Thanksgiving 2016


I hope everyone enjoyed a very wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and weekend. I am so grateful that I was able to spend so much time with my family and cook this very special meal for everyone.

We have so much to be thankful for with my third niece Adelyn’s first Thanksgiving! My brother had to work but we were able to celebrate with him this weekend for his 30th birthday. There have been so many wonderful celebrations happening that its been so important for me to pause and be grateful for these special opportunities to connect and spread loving kindness with the ones I love and beyond.

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I have so much to be grateful for and I know that gratitude helps me so much in my life to be happy where I am and accepting of what is, while looking towards the changes and strides I want to make going forward. This year cooking was wonderful as always, this is my 7th year of Thanksgiving traditions on Unrivaledkitch and I am so grateful to continue this culinary adventure on my blog. I hope to continue for many years to come and also to continue the holiday season food updates.

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Here is the Thanksgiving menu for 2016.

Honey glazed Ham
Citrus herb brined turkey and turkey breast
Roasted turkey gravy
Mashed potatoes
Marshmallow yams with brown sugar caramel and marshmallow
Sweet lemon cranberry relish
Smashed Yam casserole with cinnamon spice crumble
Beet carpaccio with roasted almonds, arugula, blue cheese, lemon zest and cracked pepper
Roasted mushroom and sausage cornbread kale stuffing
Beef and pork Zucchini, celery and black olive stuffing
Green bean casserole
Roasted Cauliflower and broccoli
Mac N Cheese




Thanksgiving 2015

I have 6 years of Thanksgiving blogs on Unrivaledkitch, which to me, shows my commitment to being there for my family and I am truly grateful that I have been able to take on this tradition for the ones I love and to share these awesome moments with the people who mean so much to me. Thanksgiving, as I’ve said before, is one of my favorite meals to cook. This year I was pretty ahead of schedule with cooking and cleaning, so big thumbs up for me, because, of course, that can be a challenge with an overly ambitious menu. Our Thanksgiving meal has some staples that we always enjoy and then the rest is open to my interpretation, which is the fun part for me.

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Brandon joined us for Thanksgiving this year and I asked him to sit out for the cooking. He cooks all year long and sometimes someone else cooking for you is just the thing you need. I know, when I was cooking, that’s how I felt. My mom and grandma brought a bunch of snacks and sweets and we all made a beautiful meal together. I am so grateful for my family and all the sacrifices and success we have had, and to our extended family, friends and beyond, we hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving with the ones you love! And here is what we ended up with this year:

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Brined Turkey with Roasted Aromatics, Rosemary, Thyme, Sage
Roasted Turkey Gravy
Mashed Potatoes
Hassleback Red Rose Potatoes
Bacon, Leeks, Sausage and Roasted Wild Mushroom Cornbread Dressing
Zucchini, Celery, Scallions and Black Olive Stuffing   
Roasted Cream Corn with Turmeric and Bacon
Creamed Spinach, Broccoli and Green Beans
Roasted Yams with Brown Sugar, Marshmallows and Cinnamon
Sweet Potato Casserole with Agave, Granola, Brown Sugar and Pumpkin Pie Spice Marshmallows
Pomegranate & Guava Cranberry Sauce
Green Bean Casserole
Steamed Corn
Roasted Green Beans and Brussels Sprouts with Garlic
Honey Baked Ham
Bachan Jello
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Ice Cream Pie
Rice Krispies Treats
Spinach Dip
Pimento Cheese
Deviled Eggs

Maleeya’s Minnierella 4th Birthday

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I can’t believe that Maleeya is already 4-years-old. It’s almost a month later and I’ve been slacking on my food blogging, but this was a very special birthday party catering and since I’ve blogged about each of her birthdays, I can’t stop at 3. So here is the 4th edition.

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This year Maleeya had a Minnierella (Minnie Mouse as Cinderella) themed princess birthday party for her friends at our house. My mom made Maleeya’s beautiful pink dress for her Minnierella costume and my sister decorated the house. Everyone enjoyed playing games, catching up, delicious food and togetherness and I don’t think we’ve ever had so many people in our house at one time, which was really fun. We had a special feast of Maleeya’s favorite foods for her party. I asked Maleeya what she wanted to serve at her birthday party and her list was as follows: latkes, fruit, veggies, salad, chicken, strawberries and cake. So with those directions in mind, as well as some special Vegan and Gluten Free requests, I came up with this menu and we had a blast.




Fruit Tower and Melon and Grape Platter

Fresh Vegetable Tray

Sweet Sesame Chicken Skewers

Turkey Meatballs

7-Layer Bean Dip

Pico de Gallo

Grilled Sweet Soy Chicken Drumsticks

Italian Pasta Salad

Chinese Chicken Salad

Caesar Salad with Homemade Croutons

Bread Basket


Grilled Vegetables and Tofu

Thank you to everyone who helped celebrate this very special little lady, or as she liked to be known that day, Minnierella. Happy fourth year of fun, love and excitement, Mighty Maleeya!




Thanksgiving Gratitude 2014

Better Late than never….



I love Thanksgiving! It is truly my favorite meal to make of the year, not because we have the same traditional things, but because it’s tradition to be together with my family. I am so glad we get to keep this tradition alive and thriving with my nieces. This Thanksgiving was also my brother’s birthday, so it was an extra-special occasion.


My sister and I braved the grocery stores on Wednesday morning so I could get all the ingredients for a meal that pretty much fed us for what seemed like a week, but that’s the best part of Thanksgiving–cook for a day or two and then either just reheat and eat or think of something else to do with the rest. I’m glad my sister came with me to the grocery store because I really dislike having a cart and having to maneuver one when the stores are super crowded, so she took care of that for me, which was a great help! Thanks, Keek.


So after a few stops and various places with enough groceries to just pack the fridge almost to explosion, I had a good idea of what we were going to enjoy. I’m not the type of person to ponder the menu a month or even a week in advance, I just looked at the ingredients and made things, which is my favorite way to cook. I’m grateful I have a family that pretty much let’s me have full reign over what we eat for Thanksgiving, trusting and knowing I’ll make those traditional dishes that they like each year while incorporating some new ones.


So here it is, Thanksgiving 2014 from Unrivaledkitch. I hope your families and friends feasted over great food, good company and tons of togetherness and gratitude. I’m grateful for all of you who take a gander at my food musings, for all the support, and I wish you a very happy holiday season.


Here are the past 4 years of Thanksgivings documented on I love that these memories are here for me to look back on.

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Thanksgiving 2014 Menu


Celery Root Soup with Spicy Sausage, Crispy Pancetta and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Herb and Citrus Brined Turkey with Roasted Vegetable Turkey Gravy

Celery, Scallion, Olive, and Zucchini Turkey Stuffing

Mashed Potatoes

Candied Yams with Bruleed Marshmallow

Green Bean Casserole with Fried Onions

Roasted Asparagus

Roasted Mushroom Medley with Fresh Thyme and Garlic

Red Potato Gratin with Button Mushrooms, Roasted Leeks, Kale and Parmesan Mozzarella Bechamel

Granny Smith Apple,Green Anjou Pear and Melted Date Cranberry Sauce

Crookneck Yellow Zucchini, White Zucchini and Green Bean Casserole with Celery Root Cream and Sausage

Hot Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Raisins and Granny Smith Apples with Brown Sugar Caramel Cream Sauce, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Whipped Cream


Mom, Dad and Grandma’s Contributions

Honey Baked Spiral Ham

Deviled Eggs

Spinach Dip, Pimento Cheese, Green Onion Dip and Vegetable Platter and Crackers

Bachan Jello

Pumpkin Pie

Carrot and Banana Muffins
What a delicious feast! Thank you everyone for sharing in this gratitude filled holiday.



Thanksgiving 2013


After a week of working hard, teaching yoga and witnessing the effects of the holidays on children in my classes, it was really interesting to see the shift in their attention and mood, as well as in their parents’ or caretaker’s moods. When the holidays come up, energy is either very low or extremely high and temperament can be extremely unpredictable. It’s been a good beginning of the holiday season, as I remember to carry a heightened sense of awareness, a commitment to staying with change and constantly reminding myself to embrace the present moment in my teaching, practice, and life.


I am so grateful that I was able to take time to cook a delicious Thanksgiving dinner for my family. Sometimes we don’t really get to all spend very much time together but it’s always nice to share the holidays with my family because they mean so much to me. I took on the cooking. We had our traditional spread of dishes and mom and dad took care of some of the other big items so my oven didn’t have too much wait time between sides. Granny, Maleeya and my sister did an amazing job with decorations and clean up. It’s always a team effort with everyone and I’m so grateful for my awesome family. My brother and sister-in-law brought a delicious pumpkin pie for all of us to share.

My kitchen is a place for me to be completely in tune with what ingredients, ideas and delicious dishes that are produced and I love that. Though I’m not cooking as much as I used to, Thanksgiving was a nice reminder of what I can still do in there. Dinner was ready in no time at all and all of us were able to sit down and eat without too much excess running around. It was Amaya’s first Thanksgiving and Maleeya had a great time feasting on pumpkin pie and everything else we normally save for special occasions. It’s so wonderful to have my little nieces here with us to celebrate our family traditions and make new ones for them to share in.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving with their families and friends. I am so grateful for everyone that has shared their time and love with me on Thanksgiving and to all of you! May the season of gratitude carry you into the rest of the holiday season and throughout the New Year!

Happy Holidays everyone!


Roasted Turkey with Lemon and Herbs

Granny’s Stuffing

Roasted Zucchini and Cauliflower Gratin

Roasted Asparagus

Sausage and Spinach Sautéed Kale

Candied Spiced Yams with Roasted Marshmallows

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Roasted Apple, Pineapple and Golden Raisin Cranberry Sauce

Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

Candied Yam Bread Pudding with Fresh Whipped Cream

Mom and Dad’s Contributions

Honey Ham

Green Bean Casserole

Pumpkin Muffins

Bachan Jello

Spinach Dip

Granny’s Deviled Eggs

Auntie Linh and Uncle Kyle’s Homemade Pumpkin Pie

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Thanksgiving 2012

I’m so grateful that my family was all able to be together for Thanksgiving. I’m amazed by how much love and gratitude we have for each other. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, of course. There’s nothing better than bringing people you love together over a huge meal. I was very fortunate to have Brandon with me to help with the Thanksgiving traditions and not to mention my craziness in the kitchen. We all pitched in to make a great day for everyone—I think Maleeya really enjoyed herself. I’m still in a food coma after all the cooking and eating. I hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving with some very special people. Enjoy the holiday weekend with lots to be thankful for all holiday season long.


My dad and mom brought:

Spinach dip, pimento cheese dip and ranch dip with crackers, sliced baguette and crudités (raw mixed veggies)

Two-layer Jello

Honey baked ham

Green bean casserole



Fresh Citrus and Herb Sweet-Brined Turkey with Roasted Zucchini, Black Olive and Scallion Stuffing

Turkey Breast Stuffed with Sausage and Mirepoix Stuffing

Mashed Potatoes with Irish Butter

Roasted Fall Aromatic Turkey Gravy

Spiced Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Kabocha Mash

Candied Yams with Homemade Roasted Marshmallows

Roasted Haricot Verts

Herb Roasted Mushrooms

Roasted Red Potatoes

Cranberry Relish

Cheddar Cheese, Mozzarella and Smoked Paprika Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Mixed Green Salad with Balsamic Marinated Vegetables and Buffalo Mozzarella

Roasted Cauliflower, Broccoli and Zucchini Gratin with Spicy Sausage and Pancetta

Creamed Corn with Red Onions, Chives and Turmeric

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Butternut Squash and Crispy Pancetta



What We Ate on Thanksgiving

Here we are, giving thanks for this extreme bounty of food and great times. I’m so lucky to have so much love in my heart. This is the menu I prepared for Thanksgiving day. I hope you enjoy the photos and had a magnificent feast yourselves.

Seasons Greetings :)

Menu prepared by yours truly

Roasted lemon and herb sweet brine turkey
Roasted zucchini, scallion and olive pork stuffing
Braised sausage with red Swiss chard and kale potato gratin
Roasted asparagus with garlic, red pepper flakes and crispy pancetta
Green bean casserole with soaked “buttermilk” fried onion strings
Beef and tart apple dressing with roasted carrot shreds
Homemade cranberry jelly
Roasted shallot cream corn
Bacon and gorgonzola shrimp
Mashed potatoes
Fall aromatics and roasted giblet gravy
Garlic bread sticks
Basil, spinach and green olive tapenade
Arugula and spinach salad with roasted spicy baby bellas, feta cheese, tomatoes and avocado in honey balsamic dressing
Brown sugar and marshmallow candied yams

Additions brought by family members and friends included dips, snacks, pumpkin pie, cheesecake, carrot cupcakes and ham. Some of my dishes weren’t photographed.

Over indulgence to the max. I could probably do with running a hundred miles, but I won’t.

Time to finish my menu for my brother’s 25th birthday party. I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend.



Turmeric Turkey Gyro style wraps w/ cilantro lemon “tzatziki”, basmati rice, &smashed avocado

I’ve been wanting Persian/ Greek/ or middle eastern food. But getting my sister to go to the middle valley after she gets off of work is the last thing shes been feeling like doing and I haven’t felt like having lunch by myself lately so I just let it slide. Today while thinking about the things i could possibly do with a fridge full of food that I need to get rid of because I have already confirmed 30 people for my sisters baby shower on February 20th and am going to need lots of space. As you know if you’ve seen some of my older holiday entries. I love feeding a lot of people in a family style setting or even not in a family style setting. The idea of making lots of anything makes my blood race its one of those things I miss the most about the restaurant 30 tickets in and 20 different pastas on the fire 30 other dishes made waiting ready to follow, a perfectly executed line of tickets. That is crunch time and only to proceed to make 200 more dishes the rest of the night. That rush is one of the most brilliant things that someone who wants to be a chef must experience in their life. I loved spinning around the kitchen calling out orders, yelling, throwing things, all those fun things that aren’t normally acceptable in home kitchens. They are in a “professional” kitchens. We were just kids making food, living a dream that sometimes turned into a nightmare.

Anyway sorry I get a little nostalgia every once in a while and then I realize I love it, would love to cook in a another restaurant probably some day then i remember working for close to minimum wage, never seeing my family, not being recognized, always working holidays, never seeing my friends, not taking care of myself and i remember why I’m taking a break but there’s something so magical and freeing about home cooking. I don’t have to be confined to the dishes I would working in a restaurant, I love tired and true food as much as anyone does but the things that give me the most pleasure regarding food are finding the new things that can be incorporated into every day diets that share a common welfare with the people you share them with. Seeing a hot plate of food light up someones face is the best feeling, when you put out 150 dishes of the same things it starts to get monotonous. Four years of making the same Tortellacci de zucca I’ve had enough of that. I’ll teach you guys one day.

I always fight to learn more and more  so this recipe here kind pushes my boundaries a little.  Sounds weird tastes good.

Okay so i looked in the fridge and this is pretty much where i got going. I have always a lot of Mexican spices and herbs in my kitchen. I am in California and i am part Mexican so that makes sense to me. But as i mentioned earlier i wanted something kind of  eastern-esk but also i have to disguise the food a little because my brother in law is a bit picky

Tonight I made  Turmeric Turkey Gyro style flour tortilla wraps with cilantro, green onion, lemon “tzatziki”, basmati rice, and smashed avocado

Okay that’s a mouth full… and literally it is. Its kinda fusion I guess? Middle eastern Mexican burrito thing with turkey. But its so wonderful that i just wanted to write about it so i can remember what i made. So its pretty much ground turkey( i never buy ground turkey so this was perfect to use for it but chicken or beef or lamb i think would be nice too)  made with the spices you would see in gyro meat and Kubideh which is an Iranian ground meat dish that i love that has lots of turmeric to make it yellow and delicious, the turkey is also seasoned with garlic, and onions, cilantro, green onion, rosemary, dill, and Marjoram  which to me kinda has a tea-ish flavor. I love spices so much so i kinda just put the lot in and it came out pretty good.  Here’s what i remember of it all.

Turmeric Turkey Gyro style wraps with cilantro lemon “tzatziki”, basmati rice, &smashed avocado

Basmati Rice

Put two tablespoons of butter and two good pinches of salt in the bottom of a small pot.

Using whatever kind of measuring device you’d like put rice in at a ratio or 1 cup of rice to 1 and 1/2 cups of water.

But 1st was the rice out a couple of times to get the extra starches out and then toast the rice a little in the butter coat all the grains stirring a bit then add in the water

Bring it up to a nice boil

Pop a top on it cook rice on low for 20 minutes leave lid on for about 5 minutes then fork up

Turmeric Turkey Seasoned Meat

about 1 1/2 # of ground turkey just one of those packs you get at your market like jenni-o or whatever that is.
1/2 medium/large onion minced
2 cloves of garlic
1 small hand full of cilantro chopped fine
2 green onions chopped to the white
2-3 good pinches of salt
1/2 cup of matzo meal or you could use bread crumb (i used unsalted if you use salted adjust seasoning)
1 egg
one shake of dried Marjoram
two shakes of dill
one shake of dried rosemary
three shakes of black pepper
three/four shakes of Turmeric
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Preheat oven 375 about 20 minutes before you finish making the last sauce

place in bottom of pot oil and add onions, garlic, green onion, and cilantro sweat till onions are translucent about 5-7 minutes. then add spices into the mixture so that there’s enough turmeric that the onions turn a nice yellow color, taste and check for salt and the reminiscent flavor of the spices its supposed to be subtle not over powering. If the onions are too your liking salt wise if using unsalted matzo a little over salted if using salted bread crumb a little under salted. turn off and set aside to cool make sure veggies cool completely before you proceed so the egg doesn’t get scrambled

when that’s cooled add ground turkey, matzo, and egg and mix everything together form into balls which will be smashed into patties

If you have a grill pan I’d use one of those which is what i used or a grill outside is nice too or a pot with some oil in it make sure you spray it with some kinda non stick spray if using a grill or grill pan because there isn’t much fat in turkey.

Grill about 4-5 minutes on each smashed patty side and then take off and place in a baking dish. cover with foil and set aside

Cilantro, green onion, lemon “tzatzik”

I really liked this, My brother in law would go no where near yogurt unless its frozen with strawberry and gram cracker. Especially if it had herbs in it! So i disguised some herbs in the sour cream spread it on the bottom and he had no idea. Plus I didn’t have plain yogurt you can sub yogart it would be really good but then i’d say cut back on the lemon and red wine vinegar put a little in and taste and then add more

a little goes a long way with this sauce

about 1/2 a head of cilantro finely minced
1 green onion only green cut
1/2 a lemon zested and juiced
1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3 large spoon fulls of sour cream

put it together and adjust for salt and pepper  mix it up

Smashed avocado
2 avocados
1/2 lemon squeezed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

mash avocados

and mix everything in set it aside

so now you have all the components except I wanted shredded lettuce and some tomato also

Your going to heat up your meat by placing it in the oven for about 5-7 minutes to make sure the turkey is all the way warm and cooked through but not dry.

Oh also for the tortillas you should use your gas stove and heat them directly on the fire. that blurt flame flavor of the tortilla is perfect with this.

So what i did was i took two tortillas per sandwich cause its like a pita

spread the avocado on on then put the other tortilla on top

then put down some of the tzatzik

add a couple spoons of rice so it sticks and spread it out

then a couple pieces of the turkey on top

lettuce and just a little more tzatzik and avocado if you’d like then i topped with tomato for color

a little bit of salt and pepper on the tomato

and here you go

A sophisticated fun burrito type gyro or if you wanted to cut out the tortilla all together this is perfect over the rice with the condiments :)

I could only eat half my brother in law and sister had smaller seconds

Even if you get nothing from this but the courage to try something different sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t but you’ll never know until you… do it!

If your looking for the most authentic of foods maybe this isn’t one to try but if one day you happen to have some left over things try it out. I really liked it

Also I really like the idea of this without the turkey and with seasoned grilled eggplant , zucchini, or bell peppers. yum

Lots of variations can be made have fun!



Twitter and Foodbuzz

My Thanksgiving

I believe in over indulgence on thanksgiving and I don’t really make any excuses on this day.   The dishes on holidays are so intense. My kitchen is immaculate which is insane because it was a complete disaster all day. Lots of family lots of food…

Menu… some stuff not pictured cause I was busy… Apps- maple bacon shrimp, spinach dip, roasted red pepper pimento and scallion spread on crackers Main Dish Brown sugar and marshmallow yams, Spiced rum and orange candied pineapple yams, Mashed potatoes, Sweet sugar brined Herb roasted Turkey, Roasted carrot and Onion giblet gravy, Honey Baked Ham,Fresh Green Bean Casserole, Slow cooked spinach and Broccoli gratin, Wild Mushroom and caramelized onion rice, Herb Red wine vinegar Cucumber salad, Cranberry Jelly, Mac n Cheese and Smoked turkey and roasted giblet, zucchini, and pork Stuffing. Dessert Carrot Cake, Lemon Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta, and Pumpkin Pie

Turkey process Mid roast \