Not Your Mom’s Thanksgiving

Everything about 2020 is different, and the holidays will be no exception. Gatherings will be smaller, you may be spending more time outside, and masks will be the hottest holiday accessory of the year. But we’re determined to keep things festive and fun, and why not take it as an opportunity to start some new Turkey Day traditions while you’re at it? Here are our tips for hosting a non-traditional Thanksgiving.

THE FOOD

Maybe this year, you’re celebrating with your roommates, or a few friends or family members in your “bubble.” Keep it low key and stick to an easy Thanksgiving menu, or use this opportunity to try out something totally new:

  • •There’s never been a better year to order takeout from your favorite neighborhood restaurant (hooray for supporting local). Use your fanciest dishes and make sure to leave a good tip!
  • •If you are in the mood to cook, let’s talk turkey – tbh, is it really anyone’s favorite part of the meal? (don’t @ us)…There are plenty of turkey alternatives that can be just as delicious and festive – try chicken, steak, lamb, lasagna, stuffed mushrooms, cauliflower steak, or hey, if you’re in the mood for hamburgers, go for it. Thanksgiving knows no bounds in 2020. 
  • •It’s also a perfect year to test the waters with something totally new (hello, boozy cranberry sauce; trash can turkey or sriracha turkey; fried mashed potato balls; apple pie salsa; everything bagel stuffing). We’re calling it – This is the year of unique Thanksgiving dishes, so let your creativity fly.

 

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THE SETTING

We love a big packed cozy dinner table as much as anyone else, but this year has other plans for us, and that’s OK. We’re all about the joy of switching it up, and a non-traditional Thanksgiving calls for a non-traditional setting:

  • •Pack the car and have a Thanksgiving campout. Does it get any cozier than sharing what you’re thankful for around a campfire and under the stars? We don’t think so. Campfire roasted turkey, here we come (or if you’re ok ditching the turkey, this camp kitchen pesto halibut recipe never fails). Keep the rest of the setup easy with our tried-and-true camp hacks
  • •Host a driveway distanced BYO dinner. Supply the drinks and let everyone bring their own picnic. It’s a real win-win when everyone gets to eat exactly what they want.
  • •If you are set on keeping it traditional, the backyard is where it’s at. Twinkly lights and outdoor heating will set the mood, and if you live somewhere extra cold, make sure your dress code calls for warm, casual, comfortable, and soft (might we suggest the Flatlander fleece collection?). And if you’ve never dined in an igloo before, here’s your chance (yep). If it’s snowing and you’re in the mood to take things up a notch, here’s your guide to building one. Whatever route you take, al fresco is the name of the game when it comes to hosting Thanksgiving 2020.

 

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THE PEOPLE

You may not get to spend the holidays this year with your whole usual crew, but this year we’re giving thanks for technology (and our pets).

  • •Host a virtual pre-dinner cocktail hour or set up a computer at the table so you and the family can all enjoy your meals virtually together. For more interaction, plan a virtual scavenger hunt, trivia night, or cookie decorating contest.
  • •Make a collaborative holiday playlist that the whole family can contribute to, near and far.
  • •Take it old school and write good old fashioned letters and cards to those you’re missing this year. Everyone loves snail mail – so send ‘em a note as to why you’re thankful for them and what you’re looking most forward to about being together IRL next year. 

 

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So while Thanksgiving dinner is looking a little different, we’re seeing it as an opportunity to get creative, switch up the dinner menu, and spend a little extra time being thankful, even if it’s from afar. And who knows – maybe some of these alternative Thanksgiving traditions will stick for years to come. Bon appétit!

Apple Cider Donuts

Makes: A dozen
Time: 35 mins
Listen to: Rock the Holidays Playlist
Recipe from: Daisy, Copy Editor & Donut Enthusiast

Every year on Christmas morning we spike our coffee, settle into our respective couch/chair/floor positions, and dig into heaps of homemade Apple Cider Donuts. It’s a tradition that goes back to my Pennsylvania roots – where my grandmother proudly made her OWN apple cider in the fall and these donuts were her way of reminding us of the feat well into winter. We’ve since relocated to Southern California and substituted grandma’s homemade apple cider for the local farmer’s, but the tradition – and sugar rush – are still going strong.

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup apple cider, organic or local is best

 

Pre-heat the oven to 350° and lightly grease two 6-doughnut pans (or a 12-cup muffin tin). In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment (or a bowl with some serious elbow grease), cream 10 tablespoons butter (or 1¼ sticks), brown sugar and ¼ cup granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy ( about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time mixing until well after each egg, scrape the bowl as necessary. Beat in vanilla extract. Switch to low speed and add the flour mixture. Keep the mixer running and add the apple cider in a slow, steady stream. Scrape the bowl to make sure all the batter is mixed thoroughly – no weird bumps!

Spoon (or pipe) the batter into doughnut pans, filling them about 2/3 of the way full. For Donuts: Bake 12-15 minutes, rotating halfway through, until evenly golden brown. For Muffins: Bake 15-20 minutes, rotating halfway through ,until evenly golden brown. (For both, do the toothpick test: insert pick into the center to see if it comes out clean. If not, cook for a few more minutes).

While the doughnuts bake, whisk together the remaining ½ cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl, melt the remaining 6 tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Let the doughnuts cool for 5 minutes after baking, then pop them out of the pan, brush with melted butter, and dunk in cinnamon sugar – all while they’re still warm.

Serve immediately with spiked coffee and holiday tunes.

TOAD & CO FALL WINTER 2018

Need PJs? We got you covered for dudes and dudettes.

Easy Holiday Recipe

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Every holiday we roll up our sleeves, preheat the oven and get down to business. With full houses and empty glasses, we spend much deserved time with our loved ones and whip up our favorite things to share. So here’s our recipe for a perfect holiday:

Ingredients 
60 Minutes of volunteering (or more!)
52 Cards
24 Hours without the internet
12 Pack of your favorite local beer
10 year aged bourbon – take a sip, splash a sip
8 Tracks of The Boss (or whatever keeps the kitchen crew grooving)
4 Shotted-shotski (learn how to make one here)
Pair of stretchy pants
1 football
A liberal sprinkling of good company

1. Prep ingredients the night before.
2. Morning of, spend 60 minutes volunteering.
3. Preheat oven to 375, turn on 8 tracks.
4. Mix remaining ingredients, stirring occasionally.
5. Top with good company and share!

Pomegranate Ginger Sangria

Pomegranate Ginger Sangria Recipe - Riunite Lambrusco Sweet Red Wine - Luci's Morsels -- LA Lifestyle Blog-5Everybody knows that hot toddy’s and mulled wine are essential to a cozy night in or walking around chilly outdoor holiday markets. But what about the times you’re sweating through your ugly Christmas sweater or singing carols in a very crowded living room? That’s when a nice cold sangria is just the ticket. Our gal Luci at Luci’s Morsels came up with a fizzy and festive sangria that’s easy to whip up and even easier to send down the hatch.

Pomegranate Ginger Sangria
(yields 6 servings)
1 1/2 Cups pomegranate juice
1 1/2 Cups ginger beer
1/2 Cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 lemon, seeded and sliced
1 bottle sweet, sparkling red wine*
*Luci uses Riunite Lambrusco Wine – A general guideline is that the sweeter the fruit, the drier the wine you want to use. Because pomegranate and ginger are tart, Riunite Lambrusco is a sweet, sparkling Italian wine and perfect to mix in

Combine all ingredients in pitcher. Refrigerate at least 2 hours. Stir before serving.