Last Thursday we joined our friends for an annual “Friendsgiving” – an early Thanksgiving. Our friends provide the turkey and ham, and everyone else brings side dishes and desserts. I had planned to bring Brussels sprouts, but couldn’t quite figure out how great they were going to be after sitting out for awhile before dinner. And rushing around to get myself ready, the girls into bed for the babysitter, and roasting Brussles sprouts all at the same time just felt like a lot. Luckily I happend to stumble upon Chopped Brussels Sprouts from Two Peas and Their Pod and had an “aha moment” and realized I didn’t need to cook them at all! This salad can be made a couple hours in advance (a day in advance if left undressed) and served at room temperature. Perfect for Thanksgiving. Dried cranberries and pecans add sweetness, and goat cheese is the perfect creamy tangy compliment. 
 I also brought my go-to Thanksgiving dessert: a pumpkin cheesecake. I love cheesecakes for Thanksgiving because they should be made a day early. But this year I changed it up a with an Oreo crust. The consensus was that the Oreo crust is the way to go.  My girls and I had a lot of fun molding the white chocolate pumpkins inspired by phemomenon. They’re much easier than they look. 
This dessert is in no way healthy (sorry), but really makes Thanksgiving feel special and decadent. 

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I’m signing out to enjoy it and should have a “Thanksgiving leftovers” recipe for you soon. 
More of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes and Ideas
Pumpkin Mashed Potatoes from Steamy Kitchen
Fabulous healthy Thanksgiving side dishes from Whole Living 
Sweet Potato, Bacon, and Pomegranate Salad from Family Fresh Cooking 
Persimmon Salad from Yummy Mummy
Brussels Sprout Mac & Cheese from Yummy Mummy 
Pumpkin Tiramisu from Sprinkle Bakes
Table Inspiration (and lots more inspiration) from Slim Paley
Thanksgiving coloring printables to keeps kiddies busy until dinnertime
Pilgrim Hat and Bonnet template from Martha Stewart 
Hostess Gifts from Centsational Girl 

Brusseles Sprout Salad with Cranberries, Pecans, and Goat Cheese 
printer friendly recipe 

Serves 10

1 large stalk Brussels sprouts
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup sweetened pecans (I love Trader Joe’s)
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Remove Brussels sprouts from the stalk and trim off the tough bottom and any damaged leaves. Thinly slice the Brussels sprouts. I pulled some leaves off and left them whole because I thought it looked pretty. Place sliced/chopped Brussels sprouts in a bowl or platter and sprinkle with cranberries, pecans, and goat cheese. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, syrup, and mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake
printer friendly recipe 

Serves 8

2 cups Oreo (generic or TJ’s brand is fine!) cookie crumbs (grind Oreos in a food processor)
1/4 cup butter, melted

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 oz semisweet or dark chocolate chips 
1 cup heavy cream 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
For crust:
In medium bowl, combine crumbs and melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
For filling:
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.
Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place in oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.
For ganache: 
Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour cream over chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Pour ganache over the top of the cheesecake. Refrigerate until ready to serve. adapted from Paula Deen’s pumpkin cheesecake 
For the white chocolate pumpkins: 
See this posts.