A Foodie’s (Ideal) Thanksgiving

A Foodie’s (Ideal) Thanksgiving

[Odyssey Article 18]

A collection of our favorite Thanksgiving foods and food recipes.

Mikayla and I might be long distance best friends, but the holidays always bring people together. We also make the perfect pair because Mikayla likes to cook, and I like to eat. (No shame.) We always talk about food and recipes, so with the holidays right around the corner, we decided it’s only fitting we put all our favorite traditional recipes and food finds in one place. If we had it our way, this would be our perfect Thanksgiving feast. (Just try keeping your mouth from watering!)


Appetizers

Thanksgiving Appetizers

Mikayla: “Apps are awesome, but I always eat way too much of them and forget to save room for the main course… Regardless, I like switching up the appetizers. They’re generally quick recipes, so it’s easy to make a small variety. Here is one of my go-to’s.”

Carson: “You can’t go wrong with a good veggie tray and creamy ranch dip. However, my cousin often makes amazing cream cheese and bacon-stuffed mushrooms and bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers to start the meal.”

Main Course

Turkey

Roasted Turkey

Mikayla: “I love cooking, and I look forward every year to what I’m going to do with my Thanksgiving turkey. I started brining them a few years ago, and I’m a pretty big fan of the brine technique now. This is the turkey recipe I’m trying this year. I can’t wait!”

Carson: “Turkey is the Thanksgiving staple, but my favorite turkey, aside from the one my uncle deep fried a few years back, is actually from a barbecue place called Rudy’s. (Pair the smoked turkey with their house pickles, and you’ll never go back… except to buy more.)”

Ham

Roasted Ham

Mikayla: “I’m not a huge fan of ham (except on rare occasions). However, this recipe sounds pretty ‘ham’ good.”

Carson: “Honey ham is one of my all-time favorites. Throw a couple slices of pineapple and some Hawaiian sweet rolls into the mix, and the taste buds will sing your praises!”

Side Dishes

Green Bean Casserole

Green Bean Casserole

Mikayla: “This dish isn’t one making my leftovers list. Like Carson mentions, it’s just not the same without that fried onion crunch. Nonetheless, this one with fried shallots looks great!”

Carson: “To me, green bean casserole is special because it’s only as good as it tastes on Thanksgiving day. Otherwise, the onions (my favorite part) lose their crispy crunch. My mom makes this easy and delightful recipe.”

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

Mikayla: “I could live off just potatoes for the rest of my life and not complain. But even to that extreme, I never get sick of my mom’s mashed potatoes. She “secretly” puts in a little bit of ranch dressing when mixing them up… (but you didn’t hear that from me.)”

Carson: “I’m what you call an ‘equal opportunity potato eater’, and I never met a potato I didn’t like. (Y’all know what I’m talking about.) However, I do prefer my mashed potatoes with the skins and then loaded up with cheese, bacon, and the works.”

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Casserole

Mikayla: “Sweet potatoes are awesome. As much as I love standard potatoes, you must have both on Thanksgiving. Here’s another recipe finding its home on my table this year – Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Bacon.”

Carson: “My mom typically makes a really simple, pecan-less sweet potato casserole, but I saw a video the other day for these sweet potato bites, and they are too cute not to mention!”

Carrots

Rainbow Carrots

Mikayla: “I’m usually not a fan of cooked carrots. (Raw and covered in ranch dressing, I tolerate them.) However, this recipe was killer. It even made my cousin, who hates carrots, go back for a second helping.”

Carson: “Like Mikayla, I’m not a big carrot person, but this recipe for whole honey-roasted carrots on Pinterest definitely caught my attention.”

Corn

Roasted Corn Cobs

Mikayla: “I live in Wisconsin, and the second you leave the city, it turns right into corn fields. Granted, sweet corn is WAY better when you have it fresh-picked in summer, but I have nothing against creamed corn either.”

Carson: “When it comes to corn, y’all… I’m on a starchy cloud. One of my favorite creamed corns also comes from Rudy’s (copycat recipe here), but I do have a weakness for buttery, parmesan-crusted, grilled corn on the cob, as well.”

Rolls

Dinner Rolls

Mikayla: “I don’t bake much, but my dad, brother, and I have a tendency of making everything possible into a sandwich. Thanksgiving is no exception. Toss me a roll, and watch me go!”

Carson: “If you guys didn’t realize by now, all carbs are fair game, so any form of bread is the same story. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has dinner rolls on another level, but (on a side note) I do miss J.R.’s Bar-B-Q’s sweet, jalapeno cornbread muffins which were out of this world.” (J.R.’s closed its doors awhile back, but here’s another scrumptious jalapeno cornbread muffin recipe to satisfy your cravings.)

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

Mikayla: “I can go for a smooth or chunky cranberry sauce, but if you look to switch it up, you should try these sugared cranberries. They’re incredibly photogenic and give you the perfect combo of tart and sweet.”

Carson: “I prefer smooth, jellied cranberry sauce over the chunky kind, but you can give your cranberry sauce an upgrade with a little port and orange!”

Add-Ons

Stuffing

Stuffing

Mikayla: “Due to a series of unfortunate events (a.k.a. college), I refuse to eat box stuffing ever again. However, I still love stuffing on Thanksgiving, and this apple cranberry rosemary stuffingpairs perfectly with my turkey for this year.”

Carson: “Whether you refer to it as dressing or stuffing, I don’t care for mushy bread, so feel free to call it whatever you please. Nonetheless, don’t think I left you hanging! Here’s a recipe for a delicious (looking) French bread stuffing.”

Gravy

Brown Gravy

Mikayla: “My advice: pour it on everything, and (a little leftovers tip) hot gravy and cold turkey together are a new kind of wonderful.”

Carson: “Before it closed, we had a seafood restaurant down the road called The Shack. It had what my mom referred to as “crack gravy”, and (true to its name) it was the best gravy to every touch my tongue and clog my arteries.”

Dessert

Pumpkin Pie

Mikayla: “I eat my pumpkin pie the right way – smothered in whipped cream. Yet, if I had my number one dessert pick, it would be an apple-cherry crisp. This recipe is pretty close, but I suggest using your favorite kind of apple (about half to three quarters the amount) and then adding tart cherries.”

Carson: “I know pumpkin, sweet potato, and pecan pies are traditional, and I do like them, but they aren’t my number one pick. At the end of the day, Marie Callender’s cherry pie is my absolute favorite, and I’m super sad the one by my apartment closed down. (R.I.P.) However, if we aren’t talking pie, I’m completely hooked on my aunt’s 7 Layer Delight.” (Check out a similar recipe here.)

Leftovers

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Mikayla: “Put EVERYTHING on a sandwich. That’s what I always do, but you must layer it just right, so the gravy ends up in the middle. Otherwise, it’s just a sloppy mess leaving you feeling like you wrestled a turkey… and lost.”

Carson: “My mom likes to eat her Thanksgiving leftovers cold right out of the fridge (*gag*). I have to at least throw them in the microwave… but if you feel fancy, definitely give this turkey panini or beer batter fried turkey recipe a try!”


The holidays will be here before we know it, but let us not forget the true spirit of this time of year. Spend time with the people who mean the most to you, sample all the foods you enjoy, and live/love every moment. It’s time to get away from the hustle and bustle of summer and fall and slip into the comforts of the upcoming new year. Happy Holidays, everyone, and good eating!


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Insanity Cubed

Insanity Cubed

[Odyssey Article 17]

An old (nerdy) essay brought back to life.

The other day while randomly looking through the About Me section of my Facebook profile, I strumbled across an old essay I wrote for my AEGIS English class in high school. While I completely forgot how to solve my Rubik’s Cube, it is still something near and dear to my nerdy heart. With a few touch ups, I present to you (in all its geeky glory) “Insanity Cubed”.


In this world history calls “barbaric”, science calls “evolutionary”, and literature calls “madness”, math is everywhere. Yet, whether equations, theorems, or equalities are relevant in everyday conversation is an entirely different personal essay itself. However, I find it interesting, though a person might not favor or even particularly like math, his or her interests often revolve around a mathematical point. Take athletics, for instance. The team, individual player, and coaching statistics (numbers, essentially) are generally all that matter. Scores of games (past and present), rankings, and how many gold trophies are housed in a shadow-boxed case for all strolling past to admire are the basic building blocks of a respected sports program. Those numbers shape a tradition, and thus, a confidence and a mindset. Math may not necessarily create a state of mind, but it surely affects one. This is most certain when observing people attempting to solve one of the oldest and most brain-challenging nerd toys of all time… The Rubik’s Cube.

I found in watching and trying myself to solve this multi-colored, six-sided conundrum, three different reactions arise from one who has the cube in his or her hands. The first group of reactors is called the Obsessers. These people stop at nothing to complete any and/or all ten or so various algorithms of the squared brainteaser set in front of him/her. Members of this group are often seated in class beside people who are irrelevant to this paper, and those unimportant persons become annoyed when Obsessors doze off due to Physics-induced sleep deprivation and begin mumbling, “White face, second layer, yellow cross, yellow fish, yellow face, seven move, solid face and matching pair, done,” in effort to complete the pattern in their slumbers. (These people are also known to solve the cube while blindfolded, using only one hand, and while participating in underwater basket weaving.)

Between Groups One and Three are the Droolers. Members of this group merely hold the cube in their hands and gawk at it in awe, mouth agape. At times, a Drooler looks upon the mottled box as if, stared at long enough, the toy might metamorphose into a beautiful butterfly with all of life’s answers displayed brightly on its delicate wings. Sadly, this is not so, and that is too much for Droolers’ minds to handle. The Rubik’s Cube sends members of this group into an almost altered condition. Droolers become disoriented, glassy-eyed, and drift into a vegetable-like state.

Last, but not least, are the Destroyers. These people feel the need to make life a living hell for the Rubik’s Cube. This way, no suffering from the puzzle emanates, resulting in no further negotiation for the cube to happily solve itself. Destroyers only care about the bragging rights earned from success, and they are greatly angered when things do not go their way. The relationship between Destroyers and the Rubik’s Cube bases purely on hate. The Destroyers initially sit down to solve the cube, but upon realizing they can not figure out the pattern, Destroyers explode in a snarling fit of rage. They will scream, smash, kick, spike, and/or throw the defenseless toy against the wall as to shatter it into a million pieces. (In addition, you may find a Destroyer peeling the colorful stickered flesh from the cube in impatient desperation.)

At one point in time or another, I was a member of each of these groups, but as I grow in my intelligence and discipline, I find myself a proud member of the Obsessors group. (Granted, I can function throughout my day without touching my plastic pet.) I’m just constantly striving for a faster record and a more difficult challenge, and at times, this search unintentionally influences my mental stability. Nevertheless, if you call me a nerd, my brain will not argue. I gladly agree because I can not deny what is in my heart. I am crazy in love with a little, colored cube named Rubi.


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20 Words I Didn’t Know I Was

20 Words I Didn’t Know I Was

(Odyssey Article 16)

Logolepsy: An obsession with words.

NERD ALERT: I love words.

I love reading. I love accents. I love definitions. I love speech.

I just love language and all the words (familiar and foreign) that come along with it.

Recently, I came across the article “30 Things I’d Rather Be Than Pretty“, and it sparked my search for new words to add to my vocabulary. While I borrowed a couple from the article’s author, I found myself enjoying the research and discovery of even more ways to describe myself. Hopefully, some of these relate to you guys, too.


1. Belesprit (French)

a person of great wit or intellect.

2. Sonderous (French)

one who realizes each random passerby lives a life as vivid and complex as his/her own.

3. Occhiolic (English)

a person aware of the smallness of his/her perspective in the scheme of the universe.

4. Eunoia (Greek)

well-minded; beautifully thinking.

5. Atychiphobic (Greek)

fearing failure; fear of not being good enough.

6. Bawdy (English)

humorously vulgar.

7. Abliguritious (Latin)

one who spends an excessive amount of money on food.

8. Couthy (Scottish)

a warm and friendly person.

9. Polyhistor (Greek/Latin)

a well-educated person; varied learning.

10. Esoteric (Greek)

understood by or meant only for the select few with special knowledge or interest; private, secret, confidential.

11. Scripturient (Latin)

having a consuming passion for writing.

12. Philocalic (Greek)

a lover of beauty.

13. Quiescent (Latin)

a quiet, soft-spoken soul.

14. Clinomaniac (Greek)

one with an excessive desire to stay in bed.

15. Finifugal (Latin)

a person who hates endings; tries avoiding or prolonging the final moments of a story, relationship, or some other journey.

16. Selcouth (English)

unfamiliar, rare, strange, and yet marvelous.

17. Eccedentesiast (English)

one who hides pain behind a smile.

18. Recherche (French)

“carefully sought out”; carefully chosen, rare, or exotic.

19. Solivagant (Latin)

wandering alone.

20. Logastellus (Greek)

a person whose love of words is greater than his/her knowledge of words.


Even if you can’t find yourself in any of these, put them to good use in a paper or in everyday conversation. (You never know what might happen.) As well, if you want even more words, check out The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. Happy hunting!

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The One Netflix Series I Will Never Get Over

If you need a new show to binge, and you enjoy having your sanity torn to shreds and then having your heart ripped out and spit on, this is just for you!


The One Netflix Series I Will Never Get Over

(Odyssey Article 15)

A Review of ‘Black Mirror’, A Netflix Original

Let me tell you guys something…

I watch “Grey’s Anatomy.” I watch “Game of Thrones.” I watch “The Walking Dead.”

However, nothing had me feeling some type of way like “Black Mirror.”

Netflix describes the series as: “The sleek world of tomorrow offers opportunities beyond our wildest dreams. At a price of our worst nightmares.”

(In a nutshell, the show takes the idea of technology advancement in the future, but it also adds in the aspect of everything possible to go wrong with that technology.)

Charlie Brooker’s “Netflix Original” anthology series is not only a sci-fi lover’s dream; it is also humanity’s greatest horror. Three seasons and five years in the making, Black Mirror is truly like nothing else on television.

If you also watch TWD, refer back to all the emotions you felt in the pit of your stomach during the Season 7 premiere episode, and that is how you feel watching each episode of Black Mirror. Out of 13 episodes, only one has a happy ending, so if you enjoy having your sanity torn to shreds and then having your heart ripped out, chunked on the ground, stepped, and spit on, this show is just for you!

Fair warning, Black Mirror is for adults only. Between the language, sexual content, gore, and disturbing ideas/images, it is very graphic. However, I do recommend the show for couples or best friends because it is an experience in itself, as well as a reliable conversation starter.

I can’t say much about the series specifically without spoilers, but it is an anthology series, so each episode is unrelated to the next. It’s a compilation of stories with minute references from one episode to another. Yet, that aspect is one of the best parts of the show because you never know what you get next.

All and all, Black Mirror is an emotional roller coaster with totally unforeseen twists, turns, drops, loops, barrel rolls, and complete 180s making you beg for it to stop while simultaneously wanting it to never end. It’s a televised train wreck – you don’t want to look, but you can’t look away.

Please binge watch the series, and let me know what you guys think! You won’t (and will) be sorry you did!


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