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How to cook the perfect Thanksgiving turkey

Many of you know that my daughter is vegan and that we both have food sensitivities, so we often modify Thanksgiving dishes to create new main dishes. But, there is nothing quite like a well-roasted turkey on the table. “The Pioneer Woman” has always been one of my favorite chefs to follow because she offers easy-to-follow recipes that are delicious.

The biggest secret in making the perfect turkey is planning. Make sure that you have enough turkey for everyone, plus leftovers. And, leave plenty of time to thaw and brine the turkey before roasting it.

Read the full recipe here.

Cyndee Woolley, C2 Communications, The SWFL 100

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Phoenix Pizza Festival this weekend

Any way you slice it, pizza lovers will want to make tracks downtown for the city’s 8th Annual Pizza Festival happening Nov. 11-12.

A slew of vendors will be onsite, slinging everything from Cheezy’s Wood Fired Pizza pies to Floridino’s Pizza Muffins and a myriad of variations in between – including vegan (from Lou Malnatis and Plant Fire Pizza) and gluten-free (Mi Amore and Pizza Arno) options.

Live music, lawn games and kids’ activities (plus local brews from Pedal Haus Brewery and Huss Brewing Company) will complement the food-related fun on tap for Margaret T. Hance Park.

Advance ticket purchase required.

– Hannah Van Sickle, The Arizona 100

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Arizona Restaurant Week coming soon

Keen on a ten-day tasting tour of the region’s best chefs? Mark your calendars for Arizona Restaurant Week – dubbed “the most edible time of the year” – when eateries from Flagstaff to Tucson boast three-course, prix-fixe dinners for $33, $44 or $55 per person/couple as advertised.

Locals and visitors alike can channel their inner foodie by dining (or placing a to-go order) at one of more than 50 restaurants between Sept. 8-17.

From BISUTORO Sushi and Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails to Caracara and Indian Delhi Palace, there is literally something for every palate.

Reservations suggested but not required. Bon appétit!

– Hannah Van Sickle, The Arizona 100

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‘Girl Dinner’ trend goes viral

The latest trend, “Girl Dinner,” is filling Instagram and TikTok feeds everywhere as women are taking to the internet to share this collective experience.

“Girl Dinner” refers to random concoctions women put together for evening meals. Some women may have a traditional meal, but for others, it may just be whatever snack that sounds good that evening. For example, some women may consider a charcuterie board their dinner while others consider ice cream and pickles suitable dinner fare.

The beauty of this trend is that there are no rules. So, take it from the ladies and enjoy the snack plates.

Ashley Goodrich, 360 Media, Inc., The Atlanta 100

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Celebrate Mother’s Day at these decadent Phoenix brunches

Treat mom to a day she won’t soon forget at these delightful brunch destinations:

Cala Scottsdale (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) – Enjoy a Mother’s Day brunch Sunday featuring dishes like coriander crusted ahi tuna salad and bottomless mimosas.

elements (10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.) – Treat mom to an unforgettable three-course prix fixe menu that starts with an amuse bouche of brioche crostini with whipped brie, strawberries and pistachios.

MATCH Market & Bar (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) – Dog moms will enjoy a specialty brunch menu with complimentary actifivities for their four-legged children, including dog yoga, painting sessions and tarot card readings.

– Margaret Willard, The 100 Companies

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Celebrate Black businesses at Soul food Wednesdays

Tucson’s “Soul Food Wednesdays” series showcases incredible eats from Black-owned merchants, eateries and food trucks on the last Wednesday of the month. Presented by Blax Friday, a community organization that spotlights Black businesses in Arizona, this multicultural celebration brings together 26 local small businesses .

The October experience takes place next Wednesday, Oct. 26 from 7-10 p.m. at the MSA Annex – an extension of the Westside public market, Mercado San Agustín (MSA), along the Avenida Del Convento.

From vegan burgers to cocktails on tap (yes, you read that correctly), there’s something for everyone at this destination food tasting that’s not-to-be missed.

– Hannah Van Sickle, The Arizona 100

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Something boozy for the Fourth of July

What better way to enjoy fireworks on the Fourth of July than some red white and blue cocktails? Here is an easy to follow Jell-O Independence Day Shots recipe:

• Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Prepare three mixes: blue Jell-O, unflavored gelatin and strawberry gelatin. 

• Add vodka into the blue Jell-O mix, stir and cool. Pour in the shot glass, then chill.

• Add sweetened condensed milk into the unflavored gelatin mix, stir and cool. Pour above the blue layer then chill.

• Add the vodka into the strawberry gelatin mix, stir and cool. Pour above the blue layer then chill. 

And voila!

C2 Communications, The Southwest Florida 100

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Perfect summer cocktails

Your summer getaway is not complete without the perfect summer cocktail. Here are some sweet and sparkly drinks to help you keep cool:

• Aperol Spritz: This Italian classic cocktail that has been reinvented and offers a mix of citrus, bitter, sweet, herbal and bubbly goodness.

• Gin Basil Smash: A sip of summer packed in a light and herbaceous cocktail mix of gin and basil, which reminds you of fresh summer air.

• Strawberry Daiquiri: This drink gives you all that berry goodness, sweet and lush flavor with a hint of rum.

For more cocktail ideas this summer, check this link.

– Jovana Cresta Duhaylungsod, The Southwest Florida 100

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Refreshing Mother’s Day brunch cocktails

Are you hosting brunch to celebrate the special women in your life? Spice up your menu with one of these unique and refreshing cocktails:

• Mimosa Granita – Mix fresh orange juice, champagne, sugar, water and ice. If you swap the champagne with vodka, it becomes Frozen Screw Driver Granita.

Sangria Dole Whip – Heat blackberries, water and sugar. Cool the mixture. Blend with red wine and juices until smooth. You can also use your ice cream maker!

Fleur de Paradis – Mix gin, elderflower liqueur, juice, syrup, orange bitters and ice in a shaker until well-chilled. Top with champagne and garnish.

Jovana Cresta Duhaylungsod, The Southwest Florida 100

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Inspiration for your air fryer (or to buy one)

Summertime is well on its way, which means it’s time to spice up the menu with a few delicious recipes using your air fryer.

The capabilities of an air fryer can be underestimated, but it’s debatably one of the most innovative kitchen appliances on the market. As a healthier alternative to deep-frying your food, air frying allows you to lower your fat intake, cut back on the calories and much more – all while creating dishes that are just as tasty.

If you have one (or if you’re on the fence about getting one), check out these recipes for some inspiration.

Trey Adams, The Pittsburgh 100