A lot of things happen after Thanksgiving. Our jeans fit way more snug. Stores basically go into competition with each other over who can offer us the biggest discount. Holiday music is now officially everywhere.
TV also takes a hiatus. All our favorite shows do this new thing called “Fall Finale” and we are left without new episodes. Cue the Hallmark Channel. It becomes the premier destination for women everywhere.
But Hallmark is no longer the only show in town. Something extra special has come to us this year via Netflix. The best part? An endless supply of Christmas Cheese and Romance are at your fingertips. You don’t have to wait around anymore to see what Hallmark is going showing us. We get to binge this entire genre without any limitations. The sky is the limit, people!
Naturally, I tasked myself with scoping out as many of these movies as I could, only so that I could give you a shortcut to the one’s that are worth your time. I know- I am a so selfless. Basically a saint.
These movies aren’t written to win awards, or tell a perfectly beautiful story that will be timeless for years to come. The actors aren’t the best in the business, but they’re all really pretty and get the job done. We have seen all of these stories before- but that is not why we watch. We watch for the perfect balance of cheesy drama and pure, unbridled, reach for the stars kind of predictable happiness.
So here it is my breakdown of the “most suggested” Christmas movies now available on Netflix. Now if anyone needs me- I am somewhere face down humming Mariah’s “All I want for Christmas is You” trying to figure out how to function out in a world that isn’t all whirlwind Christmas romances and life changing coincidence, sigh.
*movies ranked in order from least cheesy to most cheesy and give a score of 0-100 (100 being extremely cheesy, and 0 the least)
Love Actually: CLASSIC PERFECTION. (Cheese Score: 40%) Since it’s premier in 2003- this movie has defined Christmas. I don’t think there has ever been a holiday season where I don’t watch it. It is the bar setter for all other Christmas movies and the perfect opening for this list. It’s completely predictable, straightforward, awkward, corny, romantic, and has a dancing Hugh Grant. It is what all Christmas movies aspire to be. If you have never seen this list… I can’t finish this sentence. It’s impossible you have all seen this. Thank you Netflix for bringing it to us this season…
The Holiday Breakup: MOST LIKELY TO HAPPEN IRL. (Cheese Score: 62%) It moves to the top of the list for one main reason- sex. Because let’s face it- these movies never do! So we see this couple through their entire relationship and not just the first two days where they met and fall madly in love with each other. I really was expecting a bomb here, and don’t get me wrong it’s still a Christmas romcom but I dug it. Seems like you know just what will happen here- BUT it takes a twist.
Christmas Inheritance: BEEN THERE BUT LOVE IT ANYWAY. (Cheese Score: 70%) We have seen this story before, but so what. We can’t disqualify our holiday movies this way. It’s about the journey. I liked this one. I mean it was cheesy, but in all the right ways. It was a heart warmer and only lagged a little towards the end. I loved the cast, I mean it even has Andie MacDowell and a couple other recognizable faces. What’s not to love?
A Christmas Prince: Bottom line: WATCH (CHEESE SCORE 78%) Undercover reporters, family secrets, a prince charming. What else do your holiday romance dreams involve? This checks all the boxes. This movie was such a hit for Netflix last year, it probably spurred a whole new onslaught of cheese to be launched into our streaming universe. So also, Thank you A Christmas Prince, the gift that keeps on giving.
The Princess Switch: BRING ON THE CHEESE (Cheese Score 84%) It’s almost like this movie combines The Parent Trap with My Best Friend’s Wedding and A Christmas Prince. A combination like this can only result in one thing- Christmas movie magic. It’s just the right balance of cheesy and adorable to make it through and walk away happier.
The Christmas Chronicles: SANTA BABY! (CHEESE SCORE 84%) This is a different kind of movie. It isn’t romantic or cheesy. Kurt Russell can even make the role of Santa hot. It’s a heart warming story of a brother and sister bonding on Christmas while interfering in Santa’s deliveries. Great for the kids- it doesn’t blow our cover for those who are still keeping Santa alive in their home, and actually provides a solid theory for how he makes it happen on Christmas Eve.
The Holiday Calendar. OVERBOARD. (CHEESE SCORE 93%) This one was tough for me to make it through. I had to walk away a few times. It seemed too predictable and the acting (even for Christmas movie standards) was truly bad. However it did get better, and the ending was sweet.
Christmas Wedding Planner. HOLY CHEESE. (CHEESE SCORE 96%). It’s literally the Wedding Planner (think JLo) mixed a little with Rush Hour but set during Christmas and with no Matthew McConaughey or Alex Karev. Yet somehow it still worked. Kelly Rutherford brings a very upper east side Lily Van der Woodsen vibe to her role, which I always can appreciate. The plot is actually terrible, as I am thinking about it right now I realize it’s painful. However if you can overlook major character flaws and just accept the happy ending- this is for you. I know I liked it.
Christmas With a View: A PORN WITH NO RELEASE (CHEESE SCORE 110%) Oh man. I lost count of the number of times I cringed watching this movie. More than I felt comfortable with for sure. My friend said it perfectly, it was cheesy like a porno but unfortunately just never got to the porno part. Failed restauranteur, Clara, falls in love with reality star chef, Shane in the small Mountain town after about two days. However in all these movies we have that, why does it seem extra inauthentic in this movie? Terrible acting? Terrible dialogue? It’s so so hard to tell. I would say watch this movie just to try and decide for yourself. Maybe take a shot every time you have to close your eyes out of sheer disbelief.
SW 31: A Thanksgiving Survival Guide
I know what you’re thinking. Who the F is this girl to be dishing out any advice about how to host at all, let alone Thanksgiving. You aren’t totally wrong. I would think that too if I were you. You probably have yet to become privy to the fact that I love Thanksgiving. I love it so intensely and most definitely in a way that totally crossed weird years ago.
I love hosting it. It’s one of the only aspects in my life that I want to exert complete control over. The reason I give to people for hosting, I love bringing families together. The real reason: no house that we visited ever had all the food that I wanted to eat on Thanksgiving. I look forward to this food all year. As my best friend Selena says, “The heart wants what it wants.”
Ok, it’s a combination of both of these things. I love being around family, and I love good food. Thanksgiving gives me both of these things. We are all extremely blessed, and at minimum we should take a day to really express that to each other.
I was terrified the first time I was going to make a turkey. Don’t let the turkey intimidate you. They are just big chickens! Give them a little love and cook them the right amount of time and you will appear to be a master chef to your guests. Also, the way the markets sell them now, all of the “giblets” and other things are super easy to take out and very obvious. Trust me- you will be able to do it.
I’ve made many mistakes over my last 8 years of hosting my own Thanksgiving. Picked up some lessons and think that at least one of you will find at least one thing useful here. So here it is, my how to host Thanksgiving crash course.
The Turkey- Go Buy One!
Today is the Friday before our current Thanksgiving (2018). Depending on the size of your turkey, you may need to go buy it. In a really hard way- I learned turkeys need more than one day to thaw (correctly). Most stores are selling you a frozen turkey, and you need to let it thaw out in your fridge (on a cookie sheet or pan to avoid juice spilling). You need a full 24 hour of thaw time for each 4 lbs of turkey. I typically do at least a pound a person minimum and always round up about 2-3 lbs- having leftovers is the priority people! If you didn’t make a full on Thanksgiving sandwich the next day- you failed the mission.
Now for all of you who like to live on the edge (or don’t have a ton of fridge space like most of us)- there is a way to thaw it quicker. I’ve definitely done it this way multiple times, and always say a little prayer of thanks for sending us Martha Stewart. Click HERE to have Martha’s people walk you through this.
My Favorite Turkey Recipe
It can come from the one and only, Ina Garten. Not to change the subject, but do you think Ina and Martha are friends? I like to imagine them in Ina’s cottage having BLT sandwiches and Chardonnay swapping recipes…… ok sorry I’m back.
Click HERE for this recipe, it is AMAZING! It requires no extra prep time. You can literally take your turkey out, clean it, remove all the stuff, pat dry and add these ingredients and the turkey comes out delicious.
People swear by brining the turkey, sounds cool and it really does help keep the turkey juicy- but it’s not necessary at all. If you have time and like it- great, but don’t stress it.
When cooking the turkey, I like to baste it every hour. Set a timer on your phone or with Alexa. But don’t baste it right before you take it out, you need to let the skin crisp a bit.
Most Important Tip: Let the turkey REST! I once saw Chef Michael Symon (yes, I’m Chef obsessed and I groupie out on them when I meet them). Either way he gave an entire lecture on this, on The Chew (I’m rockstar cool)- let it rest covered under foil for at least 40 minutes before carving.
If you are Stuffing the Turkey Read This
The first year- I mastered my turkey. Now the second year I wanted to get fancy and make stuffing to put into my turkey. How cool am I? (if you want to unfollow me now I understand).
Important tip- whatever stuffing you are going to put into your turkey. Do not stuff the turkey with anything warm. If you put hot/warm things into your turkey’s cavity it could make everyone sick. Let it cool down, ideally make it the day before and have it completely cold before stuffing it.
Let’s Talk Sides
What constitutes a good side for Thanksgiving is very debatable. I leave it to you to pick and choose what works for your family and friends.
This year I am hosing 10 adults and 5 kids going with my favorite Mac n Cheese Recipe, Sweet Potato Casserole, Roasted Corn, Brussel Sprouts and Arroz y Frijoles (because my Abuelo demands it).
Table Top and Serveware
As much as I love cooking and getting all the food ready for Thanksgiving. I always struggle a little on setting the table. I’ve gotten much better, and I completely credit my sister-in-law as my guiding light. She is constantly showing me how to adult. While I do not come close to her flawless tabletop abilities, I have found a few tricks to make a nice table with minimal effort.
For starters the flowers. A few different things you can do
- Beautiful and Cheap: Grabbing a few beautiful flowers at the market and arranging them at home is always your cheapest bet, and will always add a little special touch.
- Gorgeous and A little more $: I’m actually not the best flower sorter. I mean, I can get the job done, but it’s aight. For events like this I typically turn to House of Lilac. She actually gives great Thanksgiving Decor Tips HERE. I will have a few of her bud vases or small arrangements delivered and put them on the table, and right off the bat my table looks much more polished. She is also making some pretty outrageous Garlands for anyone wanting to really take it up a 1000 notches.
Let’s Talk Serveware
Having collected a few solid pieces of Serveware really makes everything look more put together. I love to pick up pieces at either CB2 or Target both have a good range of items that compliment each other, and aren’t too expensive.
YOU MUST Delegate
You’re taking on a lot hosting Thanksgiving! The people coming know that and want to help you. Let your people help you. Let them bring an appetizer, a side, desert, and wine.
MOST IMPORTANT TIP: If you’re assigning wine- make sure you assign it to someone who understands the assignment and not the one who will bring the cheap gross shit that no one wants to drink.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!! Hope your family only had a little drama- you know the kind to keep you entertained but not earth shattering.
At a very young age, I fell madly and deeply in love with Mac n Cheese. I suppose I can thank Kraft for that, even though we now know that it was less Mac n Cheese and more pasta and yellow dye no 9. I digress.
This mad love affair has only grown stronger. In fact, my husband knows if we go to a restaurant with Mac n Cheese on the menu- it will be ordered. Whether it pairs well with our meal or not- ordered. I simply must know what it tastes like in every single establishment I enter. If you are wondering whether I have a running list of places with the best- the answer is obviously and perhaps I will share, one day. If you are also wondering- yes I eat my children’s Mac n Cheese at restaurants- but so do you stop lying.
It goes without saying that I would have a recipe for it. I have been perfecting it for years. I have tried different cheeses in the past, but found that keeping it simple goes a long way.
Hope you love it!
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound elbow macaroni
- 8 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk (eyeball it)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch paprika
- 3 cups grated Cheddar (1 big block plus one small block at the store)
- 2 cups grated Colby/Jack Cheddar (1 big block at the store)
- 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs (maybe more)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water. Drain well.
- Melt the remaining 7 tablespoons butter in a heavy 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour, and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, being careful not to let the flour brown. Using a whisk, add the milk in a steady stream and cook, whisking constantly, until thick and smooth, 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the salt, pepper, cayenne, and most of the cups of the cheese (reserve 1/2 cup to add to mix with breadcrumbs to top), and stir well. Add the noodles and stir well. Pour into the prepared dish.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese with the bread crumbs and Essence. Sprinkle evenly over the macaroni and bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Thanksgiving, that magical time of year when your family gathers and the only thing you do is give thanks and eat good food. I love it. My favorite holiday hands down. No fuss over presents. No having to pretend to be some mythical creature that leaves candy or surprises for the kids. Just family and food.
After having my first child, I decided I wanted to start hosting Thanksgiving at our house. Whether it was just going to be us or our families would come over, I wanted to make this our holiday. What? I really love turkey. It’s not weird, you’re weird.
There is something about roasting a turkey that is very intimidating. The idea of it used to overwhelm me. Even now when Thanksgiving comes up in conversation (obviously when I bring it up), people seem to put off from hosting Thanksgiving because the idea of roasting the turkey seems to complicated.
I am here to tell you it can be done. I turned to the person I knew could teach me the ins and outs of roasting the perfect turkey, Ina. I followed her Perfect Roast Turkey Recipe and have been making her turkey every year ever since. It is simple but tastes like you had been preparing it for weeks. I am passing it on to you, treat your bird well.
- 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 fresh turkey (10 to 12 pounds)
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large bunch fresh thyme
- 1 whole lemon, halved
- 1 Spanish onion, quartered
- 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the zest and juice of the lemon and 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves to the butter mixture. Set aside.
- Take the giblets out of the turkey and wash the turkey inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers and pat the outside dry. Place the turkey in a large roasting pan. Liberally salt and pepper the inside of the turkey cavity. Stuff the cavity with the bunch of thyme, halved lemon, quartered onion, and the garlic. Brush the outside of the turkey with the butter mixture and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the turkey.
- Roast the turkey about 2 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Remove the turkey to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil; let rest for 20 minutes.
- Slice the turkey and serve.