Earlier this week, we asked y’all to send in your favorite holiday recipes so that we could compile a LALtoday cookbook. From cocktails to sides, desserts, and turkey recipes, we’re getting a taste of your favorite traditions.
So, whether you’re looking for inspiration for your Thanksgiving Day meal, just need a dinner idea for tonight, or want to indulge in a neighbor’s concoction, check out these holidayrecipes from our local master and at-home chefs in LAL. ⬇️
Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta with Turkey Sausage and Crispy Sage Submitted by Ryan H.
Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta with Turkey Sausage and Crispy Sage | Photo by Ryan H.
Ingredients • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, cut in half, seeds removed • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter • 20-25 fresh sage leaves • 1 pound turkey sausage (from Ryan: I like to use spicy for some extra flavor) • 2 tablespoons olive oil • 1 large shallot, finely diced • 2 cloves garlic, minced • 1/2 cup white wine • 1 cup reduced or low-fat milk • 1 teaspoon salt • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper • 2 pounds of whole wheat, lentil, or chickpea pasta • Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Instructions 1. Prep the squash (wash it, peel it, cut off both ends, cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds). 2. Using a large pasta pot with a steamer basket, steam the squash pieces until they are fork-tender, about 30-35 minutes. 3. Remove the squash and puree with a food processor or blender until it is smooth. 4. Meanwhile, saute the sausage until brown and broken into bite-sized chunks. Remove the sausage from the pot and set aside. Reserve the pot and drippings for the shallots, garlic, and the next steps in the sauce making. 5. In a nonstick skillet, melt the butter, then sizzle the sage leaves on each side until crisp. Place the leaves on a paper towel-lined plate to cool. Reserve the sage butter to saute the shallot and garlic, and for adding to the sauce. 6. Saute the shallot and garlic until translucent. Add additional olive oil if needed. 7. Once the aromatics are softened, add 1/2 cup white wine and simmer until the wine is reduced by half. 8. Add the blended squash to the aromatics and stir until combined. Stir in the milk. Gently simmer the sauce until the pasta is ready, season with salt and pepper to taste. 9. Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente, reserve at least 1 cup of the pasta water, then drain. 10. Add the pasta to the sauce, along with the cup of pasta water, until the sauce reaches a silky consistency. 11. Serve with crispy sage leaves and parmesan cheese on top, and enjoy!
Ready to plan the whole meal, from sides to desserts, mains + more? Click the button below and start writing your grocery list now.
Send this recipe book to a friend or family member who may need a little assistance in the kitchen this holiday season.
Weather ○82º | Partly Cloudy | 20% chance of rain (and *probably* no chance of meatballs 🍝)
Announced ○The Florida Strawberry Festival has cancelled its concerts for 2021, due to COVID-19. Rides, concessions, games, and livestock shows will still continue. According to officials from the fest, “This year, we believe it is in the best interest of everyone, guests and entertainers, to not have patrons sitting shoulder to shoulder for an extended period of time.” (Creative Loafing)
NowOpen ○While the winter season may not begin until December – and while that still won’t really affect Floridians (except for those pesky few days) – today marks the Sunshine State’s first fully-fledged snow day. Snowcat Ridge (27839 St Joe Rd., Dade City), FL’s very first snow park, opens today. Snow angels can tube down a 60 ft. + 400 ft. long hill, take a magic carpet ride on the lift, make snowmen in the play area + sip hot cocoa at the Alpine Village. Tickets start at $34.95 + the park is planning to stay open 120 days a year, weather permitting. ❄️ (10 Tampa Bay)
Development ○Looking pretty fire already, the construction on the Lakeland Fire Department’s (LFD) new 10,000+ sq. ft. training facility(located near Lake Parker + Tiger Town) is almost complete and the complex is set to open on Jan. 4, 2021. The previous training center had been serving LFD for nearly 60 years, and the new one will include a four-story tower with live fire training capabilities, new classrooms, a covered outdoor training area, and more.
ComingSoon ○After a 50+ year hiatus, tomorrow White Castle is breaking ground on their first + only Florida location, near Disney World. Marked as the world’s largest free-standing restaurant, the building will be 4,500 sq. ft. + operations will open in 2021, bringing approximately 120 jobs to Central Florida. Sweet dreams are made of cheese (*bun* intended). 🍔 (Pulse Central Florida)
Arts ○When life gives you lemons…make sculptures. The City of Lakeland(along with cooperation from Polk Museum of Art)is now searching for sculptors to participate in the 21st Florida Outdoor Sculpture Competition. The competition is open to all artists working in North America + entries must be submitted by Dec. 31, 2020. The chosen pieces will be featured along Lemon St. for one year. You can see past works of art here. 🍋
Edu ○The main focus points for Polk County Public Schools’ (PCPS) school board members centers around funding, student test scores,and teacher shortages +ratings. PCPS targeted priorities will include a continuation of funding compression allocation for schools that are funded below FL’s average, a requirement that state scores be provided to school districts by July 31, and creating incentives for colleges to offer degrees in education. You can read more here about what the school board spoke about at a meeting that occurred earlier this week. (The Ledger)
Health ○ One more reason to kick the smoking habit: Smoking greatly increases your risk of developing breast cancer. Learn more about how to take control of your breast health with thesetips from Lakeland Regional Health. Ⓟ
Coronavirus ○ Thousands of rapid COVID-19 tests will now be accessible to not only teachers, students, and staff, but also their families, at Polk County Public Schools, as the district has received a $1 million grant from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund.Tests are free, can be administered at three different sites, and are by appointment. Private + charter schools will also receive a portion of the grant. (WFLA News Channel 8) ○ Students in Florida will be able to attend virtual school next semester, as announced by the state’s top education officials. A final plan on the matter is set to roll out after Thanksgiving. Currently, schools are still receiving the same amount of funding, regardless of enrollment changes caused by COVID-19. (Tampa Bay Times) ○ On Thursday, the Florida Department of Health announced 9,085 new cases of COVID-19 and81 additional deaths in Florida. That brings the total number of cases in FL of COVID-19 to X914,333 the total deaths to 18,030. ○ You can find more updates concerning COVID-19 case numbers on the Florida Department of Health dashboard. See Lakeland + Polk numbers here.
Asked ○ Because once the turkey’s gone… the holiday shopping is on. If you’re a local biz, we want to know: What deals are you offering this Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Let us know here for a chance to be included in an upcoming newsletter. 🛍️
Click the button below for local resources regarding the coronavirus.
CSA = Community Shared Agriculture. This means that participants buy a farm share, for a full or half-season, which they pick up produce + products.
And kicking off the season, Seventh Generation Florida Farmer Will Crum – whose farm is located in Lakeland – has reignited the 2020/2021 CSA program. The cost is $25(per week, on a subscription basis) + participants will receive about seven items (like microgreens, sunflowers, mangos, okra, eggplant, etc.) in a share.
Bonus: Lakeland residents can choose delivery options for Nov. + Dec.
#DYK that your photo could be featured in our newsletter? Just use #LALtoday on social media.
Family ○ 2nd Annual Holiday Tree Decorating Contest | Fri., Nov. 20 | 9 a.m.-5 p.m. | RP Funding Center, 701 W. Lime St. | Free | Take the family on a trip to this event with a storytime, coloring station, reindeer food station, photos with Santa + more. 🎄
TryThis ○ 80s Costume Party | Fri., Nov. 20 | 10 p.m.-2 a.m. | Jade Fox, 3010 Lakeland Highlands Rd. | Prices Vary | Step back in time and slip on those acid wash jeans for this #FBF event. 🌌
FeaturedEvent ○ Kettle Kick-Off at Lakeside Village| Fri., Nov. 20 | 6-7 p.m.| 1479 Town Center Drive | Free | Head out to Lakeside Village as they turn on their Christmas Tree with The Salvation Army Lakeland for their annual Kettle Kick-off. Ⓟ
Saturday | November 21 ○ Free Photos with Santa| Sat., Nov. 21 | 12-4 p.m. | Lakeside Village, 1479 Town Center Dr. | Free, RSVP | Gather the family and get a memorable snapshot with Mr. and Mrs. Claus in a living room-themed set. 🎅 ○ A Christmas Carol| Sat., Nov. 21 | 7:30 p.m. | Virtual | Free | Watch a performance of this classic by Charles Dickens, adapted for the stage by FSC. ○ Bartow Holiday Friday Fest| Sat., Nov. 21 | 6-9 p.m. | Downtown Bartow, 165 E. Main Street | Free | Kick off the holiday season at this event, launching the downtown holiday lights with food, vendors, Santa, cars, and performances from Bartow High School students. 🎄
Sunday | November 22 ○Vicky Verde Brunch | Sun., Nov. 22 | 10 a.m.-1 p.m. | Catapult Lakeland, 502 E. Main St. | Prices vary | #MustTry: a Blood Orange Poppy Seed Muffin + the Coconut Dragon Fruit Chia Seed Pudding. 🍊 ○Community Interfaith Thanksgiving Service| Sun., Nov. 22 | 4-5 p.m. | Virtual | Free | The service will be attended by Sheriff Grady Judd, who will offer a welcoming remark, along with Mayor Bill Mutz. ○ 9th Annual Chili Cook-off| Sun., Nov. 22 | 5:30 p.m. | Parkway Baptist Church, 4210 Lakeland Highlands Rd. | Free | Bring your own chili recipe and compete for a grand prize, or chow down on hot dogs, fixings for chili, and drinks. 🌶️
Disclaimer: It is up to readers’ discretion to determine whether they feel comfortable participating in any mentioned events based on COVID-19 protocols and precautions. If you have questions, please contact the event’s organizers directly.
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Bombas are a heart-warming (and foot-warming) gift that aren’t just socks – they’re the gift of comfort, care + kindness. Get 20% off everything from now until Dec. 2 when you shop the sale. Ⓟ
☕ Sip, sip, hooray – it’s Friday (Friday🎶). And if you’re not feeling a #FBF from Rebecca Black, then celebrate the weekend with a cup of Campfire Cold Brew(smoked chicory coffee) with honey-soaked boba. Local creative maker Robyn Wilson is selling the blend for one-day-only at the Winter Haven Farmers Marketthis Saturday to celebrate the launch of Farmer Will’s special organic coffee blend(roasted by Ethos Roasters).
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