December: Broccoli + Pomegranates

1 Partridge in a Pear Tree: Turkey Pears

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: None Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • 1/2 Bosc pear
  • 1 clementine
  • apple (peel)
  • 1 banana
  • 10 grapes
  • dollop of cream cheese
  • 2 mini chocolate chips or raisins
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries

Equipment: knife, apple peeler, spoon plate

  • Step 1: Cut pear in half and place in center of plate.
  • Step 2: Peel clementine and arrange in a fan shape around pear to make wings.
  • Step 3: Place grapes at tip of clementine slices to create fuller wings
  • Step 4: Slice banana and place on ends of grapes, and top with omegranate seeds or dried cranberries.
  • Step 5: Peel apple skin to create the turkey’s beak and feet.
  • Step 6: Use a dollop of cream cheese to make eyes with raisins or chocolate chips.
  • Step 7: Take a photo of your creation, then eat!

Image courtesy of Erica Davis

2 Turtle Doves: Chocolate Pecan Turtles

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • 36 mini pretzels
  • 1 bag Rolo candy
  • 36 pecans

Equipment: Baking sheet, parchment paper, spatula

  • Step 1: Preheat oven to 350-degrees.
  • Step 2: Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
  • Step 3: Place pretzels on sheet, and put one candy on top of each.
  • Step 4: Put in oven until barely melty, about 5 minutes.
  • Step 5: Pull back out, and put pecan in center and push down. Yum!

Image by

3 French Hens — with Veggies

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cooking Time: 50-55 minutes Prep Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinaigrette dressing
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus 4 sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves, plus 4 sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus 4 sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves, plus 4 sprigs
  • 4 cornish game hens, rinsed
  • 1 lemon, cut in quarters
  • 1 (16-ounce) bag baby carrots
  • 2 whole yellow onions cut medium dice
  • 1/2 pound red potatoes, cut into small chunks
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and put a baking rack on top.
  • Step 2: Mix together the grill seasoning, dressing, and chopped herbs in a small bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons.
  • Step 3: Generously rub the hens inside and out with the herb and dressing mixture.
  • Step 4: Stuff each hen with a sprig of each herb and a piece of lemon.
  • Step 5: In a large bowl, combine the carrots, onions and potatoes with the reserved 2 tablespoons of dressing mixture, a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
  • Step 6: Put the vegetables in a large roasting pan and arrange the hens on top. Roast them until the juices run clear and an instant-read thermometer registers 180 degrees when inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, about 50 to 55 minutes.
  • Step 7: Remove the pan from the oven, cover with foil and let the hens rest for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Step 8: Transfer the hens to a large serving tray with the roasted vegetables.

4 Calling Birds: Deviled Eggs

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • 6 large eggs 
  • 2 T. mayonnaise 
  • 1/8 t. salt, dash of pepper 
  • Option: Garnish with a sprinkling of paprika
  • Step 1: Place eggs in a saucepan, and add enough water to cover them.
  • Step 2: Bring to a boil; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 15 minutes.
  • Step 3: Drain immediately, then cool eggs by re-filling the saucepan with cold water and a few ice cubes.
  • Step 4: When cool to the touch, remove the egg from the shell by tapping each one firmly on the counter until cracks form all over the shell. Peel under cold running water.
  • Step 5: Slice eggs in half lengthwise, and remove the yellow yolks.
  • Step 6: To make the filling, mash yolks and add mayonnaise, salt, and pepper, and mix throroughly.
  • Step 7: Spoon yolk mixture into egg whites.
  • Step 8: Garnish, if desired. And serve. Yum!

5 Golden Rings: Red Onion Salad w/ 5 Types of Oranges

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: None
  • 5 types of oranges, peeled and sliced (mandarin, navel, clementine, pomelo, and blood orange)
  • 2 small red onions
  • 1 T. cumin seeds
  • 1 T. chopped mint
  • 6 T. olive oil
  • 1 can black olives, drained
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Step 1: Peel and slice the oranges thinly; catch the juice and pour into a small bowl. Arrange a few slices of each on four plates.
  • Step 2: Slice onions thinly, and place on top of oranges.
  • Step 3: Sprinkle with cumin seeds, black pepper, and chopped mint.
  • Step 4: Drizzle olive oil over each salad, and pour remaining juice from oranges on top, as well.
  • Step 5: Marinate for 2 hours in the refrigerator.
  • Step 6: Before serving, top with olives, and salt and pepper.

6 Geese a Laying: Cheesy Omelettes

Prep Time: 3 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes Prep Time: 8 minutes
  • 2 eggs / omelet
  • 2 T. water
  • 1/8 t. salt, dash of pepper
  • 1 t. butter
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup filling of your choice: shredded cheese, finely chopped ham, baby spinach

Equipment: nonstick omelet pan or skillet, bowl, fork, spatula

  • Step 1: Beat eggs, water, salt and pepper in small bowl until blended.
  • Step 2: Heat butter in 7 to 10-inch nonstick omelet pan or skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Tilt pan to coat bottom.
  • Step 3: Pour in egg mixture and let it set on the edges, tilting pan and gently moving until the omelet is cooked.
  • Step 4: Place filling on one side of the omelet, then fold in half with turner.
  • Step 5: Let sit for about 30 seconds, then slide omelet onto plate.

What’s your favorite filling? Classics include shredded cheddar or gruyere cheese, sour cream, diced ham, crisp bacon, sautéed mushrooms, bell peppers or tomatoes, caramelized onions, fresh herbs — and even tasty leftovers from last night’s dinner.

Here’s are great dinner omelet options: 

  • Combine broccoli, Brie cheese and toasted almonds.
  • In a south-of-the-border mood? Try corn, salsa, chorizo and jalapeño cheese.
  • For a sweet omelet, omit pepper and add a dash of sugar to egg mixture. Fill with preserves, finely chopped toasted nuts or berries; dust with powdered sugar.

7 Swans a Swimming: Paprika Salmon over Spinach

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • 2 pounds salmon fillets
  • 1 T. brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 T. (plus 1 t.) olive oil, divided
  • 2 t. thyme, divided
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. grated orange peel
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1 t. paprika
  • 10 ounces fresh spinach leaves
  • Optional: Top the spinach with sliced fresh strawberries

Equipment: measuring spoons, glass dish, bowls, tongs to flip salmon

  • Step 1: Mix orange juice, olive oil and thyme in small bowl.
  • Step 2: Place salmon in glass dish. Add marinade; turn to coat. Cover. Refrigerate 30 minutes, longer for extra flavor.
  • Step 3: Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Step 4: Mix brown sugar, paprika, cinnamon, orange peel, remaining thyme and sea salt in small bowl.
  • Step 5: Remove salmon from marinade. Place in greased foil-lined baking pan. Discard remaining marinade.
  • Step 6: Rub top of salmon evenly with paprika mixture. Roast 10 to 15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork
  • Step 7: Heat remaining oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add spinach; cook 2 minutes or until wilted. Serve salmon over spinach.

8 Maids a Milking: Coconut Hot Chocolate

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 5 minutes Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • 4 cups coconut milk
  • 4 T cocoa powder
  • 4 T honey or agave
  • 2 t vanilla
  • Garnish: whipped cream, mint, cinnamon
  • Step 1: Pour coconut milk into a saucepan.
  • Step 2 Stir in rest of ingredients.
  • Step 3: With a wooden spoon stir mixture until it simmers.
  • Step 4: Pour into mugs, garnish as desired. Enjoy!

Did you know: Turtles chocolate candy was developed by Johnson’s Candy Company in 1918, after a salesman came into the commissary’s dipping room and showed a candy to one of the dippers, who pointed out that the candy looked like a turtle. Soon after, Johnson’s Candy Company was making the same kind of candy and selling it under the name “Turtles.”

Today, Turtles candies come in all sizes, shapes and recipes, some even shaped like a turtle, with modern mold-making techniques, but the originals were produced by candy dippers on a rectangular marble ‘board’, similar in size to a contemporary kitchen cutting board. The original recipe, as executed on marble, was peanuts, caramel and various chocolates; they were a multi-task confection, requiring several sittings.


9 Ladies Dancing: Pumpkin and Chocolate Tiramisu Ladyfingers

Prep Time: 30 minutes Cooking Time: Refrigerate for 4 hours Prep Time: 4-1/2 hours
  • 27 to 30 ladyfingers (from a 14.2-ounce package)
  • 1 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1-1/4 cups cold heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 5 t. hazelnut coffee
  • 1 can (15 ounces) pure pumpkin puree
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped, or chips
  • 1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder, plus 1-1/2 teaspoons for dusting
  • 1/4 t. ground cinnamon, for dusting

Equipment: bowls, measuring cups and spoons, spatula, plastic wrap

  • Step 1: In a large bowl, whisk mascarpone until smooth.
  • Step 2: Add 1 cup cream, confectioners’ sugar, and 2 T. of coffee. Whisk until soft peaks form, for about 5 minutes.
  • Step 3: With a rubber spatula, fold in pumpkin puree until completely incorporated.
  • Step 4: In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate and 1/4 cup cream. Microwave in 10-second increments, stirring each time, until chocolate is just melted. Stir until mixture is smooth.
  • Step 5: Transfer one third of the pumpkin mixture to a medium bowl and fold in chocolate mixture until combined.
  • Step 6: In a small bowl, whisk cocoa into 1/3 cup hot water; then add coffee.
  • Step 7: Cover bottom of an 8-inch square baking dish with ladyfingers (about 9). Liberally brush with cocoa mixture and top with half the pumpkin mixture.
  • Step 8: Add another layer of ladyfingers, brush with cocoa mixture, and top with all the pumpkin-chocolate mixture. Then add a third layer of ladyfingers, brush with cocoa mixture, and top with remaining pumpkin mixture.
  • Step 9: Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 hours (or up to 3 days).
  • Step 10: To serve, combine 1-1/2 t. cocoa powder and cinnamon in a small fine-mesh sieve and dust tiramisu.

Image by chocolatemoosey

10 Lords a Leaping: Green Apple Fruit Frogs

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: None Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • 1 green apple
  • handful of grapes
  • 1 marshmallow
  • 2 chocolate chips
  • Step 1: Cut the apple so the frog can sit on the plate; slit the front so it has a smiling mouth.
  • Step 2: Slice the grapes to form arms and legs.
  • Step 3: Mash the marshmallow into eyes, give your frog some eyeballs with the chocolate chips.

Adorable, right? Photo by chilledmyspine.

11 Pipers Piping: Piped Duchess Potatoes

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 10 minutes Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • 2 lbs russet/baking potatoes
  • 1/2 cup butter, plus additional for topping
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large egg

Equipment: baking sheet, parchment paper, peeler, fork, large bowl, piping bag (or plastic bag)

  • Step 1: Preheat oven to 400F, then line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Step 2: Peel and quarter potatoes and place in a large pot of boiling water.
  • Step 1: Cook until they are tender; drain the water and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Step 1: Add butter and seasonings and mash potatoes well. Cool for 10 minutes, until potatoes are not hot to the touch, then mash the egg into the mixture until the potatoes are smooth.
  • Step 1: Transfer potatoes to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip — or into a plastic bag with the corner cut out.
  • Step 1: Pipe potatoes onto baking sheet to form swirling peaks (about 2-inches across), and brush with the additional melted butter.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown and serve hot.

12 Drummers Drumming: Asian Glazed Drumsticks

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 15 minutes Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 T. Sriracha hot sauce (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 4 t. agave nectar (or sugar or honey)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 t. ginger, grated
  • 2 T. chives or scallions, chopped
  • 1 t. sesame seeds

Equipment: heavy saucepan, measuring cup, platter, tongs

  • Step 1: In a heavy large saucepan, with a little olive oil, brown chicken on high for 3-4 minutes.
  • Step 2: Add water, balsamic, soy sauce, agave, garlic, ginger, hot sauce and cook on high until liquid comes to a boil.
  • Step 3: Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered for about 20 minutes.
  • Step 4: Remove cover and bring heat to high, allowing sauce to reduce down, about 8-10 minutes, until it becomes a thick glaze, turning chicken occasionally. (Keep an eye on glaze, you don’t want it to burn when it starts becoming thick.)
  • Step 5: Transfer chicken to a platter and pour glaze on top.
  • Step 6: Top with chives and sesame seeds and serve.