Tasty Thanksgiving Trio

Tasty Thanksgiving Trio

Guest Blogger: Cara Greenstein

Inevitably, hosting a party while executing the recipes and presentations can be wildly daunting. But when stirring up a holiday soirée, I choose manageable and memorable recipes that amp up the traditions while complementing the season at hand. The following bites and sips surprise guests due to their simple steps yet show-stopping displays and flavors.

My secret to the ruby rosemary martini is a homemade honey simple syrup, which simmers raw, unfiltered honey with equal parts all-natural Mountain Valley Spring Water. The combination creates a rich, smooth foundation for hand-picked herbs and sour citrus.

The Asian pear tartines epitomize ease for both the hostess and the guest. Make-ahead brioche toasts hold ingredients such as a sharp, stinky bleu cheese, which can hold out on the buffet throughout cocktail hour without requiring re-heating or cooling. I pair the crisp Asian pear topper with a crisp, refreshing glass of Mountain Valley sparkling water.

For the finale, stacked no-bake peanut butter chocolate bars bring back childhood nostalgia down the candy aisle. Of course, the dark chocolate foundation calls for a thirst-quencher, and a refreshingly romantic pour of Mountain Valley sparkling water will soothe the thirst and savor the bubbly (without a hangover the next morning).


Serves 1

Honey simple syrup

1/4 cup Mountain Valley Spring Water

1/4 cup unfiltered honey

Cocktail ingredients

2 oz. fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice

1.5 oz. vodka

1/2 oz. honey simple syrup

1 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice

2 sprigs rosemary

Dash of sea salt

1. Heat Mountain Valley spring water and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk honey into the water until melted, and remove from heat after a few minutes.

2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add vodka, grapefruit and lemon juices, and honey simple syrup. Top with a sprig of rosemary and sea salt. Place lid on shaker and shake until thoroughly chilled.

3. Strain in a martini glass with remaining sprig of rosemary to garnish.


Serves 8

1 loaf Brioche, sliced and halved into squares

1 Asian pear, cored and thinly sliced

Cambozola cheese

Bunch of fresh thyme

Honey, to garnish

Sea salt, to garnish

1. Place brioche slices on a baking sheet and toast on 400 degrees from 6-8 minutes.

2. While slices are still warm, spread each with Cambozola. To serve, top each with a slice of pear, a sprig of thyme, drizzled honey, and sea salt.


Serves 16

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar

12 tablespoons butter, divided

1 1/2 cups fresh peanut butter

1 cup milk chocolate chips

1 cup dark chocolate chips

1. Lightly grease an 8-inch square pan.

2. In a large microwave-safe dish, melt 4 tablespoons butter and milk chocolate chips for 1 minute. Stir carefully and continue to microwave in 30-second increments until smooth, stirring after each 30-second period. Pour into square pan and place in refrigerator for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, reuse microwave-safe dish and melt 4 tablespoons butter. Stir in brown sugar, powdered sugar, and peanut butter. Mix well.

4. Remove chocolate plan for microwave and carefully press peanut butter layer on top.

5. Reuse microwave-safe dish and melt 4 tablespoons butter and dark chocolate chips for 1 minute. Stir carefully and continue to microwave in 30-second increments until smooth, stirring after each 30-second period. Pour over peanut butter and spread evenly.

6. Chill until completely firm, or for at least 3 hours. Serve at room temperature.

Cara Greenstein is the founder of Caramelized, an award-winning food and lifestyle blog based in Memphis with a purpose to share, elevate and celebrate everyday experiences. A bonafide foodie and entertaining expert, Cara shares a wealth of inspiration for the kitchen and home, as well as guides for outings in Memphis and beyond. For more inspiration, visit caramelizedblog.com or follow her on Instagram at @cara_melized.
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