Category Archives: Third Thursday



For the third year in a row we’ve expanded Third Thursday in November–taking the day off work and having a complete Thanksgiving meal with friends. It’s become custom to start the day at Rowster before heading to the store. Margo made a chart for what needed to be cooking when, and we had the turkeys (yup–we had two; a 20-pounder and a 15-pounder) basted and in the roaster ovens a little after 11am–a feat worthy of a toast (mimosas are also a welcomed Friendsgiving morning tradition).

This year we had 27 adults and 3 kiddos–so we had to expand down the street, cooking the stuffing in Becky’s oven. The turkeys were both done early, so we ended up making the gravy before everyone arrived, which worked well. Joe and Joshlyn graciously cut the birds, which meant we were able to finish up the potatoes and direct people to the wine and appetizer table without much chaos. By 6:30 or so everyone had arrived and we were all crammed around our giant patchwork table. Such a fun night!

All of the recipes were adapted to make enough food for 30 people. We had a few leftovers of everything, but overall the amounts were pretty accurate.


  • 2 cup earth balance
  • 2 cup lemon juice
  • 8 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 8 Tbsp finely chopped green onions
  • 4 Tbsp rubbed sage
  • 4 tsp dried thyme
  • 4 tsp dried marjoram
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 35 lbs of turkey

In a small saucepan, combine the first eight ingredients; bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Place turkey in a shallow roasting pan or roaring oven; baste with mixture. Bake according to the time indicated on the


  • 3 cups earth balance
  • 4 pound GF bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 10 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 6 cups celery, chopped
  • 2 cups flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 8 Tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 8 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 cups veggie broth, divided
  • 8 large eggs

Preheat oven to 250. Spray as many baking sheets as you need to scatter the bread in a single layer. Bake, stirring occasionally, until dried out, about an hour and a half. Let cool and transfer to (at least) two very large bowls.

Meanwhile, melt the earth balance in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onions and celery. Stir often until just beginning to brown. Add to bowl with bread; stir in herbs, salt, and pepper. Drizzle in 5 cups broth and toss gently. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk 5 cups broth and eggs in a small bowl. Add to bread mixture; fold gently until thoroughly combined. Transfer to two prepared 9×13 pans, cover with foil, and bake for about 40 minutes. If you make the stuffing ahead of time cook uncovered for 40-45 minutes (if chilled, add 10-15 minutes).

Adapted from this recipe.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

  • 8 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 lbs red skinned potatoes, chopped
  • 3/4 cups earth balance
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • Garlic salt to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Immerse the potatoes in water and bring to a boil. We used two pots so it took about 30 minutes for the potatoes to be fork-tender. When they are cooked, drain the water and add the remaining ingredients. Use a hand mixer to combine.

Herb Biscuits 

  • 3.75 cup coconut milk
  • 1.25 cup water
  • 5 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cup tapioca flour
  • 5 cup rice flour
  • 10 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2.5 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1.25 teaspoon salt
  • 2.5 Tbsp dried basil
  • 5 tsp dried dill
  • 1 cup cold earth balance

Place earth balance in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 450.

Combine coconut milk, water, and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl and set aside. In a medium size bowl, add rice flour, tapioca starch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, dried basil and dried dill. Gently stir to combine.

Add the cold earth balance to the flour mixture and use a pastry cutter or two knives to incorporate. Don’t over mix or you will get hard biscuits. Pour in the coconut milk/apple cider mixture and stir until just combined.

Place 1 heaping tablespoon of batter at a time on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and cook for 10 minutes.

Adapted from this recipe.

Cranberry-Pecan Kale Salad

  • 4 bunches kale, finely chopped
  • 10 oz spinach
  • 6 large garlic cloves
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Several handfuls of dried cranberries
  • 4 cup pecan halves, toasted
  • 4 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 435 and toast the pecans for 6-10 minutes, until fragrant.

In a food processor, chop the garlic until and then add the lemon, oil, salt, and pepper and process until combined. Pour the dressing onto the kale and spinach.

Add the pecans into the food processor and process until they are in small chunks. Then add the nutritional yeast, oil, and a few pinches of salt and process again until it’s a coarse crumb. Be sure not to over-process. Sprinkle the pecan mixture on the salad with a few handfuls of dried cranberries. Wrap and place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes to soften.

Adapted from this recipe.

Maple-Ginger Veggies

  • 3 cups pecans
  • 8 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 3 large parsnips (1 pound), peeled and sliced
  • 2 medium head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 2 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sprinkle of nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 425. Toast the pecans for 6-10 minutes, until fragrant.

In a large bowl, toss the carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, squash, and Brussels sprouts with the olive oil and nutmeg and season generously with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables on three large-rimmed baking sheets or 9×13 pans and roast for 35 minutes, until the vegetables begin to brown. Scatter the pecans and ginger over the vegetables and drizzle with the maple syrup—stir well. Continue to roast the vegetables for 25 minutes longer, until they are tender and golden. Scrape the vegetables into a bowl and serve hot or at room temperature.

Adapted from this recipe.

Green Beans

  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 lbs green beans
  • 30 oz veggie broth
  • 1.5 tsp garlic salt
  • Salt and pepper

Spray a 5-7 quart slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. In a large skillet, sauté the onion and garlic on medium-low until they are tender. Add sautéed onion and garlic along with all other ingredients to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours.

Adapted from this recipe.

Pumpkin Bars

  • 4 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 cup gluten free flour
  • 5 cups liquid sweetener (maple syrup, honey, agave)
  • 1 vegetable oil
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 15 oz cans pureed pumpkin
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 and 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 heaping cup of arrowroot

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine first seven ingredients and stir until well combined. Spread evenly into a two greased 9×13 pans.

In a medium bowl, combine remaining ingredients until smooth. Spread evenly over the oatmeal mixture in the pan.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, until a fork inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. Chill in the fridge for an hour.

Adapted from this recipe.

We also made a 9×13 of apple crisp. Dessert was the one thing we probably had too much of–but we aren’t complaining. And the pumpkin dessert made a delightful breakfast.



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Third Thursday – October

Spaghetti Squash Bake

 Serves 6

 Veggie Version 

  • 1 large spaghetti squash (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 green peppers, chopped
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms
  • 1 small can olives
  • 5 oz fresh spinach
  • 1 15oz can pizza sauce
  • 3 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5 eggs, whisked

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and cook it for 30 minutes. While it’s cooking, sauté the onion for 3-4 minutes and then add the garlic. Add salt to taste. Add the green pepper and mushrooms. Once they’re at your desired crunchiness. Add the spinach and sauté until it’s wilted.

When the squash is cooked, scrape it out with a spoon and put it in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Add the sautéed veggies, pizza sauce, basil, salt, and pepper. Whisk the eggs and mix them in. Cook for an hour or until the edges start to brown.

Sausage Version

  • 1 large spaghetti squash (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 pound Italian sausage
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 14 oz jar pizza sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1 cup of mushrooms
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • 2 small tomatoes

Follow the instructions from above, browning the sausage and onion. Add the mushrooms, basil, oregano, and fennel seed. Cook until no pink in the sausage and it is broken up into pieces. Add the spinach and sauté until it’s wilted. Once everything is mixed in the baking dish, top with sliced tomatoes.

We both made these the night before, left them in the fridge, and then baked them on Thursday.

Adapted from this recipe.

Chocolate Cake

 Serves 8

  • 5 cups almond flour
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp whiskey

Preheat the oven to 325 and line a pie plate with parchment paper

In a bowl, combine the cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, and boiling water. Then add the olive oil and eggs and whisk to combine. Add almond flour, baking soda, sea salt, and whiskey.

Pour batter into the pie plate and bake for 45 minutes (or longer if you want more of a cake like texture).

Adapted from The Simply Real Health

We had eight lovely guests this month and plenty of wine. A nice fall salad with a maple-balsamic dressing rounded out our menu. We also had a fun tablecloth, thanks to a rush delivery from Chicago! Thanks, Betsy!

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Third Thursday :: September

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Third Thursday got bumped to Friday this month, and with a few confirmed guests down from brutal colds, our jars are filled with leftovers this week. To be honest, it was a relief to come home from the ABC Walk and a weekend with family and be able to sit on the couch and recoup on Sunday instead of cooking!

Here was our farewell to summer menu for our small crew of seven:

Chicken Salad
Serves 8-10 

  • 6 chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts—boiled or cooked through in the oven
  • 10 oz. hummus (homemade or store-bought)
  • 3-4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 tsp relish
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • Sesame oil (to taste)
  • Salt and pepper

Mix everything together and serve on bread or lettuce wraps. This week we had a loaf from Hall Street Bakery as well some homemade bread courtesy of Rachel!

Chickpea Curry Wraps
Serves 6-8

  • 2 15 oz. cans chickpeas
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tsp curry
  • 3 tsp turmeric
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup raw cashews
  • 3 Tbs coconut oil

Heat the oil on medium in a larger pot. Sauté the onion and garlic for 5-7 minutes. Add the carrots and cook until they are soft. Finally, add the rest of the ingredients and heat through. Serve immediately or chilled. We pre-made them into lettuce wraps but have also done them as jars with the lettuce on the side to wrap later.

Adapted from this recipe.

Quinoa Salad
Serves 8-10 as a side   

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Handful Italian parsley

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbs yellow mustard
  • 2 Tbs dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine the quinoa and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Combine the rest of the ingredients. Once the quinoa is cool, add—along with the dressing—to the veggies.

Adapted from this recipe.

Peach-Blueberry Crisp

For the filling:

  • 6-8 peaches
  • 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown sugar

Cut up the fruit and sprinkle with cinnamon and brown sugar—to taste. Spread in a 9×13. We used this topping. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes.

And, for fun: A pic of my fam before heading out for our breezy walk to support breast cancer treatment in Northern Michigan!



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Crockpot Beef Roast

  • 4 lbs beef roast
  • 1/4 cup tamari (or GF soy sauce)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup or so GF Beef Broth– (if you this does not need to be GF you can use a beef boullion cube but I had a hard time finding a GF boullion cube)
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 1 tsp rosemary (or a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary)
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 garlic clove minced

Add roast to slow cooker. Add remainder of ingredients. Set to low heat. Cook overnight and all the next day.

It may seem crazy to cook for 24 hours but it really does the trick for a tender roast. I have also susbstitued pork roast for the beef and it is delicious.

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Sugar Cookies

  • 2 cups all purpose gluten free flower
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup earth balance
  • 1 cup sugar or sugar substitute
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg, almond extract and almond milk, mix well. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and mix well. Scoop dough into balls and place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.


Be sure to allow the 2 inches between cookies because they will expand quite a bit while baking!

We made the following icing and let people decorate their own cookies!

  • 2.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp earth balance
  • 1 Tbsp cream of Tartar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients. Add more water as needed to reach desired consistency. Add food coloring if desired. You can substitute almond milk for water.

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Quinoa Black Bean Salad

1 cup uncooked quinoa (or 3 cups cooked)
1 (15-ounce) can black beans (or 1.5 cups cooked), drained and rinsed
1.5 cups cilantro, finely chopped
3 small/medium carrots, julienned or thinly sliced
4 green onions, chopped
sea salt & black pepper, to taste

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Rinse the quinoa and add it to pot  with 1.5 cups water . Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and then cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and steam with the lid on for 5 additional minutes.

In a large bowl, toss the quinoa, drained and rinsed black beans, cilantro, carrots, and green onions.

Whisk together the dressing in a small bowl or jar. Pour onto salad and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Adapted from Oh She Glows.

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Coconut Milk Quiche

1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes (for the crust)
8 eggs
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 small onion, diced
2 handfuls spinach
heaping 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes
1/2 tsp sea salt, plus a pinch for the sweet potatoes
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp dried oregano


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease 2 pie plates.

Slice the sweet potatoes as thin as possible (I used my food processor) and arrange them on the bottom of the pie plats for your crust.

Saute the onion and divide it between the two pans. Add the mushrooms and spinach as well.

Puree the coconut mild and tomatoes before adding the eggs and seasonings. Divide between the pie plates and bake for 30 minutes.

Adapted from Spunky Coconut.

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Blueberry Dessert

2 cups blueberries (frozen or fresh)
1/4 cup honey
juice of one lemon

2 1/2 cups almonds
1 egg
1/3 cup liquid maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla
pinch of  salt

To make the filling, combine all the ingredients on the stove top until it comes to a boil. Once it starts boiling stir it occasionally for the next 20 minutes or so — depending on how thick you want it. You’re basically just making jam. I did this the day before and threw it in the fridge. It makes about 1 cup and is the perfect amount for the dessert. You can also easily double it if you want more.

Throw the almonds in a food processor (a blender might work too but I’m not sure) and blend until they look like a flour consistency. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until blended. Pour this into a greased 8×8 baking dish or pie plate and bake at 350 for 22 minutes.

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Breakfast Casserole

12 eggs, whisked
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 15 oz cans black beans
1 sweet potato, shredded with skin on
1 jalapeno, deseeded and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
2 cups fresh spinach 


Preheat the oven to 375 F and spray a 9X13 baking dish with nonstick spray.

Drain and rinse the beans and put them in a skillet over medium heat. Warm them though and then add the onion, shredded sweet potato, garlic, jalapeño, chili powder, salt, and paprika. Keep cooking until the onions are translucent (about 5 to 7 minutes). Add tomatoes and spinach into skillet and cook for about 2 minutes or until spinach begins to wilt.

Pour the mixture into the  pan and spread evenly along the bottom. Whisk the eggs and pour them over the top.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

Serves 8-10 and can easily be made the night before and then just put in the oven!

Vegetable Stir Fry

2 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 Red Bell pepper, cored, and sliced
1 Green Bell Pepper, Cored and sliced
1/2 -1 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 sliced half moon yellow squash
1 sliced half moon zucchini
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
1 can of water chesnuts (drained)
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce (gluten free)
2 cups sliced bok choy
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup snow peas
2 Tablespoons sesame oil

Cut all the vegetables and set aside. In a wok or large skillet, heat canola oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add the peppers and onion while stirring constanly. While continuing to stir add successively the squash, mushrooms, water chesnuts and teriyaki sauce. Cook, stiring constantly for 2 minutes. Add the bok choy, sprouts, salt and pepper, and cook stirring until crip tender, about 2 more minutes. Stir in the snow peas and sesame oil. Remove from heat and serve immediatly.

This was one of 3 stir fry dishes we made for a third thursday dinner with friends! You can tweak the vegetables to what is in season or what you enjoy!

Adapted from