Restaurants and stores like Whole Foods are offering a Thanksgiving dinner menu that includes turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, rolls, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, and even pumpkin pie -- everything you need for a small Thanksgiving with your loved ones.
For a more non-traditional meal, and a family favorite of mine, I personally recommend the incredible “Sleep Burger” from a Chicago restaurant, Kuma’s Corner. The Sleep Burger, which is only offered throughout the month of November, is a turkey burger that has a stuffing patty, cranberry sauce, turkey gravy and fried sage, all on an enormous pretzel bun. This might sound a bit crazy, but take it from a non burger lover: the Sleep Burger will change your life. Like many other restaurants, Kuma’s Corner offers to-go ordering (the Sleep Burger would be under BOTM, which stands for burger of the month) as well as outdoor seating. The Kuma’s Corner location in the West Loop of Chicago in Fulton Market now has outdoor plastic dining bubbles, an alternative safe and cool dining experience for the winter.
A popular December event in Naperville is the Illuminations Light Festival at The Morton Arboretum. Normally, this event consists of a one mile light walk through the light-adorned trees, but in order to ensure the safety of guests this year, the show will be a drive-thru light festival. Tari Marshall, head of The Morton Arboretum’s Public relations and social media, explains a couple exciting events taking place at the Arboretum in the next two months.
“Our biggest event of the season is [the] Illumination Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum, this exhibition begins Nov. 20 and runs through Jan. 3. This year we have expanded it to a two mile driving trail and that allowed us to add six new lighting features …. one other new event that we have added is a new 5k run-walk on Saturday Dec. 12,” Marshall said.
You can find tickets for both the Light festival and the 5k run at https://www.mortonarb.org/
If you don’t want to participate in any large events, just stay home! There is a perfect holiday playlist for you (it really is never too early) to enjoy curled up near the fire with a mug of your favorite hot cocoa. Apple Music and Spotify have hand picked the most popular holiday songs, such as Mariah Carey's famous All I Want for Christmas is You, Elvis Presley’s Blue Christmas and even Mistletoe by Justin Bieber. Whether you will be baking, decorating your house, or just jamming out, these songs will get you right into the holiday spirit!
Another classic and easy at home tradition is making holiday cookies and treats, and luckily, there are an abundance of delicious recipes to partake in. You can make some exciting memories by hosting a cookie competition with a few friends or family members or even just bake for fun. Here are a few of my all time favorite recipes:
Ingredients needed: all purpose flour, baking soda, salt, butter, sugar, light brown sugar, 1 egg, milk, vanilla extract, non-stick spray, and Hershey’s Kisses.
Time: 35 minutes
Yield: 5 dozen cookies
Cookie Ingredients: salted butter, sugar, vanilla extract, eggs, all purpose flour, baking powder, salt
Icing Ingredients: powdered sugar, milk, light corn syrup, vanilla extract, gel food coloring.
Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes
Yield: 32 4 inch cookies
Ingredients needed: Rice Chex cereal, milk chocolate chips, peanut butter, butter, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, Christmas sprinkles, powdered sugar.
Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 9 cups
Created with images by Bob Canning - "Christmas morning winter wonderland in Island Park Idaho." • anncapictures - "popcorn snack cinema" • Bokskapet - "video production video movie"