Family

Marietta Traditional Project: Piano Room

Right this minute the joists and subfloor in my guest bathroom are being cut out to be replaced. My poor house was left to rot into the ground over the years by owner after owner neglecting to take care of leaks, water mitigation, and just general upkeep. Sometimes, buying a fixer upper is a pain in the you know what. At least we have a good contractor who is doing the work for us so we don't have to go too long with our home in shambles because we just do not have the time to do the work ourselves. I'm excited to share all of that progress soon, but for now, it's just sawdust and loud banging and buzzing. You can follow along with the progress of that project and other of my home projects on my Instagram, @susiemaedesign. 

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

Let's talk about something that doesn't involve saws, joists, OR water damage! How about a serene family space? Here's a lovely, recently completed multi-purpose family room that has come a long way at the Marietta traditional project. It started out as sort of a catch all storage space with very little light and no real purpose aside from housing old toys and a piano. This family of four needed this space to work for them as more than a storage unit. It's just off the front entrance of the home so it needed more presence for sure, so we had to make sure it said "Welcome! Our home is pretty, and cozy" and really set the tone for the rest of the house. We affectionately call this "the piano room". It's a play on a formal living room, but updated for current life.

BEFORE

BEFORE

BEFORE

BEFORE

This room spans the length of the home, from the front of the house to the back, so it's a long room and needed zones to create a cohesive space with multiple uses. It also needed to be lightened up, both in terms of paint color and actual electrical lights. We added a series of 8 can lights (4 sets of 2) down the length of the room and later on added more localized lighting once furniture went in. After that, the ceiling got a fresh coat of white paint and the walls went Sherwin Williams Comfort Gray. This gray has a good bit of blue in it so while it is a neutral it also serves as a soft wash of color. I've decided to call this type of color "bluetral". A mashup of blue and neutral because blue really does act like a neutral quite often. Like blue jeans, neutral blues go with just about everything.

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

Next, we pulled together a furniture plan. To get those zones, we created a game/homework table that can double (or would it be triple?) as additional dining space for parties and larger family gatherings, as well as a sitting room centered around the piano, and storage console at the entrance to provide a natural focal point.  

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

Next came selecting fabrics and finishes for each piece of furniture and for the drapery. We had custom functioning drapery made so that the family could enjoy privacy at night without the need for blinds or shades, allowing more natural light to come in during the day. This color palette is a dream! The rose tone we used on two skirted swivel chairs, stain-resistant taupe on the ottoman, a super strong Crypton on the loveseat, beautiful cream linen on the drapery with a nice tape edge trim, and pulling it all together, a watercolor inspired print for the throw pillows. 

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

This is one of my favorite parts of this space! This gorgeous cupboard is filled with board games, homework, and craft supplies all while looking uncluttered and refined. What a victory! Just above the cupboard is a beautiful piece of art my client found through Atlanta Artist Collective. It has the right scale, mood, and palette to complement the space without looking "matchy". In this case we selected the art towards in the end of the planning phase, but I love how it looks like we planned the room around this piece rather than the other way around. 

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

Since the children both play piano (and it's a pretty upright!), it was important to keep the piano a key figure in the room. The piano anchors the sitting room area and gives focus to the space. We had custom frames made to house portraits of each child and a whole family photo on this side, and landscape photos from their travels mirror this arrangement on the other side of the space above the loveseat. We kept the piano top simple, but decorative. Since it will be frequently used, overdoing it wont work. 

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

See the landscape photos above the loveseat? We used some repetition throughout the space to create balance and symmetry with those images, color, texture, and pattern. The rose colored chairs swivel to offer options for conversation or to enjoy a piano concert. We chose a large ottoman to offer foot propping access for everyone seated around the space as well as extra seating when larger groups gather. This rug is another favorite part for me. It's a stunning hand knotted wool rug with an antique feel. The colors are muted, yet still colorful. I adore the thin fringe on the ends as well. 

Susie Mae Design

Susie Mae Design

While the room is not particularly formal, we wanted to be sure the game/homework area felt decidedly less formal than the other side. To encourage family time and fun without feeling fussy, we selected a natural weave rug with a subtle pattern and again, gorgeous fringe detail to anchor the space and not compete with the rug on the opposite side of the room. A family style solid wood table resists scratches and dings from pencils and Monopoly pieces, and Crypton covered seats finish off the pretty ladder back chairs. 

I loved designing this space! It's family friendly, yet refined. Neutral, yet colorful.

BEFORE AND AFTER

BEFORE AND AFTER

We hope you will feel inspired to create a space for your own family that works in a variety of ways. Find a place where there is wasted space and make use of it. If lack of space is your issue, create multipurpose solutions to make your home work better for you! If you need help making the best use of what you have and you want your home to be the best it can be, contact me today to schedule your consultation!

Design, concepts, and written content by Susie Mae Design.

All completed room images by Christina Wedge Photography

10 Things To Do for Christmas In Atlanta

Ahhh, Christmas time! There’s a chill in the air of about 70 degrees, no snow on the ground, and Peppermint Mocha is in season. That’s how you know it’s almost time to open presents and spend time with loved ones here in Atlanta.  If you’ve got family coming to visit this holiday season, don’t just sit around and stare at each other, go out and do something!

Not sure what to do? We’ve collected some ideas of great holiday fun for the whole family all around the city.

1.     See the Sights, All Covered in Lights! From Centennial Olympic Park downtown to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens midtown, the city is covered in lights. Some are free to see, others charge a fee. I’ve turned into Dr. Seuss by accident… Don’t miss your favorite Atlanta attractions decorated for the Holiday Season.

2.     Tour the Governor’s Mansion! Take on some political debating at Thanksgiving with your family? Why not stir the pot even more and take them to the helm of Georgia’s government! But seriously, it’s beautiful and packed with history. Make reservations for groups of 10 or more or just pop by Tuesday-Thursday between 10-11am.

3.     Tour Callanwolde all dressed up in Holiday lights and designer décor. This beautiful Tudor Revival home is a real show stopper on a normal day, so check it out now to really be blown away!

4.     See a Felt Rudolph Gallop About! If your guest list for Christmas includes children, a trip to the Center for Puppetry Arts is a must! Not only is there a remake of the stop motion Rudolph TV special, but they also have a new Jim Henson exhibit complete with Miss Piggy’s Treasure Island costume!!!!

5.     Have Tiny Tim Melt Your (and Scrooge’s!) Heart. Head over to the Alliance Theater for the classic Charles Dickens tale “A Christmas Carol”. While you’re at it, make some hot chocolate and watch the Muppet version at home first. Gonzo and Rizzo perform their little felt hearts out!

6.     Get Outside! Nothing is better than crisp winter air. If you aren’t familiar with the many trails in the city, check out the Chattahoochee National Park for starters. It’s close to the city, absolutely beautiful, and full of falling leaves, waterfalls, and nature all around. The perfect activity for burning off some of those cookies you ate and enjoying the outdoors.

7.     Go Tubing! In the snow! Stone Mountain is only a stone’s throw away (hehe) and features a winter wonderland with snow tubing, lights everywhere, and much more for the whole family.

8.     Make Apple Cider. Just north of the city, in the North Georgia Mountains, there are apple farms where you can pick your own apples! What a fun outing for the whole family. After that, try your hand at baking a pie or making your own cider. Cooking can be fun, especially when you do it together!

9.     See A Holiday Movie. There are so many movies that come out on Christmas day, and while I’ve never been a fan of going to the movies on Christmas, if you’re feeling froggy or if you want to do something laid back on the 26th , stop by one of the area’s movie theaters with recliners! One trip to AMC Phipps Plaza, and you’ll never want to sit in a regular movie seat again. It’s advisable to reserve you seat in advance to make sure you get a spot.

10.  Stay Home and Hang Out! Last but not least, spend some quality time together with your family and friends just hanging out and enjoying each other’s company. Pick up some board games or download a few on your smartphone like Ellen’s Head’s Up. It’s fun and makes hilarious videos of your family acting things out like cute little fools.

 

We hope you have some fun things planned with your family this holiday season. Do you have any great ideas for other things to do in the city this Christmas? Let us know in the comments!

 

DIY Christmas Tree For Small Spaces

I recently (5 months ago) moved from my tiny one bedroom apartment into a small mid-century style house. It's much roomier than my apartment, but with two apartments merged into one house, we're somehow still bursting at the seams. Eventually, we'll cull the furniture collection and have just what we need, but in the meantime, we're short on space but I still want to decorate for Christmas!

If you, like me, love decorating your home for the holidays but are struggling to find the space for a big Christmas tree, I've got a great solution for you. And it's something you can do easily yourself!

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

Introducing....THE LADDER TREE!

It's easy to do and you probably already have most of the items you'll need to make it happen. The best part? You are only temporarily changing a ladder into a tree. It will still work as a ladder and fold up for easy storage when Christmas is over and you can still use it to change light bulbs in your ceiling fixtures!

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP ONE

Gather your materials.

  • Wooden ladder (I found mine Grandmama's shed)
  • Table saw
  • Medium grit sandpaper
  • Wood (we used plywood) + blocks for cleats
  • Painter's tape
  • Primer 
  • Green paint (I used Rust-O-leum "Spruce")
  • Good quality garland
  • LED Christmas lights
Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP TWO

Give the ladder a good sanding. If there are globs of paint, give those a little extra attention. Even if your ladder is new, sanding is a good idea as it will help the paint to stick and go on smoothly.
TIP: Paint your nails with OPI nail polish if you want them to stay looking decent after you complete this project. I am astounded by this, but even with sanding AND spray painting, my nails still look fine! 

Photo by Victor Prince

Photo by Victor Prince

STEP THREE

Tape off all of the metal parts on your ladder to keep them from getting painted over. Keeping the working parts from being painted will keep your ladder more able to open and close and it also looks much prettier with the metal details in the end!

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP FOUR

Have your handsome partner in crime (or you can do this yourself!) trim* down your wood planks to fit across the steps of the ladder. We measured for a 5 inch overhang on either side to best fit our space. You'll want the wood to fit snuggly between the steps, but not be so tight that you can't remove them.

*We do not have a table saw, so we used a circular saw but this is not the best way. Please use a table saw if you have one!

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP FOUR AND A HALF

Check to see if your board will sit level across the step to the rungs on the other side. If not, you'll need to add some simple cleats for your board to sit level. We cut some small blocks, measured for levelness, and screwed them into the side of the ladder. The board will now sit level on these cleats, but will appear to sit on the rungs!

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP FIVE

Prime it! I love spray primer, but I'm also a huge spray paint fan. Use whichever primer you feel most comfortable with, and go to town! Watch for drips and get the most even coverage you can, being sure to get the underside sprayed as well. At the same time, prime your boards. You'll have two sides to do on those, so be sure they get nice and dry before flipping. Let it dry until it's no longer sticky to the touch.

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP SIX

Paint your ladder and boards your desired color. Again, I used spray paint because I love it. My ladder took two even coats to be completely covered. Always get one more can of spray paint than you think you need. Remember to spray your boards green now, too!

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP SEVEN

Remove the painter's tape, place the boards on the rungs/cleats and begin wrapping in garland! Wrap however you like! I did a criss-cross pattern on mine. Be sure to fluff, fluff, fluff your garland! Look up photos of live garland to see how it lays naturally if you think yours is looking a little funky. 
TIP: Do your garland wrapping and other messy decorating over a drop cloth to make clean up easier. You can shake out a drop cloth easier than you can sweep up every little piece of stray garland.

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP EIGHT

Wrap your garland in lights, following the same pattern you did earlier. Pretty!!

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP NINE

Decorate with ornaments! 

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

STEP TEN

If desired, get a shimmer blanket/batting and make a soft surface of fake snow on each plank. How festive! We used a white blanket with a snowflake pattern under our tree instead of a tree skirt. You could use fabric, or even go no tree skirt! 

Photo by Susie Roupe

Photo by Susie Roupe

Pile presents on each step and even under the ladder. This tree is a great solution for small spaces. Not only does the ladder itself take up less space than a traidtional Christmas tree, but it offers tons of storage for your presents all throughout AND under! Don't forget to pin these photos to your Christmas Pinterest boards!

Happy decorating!

 

M & V Mag: Behind the Scenes

A few months ago, we had the pleasure of working on a photoshoot with the lovely and extremely talented Amy Osaba and Annette Joseph. If you aren't already familiar with these two, let me introduce you! 

Amy Osaba is the brains behind Amy Osaba events, a floral and events styling business. She creates some of the most stunning arrangements along with her staff of floral designers for weddings and other events. Amy Osaba Events has been published in many wedding magazines and blogs for their florals and overall event styling. 

Annette Joseph is a stylist, producer, and author who has been published in countless magazines and is featured on The Today Show regularly to share her ideas and tips on entertaining, styling, and cooking. 

BEHIND THE SCENES

Together, Amy and Annette  put together a gorgeous party right in Amy's King Plow studio to be featured in the August/September issues of Muses and Visionaries Magazine. Christina and I were able to go and work on this shoot and it was an absolute joy! Here are some behind the scenes shots of the beautiful scene, along with some of the goings on of a set--like ironing napkins just outside of the camera frame, laughter, and fixing lipgloss.

A little laughter on set

A little laughter on set

Getting the natural light to bounce around just right

Getting the natural light to bounce around just right

Christina acting like a normal party guest!

Christina acting like a normal party guest!

If you like these behind the scenes photos, hop over to Muses & Visionaries and check out the article by Annette Joseph with Christina's gorgeous photographs featuring the beautiful Amy Osaba and get inspired to throw your own late summer party. The article is pages 68 through 75. Enjoy!


Mother's Day Ideas: The Tutorials

Mother's Day is May 10th, 2015. If you aren't yet sure what to do you celebrate your mom, try out some of our ideas to create a beautiful party to let mom know she is treasured! 

We've got Mother's Day gift ideas, meals for Mother's Day, even a Mother's Day cocktail! On Tuesday, May 5th, we're skipping CInco De Mayo and celebrating Cinco de Mom-o instead! Be sure to come back to see how all of these menu items and decorations come together to show mom just how special she is.

Let's start with the perfect Mother's Day meal! We had a sort of upscale picnic, so we kept things a little rustic and simple. 

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

TURKEY, BRIE, & RADISH SANDWICHES
WITH HERB BUTTER

INGRIDIENTS

  • Fresh baked whole wheat bread
  • Good quality deli sliced turkey
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Baby arugula 
  • Herb butter (recipe to follow)

DIRECTIONS

Spread a generous amount of herb butter on the bread. Layer on the remaining ingredients and wrap in pretty papers. Secure the paper with twine and a spring of fragrant herbs.

HERB BUTTER:

Photos by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Photos by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Once you've eaten delicious turkey and brie sandwiches, you're going to want a nice cocktail! How about a white wine citrus sangria? It tastes even better than it sounds! You'll need 3 bottles white wine, 1 1/2 cups of triple sec, 1/2 cup sugar, and about 3 lemons, and 2 or 3 oranges, sliced thinly. Stir together and chill overnight. You've never had such a good white wine sangria! The citrus blends so well with the sugar and is the perfect compliment to the lemon cupcakes (keep reading!).

WHITE WINE CITRUS SANGRIA

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

No mother's day meal is complete without a dessert! My sister swears that every mother loves lemon flavored treats, so why not give the people what they want! We made simple lemon cupcakes with lemon zest and a lemon coconut frosting topped with a beautiful little marshmallow flower. Here's how you make the flower!

MARSHMALLOW FLOWERS

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Photo by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Now that you have most of your Mother's Day dinner finished, it's time to focus on the Mother's Day party decorations! We decided to make a special pennant banner with beautiful paper products to match our party decoration color scheme. Here's how you make a quick and easy pennant banner with no template or hole punch necessary! 

EASY PENNANT BANNER TUTORIAL

Photos by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Photos by Christina Wedge, Style by Susie Roupe

Need another Mother's Day gift idea? Throwing mom a Mother's Day party is fun, so why not make part of her gift a little bit of the decor for the party that she can keep? Print out photos from Instagram of you and mom, or of mom and baby or copy photos from your baby book into a square format and put them together for a beautiful poster print of mom's favorite memories. 

MOTHER'S DAY GIFT IDEA

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

We loved putting together this little party for mom and can't wait to show you more details on Tuesday! Be sure to check back so we can help you plan the perfect outdoor upscale picnic to celebrate your Mama! 

Spotlight on: Honey and Hazel Boutique

Is there anything sweeter than the mother/daughter relationship? It's such a strong bond and as mothers and daughters age, the relationship often changes from parent/child to best friends.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Recently, we had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with the very special mother daughter duo of Honey & Hazel Boutique in Alpharetta. They are such a fun pair and they work together every day! They compliment each other in their work styles and have a very cute shop! Let's get to know Grace and Julie Gordy of Honey & Hazel Boutique a little bit better.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

How did you get your start?

Grace: "I’ve always been into fashion and dreamed to own a boutique one day. My mom and I discussed the idea of opening one together when I was in middle school and she told me to go to college, get some work experience and if I still wanted to do it and we had an opportunity to then we would!" 

Julie: "I came from a family of creative entrepreneurs and have owned multiple home décor shops . Grace and I have always had a close relationship and wanted to pursue an endeavor together in women’s apparel. We are so thankful the opportunity presented itself and here we are!" 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Was there 1 job or contact that set the course of your career?

Grace: "After graduating college, I moved to Charleston, SC to work for a couple years. While living there, I was Assistant Manager at a boutique on King Street and fell in love with the boutique atmosphere. I loved interacting with customers and working for a small company. It seemed so much more personal than working for big chain retailers."

Julie: "I worked as an Interior Decorator for many years and always had a desire to open my own store. When our family relocated to a small town in Northeast Georgia years ago I was able to do so. Grace always wanted to add a clothing section and now we have our own clothing store."

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What is your favorite/most successful way to advertise?

Grace: "Social media definitely! It’s so much fun, a little addicting, and not to mention FREE, which is the best part. It’s fun to interact with our customers through Instagram and Facebook!" 

Julie: "Social media, but at my age I don’t know much about it so Grace is the social media Queen! :) "

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

If there were one thing you could change about your career, what would it be?

Grace: "That we are to the point of success that we have many employees and multiple stores! That is my ultimate goal for the shop and I’m sure with lots of hard work and determination we will get there in the coming years!" 

Julie: "I’m very thankful and wouldn’t change anything! I’ve been able to pursue my dreams and passions and now being able to work with my daughter is wonderful!"

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What is your favorite stress reliever?

Grace: "Spending time with my friends, family, boyfriend, doing something creative, and getting some exercise!" 

Julie: "Being outdoors and spending time with family!"

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

What is your favorite destination?

Grace: "30A in Florida! It is definitely my “happy place” and we’ve been going down there to vacation since I was born! My ultimate dream is to have a Honey & Hazel there – I would be the happiest person on earth!" 

Julie: "I love the mountains! That is definitely my 'happy place'!"

Stop by, say hello, and shop with Grace and Julie at Honey & Hazel Boutique!

Like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram for updates about sales and promotions, plus lots of cute outfit ideas!

More Delicious Recipes for Thanksgiving

As you're preparing for time with loved ones this week, you're probably planning your grocery list. Thanksgiving is not complete with merely a turkey, cornbread dressing, and cranberry sauce. The list of tasty side dishes goes on and on! Let's take a look at a few more side dishes from trusted food blogs we love that you should try this holiday season. For full posts from each food blog, follow the link by either clicking the photo or the name of the blog. All credit goes to each blog for recipe and photography.

1. Squash Casserole from Add A Pinch

Image via Add A Pinch

Image via Add A Pinch

I love squash casserole! It's one of my favorites for an additional vegetable in the Thanksgiving spread. But I wont let myself get too carried away...squash casserole may technically be a vegetable, but it's covered in cheese and butter and crunchy topping, so I don't think I can really pat myself on the back when I pile it high on my plate. Here's the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cups sliced yellow squash
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 sleeve Ritz crackers

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in medium skillet or saute pan over medium-low heat. Add squash and onions and cook until tender.
  3. To a large bowl, add eggs and lightly whisk. Add cheese and milk and whisk into egg until well-combined. Add cooked squash and onions to egg mixture and stir well to combined. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in skillet used to cook squash and onions. Add to squash casserole mixture. Add cayenne pepper, if using, along with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  4. Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with cooking spray and pour squash casserole mixture into the baking dish. Top evenly with crushed Ritz crackers. Place in preheated oven and bake 45 minutes, or until top has lightly browned and casserole does not "jiggle" when the dish is moved.
  5. Allow to sit for about 3 minutes before serving.

2. Green Beans with Almonds by DoItDelicious with Jessica Seinfeld

Image via DoItDelicious

Image via DoItDelicious

Green beans are a must on your plate for Thanksgiving. They're green, healthy, and an actual vegetable that is not coated in cheese (not that I would mind that too much!). The almonds add a nice crunch, and this is a vegan recipe if you are hosting anyone with a restricted diet! Here's the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds 
  • 1 tablespoon plus ¼ teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 1 pound green beans, stem ends trimmed 
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 

INSTRUCTIONS

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring, until golden brown 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Add 1 tablespoon of the salt to the boiling water then add the beans and cook until just tender, 4 to 5 minutes; drain.

Add the beans, pepper (12 turns on pepper mill) and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt to the skillet and return to medium heat to heat through, 1 to 2 minutes. Use tongs to combine.

3. Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese by Divas Can Cook

Image via Divas Can Cook

Image via Divas Can Cook

This dish needs no introduction. Holy yum! Here's the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups macaroni, uncooked
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1½ cups milk
  • salt & pepper
  • paprika (optional)
  • 1 cup smoked cheddar cheese, shredded (a must)
  • 6-8 oz. velvetta, shredded (feel free to cut back on the velvetta if you don't want it to be super creamy)
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar (can use less if you don't like a sharp taste in your mac n cheese)
  • 1 cup colby & monteray jack, shredded (cheese blend)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Cook macaroni until just al dente or a little under al dente. (Look on the back of the box to see how long you need to cook your pasta for it to reach al dente.) Be careful no to overcook.
  3. Drain pasta and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, add milk, heavy cream & cheeses (except for the smoked cheddar).
  5. Stir to combine.
  6. Taste the milk mixture and add salt & pepper until it has a good taste. You can also add in other seasonings like onion, paprika, etc. Tasting will help avoid having a plain, bland bake macaroni & cheese. Yuck!
  7. When you are content with the taste, add in the eggs.
  8. Stir well until combined.
  9. Butter a 9 x 9 inch baking dish.
  10. Add macaroni to the baking dish.
  11. Pour cheese mixture over macaroni.
  12. Make sure the cheese distributed well.
  13. Top with smoked cheddar cheese. (I add a little more Colby jack as well.) Sprinkle with paprika and/or black pepper, if desired.
  14. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Do not overbake. It may be a bit jiggly when you take it out of the oven. It will firm up as it cool.
  15. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes or until fully set.

4. Sweet Potato Casserole with Crunchy Nut Crumble by Oh She Glows

Photo via Oh She Glows

Photo via Oh She Glows

Thanksgiving doesn't have to mean packing on the feed bag and feeling miserable the next day; there are many recipes to make your favorite dishes in healthier ways. I am not gluten free or vegan, but I've made a few recipes from Oh She Glows in the past and have never been disappointed with the results. Here's the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

For the sweet potato mash:

  • 4.5-5 pounds sweet potatoes (approx. 4-5 large)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt, or to taste

For the crunchy nut crumble:

  • 1 cup rolled oats (use certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1 1/3 cups pecan halves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup almond meal or almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Peel and roughly chop sweet potatoes into large chunks. Place into a large pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil, reduce heat to med-high, and gently boil for 10-20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 2.5 quart (10 cup) casserole dish and set aside.
  3. Prepare the crumble topping: Pulse the oats in a food processor until coarsely chopped. In a medium bowl, stir together the chopped pecans, oats, almond meal/flour, cinnamon, and salt. Pour on melted coconut oil, melted butter, and maple syrup. Stir until combined.
  4. Once cooked and drained, place sweet potatoes into a large bowl.
  5. Mash potatoes with the butter and coconut oil until smooth. Now, stir in the maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Adjust to taste if desired. Spoon into casserole dish and smooth out.
  6. Sprinkle the crumble topping all over the sweet potato mixture, evenly.
  7. Bake, uncovered, at 375F for 16 to 23 minutes, until the dish is hot throughout. Plate and serve immediately with a pat of vegan butter or coconut oil.

Note: Instead of boiling the potatoes you can roast them whole in the oven and then scoop out the flesh. The choice is yours! 2) For a creamy twist, try subbing some of the butter/oil in the sweet potato mash for full-fat canned coconut cream.

5. Honey Balsamic Pan Seared Brussels Sprout by Eazy Peazy Mealz

image via Eazy Peazy Mealz

image via Eazy Peazy Mealz

Some people seem to have a negative memory of Brussels sprouts as a dish they were made to clean off their plate as a child. If you're someone who thinks you don't like Brussels sprouts, I recommend you give them another shot. They're so delicious and tender when cooked correctly and will really add a nice element of leafy green that your holiday table needs. Here's the recipe:

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups quartered Brussel sprouts
  • ½ Tbs minced garlic
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs honey
  • 1½ Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs pine nuts

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Over medium-high heat, heat oil in a sauté pan until oil is hot, but not smoking
  2. Add garlic and quartered Brussel Sprouts, and leave alone (don't stir) for 1-2 minutes until a golden crust starts to form at the bottom of the pan
  3. Add in honey and balsamic vinegar, and give Brussel sproouts a toss, stirring them around the pan so they are evenly coated
  4. Add in pine nuts, let cook 2-3 more minute

We hope you will try some of these recipes and have a beautiful spread of dishes on your table this Thanksgiving to enjoy with your loved ones.  





Our Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

This year, I will be spending Thanksgiving away from home for the first time ever. I'm going to North Carolina to spend Thanksgiving with my boyfriend and his family. And though I'm sad I will not be with my family for the most delicious day of the year, I'm thankful for the chance to spend the holiday with Victor and his family! 

Everyone has their own holiday food traditions. Stuffing or Dressing? Macaroni & Cheese or Mashed Potatoes? Yams or Sweet Potato Casserole? Green Bean Casserole or Collards? Personally, my answer to all of these questions is "yes"! I want all the food! Victor likes good food, so I feel sure I'm in good hands for the big meal, but I wanted to share some of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes that make me nostalgic for home on the first year I will not be there for the big feast. 

1. Grandmama's Dressing

In our family, we make dressing that it is served in a casserole dish, NOT stuffed in a turkey. Whether you're a diehard stuffing fan or not, Grandmama's dressing is so delicious I'm convinced it could turn even the most devoted of stuffing fans into dressing believers. 

Image via Never Enough Thyme. Not Grandmama's recipe, but southern cornbread dressing all the same!

Image via Never Enough Thyme. Not Grandmama's recipe, but southern cornbread dressing all the same!

Like any good cook, Grandmama's recipes are "recipes", meaning approximate measurements and mixtures that are stirred until they look "kind of soupy" or "are soft enough". So, if you'd like to try this recipe, which is absolutely delicious, here it is, straight from my Grandmama to you!

  • Make a homemade cornbread the day before and crumble it up.
  • Add to that a 1/2 bag of Pepperidge farm herb seasoned stuffing mix (1/2 bag of it).
  • Mix in 2 eggs.
  • Microwave 1-1/2 onions [chopped] and about 3 ribs celery [chopped] for a little while, until soft.
  • Stir everything together with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning.
  • Add chicken broth until it is a little soupy.
  • Pour in a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees until it is good and done. 

No gravy needed!

2. Good Cranberry Sauce

I love really good cranberry sauce, the kind that is spoonable and sweet but also very tangy with nice plump cranberries. Sure, there are the purists who enjoy a cylindrical jello-like cranberry sauce slipped from a can moments before eating, but I think the homemade version is much better! Here's a great recipe sure to please from the Food Network

Design by Susie Mae Design

Design by Susie Mae Design

Like this design? You can get your own custom recipe art designed by Susie Mae Design! Inquire by contacting Susie Mae Design at susieroupe@gmail.com

Orange and cranberry flavors go together so well and really bring out the best in each other, so be sure not to skip the orange peel. I love a little taste of good quality cranberry sauce on a perfectly cooked turkey slice. Deeeeelish!

3. Pecan Pie

Recipe via Delish.com, Design by Susie Mae Design

Recipe via Delish.com, Design by Susie Mae Design

Arguably the best part of the Thanksgiving meal, DESSERT! Many people stick to pumpkin pie, but to me, there's nothing better than a good southern pecan pie, particularly warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top! Pecan pie reminds me of home and growing up in the country. We had two giant pecan trees in our front yard that were always heavy with delicious pecans. My sister and I used to stomp on them to crack them and eat them right there in the front yard! Eating them in a pie seems slightly more glamourous...  

We'd love to hear about your favorite Thanksgiving recipes and memories! What recipes make you nostalgic for home and Thanksgivings gone by? Share with us in the comments to connect with us using #endsinstyle.