The Perfect Thanksgiving Meal – A Menu With Recipes

The Perfect Thanksgiving Meal – A Menu With Recipes

Thanksgiving is one week away y’all!! You got your turkey and your green bean casseroles ready, but what about everything else!?

Are you ready to eat some delicious food and spend time with family?

I am!

What I’m not ready for is the stress of preparing the menu and making sure there are foods available that will be pleasing to every palate.

Luckily for you – and me – I’ve been doing a little work and came up with The Perfect Thanksgiving Meal including recipes. Below you will find everything from appetizers to desserts and even drinks to make the Perfect Thanksgiving Meal.

The Perfect Thanksgiving Meal a Menu with Recipes by Aduke Schulist

Appetizers

Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs

Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs on Stick by Penny Pincher Jenny
Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs by Penny Pincher Jenny

Yum yum! My family loves when I make these Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs. Sometimes we have them as a main entree. They are so good.

Loaded Twice Baked Potato Casserole Dip

Twice Baked Potato Casserole by Penny Pincher Jenny
Twice Baked Potato Casserole Dip by Penny Pincher Jenny

Jenny made this as a casserole, but for Thanksgiving, this would make a delicious appetizer. Just toss it in a bowl with some crackers on the side and you have the perfect dip.

Drinks

Slow Cooker Wassail

Wassail by 918 Plate
Wassail by 918 Plate

I didn’t even know what Wassail was until recently, but when I found out, I had to have it in my life. It’s hot cider with a spicy  twist. 918 Plate has you covered on the hot drinks.

Party Punch

Check out Ricci’s fruit party punch for the cold drink. This punch combines some of my favorite fruity flavors in an icy/slushy form. Delish!!

Turkey or Ham

Pick one, or do both. My family does both since we have people that don’t like turkey and some who don’t like ham.

Baked Ham with Red Wine Glaze

Glazed Ham by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
Glazed Ham by Cosmopolitan Cornbread

The glaze on this ham is to die for. Brush it on your ham about every 45 minutes while its cooking and your family will be asking “Who made the ham?”

The Perfect Turkey

Perfect Turkey by Cosmopolitan Cornbread
Perfect Turkey by Cosmopolitan Cornbread

This Perfect Turkey recipe comes from Cosmopolitan Cornbread. She tells you exactly how to make the perfect turkey. Can I just say I’m glad I’ve never been in charge of the turkey?

Stuffing or Dressing

Whether you choose to put it inside the turkey as a stuffing, or bake it separate, the Perfect Thanksgiving Meal isn’t complete without one of these.

Chicken and Dressing

Chicken and Dressing by Kelli's Kitchen
Chicken and Dressing by Kelli’s Kitchen

This chicken and dressing screams Thanksgiving. It’s got all of your traditional dressing ingredients.  If you are feeling a little more adventurous, try this pineapple dressing from Kelli’s Kitchen.

Pineapple Dressing

Pineapple Dressing - Kelli's Kitchen
Pineapple Dressing by Kelli’s Kitchen

Chicken Cornbread Dressing

Chicken Cornbread Dressing by 918 Plate
Chicken Cornbread Dressing by 918 Plate

My family loves a good cornbread dressing like this Chicken Cornbread Dressing from 918 Plate. It’s hearty, savory, and makes a meal of its own. It’s one of the best leftovers to have after the Perfect Thanksgiving Meal.

Side Dishes

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad by So TiPical Me
Roasted Sweet Potato Salad by So TIPical Me

Leave the marshmallows for dessert with this Roasted Sweet Potato Salad. Have I ever told you guys sweet potato dishes are one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving?!

Honey Garlic Green Beans

Honey Garlic Green Beans by Delicious Little Bites
Honey Garlic Green Beans by Delicious Little Bites

Gotta get those greens in there. Even the pickiest of eaters will like these simple yet flavorful green beans.

Roasted Chili Spiced Carrots

Roasted Chili Spiced Carrots by Delicious Little Bites
Roasted Chili Spiced Carrots by Delicious Little Bites

While your green beans are cooking, pop these carrots in the oven and they will be ready in no time.

Nutmeg Rice

Nutmeg Rice by Delicious Little Bites
Nutmeg Rice by Delicious Little Bites

This easy nutmeg rice recipe is a great quick addition to round out the sides. It takes minutes to make and even the youngest of helpers can assist with this dish.

Dessert

You can always do your traditional pumpkin and pecan pies, but why not mix things up this Thanksgiving?

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie by House of Fauci's
Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie by House of Fauci’s

This chocolate chip cookie pie from House of Fauci’s combines a few of my favorite things together, the best thing is you can freeze individual slices meaning pie for days. Oh yeah!

Apple Pie Cheesecake

Apple Pie Cheesecake Recipe - by Aduke Schulist
Apple Pie Cheesecake Recipe – by Aduke Schulist

The sweetness of apple pie, but the deliciousness of a cheesecake. This is one of my favorite desserts.

Cherry Marshmallow Fluff

Cherry Marshmallow Fluff by House of Faucis
Cherry Marshmallow Fluff by House of Faucis

Now we can bring in those marshmallows. This Cherry Marshmallow Fluff pairs well with a full belly. It’s sweet enough to be a dessert, but light enough to not make you feel like you are going to explode.

That’s it y’all! The Perfect Thanksgiving Meal. No time to make it all yourself? No problem! Just assign each family member to bring one item and send them to this post for the recipe. You will thank me later 😉

What are you making for Thanksgiving?
Do you have your menu prepared?

These lovely bloggers so graciously allowed me to use their images and feature their posts. Be sure to check them out and thank them for contributing to The Perfect Thanksgiving Meal.

5 Things To Prepare For Family Portraits

5 Things To Prepare For Family Portraits

Fall tends to be a busy season for photographers. It’s no wonder why. The weather is great and the changing leaves usually lead to gorgeous backdrops for family portraits. I recently took my family to a local park to update our family portraits.

Whether you are like me and taking the family portraits yourself, or hiring a photographer, I have a few things you should do to prepare for family portraits:

Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist- Back

Outfits

Prepare everything right down to the shoes. Don’t wait until last minute. Start thinking about your outfit choices days in advance. You don’t want to be running around at the last minute looking for a t-shirt or scarf to match the family.

Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist

Stick with 2 colors and one neutral to get the best look possible. Be mindful of patterns. Mix and match these colors between members of your family for a cohesive look that isn’t too cookie cutter.

Attitudes

I’m not sure about your kids, but mine suddenly become fuddy duddies when I whip the camera out and tell them to smile. They moan and groan and complain about how long it’s taking. Get them ready ahead of time and bribe them (I do!) with a nice treat if they cooperate.

Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist- Abby Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist - Kaia Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist- Losh

Or threatening always works too. – I’m only slightly kidding – I told my kids they BETTER cooperate and the quicker they do, they sooner we could be done. Worked like a charm.

Expectations

It helps going into a photo shoot to know what you are wanting. Be prepared with a list of poses and ideas. Also, be prepared for the photographer to suggest other ideas that may be more flattering, or better suited for the location/lighting available.

Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist- Group Shot

Know that not every image snapped will be one worth sharing. Eye may be closed, or the focus may be slightly off. Before moving on from a much desired pose, take a peek at the image to make sure it’s suitable.

Location

Do a little research beforehand to know if any permits are required or if the location you are using has already been reserved. Keep in mind that it is illegal and considered trespassing to shoot where you do not have permission.

This job is usually left up to the photographer, but I have increasingly seen photographers shooting at illegal locations, or not receiving permission or permits prior to the shoot.

Equipment

Finally, and especially important if you are taking the portraits yourself, prepare your equipment. Charge those batteries, clear those cards, and make sure you have every thing you need to complete the shoot, including those pesky tripod clips that always seem to walk off.

Before you walk out the door, take inventory to make sure it’s all there.

Family Portraits by Aduke Schulist- Back copy

That’s it! Follow these 5 steps and you will be prepared for your family portraits.

If you are in Central Arkansas and need your family portraits updated, let’s talk! You can find my photography page on Facebook here.

Have you had family portraits done recently?
I took my family and got all the images you see in this post this past week. Prior to that, 2013 was the last time we had portraits done! Yikes!!

What I Learned From Being Single

What I Learned From Being Single

I’ve done a few other posts about being single. I know some of y’all are tired of hearing about it and feel like I’m beating a dead horse, but bear with me.. Being single has taught me a lot of things.

Here are just a few of them:

What I Learned From Being Single by Aduke Schulist

How To Manage Time

I’m not always the best at it, but I think I’m pretty good at getting things done. Being single has taught me to prioritize things and multi-task where needed. These things help me manage my time.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to take time for myself and to leave my house messy sometimes in order to do that because I know just how much I am actually capable of.

Aduke Schulist - Portrait at Riverside Park
Kaia recently helped me snap a few pictures of myself.
How To Use Tools

My mom taught me from an early age how to put stuff together. She had a tool box stocked with some tools. Mine is seriously lacking even some basic items. Throughout the years, my tool box has expanded and I’ve learned how to use tools I can’t even name properly. Just recently my mom helped me remove the drain pump from my washer and I replaced it all by myself today.

How To Be Alone & Entertain Myself

Are we ever really alone if we have Netflix?

Who is watching Netflix - Family Profiles - Aduke

I’m only kind of kidding.

One thing I miss is also something I cherish about being single.. I like the alone time and being able to watch or do whatever I want. On the other hand, being alone sucks and sometimes I find myself wishing I had somebody to share in the entertainment with.

The memories I am making now are memories my future husband will only get to hear about in the future.

The Qualities I Really Want In A Man

Having had many failed relationships in the past, I can confidently say the qualities I really want in a man (and those that would just be extras). I don’t think it’s being picky at all to know the qualities we are looking for in a man.

Every failed relationship has taught me something valuable for a future relationship.

Patience

Waiting. So much waiting. John Waller’s song While I’m Waiting has brought me peace at many times and reminded me to be patient.

Some Desires Don’t Die Down

I’ve always wanted a large family… but being single for so long just does something to keep that desire stirring. There is nobody to tell me that my family is complete, and the desire to expand my family hasn’t gone away.

Unfortunately, I won’t be doing that biologically now thanks to the news I received in this blog, but adopting is still in the works.

Faith

Faith is to hope of things that are unseen… and I have faith that the Lord has not forgotten me.  No matter how hard some days, or nights, may be, I have faith that my Heavenly Father knows exactly what He is doing with my life.

What are some lessons that being single, or being married taught you?

 

Get Down Downtown 2017 – Street Festival

Get Down Downtown 2017 – Street Festival

While other families are getting ready to Trick or Treat on the Square, I’m looking back at pictures from Get Down Downtown 2017.. It’s an annual street festival hosted by Searcy, Arkansas filled with fun, food, and vendors. The food is my favorite part.

I blogged about my experience last year and couldn’t get away with not blogging about it this year.

Get Down Downtown - Searcy Street Festival 2017

Let’s see what we got up to that day..

It’s turned into a family affair involving myself and children, my mom, and the kids’ grandpa. First stop was a stroll through all the vendors and picking out which food trucks we wanted to eat from.

So many vendors at Get Down Downtown Street Festival

Getting treats from some of the Farmer’s Market vendors like Wildflour bakery is a must. This street festival actually lasts through the weekend, but Saturday is the day to go (because the Farmers’ Market vendors are set up!)

Yummy treats from Wildflour Bakery located in Searcy Arkansas

Abby picked out an oatmeal cream pie and somehow managed to eat it with her panda hoodie/scarf on. It was so hot this day. Everybody was amazed that she was able to wear this hat in the heat.

Abby shopping at the Farmers Market Searcy Arkansas

Choo-choo!

Losh and his grandpa took a train ride on the Boogie Train.. The man asked if Losh would be able to hold on and boy, did he have to hold on. This little train boogied its way in circles… very fast “OH MY GOSH MY KID IS GOING TO FALL OFF” circles.

They loved it.

Losh and Jerry taking a Train ride Losh and Jerry on Train Ride

Free Stuff and Food

Losh takes after his grandma. He loves all those goodies that people give away at their booths. He ended up with a bag full of stuff. He got everything from cups to pencils to pads of paper and bracelets. All kinds of stuff he doesn’t need, but can’t turn down.

Then it was time to get some food. We shared funnel cake, nachos, lemonade, corndogs, and even BBQ.

Ordering food at Get Down Downtown 2017 Street Festival

We went for the food. . . #foodie #food #searcy #arkansas #lds #blogger #ldsblogger #parenting

A post shared by Blogger | Aduke Schulist (@adukeschulist) on

And picked up a few vegetables before heading home. Can’t forget those delicious – and fresh – vegetables from local farmers.

Farmers Market Finds at a Street Festival

Does your area have a street festival?
What’s your favorite part?

Adenomyosis, Endometriosis, and Tumors

Warning: Period and Reproductive Health Talk Ahead!

Adenomyosis, Endometriosis, and Tumors

Today’s blog post is all about my reproductive health, so I apologize for those who couldn’t care less. This is going to be long and some parts may also be a little TMI. You have been warned.

Adenomyosis, Endometriosis, and Tumors

Diagnosed with Endometriosis

It all started because of my painful (and heavy) periods. I suppose I didn’t really know mine were heavy, but they lasted longer than most girls and in order not to leak I had to double up on products. I knew that wasn’t normal.

I also knew that I suffered from cramps in a worse way than other girls. I’ve always had a high pain tolerance, but my periods would bring me to my knees. The pain was so bad I would literally vomit. After suffering from a period that lasted over 2 weeks, my mom finally took me to the doctor for some tests.

When I was 15 I was diagnosed with endometriosis as well as PCOS. For those who don’t know, endometriosis is basically where the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) grows on the outside of the uterus and can cause organs to attach themselves to other organs through bands of tissue called adhesions.

At 17 I had excision surgery to remove endometriosis/adhesions. I can’t remember all the details about where it was and what was adhered to what, but I do remember feeling some relief.

Fertility and PCOS/Endometriosis

While everybody’s story is different, I was told that I would never have biological children, and if I did it would require a lot of fertility treatments.

I believed that…

Kaia - Born after struggle with Endometriosis

until I had my first child, without any sort of treatments.

And then another..

Pregnant with second child - spina bifida

and still another.

Third Child - 26 weeker - Baptist Health Arkansas

My fertility hasn’t been affected to the point of being infertile, but I do struggle with cycle related issues and staying pregnant. I don’t always ovulate. My progesterone isn’t where it should be (resulting in preterm labors). My ovaries form cysts. My hormones are out of whack. And my cycles last much longer than the typical cycle length. I didn’t really suffer from the weight gain or facial hair until these last few years.

About 2 years after my first excision I had my first child unexpectedly and without any fertility treatments. After birth, I still had pain, but it was nothing like before (I kid you not when I say labor and child birth was nothing compared to my periods).

Abdominal Wall Endometrial Tumor

My last child was born via emergency cesarean section. During the c-section they found out that my placenta was not only drying out from my water having been broken for 10 days, but also growing into my uterus (a condition known as placenta accreta) and had to remove a tiny portion of my uterus in order to fix that problem.

These past few years I have been struggling with what was at first diagnosed as an endometrial abdominal wall tumor. This is a somewhat rare tumor (from endometrial tissue) that happens after a c-section.

The worst part for me (besides the obvious pain) was the inability to exercise. I used to be so in shape, but once this tumor started growing, I began bleeding every time I tried to exercise. I ultimately stopped doing the sport I loved the most – running.

See this post on Life As A Convert where I previously discussed my struggles with running and endometriosis

Ultrasounds and Laparoscopic Surgery

Prior to the abdominal wall tumor being diagnosed, I had an ultrasound to see what was going on. The thing about endometriosis is that it doesn’t show up on an ultrasound. In order for it to be diagnosed, you have to go in surgically. So, when my ultrasound came back “normal” but the lump was still there, I knew something was going on.

I made an appointment with my doctor to discuss options. Because I still had hopes of having another child, a hysterectomy was off the table. Instead, he chose to go in laparoscopically and take a look around.

I went in for the results today.

Enlarged Uterus w/ Bladder Attached

It turns out, there wasn’t an abdominal wall endometrial tumor as originally diagnosed, instead my uterus is enlarged and my bladder is attached to my uterus (somewhat common with c-sections). My doctor seems to think if my uterus wasn’t enlarged then my bladder wouldn’t be attached so bad.

There were some mysterious spots on my uterus that the doctor did not seem concerned about as he said it could be scar tissue from previous surgeries, or fibroids on the inside making themselves known. The tumor that was palpable was likely a combination of my enlarged uterus/adenomyosis and fibroids.

There were some spots of endometriosis which were left untouched and a pretty large adhesion to my bowels which he released. He also said that the majority of my endometriosis is on the inside of my uterus (called Adenomyosis). This, along with the fibroids can cause the enlarged uterus.

Because I do not want to be on hormonal therapy (been there, done that, hated it), my options are limited. (Hormonal therapy does not treat the problem, it only masks the symptoms)

What’s The Plan?

For now, I just wait and see if things get worse/show no improvement. Having another child biologically is no longer an option and guts me. But, my uterus wouldn’t be able to handle it.

The only way to fix the problem is to remove my uterus. The extent of the attachment is pretty severe. I can speak with a urologist to see if they think separating the two is doable, but the weakened uterus still poses a threat. And with my history, I don’t think that is a wise option.

While this isn’t the news I wanted to hear, it could have been worse. I get to keep my uterus for at least another year before discussing a hysterectomy. A part of me feels like as long as I can keep it, that there is hope. But perhaps that is just wishful thinking.

Another part of me realizes that in order to be the healthiest me, I need to have a hysterectomy and I’m not ready to accept that.

Do you know anybody who suffers from endometriosis?
For you mamas who had c-sections, did you guys experience any of these complications?