12 Small Yet Special Roasts for Your Holiday Meal

The holiday season is a time for warmth, togetherness, and indulgent feasts. But what if your gathering this year is a bit more intimate, with a smaller group of cherished loved ones? Fear not, for this curated list of delightful selections of small roasts that are bound to steal the show at your holiday table. From succulent beef tenderloin to savory turkey thighs, these dishes offer a grand presentation and exquisite flavors without overwhelming your gathering. Let’s dive into these top 8 small yet special roasts for your holiday meal, courtesy of Martha Stewart’s recipe blog.

  1. Beef Tenderloin, Wrapped in Potatoes

These roasts aren’t just a feast for the taste buds; it’s a visual spectacle as well. Imagine a small cut of beef tenderloin enrobed in par-cooked russet potatoes, crisping up beautifully in the oven. The result? A culinary masterpiece that’s as beautiful as it is delicious. Don’t worry about leftovers; they make for the most delectable sandwiches the next day.

  1. Stuffed Apricot Jam Turkey Breast

If you’re looking for a hassle-free stuffed turkey recipe, this one’s a winner. No trussing required! It involves a deeply savory stuffing crafted with sausage, sage, lemon zest, and a hint of apricot jam, all tucked snugly beneath the turkey’s skin. This dish will leave your guests in awe.

  1. Portobello Gratin Mushrooms

For a vegetarian delight, these individual Portobello mushroom gratins are the way to go. The earthy mushroom caps serve as the perfect vessel for a creamy, cheesy gratin filling. This dish is not just a feast for the eyes but also a delightful treat for your non-meat-eating guests.

  1. Roasted Chicken Breasts With Grape Stuffing

Roast chicken is a classic, but this recipe takes it up a notch. Split chicken breasts are browned to perfection and set atop a rustic stuffing made with torn ciabatta bread and sweet, juicy grapes. The result is a delightful melding of flavors and a stuffing that’s crispy on the surface.

  1. Delectable Apple-Braised Turkey Thighs

The months of November and December come alive in this recipe. Turkey thighs are lovingly braised in a flavorful mixture of apple cider, cider vinegar, fresh apples, and shallots. The result? A dish with layers of savory depth that embodies the essence of the holiday season.

  1. Roasted Chicken, Covering Lemons and Onions

This ultimate roast chicken recipe is a game-changer. Forget the stuffing; this recipe focuses on roasting the bird to perfection, achieving a crispy brown skin and juicy meat. The secret? Salting the chicken ahead of time and roasting it on a sheet pan over a bed of sliced lemons and onions, which you can enjoy along with the chicken.

  1. Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Green Herb Sauce

For a show-stopping centerpiece that’s also vegan or vegetarian-friendly, look no further than a whole-roasted cauliflower. Paired with a vibrant herb sauce, this dish not only impresses but also complements your holiday meal beautifully. Consider serving it alongside a vegan mushroom-leek stuffing for the ultimate plant-based feast.

  1. Pork Tenderloin with Sage and Garlic Crust

When your holiday gathering is more intimate, this petite pork tenderloin is the perfect choice. Coated with aromatic garlic and sage, it delivers exceptional flavor and is ready in just 40 minutes. A splendid option when you’re aiming for a smaller roast without compromising on taste.

A smaller gathering doesn’t mean you have to skimp on flavor or presentation. These 8 small yet special roasts are the epitome of holiday indulgence, offering a range of flavors and styles to suit your taste and your party size. Whether you opt for the potato-wrapped beef tenderloin, the savory stuffed turkey breast, or the vegan-friendly whole roasted cauliflower, your holiday meal is sure to be a memorable feast.

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Experience the Hidden Charms of Jackson Hole, Wyoming in the Fall

When we hear the term “off-season,” it often conjures images of deserted destinations, closed businesses, and unfavorable weather conditions. There are places where the off-season months hold a well-kept secret: they are actually the best times to visit. Jackson Hole, Wyoming is one such gem, as per this Travel + Leisure  article. While summer and winter usually steal the spotlight, the fall season in Jackson Hole offers an array of advantages, including wildlife encounters, outdoor adventures, budget-friendly options, and a reprieve from the crowds.

One of the most thrilling aspects of visiting in the fall is the wildlife. Taryn Shackleton, the chef concierge at the Four Seasons Jackson Hole Resort and Residences, notes, “Generally, visitors are shocked at how active and alive the valley can seem, as animals prepare for the long winter ahead.” This is the prime time for wildlife spotting, with opportunities to see moose, grizzly bears, wolves, and the famous elk. The rutting season of the elk, characterized by their distinctive bugling, occurs in September and October.

If you want to enhance your chances of spotting wildlife, consider booking a tour with experienced guides such as Jackson Hole Eco Tour Wildlife Adventures, which offers fall tours of Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone. For a truly extraordinary experience, guests at the Four Seasons can choose the American Serengeti adventure, which involves viewing the fall colors from a private jet as you make your way to Northern Yellowstone, witnessing herds of elk and moose migrating below.

The town is also a paradise for fly fishing enthusiasts. Floating down the Snake River, surrounded by the majestic Tetons and the picturesque valley, is an experience like no other. ” The Snake River Cutthroat Trout, a true native species found only in this region, awaits eager anglers.

While the summer months are filled with activities, the fall is a perfect time to unwind. With the Astoria Hot Springs and rejuvenating spa treatments available at Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa and The Spa at Four Seasons Resort, relaxation is a top priority during the off-season.

Now that you’re enticed by the allure in the fall, it’s time to plan your Western getaway. Here are some of the best things to do during this off-season:

Wildlife Safaris: Witnessing the diverse wildlife in the fall is an extraordinary experience. From moose to grizzly bears, wolves to elk, you’ll have ample opportunities for wildlife spotting. Elk’s rutting season, marked by their bugling calls, is a unique spectacle. Enhance your chances by joining guided tours with experts like Jackson Hole Eco Tour Wildlife Adventures.

Fly Fishing: Float down the Snake River, surrounded by the Tetons, and enjoy some of the best trout fishing in the country. Fall is the prime time to catch Snake River Cutthroat Trout, a native species that returns to the larger river after spawning in tributaries.

Spa and Relaxation: Take a break from the summer’s frenetic pace and indulge in relaxation at the Astoria Hot Springs or with curated spa treatments at Teton Mountain Lodge and Spa or The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Jackson Hole.

In summary, Jackson Hole in the fall is a well-kept secret that promises a unique and unforgettable travel experience. With wildlife safaris, fly fishing, and relaxation opportunities, this off-season destination has much to offer. So, pack your bags and discover the hidden charms of Jackson Hole this autumn.

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Unlocking the Secrets of Toronto

What makes a city truly great? Toronto, the largest and most diverse city in Canada, has a simple answer – diversity. With a population of 2.9 million residents representing over 250 ethnic groups and speaking more than 180 languages, Toronto proudly bears the motto “Diversity, Our Strength,” according to this travel blog article from Travel and Leisure. This incredible cultural mosaic has transformed the city, making it a vibrant, dynamic, and complex place that’s a must-visit for travelers seeking unique experiences.

In recent years, Toronto has experienced a transformation that has elevated its character and global reputation. The city has become a hub of creativity, innovation, and cultural prominence. From internationally acclaimed musicians like Drake and The Weeknd to unforgettable sports moments, such as the Toronto Raptors winning the 2019 NBA Championship, Toronto’s cool factor has skyrocketed. It’s a city with a newfound sense of self-confidence and identity.

But this shift isn’t just about pop culture and sports; it’s a sign of maturity driven by economic, intellectual, and educational development. Toronto is often referred to as the “Silicon Valley of the North” due to its growing technology industry and “Hollywood North” because of its thriving film and TV sector. The city’s food and beverage scene is also experiencing a renaissance, with local chefs and business owners drawing inspiration from the multicultural tapestry that surrounds them.

The Best Times to Explore Toronto

The best time to experience Toronto’s magic is during the warmer months, from late spring to mid-autumn. While winters can be cold, there are still plenty of indoor attractions to explore if you decide to visit during that season. In the spring and summer, Toronto comes alive with numerous festivals, events, and performances. Highlights include the Beaches International Jazz Festival, Toronto Caribbean Carnival (Caribana), Luminato, Toronto International Film Festival, and various delightful neighborhood events.

Winter activities are equally abundant in Toronto, with events like the Toronto Christmas Market, Toronto Light Festival, Winterlicious, and outdoor ice-skating in public spaces like The Bentway. This season is also an excellent time to visit the city’s world-class museums and galleries, which offer a range of indoor programs and activities for all ages.

Exploring Toronto’s Landmarks and Attractions

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO): The AGO is one of the largest art museums in North America, housing an impressive collection of 95,000 works. From classic masterpieces to contemporary sculptures, this museum is always on the cutting edge, making it a must-visit. Don’t miss the Infinity Mirrored Room by Yayoi Kusama.

Casa Loma: This mansion, built in 1914, is a heritage landmark that captures the richness and romanticism of Toronto’s history. Explore three floors filled with elegant European décor, historical artifacts, a classic car collection, and stunning gardens.

CN Tower: The iconic CN Tower offers a 360° birds’ eye view of the city. Daredevils can experience the EdgeWalk, strolling around the Tower’s main pod 1168 feet above ground.

Fort York National Historic Site: Known as the birthplace of Toronto, Fort York played a crucial role during the War of 1812. Visitors can explore the grounds year-round, witness cannon firings, and enjoy stunning views of the city skyline.

Toronto is a city with a rich and diverse cultural landscape, offering a multitude of experiences for travelers. From its world-class museums to vibrant street art, iconic landmarks, and a flourishing culinary scene, there’s something for every type of explorer. Whether you visit during the warmer months or embrace the winter chill, Toronto welcomes you with open arms. Prepare to be captivated by the magic of this extraordinary Canadian city.

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Nicholls’ Educational Pioneers at the 2023 International Coastal Cleanup

In a resounding demonstration of environmental dedication, the Nicholls Department of Biological Sciences recently made waves at the 2023 International Coastal Cleanup. This event, conducted in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP), was hosted at Elmer’s Island Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, September 16. According to this informative news release from Nicholls, the results were nothing short of astounding, with the collective effort of 109 volunteers resulting in the removal of over 1,046 pounds of trash and debris, all from a mere 2-mile stretch of Elmer’s Island.

The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is a global volunteer initiative orchestrated by the Ocean Conservancy. Annually, this event unites countless participants worldwide in a mission to eradicate millions of pounds of waste and debris from our waterways, thus enhancing the safety of our beaches for both humans and wildlife. The magnitude of the challenge demands a massive collective effort, making volunteers an indispensable force in addressing the global issue of marine debris. Dr. Ferrara, a distinguished service professor and Jerry Ledet endowed professor of environmental biology at Nicholls, expressed their commitment to the ICC, emphasizing their delight in collaborating with numerous volunteers and local partners like BTNEP and LDWF to cleanse Elmer’s Island.

The cleanup effort on Elmer’s Island yielded impressive results, with the top 10 items removed reflecting the pressing concerns of coastal pollution. Plastic bottle caps, beverage bottles, utensils, bags, fishing lines, nets, traps, rope, food wrappers, foam cups and plates, and various other waste materials, including metal, paper, and plastic, were among the items retrieved during this cleanup. The diversity of these discarded items serves as a stark reminder of the multi-faceted challenges we face in protecting our coastal ecosystems.

What’s even more remarkable is the long-term impact of these cleanups. Each of the volunteers who participated in this year’s ICC event played a vital role in advancing Nicholls’ standing as Louisiana’s Coastal University. Situated uniquely amid the coastal landscapes, Nicholls has a golden opportunity to serve as a hub for research, education, and outreach in the field of coastal and estuarine efforts. The university’s commitment to its coastal environment extends far beyond this annual event. Through various academic programs and initiatives, students are offered a wide array of options to prepare themselves for careers in environmental stewardship and conservation.

Nicholls’ biology department, in particular, provides a comprehensive educational experience that equips students for future employment or further studies in professional schools. It’s an institution where students have the chance to explore the enchanting coastal waterways and swamps of Louisiana while gaining hands-on experience with state-of-the-art scientific equipment for investigating the intricate molecular mechanisms of cell biology. With 11 concentration areas to choose from, students can tailor their education to match their unique career aspirations.

But what’s truly inspiring is how Nicholls’ commitment to the environment transcends textbooks and lecture halls. It spills over into the real world, where students and faculty alike actively participate in events like the International Coastal Cleanup, making a tangible difference in the fight against coastal pollution.

In conclusion, the 2023 International Coastal Cleanup at Elmer’s Island was an exceptional display of Nicholls University’s dedication to environmental conservation. Through collaborative efforts, they not only removed over 1,000 pounds of trash but also inspired a new generation of environmentally conscious individuals. Nicholls’ Department of Biological Sciences stands as a shining example of how academic institutions can make a real-world impact on the preservation of our planet. As the 2024 cleanup approaches, we can only anticipate even greater accomplishments in the ongoing battle to keep our coastlines clean and safe.

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Rougarou Fest Unleashed Howls of Fun, Hot Air Balloons, and Trick-or-Treating

Houma, Louisiana recently witnessed a howling good time as the 12th annual Rougarou Fest took center stage, offering a captivating blend of tricks, treats, and high-flying adventure. The festival spanned an entire weekend, captivating attendees from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon. This enchanting event unfolded in the vicinity of the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center, The Courtyard Marriot, and the Terrebonne Parish Library Main Branch. According to this article from Houma Today, Rougarou Fest is a unique celebration that has become a hallmark of the Houma community and a key fundraiser for the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center.

The notion of a howl-off, a contest where participants unleash their most spine-tingling howls, was sparked by the festival’s poster art, according to Jonathan Foret, the festival’s founder. He revealed, “The Rougarou howling is sort of the inspiration of, ‘Let’s do a howling contest.’ I can’t believe it took me 12 years to come to that one.” The howl-off took place on Friday evening at 8 p.m., with participants vying for the coveted first, second, and third-place titles in both the adult and children’s categories, each receiving a prestigious medal.

Adding to the festive ambiance, trick-or-treating was scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday, offering kids a chance to don their spookiest costumes and collect delectable goodies. But that’s not all. The event also promised an exhilarating adventure with hot air balloon rides available on both Friday and Saturday, running from 5 to 9 p.m. on both days. The festival’s diverse array of events and their respective timings can be found in detail on the official Rougarou Fest website, offering visitors a comprehensive schedule to plan their visit accordingly.

Rougarou Fest began its journey in 2012, serving as the primary annual fundraiser for the South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center in Houma. Named after the legendary bayou werewolf, the festival is an ode to the rich folklore that thrives along the bayous of Southeast Louisiana. Over the years, it has evolved into a grand celebration, featuring a mesmerizing parade, a highly competitive costume contest, Cajun culinary delights, and enlightening discussions on local folklore, all accompanied by fascinating exhibits.

The South Louisiana Wetlands Discovery Center, the beneficiary of the festival’s proceeds, is a non-profit organization dedicated to revolutionizing how we perceive, educate, and learn about the disappearing coastal regions of Louisiana. It stands as a testament to the collective efforts of the community to conserve and protect these precious wetlands.

Rougarou Fest’s outstanding contributions to the local culture and its commitment to environmental awareness have earned it recognition on various platforms. In 2014, USA Today ranked it as one of the Top 10 Costume Parties in the United States. In 2015 and 2019, the Southeast Tourism Society acknowledged it as one of the Top 20 Events among 11 states for the month of October. Further, the festival received the title of Best New Event in the state of Louisiana in 2015, as awarded by the Louisiana Association of Fairs and Festivals. And most recently, in 2020 and 2023, the Louisiana Travel Association bestowed upon it the esteemed honor of being the Festival of the Year.

In summary, Rougarou Fest is an enchanting celebration that brings the vibrant folklore of Louisiana’s bayous to life. With thrilling howl-offs, hot air balloon rides, and delightful trick-or-treating, this event is a true testament to the region’s cultural richness and its dedication to preserving the invaluable wetlands. It’s no wonder that Rougarou Fest has garnered accolades and has become a beloved tradition in the hearts of the Houma community.

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The Classic Sunchoke & Sweet Potato Gratin Recipe

Sunchoke & Sweet Potato Gratin is a wholesome and flavorful dish that combines the earthy taste of sunchokes with the sweet richness of sweet potatoes. The creamy cashew sauce, fragrant herbs, and crispy breadcrumb topping create a symphony of flavors and textures that’s hard to resist. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, this recipe from Food52 is a must-try. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also a fantastic way to incorporate nutritious vegetables into your diet.

Ingredients for the Cashew Cream:

Ingredients for the Gratin:


  1. Begin by preparing the cashew cream. Combine the cashews with ½ cup of water in an airtight container and let them soak overnight in the refrigerator.
  2. After soaking, drain the cashews and blend them with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, 8 tablespoons of water, salt, and pepper until you achieve a smooth consistency. Store the cashew cream in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  3. Preheat your oven to 425°F. In a small bowl, combine the bouillon with 1 teaspoon of water to create a slightly thick paste. In a large bowl, mix the sunchokes, sweet potato, 2 ½ tablespoons of olive oil, garlic, shallot, sage, rosemary, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Make sure the vegetables are well-coated.
  4. Grease an 11-inch ceramic baking dish or a 1-quart ceramic round gratin dish. Start layering the sunchokes and sweet potato slices, alternating them with slight overlap. Brush each layer with the bouillon glaze. Continue layering until all slices are used, then pour the cashew cream over the top. Sprinkle evenly with breadcrumbs, drizzle with the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and nutritional yeast if desired.
  5. Cover the dish with a lid or foil and bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Turn on the broil setting and broil for an additional 5 minutes, or until the topping turns golden brown. Allow the gratin to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy it while it’s warm.

Variations to Elevate Your Sunchoke & Sweet Potato Gratin

Now that you’ve mastered the classic Sunchoke & Sweet Potato Gratin recipe, let’s explore ten creative variations to impress your guests or simply add some variety to your meals. These ideas will not only make your taste buds happy but also encourage you to experiment with different ingredients and flavors. Here are five enticing variations to try:

  1. Cheesy Delight: Add a layer of your favorite cheese, such as Gruyère or cheddar, between the slices of sunchokes and sweet potatoes for an ooey-gooey gratin.
  2. Mediterranean Twist: Incorporate flavors of the Mediterranean by adding Kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and crumbled feta cheese to the gratin.
  3. Pesto Paradise: Replace the cashew cream with a basil pesto sauce for a fresh and herby twist on this classic dish.
  4. Vegan Dream: Make this dish entirely vegan by omitting the nutritional yeast or using a dairy-free cheese alternative.

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