This post was in partnership with McCormick. To explore more Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes using McCormick spices, extracts and seasoning mixes, click here!
The words “family” and “tradition” have become synonymous with Thanksgiving. The holiday itself is centered around gathering with family (given and chosen) and eating vast amounts of delicious food together – many of the recipes being rooted in family tradition.
We teamed up with McCormick to rediscover lost family recipes that remind us of our Thanksgivings growing up. We love the idea of giving our audience an insight into our lives, where we’re from and what makes us who we are.
I was born and raised in Indiana. Yes, I am a corn-fed, “cow-tipping” (I swear, that doesn’t actually happen), midwest girl at heart. But at the age of 23, when the Lala was taking off, Katherine and I had the opportunity to move to NYC to advance our business. So I bought a ticket, packed my bags, and never looked back.
I always knew I wanted a change of pace after college – I loved my midwest upbringing, but knew I wanted to experience more, live in another part of the country, or the world, and broaden my horizons and perspectives.
But the thing is, my family, and a chunk of my heart will always be in Indiana. Which is why going home for the holidays is always a necessary and important reminder of where I came from, and the people that make that place so special.
When I think of Thanksgiving dishes, I think of my Grandma.
My grandma was born and raised in North Carolina, where she learned the art of cooking comfort food – real butter, lard, fried chicken, sausage gravy – all the good stuff. And at Thanksgiving, her deadliest, indulgent dish our whole family looks forward to is her sweet potatoes.
Most people view sweet potatoes as a side dish alongside their turkey, but I’ve always treated my grandma’s as dessert – smothered in butter, brown sugar and spices – I prefer them to pumpkin pie.
So in attempts to recreate her secret family recipe, or give an ode to it, I created my own version of “dessert” sweet potatoes incorporating pure McCormick vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg, and have to say, cooking this dish myself and experiencing the results felt just like being back home in the midwest.
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cups milk
- 3/4 cups butter (softened)
- 1 can sweet potatoes (drained)
- 1 teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanila Extract
- 1 teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon
- Pinch McCormick Ground Nutmeg
- 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 1 cup broken up pecans
Place eggs, milk, half the brown sugar and half the butter in blender and blend for one minute. Add potatoes gradually and blend well. Add vanilla, cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg and blend. Pour into greased casserole.
For the topping, mix flour, remaining butter and remaining brown sugar in small bowl with a fork until crumbly, stir in pecans. Sprinkle topping over potato mixture and and top with more pecans if you’d like. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, serve warm, alongside vanilla ice cream if you’re feeling wild.
I was born and raised on Cape Cod, Massachusetts- just a few miles south of the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth. Growing up next to Cranberry bogs makes the season feel like a postcard. It’s one of my favorite holidays.
Because we’re so close to history, our family really loves having a traditional Thanksgiving. In fact, one year my dad even tried to make the same Native American pudding they served at the first Thanksgiving. It didn’t go over well. At all. Sorry dad!
My mother and father love to cook. They begin preparing Thanksgiving dinner a few days ahead so it almost feels like Thanksgiving lasts 3 days instead of one afternoon. They make pies, cookies, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, sweet potatoes, Turkey and sometimes even a duck. But as a little nod to Cape Cod, they always add one fun recipe that I’ve grown to love: hot crab dip.
That dip always reminds me of my Thanksgivings growing up. When I was little, I used to sit at the kitchen table and wait for my mom to slip the dip into the oven. To me, it was the official first bite of our Thanksgiving celebration.
It wasn’t until I had a Friendsgiving here in NYC that it hit me how much I missed that recipe. So I scrambled to have my mom send it to me. It’s simple- cream cheese, crab meat, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish. But what really gives it a kick are the herbs & spices I used: paprika, garlic powder, and black pepper.
Now, whenever I have a friend gathering- Friendsgiving or not, I make the hot crab dip and get instantly transported back to my kitchen as a little girl.
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 6 oz can crab meat, drained
- 1/2 tsp to 2 tsp horseradish
- 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
- Dash of Paprika
- few drops Worcestershire sauce
Mix together all ingredients, put in small oven safe bowl, top with a dash of paprika. Bake at 350 F, for 15 – 20 mins until bubbly.
Serve hot with water crackers.