Apple, Walnut and Brie Bread Pudding Pancakes | @stephmwise

Apples and walnuts and Brie and maple syrup on top of bread pudding pancakes? I’m making this a regular thing for my face.

It all started a couple of weeks ago when the husband and I were able to go out to breakfast sans bebe. We headed over to Colossal Cafe in St. Paul; he ordered the biscuits and gravy (always) and I hemmed and hawed and fidgeted and deliberated — it’s not like we get to go out to eat and have someone else make our breakfast every day, so the stakes were high — and finally settled on the house special, a short stack of flappers (a.k.a., yeasted pancakes) with an apple, walnut and Brie topping.

I think you and I both know I made absolutely the best breakfast decision ever.

It was true pancake nirvana. I melted into my seat with each bite of fluffy flapper. I tried to dab some of the buttery apple-walnut topping on my wrists (juuuuust kidding. Maybe). I wondered why I’d never thought in all my days to put Brie on pancakes before, because hot diggety that’s a good idea. While I was unable to finish the colossal plate (har har) before me, I did manage to polish off the entirety of the toppings, which I feel doesn’t even need justifying. You are my people; you understand.

Since then, I’ve been wanting to bring the recipe into my home kitchen. So when Cartwheel by Target approached me about creating a simple and delicious seasonal recipe using ingredients found in their slick savings app, I was oh-so-pleasantly surprised to discover that almost everything you need to make these pancakes can be found on Cartwheel. Huzzah!

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Cherry Cheescake Monkey Bread | @stephmwise

You know what they say about Thanksgiving — eat all the turkey and green bean casserole and cranberry sauce and pie, twice, then make cherry cheesecake monkey bread and eat that, too. At least that’s how we do/did this year.

Because my husband works in the medical field, and we need medical people even on holidays, he worked on Thursday afternoon so I ended up having two Thanksgivings: one on Thursday with his family and one on Saturday with mine. My belly = SO FULL, and my heart = so thankful. And nestled right in between the two days of festiveating was the making of (and, also, eating of) this monkey bread.

Please excuse me while I collect myself as I think back on those fond memories of eating said bread warm from the oven with cherry pie filling and cream cheese icing and soft, pillowy, baked-from-scratch pull-apart dough and GAH. Maybe we all need a moment.

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Cranberry Old-Fashioned Cocktail | @stephmwise

Thanksgiving is T-minus three (!!!) days away and I just couldn’t leave you without a cocktail in that free hand of yours while you’re basting, baking, whisking, stirring and serving (har har). As everyone knows, the key to a delicious Thanksgiving meal is a cook with a cocktail.

Specifically, this cranberry Old-Fashioned cocktail, which is made with canned cranberry sauce, hey-o!

I know we like to remain classy folk around here, but there is one thing I have to tell you and I hope you don’t get all, to borrow a phrase from a one Billy of Wit & Vinegar, Ramona eyed about it: I really, really, ridiculously love the cranberry sauce from a can. And not just any sauce. The sauce that actually LOOKS like a can. The kind you can slice.

Cranberry Old-Fashioned Cocktail | @stephmwise

The kind that looks just like this, actually. BEHOLD.

But waitwaitwaitwait because guess what we’re gonna do with that can-shaped jelly wonder? We’re gonna make classy-folk cocktails, that’s what. Redeemed? Eh?

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Streusel-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole | @stephmwise

Right there, between the crunchy, nutty streusel topping and the smooth, buttery, warm sweet potatoes? Where I want to be alldayeveryday.

Say hellloooo, dahling to another one of my family’s Thanksgiving side dishes that we just can’t get enough of every year. Unlike Mom’s baked bean casserole, this one wasn’t a part of our annual repertoire until a little later in my youth, and that’s because it’s based on a recipe from my dear aunt Lynn. We had Thanksgiving at her and my uncle’s house in Alabama once way back in the day (I think I was still in my scrunchies/crimped bangs/Lee Pipes/clogs phase) and, true story, she made this casserole and we all were done for, in a slump-over-our-chairs-in-bliss-from-all-the-yums kind of way.

It was love at first bite, and we couldn’t go without it for subsequent Thanksgivings. It’s been on our holiday table every year since then — a beacon of bright-orange, buttery, sweet and streusel-y deliciousness, cuddled up right next to the rolls and the green beans.

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Mom's Baked Bean Casserole | @stephmwise

Psst — see the bottom of this post for a fun freebie!

Ladies and gents, I present to you the Thanksgiving side dish of. your. DREAMZ.

I feel quite blasphemous suggesting that you break with your traditions and add this casserole to your Thanksgiving menu when my family, in fact, has been serving the exact same foods (including this casserole) for years upon years upon years. We never stray, ever, right down to the cranberry sauce in the shape of a can. We are a stubborn holiday dinner folk.

Mom's Baked Bean Casserole | @stephmwise

But if ever there was a time to shake things up, or if you’re just getting your own Thanksgiving traditions started, I implore you to give this five-ingredient casserole a try. It’s amazing — to the point where I literally don’t even remember a holiday when my mom hasn’t made at least a double batch of it and it’s gone before the weekend. That’s 27 years of baked bean casserole eating/loving, you guys. I rest my case.

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Pumpkin Pie Brioche Rolls | @stephmwise

Think of this recipe as the result of the fact that a) I love carbs and b) because of my carb love, I couldn’t decide between pumpkin pie and dinner rolls. So I combined them.

Genius/crazy/this is my brain on Thanksgiving? It’s probably all of the above.

Thanksgiving has looked a little different for us every year for the last five or so years. While growing up it was always at my parents’ house, since Elliott and I got hitched it’s also been in our tiny apartment in Iowa, at his parents’ place and this year, we are hosting again. Except on Saturday, instead of Thursday (because the husband has to work on the holiday, boo).

Another new tradition that’s popped up somewhat unplanned-ly is the fact that I always end up making the dinner rolls and at least one of the desserts. It’s not like we even decided, “Hey Steph, these are the things you make.” It just happened that way — which means those are just the things I tend to make for funsies. Someone else can be in the charge of the turkey; I’m very good at eating that, though.

This year, these pumpkin pie brioche rolls will obviously be gracing the Thanksgiving dinner table as the dinner roll portion of the evening’s eating festivities. If they can make it that long. I’ve already polished off three of them for testing purposes, ahem.

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