

Starting November 28, home cooks who want exclusive benefits, including Allrecipes’ popular Menu Planner and Kitchen View, have a new designation: Allrecipes Pro. I'm really excited about this, because along with all the free benefits for Allrecipes members, Pro membership features include even more! How do a personalized online recipe box, shopping lists, ratings and reviews, photo posting, recipe sharing, Allrecipes Buzz (chat forum), a personalized profile, plus your very own Allrecipes blog, sound? I like them all! Here's an overview of the exciting Allrecipes Pro membership features:

Menu Planner
With this practical Pro feature, you can browse, edit, create and save menus all in one place, plus:
  • Be inspired by more than 1,000 editorially created menus with everything from an entire year’s worth of weekday menus to special occasion menus for parties and events
  • Use the Menu Planner tool to create your own menus with your favorite recipes.
Nutrition Search
With a few clicks, you can instantly filter recipe choices based on specific nutrition parameters in order to:
  • Select your preferred nutrients (ranges are allowed for flexibility), and then discover in real time how your choices increase or decrease nutrition amounts.
  • Use the Grocery Scanner/Scan barcodes feature to search for recipes, save items to keep track of what you have on hand in your pantry, or add an item quickly and easily to a master shopping list. 
Cook’s View and Kitchen Timer
New and masterful, the Cook’s View feature for Pro members makes looking at a recipe on the Allrecipes website while in the kitchen a breeze. The screen layout shows everything you need to know in an easy-to-read, one-page format.
  • Another bonus: Every Kitchen View page includes a virtual timer you can set to monitor the recipe's cooking time.
What’s really terrific is that becoming an Allrecipes Pro costs less than $1 a month! That's the cost when you join at the best value, two-year price. Become an Allrecipes Pro today and sign up here!

--Posted by Judith, Senior Communications Manager

Resolve Holiday Cooking Dilemmas! Ask Ina Garten aka Barefoot Contessa and Top Bloggers in Live Facebook Chats

 
The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies (Photo by page_h87)
Burned cookies? Underbaked cookies? Turkey still pink? Mashed potatoes too mushy? Help!

Just in time for the holidays, our favorite kitchen mavens are here to rescue you! Ina Garten aka Barefoot Contessa, plus two wonderful bloggers—Deb of SmittenKitchen and Joy the Baker—will be conversing live on the Ladies Home Journal magazine’s Facebook page on the dates below.

Join us to learn practical tips and tricks to resolve common cooking challenges and more to ensure all your holiday meals will be shining and bright! Post your questions and receive real-time answers from these kitchen stars.

  • Wednesday, November 28 at 11am PST/2pm EST with Deb of SmittenKitchen

The Facebook chats are part of Allrecipes.com’s annual holiday baking campaign, Cookies Across America-World's Biggest Cookie Swap, in partnership with Nestlé Toll House, and sponsored by Ladies Home Journal. Join us! 

What holiday cooking disaster have you survived?

-- Posted by Judith, Senior Communications Manager


Monday, November 26, 2012

Allrecipes and Ladies' Home Journal Launch World's Biggest Cookie Swap


AMERICA’S TOP BAKING COMMUNITIES, ALLRECIPES.COM, LADIES’ HOME JOURNAL AND NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE JOIN FORCES TO LAUNCH THE WORLD’S BIGGEST COOKIE SWAP

Brands Tap Pinterest to Mobilize Their Communities of More Than 30 Million Home Cooks to Bake a Difference This Holiday Season

SEATTLE and NEW YORK CITY, November 26, 2012 – Today, the biggest names in home baking and entertaining, Allrecipes.com, Ladies’ Home Journal and NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE, announced the third annual Cookies Across America campaign. This year’s holiday campaign centers around launching the World’s Biggest Cookie Swap by leveraging the powerful reach of online communities, as well as social sharing on Pinterest, to mobilize millions of home cooks to bake and virtually swap cookies in support of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, a nonprofit committed to raising funds to support research for pediatric cancer.

Together, Allrecipes, the world’s #1 digital food brand, and Ladies’ Home Journal online communities will bake more than one billion cookies in December. Taking part in The World’s Biggest Cookie Swap allows these home cooks to rally together, search for delicious cookie recipes, share favorites on their personal cookie Pinterest boards, contribute to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, and enter a sweepstakes to win a trip for two to NYC to have lunch with The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.

When it comes to celebrating mouthwateringly delicious holiday treats, a photo is worth a thousand words. Allrecipes and Ladies’ Home Journal are two of Meredith’s most social brands with more than 31,000 followers on Pinterest combined. In the past year, 30 percent of the most-pinned desserts from Allrecipes.com have been cookie recipes. According to Allrecipes’ 2012 Holiday Cooking Trends and Behaviors Survey, 42 percent of online cookie bakers say that a recipe must make ‘a very cool looking/pretty cookie’ in order to be on their “must-bake” list.

“Allrecipes launched 15 years ago as Cookierecipe.com and since then, our global community has grown to more than 30 million home cooks who love baking cookies and sharing inspiration and experiences with others online,” said Esmee Williams, vice president of brand marketing at Allrecipes.com. “We are excited that the World’s Biggest Cookie Swap encourages three passionate communities to give back this holiday season by doing something we already know they love doing, sharing their favorite recipes, excitement for baking and creative ideas.”

“Through social media, Ladies’ Home Journal invites its 12 million readers to become co-creators of the magazine,” said Sally Lee, senior vice president and editor-in-chief of Ladies’ Home Journal. “Now, with the World’s Biggest Cookie Swap, our readers get an opportunity to share the cookies they’ll bake for friends and family. We’re also thrilled to be able to connect our bakers with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer so that their participation will benefit a really great cause.”
 
“Nestlé Toll House is excited to celebrate with Allrecipes.com and Ladies’ Home Journal on the World’s Biggest Cookie Swap,” said Jim Coyne, Director of Marketing, Nestlé Baking. “This campaign is a great way to honor creativity and caring while connecting three communities with a shared passion for baking.”

Allrecipes.com offers countless resources for home cooks looking for cookie baking inspiration this holiday season. The most popular resources include:
·         Thousands of top-rated cookie recipes
·         Allrecipes Cookie Countdown: beginning December 1 featuring holiday cookie recipes and baking tips for the 25 days leading up to Christmas
·         A robust cookie video library of how-to and recipe content  
·         New apps including Video Cookbook for iOS and Windows 8
·         Allrecipes’ Christmas - 100 Best Recipes from Allrecipes.com and Tried & True Cookies eCookbooks featuring the best recipes for holiday meals, along with delicious cookie ideas perfect for giving and sharing (virtually or otherwise!)

This holiday season Ladies’ Home Journal offers a variety of cookie and holiday entertaining resources, including:
·         The “Cookie Swap with the Barefoot Contessa” editorial feature in the December/January issue. The piece focuses on a cookie swap Ina Garten hosted for six top food bloggers and includes favorite recipes from each attendee.
·         The holiday cookie home page featuring creative cookie recipes that will become instant classics
·         Upcoming Facebook chats with Ina Garten, Deb Perelman from Smitten Kitchen and Joy Wilson from Joy the Baker.  

All home bakers are invited to participate in the World’s Biggest Cookie Swap. For every Pinterest board created for the World’s Biggest Cookie Swap, $1 will be donated to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, up to $5,000. For official rules or to learn more about how to get involved, search for recipes, create and share Pinterest boards, and mobilize networks for a good cause, cooks should visit the World’s Biggest Cookie Swap Facebook page.

About Allrecipes
Allrecipes, the world’s largest digital food brand, receives more than 1 billion visits annually from family-focused women who connect and inspire one another through photos, reviews, videos and blog posts. Since its launch in 1997, the Seattle-based social site has served as a dynamic, indispensable resource for cooks of all skill levels seeking trusted recipes, entertaining ideas, everyday and holiday meal solutions and practical cooking tips. Allrecipes is a global, multiplatform brand with 18 web and mobile sites, 11 mobile apps, and 14 eBooks serving 23 countries in 12 languages. Allrecipes is part of Meredith Corporation, the leading media and marketing company serving American women. For additional information regarding Meredith, please visit www.meredith.com. For additional information regarding Allrecipes, please visit http://press.allrecipes.com.

About Ladies’ Home Journal
Founded in December 1883, Ladies’ Home Journal has a long-standing history of empowering women and inspiring personal growth and fulfillment. Published by Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP), the brand’s unique content model combines the authority of print with the authenticity of experiences. This blend of expert advice and user-generated content entertains, energizes and empowers the reader to become a stronger, surer, self, wife, mother and friend. Ladies’ Home Journal and LHJ.com engage women with relevant conversations about health and relationships; beauty and style; food and finance.


About Nestlé USA
Named one of “The World’s Most Admired Food Companies” in Fortune magazine for fourteen consecutive years, Nestlé provides quality brands and products that bring flavor to life every day. From nutritious meals with LEAN CUISINE® to baking traditions with NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE®, Nestlé USA makes delicious, convenient, and nutritious food and beverage products that make good living possible. That’s what “Nestlé. Good Food, Good Life” is all about. Nestlé USA, with 2010 sales of $10.4 billion, is part of Nestlé S.A. in Vevey, Switzerland — the world’s largest food company with a commitment to Nutrition, Health & Wellness — with 2010 sales of $105 billion. For product news and information, visit Nestleusa.com or NestleNewsroom.com.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Allrecipes Thanksgiving Results - Top Trends and Recipes for 2012


THANKSGIVING MEAL PLANNING FROM A MOBILE DEVICE CHANGES THE DAY FOR HOME COOKS USHERING IN A NEW ERA OF DIGITAL TRENDS

Mobile Meal Planning is More Popular than Ever—Millions of Home Cooks Bring Digital Resources Into the Kitchen Making Allrecipes the Top Destination for Turkey’s Big Day

SEATTLE–Nov. 23, 2012—Allrecipes.com, the world’s #1 digital food brand with more than 1 billion annual visits, celebrated its biggest Thanksgiving ever as record-breaking numbers of home cooks visited the site during the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving Day. The day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday November 21, saw Allrecipes’ busiest traffic day ever, shattering previous records with more than 7.9 million visits from home cooks. For the first time ever, the biggest hour of traffic on the site was between 3-4 p.m. PT, an hour later than past years. This trend shows the transition of home cooks leveraging mobile devices in the kitchen while cooking, rather than searching on a laptop or desktop and then moving to the kitchen with a printed recipe or written notes. 

Visits to Allrecipes.com from mobile devices the week leading up to Thanksgiving Day were up 97 percent year-over-year, with the total number of visits from mobile devices for the same time period reaching an astounding 12 million. The recently-launched Video Cookbook app for Windows 8 and iOS, saw nearly 20,000 unique visitors, while nearly 4 million home cooks visited Allrecipes from a tablet device the week leading up to Thanksgiving, a 232 percent increase year-over-year.


Top Thanksgiving recipes of 2012:

  1. Yummy Sweet Potato Casserole 
  2. Turkey Brine
  3. Grandma's Green Bean Casserole
  4. Apple Pie by Grandma Ople
  5. Grandma's Corn Bread Dressing
  6. Perfect Turkey
  7. Candied Yams
  8. A Simply Perfect Roast Turkey
  9. Double Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake
  10. Awesome Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing

“Thanksgiving is the most popular holiday for a home-cooked feast. Seventy percent of home cooks prepared for a Thanksgiving meals this year, and it’s so rewarding to be the go-to food resource for them as they embrace the latest digital technologies, platforms and devices to simplify meal planning,” said Lisa Sharples, president of Allrecipes.com. “Allrecipes has always believed digital technology, social media, and online communities would revolutionize how, when, and where cooks are thinking about their next meal, so it’s thrilling for us to see the numbers continue to rise each year!”


More than 1.6 million home cooks also sought out original, made-for-web video content to gain inspiration and confidence for preparing the year’s biggest feast. Allrecipes.com video views shot up 200 percent year-over-year as home cooks eagerly devoured instructional food-focused videos on the web, mobile devices and internet TVs. 


What did home cooks need the most help with? Below are the top five instructional videos home cooks watched this Thanksgiving:
  1. How To Prep And Roast Turkey
  2. How To Brine A Turkey
  3. How To Make Turkey Gravy
  4. How To Make Stuffing
  5. How To Make Pumpkin Pie


The top recipe videos for Thanksgiving were:

  1. Whipped Sweet Potato Casserole
  2. Candied Sweet Potatoes
  3. Green Bean Casserole
  4. The Best Mashed Potatoes
  5. Apple Pie By Grandma Ople


Specialized diet recipes trended up this year compared to last, with searches for vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and Paleo recipes during the week leading up to Thanksgiving rising 40 percent. For vegetarians, vegans, and others with dietary restrictions, the top recipes were:


Regionally, America’s tastes are as diverse as the country’s geography. The most uniquely popular side dish for each region is:

Families also enjoyed a second helping of Thanksgiving! The most popular leftover recipes are:

About Allrecipes
Allrecipes, the world’s largest digital food brand, receives more than 1 billion annual visits from family-focused women who connect and inspire one another through photos, reviews, videos and blog posts. Since its launch in 1997, the Seattle-based social site has served as a dynamic, indispensable resource for cooks of all skill levels seeking trusted recipes, entertaining ideas, everyday and holiday meal solutions and practical cooking tips. Allrecipes is a global, multiplatform brand providing insights into the lives of women everywhere based on activity from 18 websites, 18 mobile sites, 11 mobile apps, and 14 eBooks serving 23 countries in 12 languages. Allrecipes is part of Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP), the leading media and marketing company serving American women. For additional information regarding Meredith, please visit www.meredith.com. For additional information regarding Allrecipes, please visit http://press.allrecipes.com.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Best Thanksgiving Ever!

I like to think that every Thanksgiving could be the best one ever. This month, as part of the Allrecipes AllStar Program, sponsored by Better Homes and Gardens and Campbell's, we are creating Pinterest boards called Best Thanksgiving Ever. I would be delighted if should you decide to follow this particular board! There you will find pins for food and decorating ideas pertaining to the Thanksgiving holiday.

 Nanny in her kitchen on Thanksgiving Day
When I think about Thanksgiving, memories return from when I was a child. But I think the best Thanksgiving I ever had was when my boys were little--it was 1987 and Christopher wasn't quite a year old yet. We spent Thanksgiving Day with my parents on the farm. Nanny, Poppy, my Great Aunt Helga, Aunt Ann and her family, and Aunt Marlene and her family, as well as my Uncle David, were all there.

The best memory of that day wasn't necessarily the food but the family time. My Aunt Ann brought her guitar and along with her son Dustin, she led us in singing Christmas carols after the dinner was over and cleaning-up completed. I will never forget--and this is my most favorite memory of her--my Great Aunt Helga, my Nanny's sister, was having a jolly good old time singing those Christmas carols, slapping her leg to the beat of the music. I can still recall her happy smile. I also think that was the year my Uncle David was made Chief of Police. I remember him pulling his badge out and saying he was "Chief of all police in Gouverneur!"

The photos below are of my Poppy back in the 1980s trimming the turkey, and my Daddy trimming the turkey in 2008-ish. There is something about the holidays and the men having the job of trimming the turkey in my family! I have many memories of Thanksgiving times....because I'm OLD now. Almost half a century!

Turkey carving time! Men in the kitchen!
In any case, I can't say that I have had any bad Thanksgiving memories except one sad one. It was my first Thanksgiving without my children nearby. But since we've moved to Albany area, the last few years we have gone to my Aunt Ann's house. I look forward to going there again this year. Unfortunately, again this Thanksgiving I won't be with either of my children. Christopher's job is too new for him to take vacation time and come home. But I'm looking forward to Christmas when I'll see my second son, Justin.

Altogether, I'm thankful. Thankful that I have a wonderfully annoying husband who really does love me despite his grumpiness. Thankful that I have two healthy, happy children and one beautiful daughter-in-law. Thankful that I still have both my parents, and thankful for my extended family I enjoy and share good times with. I guess when all said and done, the best Thanksgiving Ever is when you are surrounded with the people you love.

What was YOUR Best Thanksgiving Ever?

-- Posted by Grumpy's Honeybunch
 
I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position), and I'm not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com. Products received from advertisers are only used for experienced-based reviews on New Horizons in the Kitchen.  The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Grumpy's Honeybunch.

Thanksgiving Wishbones

I never really thought much about a “favorite” Thanksgiving, but I will tell you about a favorite thing we did as kids on Thanksgiving. We'd each make a wish, then grab a side of the turkey wishbone, pull, and whoever ended up with the bigger piece got his/her wish and good luck for the rest of the year. Simple little tradition, but great fun for the kids.

As with any family, kids grow up, leave home for the first time to go to college, often they end up relocating because of their jobs, get married, have kids of their own, etc. We all know how it goes. Often, it’s not easy to get the family together for the Holidays anymore.

I grew up in Cincinnati, but my husband and I made many long distance moves in a relatively short period of time, mostly for career changes/transitions for one of us. But we were young then, and each move was an adventure! Ultimately, we put down roots in Florida, and it has been our home for many years.

My mother decided to move to Florida once she realized that we were not going to be packing up the next year and heading off somewhere else in the U.S. She sold her place, put all of her furniture and her car on a moving van in Cincinnati and flew south. And we were thrilled to have her nearby. Her first place in Florida had a very small kitchen and stove, therefore, she couldn’t host Thanksgiving dinner (at least that’s what she said). So every year, I did the turkey meal at our place.

We eventually found her a brand new, really nice 2-bedroom condo that she could afford in a gated community with a nature preserve in the back. She wouldn’t accept any financial help from the kids even though we were at a point in our lives where we could and actually wanted to help her. No way, she had to do it on her own. My Father died when she was in her 40’s and, yes, she grew EXTREMELY independent.

I had peak times of the year with my job that were just exhausting; spring time was one, and the other was heading toward early December. Honestly, many times, all I really wanted to do on Thanksgiving Day was sleep. Never could do that because I had to cook the T-Day dinner.

Soooooo, when my Mom was settled in her new condo, I suggested that since she now had a full-size stove, maybe she’d like to host Thanksgiving. She agreed, and that year Thanksgiving would be at her place. Oh my, I thought, a day when somebody else would take charge and cook that time-consuming meal. I brought a pie, cranberry sauce, and a veggie, but she was going to cook the bird, stuffing, and potatoes.

When we arrived, she did have the turkey in the oven, but that was about it. I started peeling potatoes, mixing up the stuffing, finished the other side dishes, set the table, etc. When the turkey was done, I mashed the potatoes, made the gravy, heated up the side dishes, sliced the bird, and we all sat down to a nice Thanksgiving meal. Of course, I never said a word to her, and a good time was had by all, but I knew then future Thanksgivings would be at our house.

It never even occurred to me at the time that perhaps she was unable to do that meal on her own, and she was just too proud to say so. She appeared to be the picture of health, was not taking any daily meds, was still spunky, had slowed down a bit, but we all felt comfortable with her living on her own and even driving a car in her late 70’s. Although I have to admit that there were a few times when I was a “passenger” in her car that I wished I’d been “behind the wheel.” But she knew her driving limitations and didn’t go far...out to breakfast each morning, to the grocery store, and to our house was about it.

She loved her new condo but, unfortunately, lived there for less than three years before she became ill. She went into the hospital for surgery, never made it back home, and in less than a month, the family had to discontinue life support. Needless to say, it was a tough, tough time for all of us.

Of course, we all know what comes next. Eventually, you have to go through all of the personal belongings, and choose who gets what and then dispose of the rest. My brother, Mike, who lived in Dallas, didn’t take home much at all. He could use her car, so he flew into Tampa, and drove it back to Dallas, so he had room to take more of her things with him.

My Mom passed away in June, and that Christmas my brother gave me a little shadow box that he’d made from a few things he took home from Mom’s place. He put into it a photo of Mom and me on that Thanksgiving day at her place in 2002, the wishbone that he found on her counter, and a 4-leaf clover that she’d put in his bible which was inscribed in 1953. And on the back of the shadowbox, he pasted a very special note to me. Unfortunately, just several months later, my brother was diagnosed with cancer and passed away just short of three months. It makes this gift all the more meaningful to me. Here are a couple of photos showing that shadowbox.

The shadowbox (Photo by Lutzflcat)

My brother's note on the back of the shadowbox (Photo by Lutzflcat)

So now that I've written this blog, I know that Thanksgiving really was my favorite because it was the last one we shared with Mom. One thing that I kept was what she called her “fancy” silverware which she bought when she was first married and paid for on the weekly installment plan. Inside that silverware box, I found a wishbone, but this one’s a keeper, no pulling it apart ever. I suspect that she took it home from one of the Thanksgiving dinners at our house.

I typically only use that silverware for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every time I open that box and see that wishbone, it makes me smile. We still miss her like crazy, but that Thanksgiving was memorable not only because it was her last, but because it was at her place once again, just like when we were kids yanking that wishbone.

-- Posted by lutzflcat


I am an Allrecipes Allstar Brand Ambassador (a voluntary position), and I'm not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com. Products received from advertisers are only used for experienced-based reviews on New Horizons in the Kitchen. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of lutzflcat.

Gluten-Free Pie! A Thanksgiving #RecipeForHappiness

Shauna Ahern
If there’s one person who’s shared the pleasures and challenges of gluten-free cooking and eating more than any other, it’s Shauna Ahern. A wordsmith of the highest creative order, she’s both a cookbook author and a former high school English teacher (on her beloved Vashon Island and in Seattle), a child tutor and screenplay editor (in NYC), and she even confesses to rollerblading around Manhattan while residing there. Married to The Chef and husband of her dreams, Daniel Ahern, she’s also mom to their sparkling daughter. In 2005, after years of feeling miserable, she was officially diagnosed with celiac disease—and in 2010, began writing her award-winning blog, GlutenFreeGirlandtheChef. In this post, she shares tips for making a gluten-free pie, guaranteed to be a Thanksgiving #RecipeForHappiness.


When I first found out I had to go gluten-free, I didn't much worry about sandwiches, pizza, or beer. It was the thought of only one food that made me tear up at its loss.

Pie.

For years, I made a pie every week, bearing cherry pies to dinner parties, handing out slices to friends, and throwing pie parties. (One year, I made seven apple pies on the same day and invited everyone I knew to my apartment in New York City for a slice of apple pie and a glass of milk.) My roommate William nicknamed me Pie. We celebrated on March 14th — 3.14 — by making and eating pie.

Always, whenever someone new came to the house, and ate a slice of my apple pie, he or she always said the same thing: "You didn't make the crust, did you?!" As though I had figured out a solution for the latest Middle East crisis with flour, butter, and water.

So when I contemplated a life without gluten, I feared a life without pie. The thought of not eating fresh pumpkin pie with cinnamon and ginger at Thanksgiving scared me. Summer without peach pie? What was this life going to be?

Yesterday, I plunged my hands into a bowl full of cold gluten-free flours, mixed with a little salt. The cubes of cold butter resisted my fingers, at first, and then relented. As the fat and the flour began to mix, I thought of the six years I have been making pie without gluten.

In those years, I have come to love pie even more than before. I took it for granted when I thought I could eat gluten. I loved pie, and making it, but I didn't really know how to play with flours. I didn't understand the ratio of a great pie or why my crusts were sometimes so flaky the fork shattered them at first touch and sometimes sat in the pan a little leaden.

Teaching myself to bake without gluten has turned me into a real baker. I think about the protein levels in flours now. I keep a bag of all-purpose gluten-free flour mix, which we make ourselves, in the freezer in case we want to make biscuits or pie that day. (Cold. That's the secret to a flaky crust. Everything cold.) And now I know that if I can make pie without gluten, I can do anything.

(pssst. Here's a secret. It turns out that gluten-free pie crust is better than crust made with gluten anyway.)

Last week, my family and I were leaving for a weekend away. I had made three pies the day before, to photograph them for a project we're working on. We ate some of one pie and gave the other away to our neighbors. That left us with an entire apple pie the morning of our flight. Spontaneously, we decided to take the pie onto the ferry we take to Seattle. "Let's hand out slices of pie to people!" People were amazed. A couple thought we were a little weird and declined. Everyone else smiled and took a piece of pie. "Oh, this is so good," one woman exclaimed. "You've made my day!"

Nothing beats homemade Apple Pie! (Photo by zobird)

We were almost out of pie. We turned the corner to find a mom and her three boys, who were 10, 7, and 4. When I asked them if they wanted some pie, the mother said, "It's gluten-free, right?" She recognized us from our website and cookbook. It turned out that all of them, the mom and her three boys, had celiac. None of them had eaten pie since their diagnosis, three years ago.

The joy on their faces made my day. (Or my year.) The oldest boy, the quietest, looked up at me and said, "This is really delicious. Thank you."

Danny and I smiled all the way to the airport.

That's my recipe for happiness. Open eyes, a mind willing to learn and make mistakes, and the desire to connect with people and give them joy in the belly with my food. Who needs gluten anyway? Check out these gluten-free pie crusts from Allrecipes.comGluten-Free Macadamia Pie Crust, Gluten-Free Pastry, Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie (wheat-free, egg-Free and dairy-free too!)—and enjoy slices of gluten-free goodness at your Thanksgiving feast.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie (Photo by StaceyRae13)
What gluten-free dishes will you be making for your Thanksgiving feast? Do you have a special pie recipe?

Posted by Shauna Ahern, Glutenfreegirl.com

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Turkey + Technology! Check Out the "Best Thanksgiving Ever" Pinterest Sweepstakes

Six thousandand counting!home cooks who are also Pinterest fans have figured it out! They’re participating in the Best Thanksgiving Ever” Pinterest sweepstakes, sharing what they love most about Thanksgiving—from delicious dishes to décor ideas. The sweepstakes is hosted by Allrecipes.com, the world’s #1 digital food brand, Better Homes and Gardens, the nation’s leading women’s magazine brand, and Campbell’s, the brand providing essential ingredients in many holiday recipes.

The contest is a natural for the holiday. Thanksgiving is social by nature and spending time with friends and family and giving thanks are what Americans love most about the fourth Thursday in November, according to Allrecipes’ 2012 Holiday Attitudes and Behaviors Survey reported in the Measuring Cup Report*. The survey also found nearly half of American women will turn to social media for inspiration this Thanksgiving. The “Best Thanksgiving Ever” sweepstakes allows Thanksgiving planners to share and inspire one another with images of recipes, decorating tips and traditions that define the special day. One lucky cook will also win a $5,000 grand prize, and five other cooks will be able to give thanks for their $1,000 winnings.

To get you excited about the Best Thanksgiving Ever Pinterest sweepstakes, take a look at this sampling of Pinterest boards. They’re colorful and delicious!

dogtrnr
krisslade
mrssmitty1
kimberli354
cottoncandy50
frolicandmirth
dillybobster

It’s not too late to enter! If you’re inspired, follow these simple steps:

1) Create a Pinterest board titled, “Best Thanksgiving Ever.” Don't have a Pinterest account? It's easy to sign up.
2) Pin the “Best Thanksgiving Ever” tile onto your new pin board.
3) Pin at least 4 MORE images from Allrecipes.com or Better Homes and Gardens onto your board—you can pin images directly from either site, or simply re-pin recipes from Allrecipes’ Pinterest boards.
4) Submit your Pinterest board URL on the Best Thanksgiving Ever Facebook page for your chance to win.

Have fun! I’ll be watching for your entries!

Jennifer E., Allrecipes social media manager

Best Thanksgiving Ever Sweepstakes Details
*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. Subject to Official Rules available at www.facebook.com/allrecipes and www.facebook.com/mybhg. The My Best Thanksgiving Ever Sweepstakes begins at 12:01 a.m. ET on 10/22/12 and ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on 11/25/12. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States, and the District of Columbia, must be 21-years or older. Limit one (1) entry per person and per email address. Void where prohibited. Sponsor: Meredith Corporation. This sweepstakes is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. By entering this sweepstakes, you understand that you are providing your information to sponsor and not Facebook.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Creating Awareness: November is National Diabetes Month

Allrecipes wants to help step up awareness for diabetes, a health challenge affecting many families—and one that can often be managed with healthful eating choices. To recognize National Diabetes Month, this blog post offers diabetes-friendly recipes for the Thanksgiving feast. They’re so delicious you might make them year-round favorites.

Today, 25.8 million Americans have diabetes—and 7 million of them don’t even know they have it. A whopping 80 million Americans have pre-diabetes and research shows 70 percent of people with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes over time.

When you read statistics like these, the odds are you’re likely touched by diabetes, whether it’s family members, friends, or by your own personal story. The holidays can prove especially challenging for persons with health concerns, but particularly a condition this widespread. For anyone monitoring diabetes—their own or a family member's—here’s a Thanksgiving menu from Allrecipes.com with easy-to-prepare, lowcarb, diabetes-friendly dishes sure to please.

 

Rosemary Roasted Turkey (Photo by Dianne)


Steamed Mashed Cauliflower (Photo by pelicangal)













You’ll find more recipes and terrific resources for living well with diabetes at DiabeticLivingOnline, a guidebook for the newly diagnosed with information about how to take care of oneself and cook and eat in a new way. Click here to find an aggregate page with actionable tips, delicious recipes, and helpful resources to raise and spread awareness about diabetes, plus information about how to live a healthy lifestyle after a diagnosis. The site’s motto is “Diabetes does not stop you!”, and the many courageous and inspiring people profiled prove this time and time again. Not only will you survive – you can thrive!

Posted by Lori, editor, Diabetic Living Online

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Menu for Happiness: A Traditional Thanksgiving with a Twist

Julie Grice
One smart, organized blogger, Julie Grice, who writes the blog SavvyEat.com, shares her tips and tricks for preparing a stress-free Thanksgiving meal in this post. With her food science and engineering background, she’s the ideal person to create a delicious menu with recipes from Allrecipes.com that can be prepared step-by-step and day-by-day to create a Thanksgiving #RecipeForHappiness that’s relaxed and easy. When not composing blog posts, Julie is also a blog designer for Savvy Blog Services, and an administrator for the Healthy Living Blogs community website.



If there was ever a time of year to get organized and start cooking ahead of time, Thanksgiving is it. Rather than waking up at 5:00 a.m. next Thursday to start cooking your feast, consider beginning the prep work over the weekend. You’ll be left with a manageable task list for Turkey Day, giving you time to really enjoy the holiday with your family and friends. I guarantee you’ll be thankful you worked ahead to get ready, so I’m sharing ideas about how to do this as my #RecipeForHappiness.

The Traditional ‘Thanksgiving with a Twist’ Menu
I always like to try a few new dishes for Thanksgiving to add flavor twists to the meal. This selection offers the best of both, combining traditional favorites with new dishes such as the cranberry chutney with the spark of fresh ginger, turkey accented with subtle flavors of maple syrup and herbs, and shredded Brussels sprouts instead of whole. All crowd-pleasers!

Maple Roast Turkey and Gravy
Awesome Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing
Winter Squash Rolls
Chef John’s Perfect Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry, Apple and Fresh Ginger Chutney
Green Bean Casserole Remix
Shredded Brussels Sprouts
Honey Roasted Carrots
Mrs. Sigg’s Fresh Pumpkin Pie
Irresistible Pecan Pie
Kerri’s Holiday Punch
Wine
Cider
Maple Roast Turkey and Gravy (Photo by LynnInHK)
My #1 time-saving tip: To make sure you get everything at the grocery store in a single trip, I recommend using Allrecipes’ Shopping List feature. Be sure and remember to also purchase any wine and cider for your guests to drink!

Time-saving tip #2: When preparing each recipe, lay out all the ingredients on the counter or table with the appropriate bowl and utensils. Then you’ll be able to ‘grab and go’ for each recipe step as needed.

Time-saving tip #3: Some cooks like to wash prep dishes at the end of cooking. I recommend do it in stages so you don’t have a pile-up.

Time-saving tip #4 for turkey thawing: If your turkey is frozen, it will need one day for every five pounds to be properly thawed for roasting on Thanksgiving Day. For food safety reasons, always thaw the turkey in the refrigerator. (Not on the kitchen counter or in the sink!)

The Plan
Sunday, November 18
Roast and puree the pumpkin for Mrs. Sigg’s Fresh Pumpkin Pie. Allow the pumpkin puree to cool before pouring it into a bowl, and then cover and refrigerate. It will be ready when you’re in pie-baking mode.

Mrs. Sigg's Fresh Pumpkin Pie (Photo by jessicaweigant)

Boil the winter squash for the Winter Squash Rolls. Mash the squash, and then spoon it into a bowl you can then cover and refrigerate.

Winter Squash Rolls (Photo by R. Martin)
Monday, November 19
Cook the bacon for the Shredded Brussels Sprouts and the Green Bean Casserole Remix. Allow the bacon to cool before crumbling and refrigerating in a covered container. Collect the bacon grease in a separate container, and then cover the bowl and refrigerate.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts (Photo by Jessica)
Prepare the sausage mixture for the Awesome Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing only to Step 2 of the recipe directions. Place the cooked sausage mixture into a bowl, cover tightly, and refrigerate.

Tuesday, November 20
Make the syrup for the Maple Roast Turkey and Gravy. Cover and refrigerate.

Make the Cranberry, Apple and Fresh Ginger Chutney according to the recipe instructions. Spoon it into a bowl, and then cover and refrigerate.

Cranberry, Apple and Fresh Ginger Chutney (Photo by foodelicious)
Place the containers with the juice concentrates for Kerri’s Holiday Punch in the refrigerator to thaw. Set the containers in a large mixing bowl to catch any drips or leaks and avoid a mess in your refrigerator.

Kerri's Holiday Punch (Photo by Michelle)
Wednesday, November 21
Prepare and bake Mrs. Sigg’s Fresh Pumpkin Pie. Allow the pie to cool completely on a wire rack before covering it loosely with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerating it. (You’ll want to pull it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before serving to your guests.)

Prepare the recipe for Irresistible Pecan Pie as directed. Cover the pie loosely with a towel, aluminum foil or plastic wrap, and store on the counter. (Note: Pecan pie will tend to harden if stored in the refrigerator.)

Irresistible Pecan Pie (Photo by Kristinmae)
Put the frozen green beans for the Green Bean Casserole Remix into a bowl, and place in the refrigerator to thaw. Make Kerri’s Holiday Punch and refrigerate until serving time.

November 22 - Thanksgiving Day!
Depending on the size of your turkey (plan about 20 minutes per pound), begin roasting the Maple Roast Turkey 5 to 6 hours before you plan to seat everyone for dinner. Remember to figure in time for the cooked turkey to rest, tented with aluminum foil, for 1 hour before carving. Allowing the turkey to rest lets all the delicious juices resettle throughout the bird (they were pulled outwards as the turkey roasted). If you carve the turkey too early, all the juices will run out of the meat, leaving you with a dry bird.

Here are steps to follow to organize and make it easy to prepare the remaining dishes for your Thanksgiving feast.

While the turkey is roasting:
Here are tasks to complete at this stage so when the turkey comes out of the oven, all you’ll need to do is assemble the side dishes!

1. Mix the dough for the Winter Squash Rolls and allow it to rise twice, as indicated in the recipe. Cover and set aside in a cool place until you’re ready to bake them.
2. Toast the bread for the Awesome Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing.
3. Peel the carrots for the Honey Roasted Carrots.
4. Shred the Brussels sprouts and mince the green onions for the Shredded Brussels Sprouts.
5. Prepare Chef John’s Perfect Mashed Potatoes. Cook and simmer the mushrooms for the Green Bean Casserole Remix as indicated in the recipe.

While the turkey is resting:
At this point, all you need to do is complete the final preparation steps and either cook or bake the side dishes. Three are baked at the same oven temperature, which makes it super easy.

1. To make the Awesome Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing, mix the toasted bread with the sausage, apples, cranberries, parsley and liver mixture you prepared on Monday, as directed in the recipe. Drizzle with the stock and butter, and spoon the mixture into a greased casserole dish. Bake the stuffing (which is now actually called dressing, since it isn’t being stuffed inside a bird) at 350°F for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Check on the dressing occasionally. If it begins to look dry, spoon a few tablespoons of stock over the top.
2. Prepare the Honey Roasted Carrots as directed in the recipe. They need to bake at 350°F for 40 minutes to an hour, so place them in the oven at the same time as the Awesome Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Stuffing.
3. Assemble the Green Bean Casserole Remix and bake at 350°F for 20 minutes.
4. Cook the Shredded Brussels Sprouts on the stove-top while the turkey is resting. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes.
5. About 20 minutes before you’re ready to gather guests at the table, turn the oven temperature up to 400°F and bake the Winter Squash Rolls.
6. Make the gravy for the Maple Roast Turkey and Gravy.

I hope this plan gives you a head start on planning your Thanksgiving meal, and your day is relaxed and delicious! Let me know what you’re cooking at your house for the feast. Do you have any special tips to stay calm and focused in the kitchen?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

My #RecipeForHappines: Perfect Holiday Gravy

Coryanne Ettiene
When it comes to the holidays and recipes for happiness, many cooks have gravy the top of their list. Usually a challenge, even for experienced home cooks, a rich, flavorful gravy is the crowning touch on mash potatoes, sliced turkey, and even, if we confess, green bean casserole. Sharing her tips here for tackling this essential dish and creating a delicious #RecipeForHappiness is Coryanne Ettiene. A long-time resident of the UK, she now lives in the Seattle area where she is a TV host, entertaining columnist, and recipe developer. She also writes KitchenLivingwithCoryanne, a blog Allrecipes.com always enjoys reading. It’s focused on kitchen living for a modern lifestyle, sharing cooking tips, recipes, and lifestyle inspiration. As a recipe developer, entertaining columnist and on air host, Coryanne says, “The blog allows me to share my passion for kitchen living with personal reflections from a life infused with kitchen memories.”

Gravy is the perfect recipe for autumn happiness and all the holidays that arrive. The smell of roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and all the trimmings is what makes Sunday dinner a much adored and longed for event in our home. Gravy is the essential ingredient that makes everything come together.

Allrecipes.com is my go-to destination for seeking out new recipes, discovering new cooking methods and finding inspiration from other home cooks. I love browsing the site for new ideas and always leave with a plethora of fresh approaches to traditional meals. For example, I had never tried cooking mashed potatoes in a slow cooker, but this recipe I found on the siteSlow Cooker Mashed Potatoesmotivated me to give it a try, because I’m always looking for time-saving kitchen tips.

My family always has Yorkshire pudding on the dining table, regardless whether we are feasting on roast beef or roast chicken—and while we love our family recipe, this Yorkshire pudding recipe is one I can’t wait to try this fall.

Sharing a Kitchen with My Mother-In-Law
My first cooking experience with my mother in-law was preparing a roast chicken. I remember it well because I was trying with all my might to appear that I knew what I was doing and to instill confidence in her that her son would not spend the rest of his life hungry. I had read a library of cookbooks and even tested a few trial roast chickens on my husband before this milestone meeting.

But I never gave any thought to the gravy. (A laughable offense, mainly because as much as the English love tea, they love gravy even more.) To this day I have the rules of roasting a chicken ingrained in my mind: 20 minutes at 180C (350° F) for every 500g (1 pound). I’m sure I would remember more of my first official roast chicken if it were not for the Dutch courage that carried me through the process. (Thank you, Cos Nero D’Avola 2001!) But this I can tell you……gravy makes the world much, much better. It can rescue even the most disastrous of birds. And—this is a big “and”—my husband makes perfect gravy. He learned how from his mother.

Alex’s Perfect Gravy
The trick with great gravy is that it takes time, love, and like the cook looking for courage, plenty of wine. It is best made while your bird rests on a carving board and it can be prepared in the same roasting pan to ensure every last molecule of flavor infuses the essence. Ideally, roasted celery, bacon, carrots, potatoes, garlic and onions make a great gravy base, but anything you roast with your bird will work as a starting point for gravy.

Generally there are no rules to measuring and no required ingredients for making gravy—except to keep the flour in your pantry and save it for your baking needs. Making gravy is all about instinct—so be creative and keep tasting until you have a delicious spoonful.

Gravy Ingredients
This list includes my essential gravy ingredients. Quantities are not included because the amounts may vary according to your taste and what’s in your pantry—and the roasting pan.
  • WineUse plenty of it; I prefer to use white wine with chicken but if you have red on hand, this may also be used.
  • Chicken StockYou’ll want at least one pint (2 cups), maybe more if you like thinner gravy.
  • Salt and crushed Black Pepper - Be mindful of the salt amount used. Most store-bought stock will have plenty of salt, so add it in small amounts and taste as you go. But do be generous with the crushed black pepper.
  • Herbs - We often use a bay leaf and a small sprig of thyme. (Rosemary can be heavy, so use it sparingly.)
  • Roasting Pan - Use all the left-over bits of roasted vegetables, bacon, onion, garlic, and chicken drippings that glisten with caramelized glory.
Directions
1. Place the roasting pan on the stove top or hob of your oven and pour in a glass (or two) of wine, plus the chicken stock. (Note: If you are using an enameled roasting pan, you cannot use the pan on a glass cooking surface. Be sure to check your pots before you start firing up the stove top so you are using the correct pan for the project.)

2. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, taking care to use a wooden spatula to scrape all the brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Stir in the herbs, salt, and pepper according to taste. As you stir, the gravy will start to darken and thicken. Allow it to cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. You may want to use a potato masher to crush the excess vegetables and add volume to the sauce.

Straining cooked veggies and stock from the roasting pan (Photo by Coryanne Ettiene)


The result of this cooking process will be a gravy so aromatic, so rich with flavor and color, you will hang your head in shame for all the times you used flour to make gravy.

A lovely bowl of gravy ready to bless mashed potatoes or turkey (Photo by Coryanne Ettiene)

Note: Not using flour also means everyone at the table can enjoy this gravy. (In other words, rejoice! It's gluten-free!) You may store the gravy for up to three days in your fridge. If any is left from your holiday meal, try reusing it in a soup or stew.

What gravy-making tricks have you learned? Has your mother-in-law shared any useful cooking tips?