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News from the Nest, November 13

Well, Good Morning!

I truly hope that all is well in your world!

I know I can’t complain. I’ve got my 24-year-old baby boy home for a few more days before he moves into his new apartment home, a mere 3.5-hour drive from me! Well, I will offer a minor complaint in that no sooner did we get him home than he got sick and tested positive for Covid, so he’s been isolated in his room for the past week. But, he’s good now, so we have 3 more days to soak him up.

I’m busy preparing for Thanksgiving and our trip, for which we depart the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This trip has been booked since May, 2022, so a full year and a half…and I’m beyond excited; this is a bucket list item for me. We are taking a Viking River cruise from Amsterdam to Basel, stopping at Christmas markets and festivals along the way!

We stop in Dordrecht, Dusseldorf, Koblenz, Mannheim, Strasbourg, and Breisach, and then end in Basel. If you’ve visited those cities, especially at this time of the year, I’d love any recommendations! The cruise is 7 days, but we are bookending our stay with a few days in Amsterdam and Basel. All told we will be gone for 13 days.

It is a busy time of the year to be gone for two weeks, but it’s a bit of a fait accompli if you want to visit Christmas markets, n’est-ce pas?

I will surely take pictures and share them with you all!

All this to say, I’ve been busy getting all my ducks in a row…or trying to. I did get my turkey stock made and one fruitcake made. I tested a new roll recipe for Thanksgiving and a biscuit recipe for the day after Thanksgiving (neither recipe is mine). I’m always hesitant to try something new for a big meal without test-driving it first. And, I’m soaking another batch of fruit to make mini fruitcakes for friends and family.

This week, I really need to tie up a bunch of loose ends on the blog and shampoo the hallway carpet upstairs.

New on The Blog

  • Add these super easy-to-make Chocolate-Covered Almonds to your food gift list…or just make them for yourself! I have very little willpower, so don’t keep cookies in the house (except for Christmas!) But sometimes, I really just need a little teeny tiny bit of something sweet after dinner. For a while, I was indulging myself in Dark chocolate-covered walnuts and almonds from Fresh Market, but if you want to see a budget buster, look no further. I finally realized how easy they are to make, and much less expensive! I can attest that they are perfect after-dinner treats, as well as great gifts!

Holiday Baking

  • Before you begin your Holiday Baking Extravaganza, take a minute or two to review these Baking Tips for the Best Cookies. You may know many of these handy tips, but there may be a few new ones to help make your baking easier, more efficient, more enjoyable, and result in the very best baked goods!
  • This free, printable Measuring Equivalents Chart always comes in handy, but especially during the baking season and when halving, doubling, or tripling recipes. I keep a laminated one on the inside of my cabinet door and refer to it often.
Watercolor lemon with measuring equivalents
  • I’ll be making these Mini Pecan Pies this year for Thanksgiving, in addition to a full-sized apple and pumpkin pie. They freeze much better than their apple or pumpkin counterparts.
Mini Pecan Pies on a white plate.
  • Spiced Linzer Cookies with Pear Caramel Filling…let that just linger on your lips for a bit! I took a classic Linzer cookie recipe and altered it by substituting dark brown sugar for granulated sugar. Further, I added those great, warming spices of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg. These lightly spiced and slightly sweet Linzer cookies are the perfect foil for the rich and flavorful Pear Caramel Sauce.
linzer cookies in front of lights.
  • Simply put, this Amaretti cookie recipe will surely become a holiday staple in your home. Not only are they quick and easy to make, but they are almondy and yummy! Make a double recipe of these almond cookies and tuck some into gift bags to give this holiday. They aren’t a fragile cookie; they freeze and travel well!
Amaretti Cookie Recipe image
  • Another mini! Mini mincemeat tarts are just the right size to get all the taste, without all of the guilt.
Mini Mincemeat Tarts. The classic British dessert is great addition to your Christmas cookie and baking list.

More From the Kitchen

  • Fromage Fort is one of my favorite, quick appetizers to make! Not only does it use up those bits and bobs of cheese in the fridge and freezer, but it is so good. I mean, blend an assortment of cheese with a dash of wine, a grating of garlic, and a few snips of herbs and you have a delicious cheese spread. Make some freezer space before the holidays by whipping up a batch for pre-dinner appetizers!
container of Fromage Fort and spread on cracker
  • These Marinated Castelvetrano Olives are another super easy appetizer to have on hand for Holiday Entertaining. The pink peppercorns in this recipe are EVERYTHING!
Marinated olives.

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Thanksgiving Preparations

I’m all about lists. Having everything written down is how I keep semi-sane. My mom will prepare the stuffing, cranberry sauce, and stuffed celery.

Here’s my Thanksgiving Plan for the next week:

From now through Thanksgiving, we will be eating down our freezer and fridge to make room!




  • Set the table
  • Start sourdough soft rolls
  • Make horseradish sauce.
  • Make gravy ahead of time, finishing it the day of with some drippings.



  • I’m an early bird, so I will bake pies first thing in the morning.
  • I’m trying this recipe for our Prime Rib. It will free up the oven for a couple of hours.
  • Prime Rib can rest for 1-4 hours after roasting and before searing, so during that time, I will finish baking potatoes, stuffing, and rolls.
  • Steam green beans
  • Make spinach salad
  • Roast Turkey. I’ll be using my Breville Smart Oven to roast the turkey, using my regular oven for prime rib and everything else.

So, that’s my plan! Do you have your plan made? This Thanksgiving Planner can help.

Three bottles of wine with wine tags.

From the Knit Studio

Trust me when I say that these two stockings can be started and finished in a day! The bulky yarn and big needles make them a quick knit. And step-by-step instructions, written and in video form, walk you through the whole process!

  • The first Chunky Knit Stocking is a knit with a simple stocking stitch. Add pom poms to the cuff if you want, but you surely don’t need to!
  • This next knit Christmas stocking is a slight variation on a theme. A broken rib stitch and faux fur cuff add a bit more pizzazz to this pattern.
Broken Rib Stitch Stocking on Stairwell.
  • Something for those who like to ponder the many exceptions and vagaries of the English language…why is it Knit Gnomes, and not Knit Knomes or Gnit Gnomes? Hmmm…🤔. In any event, these little knit gnome ornaments are a fun little project for your Christmas tree!
Knitted Gnome in Evergreen Tree.

From the Arts + Crafts Studio

Santa's Sweet Shoppe Window
White Christmas napkins with green stamped Christmas trees and red ribbon.

A Few Fun Finds and Favorites

Let’s start with a few favorites:

  • I was beyond tickled to find these large, outdoor candles that are battery-operated AND on a timer! They bring such lovely warmth to our front door steps. The 10″ are on sale now. Here’s the 12″ version. I’ve had mine since August, burning for 6 hours every evening, and haven’t had to change the batteries yet.
  • Purchased these several weeks ago…I’m officially done with wood handle spatulas and am slowly transitioning to one-piece, silicone spatulas. And, this small size really does come in handy! I put a few in my kitchen and then the others are in my gift stash for stocking stuffers.
  • If you or someone you love adores bacon and all the ways that bacon can be used, you MUST check out my friend Eliza’s website, which is dedicated to all things BACON!

A fun find finds

Well then! That’s a WRAP, friends! I’ve got some Christmas cookie recipes I desperately to get finished so that I can share them with you, in addition to a fun appetizer and a few other ideas. That big clock in my head is ticking away and it isn’t slowing down for me!

Have a fantastic week! Hope it is everything you need it to be!


Signature of Lynn

Thanks for making my day by SHARING!!

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  1. Just finished a 7-day cruise with Viking from A to B. Do plan on warm clothes, including hats and gloves. Also, rainwear as we had a few windy, wet days. This was my first Viking River Cruise and I loved it. Too cold to enjoy the sun deck but the lounge was a great area to sit and watch the scenery. There is a lovely fabric shop in Koblenz with the sweetest fabrics. Hope you can stop there.

    1. Sandra, thanks so much for your suggestions. Did you spend any time in Basel or Amsterdam before or after? If so, any suggestions most appreciated. Have tix for Ann Frank House and Rijksmuseum. Any restaurants you loved? And what about Basel. I’ll definitely look for the fabric store in Koblenz! What excursions did you do? So many questions!

  2. we did that exact Viking cruise in July. it was AMAZING!!! You will feel so pampered! the staff was the best and the excursions were so well organized, food was superb. You will have a great time!!!! one of the best places we ate was local cuisine in Amsterdam called Stoop & Stoop. so good! The front desk staff on the boat recommended it and actually called and made the reservation for us which was very helpful. they are great at giving recommendations for restaurants. Just beware, many of us came home with COVID.

    1. Hi Gail,

      Ugh about Covid! We got the most recent vaccination several weeks ago…fingers crossed it will keep us safe. And thanks for the restaurant recommendation! I’ll book it today.

      This is our first Viking cruise, we are so excited. I’m a sponge, so welcome all suggestions!

      Hugs, Lynn

  3. Wow! Every one of your newsletters has so many wonderful things but this one is just jam packed!
    Thank you for sharing all your goodies! And have a fabulous trip.

    1. Aw Erica, thanks so much! I love that you found so much to enjoy! Truly, that’s my goal each week and it’s nice to know I hit the mark with you.

      I’m so excited about our trip! Thanks for the well wishes.

      Hugs, Lynn

  4. We’ve had our thanksgiving but now we prepare for Christmas. I made your veggie chili. Loved it but for myself i might cut the jalapeño in half and the other one. i followed everything to a T and the spices you listed are what i would use. My children will love it though. Thank you

    1. Hi Astrid,

      Thanks for the input…I will add that. I know everyone’s heat sensitivity is different, and your suggestion is a good one.

      Enjoy your Christmas preparations!

      Hugs, Lynn

  5. Envy you with your Thanksgiving prep. I hosed 18 people at my home for lots of years but my family are gone except for three nieces so the Holiday is different . Enjoy your cruise…be masked when you can. Looking forward to sharing the Fromage Fort recipe with my niece who always is entertaining
    Blessed Thanksgiving🍂🍁🍂🍁🍂🍁

    1. Good Morning, Barbs

      I do realize that my time for hosting is limited; I imagine before too long my kids are going to be establishing their homes and wanting to host. So, I’m trying to soak it up for as long as I can!

      And we will enjoy the cruise and I have a Christmas mask already! Enjoy the Fromage Fort…it is such an easy, but delicious appetizer…and it will never be the same!

      Hugs, Lynn

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