Thanksgiving is right around the corner and that means crazy planning and minimal kitchen space. So I’ve pulled together some recipes that can help lighten the traditional fare.

Me, on the other hand … Unfortunately, for the first time in years, I will not be spending Thanksgiving with my family. I’m devastated and a little panicked at how I can possibly occupy my time during the time that I’m usually soaking up sun in Arizona, where my grandma lives. My time in Arizona usually consists of the same rituals, varying only slightly each year. During the early mornings I begin with a run, relishing in the flat terrain and dry air that I’ve been desperate to run in since the last Thanksgiving. Upon my return back to my grandma’s house I enjoy coffee with my family members as they slowly trickle into the kitchen. We laugh, swap stories, and trade ideas on what to do with the day. It usually involves a hike on the nearby hills and a visit to the flea market. I’m obsessed with the hikes and my grandma is obsessed with the flea markets. As the sun starts to set we usually all gather around and marvel at the hot pink skies as the sun sinks behind the desert clay. Dinner appears some time during our sun-watching time where everyone sits around, eating, laughing some more, and sharing the latest gossip. Finally, the evening ends with my grandma presenting her Strawberry Pie while my dad jumps out of his seat and spins in circles in his old-man-dance-moves in order to celebrate The Strawberry Pie Tradition.

hiking in Arizona
my beautiful Grandma in Cali (pre-raw days)
Hiking Camelback Mountain

I haven’t been away from my family during a holiday in years, and especially not since I moved to Miami. The thought of altering my usual tradition frightens me .. I think mostly because I fear that it’s then an admission that my life has indeed moved on, away from my family and the things that matter to me, and onto this new city, one in which I feel very displaced.

So this year, instead of being sad, I’m working on big plans. Mostly, ambitious activities and decadent recipes. In the meantime, here are some fabulous recipes for all of YOU! These are simple, delicious, and crowd-pleasers (especially the desserts ..).

Chocolate Brownie Cake (not Thanksgiving themed but totally a crowd-pleaser)

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