Thanksgiving in a “Ball”

by DanicasDaily on November 15, 2010

Happy Monday all! Today has been such a busy, but, FUN day for a Monday.  I started off with a dirty latte, then, PHENOMENAL FOOD at Rutherford’s Grill, a “little” tasting at Mumm and finished with a delicious new recipe ~ Turkey Cranberry Meatballs in an Apricot Merlot Glaze or what I am calling, Thanksgiving in a ball!

P.S. On days like today, points just can’t count. ~ so glad they are far and few between 😉

This morning, I only had “dirty” thoughts when I woke up 😉 Ha, get your minds out of the gutter…you all should know me by now, I am talking about this beauty.

~ Grande, Fat Free, Decaf, 1 Pump Mocha = Dirty Latte!

Dirty Latte

I didn’t really eat anything else for breakfast because I knew we were taking an early lunch and going to Rutherford’s Grill.  I have heard so many amazing things about this place and I couldn’t wait to try it.  Just check out THEIR MENU and you will see what I mean.

Rutherford Grill

I have no shame…I totally played “tourist” and snapped away 😉


I bet their fire pit looks awesome a night.

Fire Pit

Our fall weather has been so warm (in the 80’s) and today was no exception ~ I LOVE how they have seating outdoors right across from the vineyards.

Outdoor Seating

Harvest Tea that they make ~ it had hints of apple, but, really I am not sure what was in there at all.  It was delicious and not sweet.

Iced Tea

I think the ONLY way to test out new places to eat is to order up and share.  So glad my co-workers agreed since we picked 3 appetizers and 3 entress 😀

Spinach Artichoke Dip ~ Parmesan like and well it has spinach so it’s healthy, right? I kid 😀

Spinach Artichoke Dip

“Hacked” Chicken Salad ~ Julienned jicama, arugula, local greens, cilantro,
And rotisserie chicken with honey-lime vinaigrette and peanut sauce.

Hacker Salad

I have to say I LOVED all the different texgtures, crunchy, chewy, salty, sweet with hints of curry and herbs.  By far one of the BEST salads I’ve ever had in Napa and I’d totally come back just for this alone….

Chinese Chicken Salad


The BEST corn bread you will ever eat!Skillete Corn Bread

Warm, cheesy, buttery, crunchy, crispy, melt in your mouth with hints of green chiles good!

Green Chili Cheese Corn Bread

I definitely need to work on re-creating that corn bread ~ I cannot even begin to describe to you all how good it is!

My plate with salad & bread x’s 2.


Entree # 1 I never made it around to trying ~ Rotisserie Chicken Sandwich.

Rotisserie Chicken Sandwich

Banger’s and Mash ~ Local Made Sausages (think chicken/apple and Italian) with spicy mustard and herbed mashed potatoes.

Can I just say they were “bangin’”?! LOL  I have 1/3 of each sausage and like all the potatoes.

Bangers & MashHerbed Mashed Potatoes

Entree #3 ~ Their take on a veggie burger!  It was delicious and I could totally eat just the patty alone.  It had brown rice, black beans, cranberries, herbs and more.  I managed 1/3 of this before I had no more room.

Cranberry Black Bean Veggie Burger

After eating wayyyyy too much food, we had to stop at Mumm for a tasting and to pick out the Champagne for our holiday party.

Mumm Napa

Their winery and views are BEAUTIFUL and I honestly LOVE all the fall colors coming out in the grape leaves.  I had to resist stopping on our drive over and snapping pictures like every 5 seconds.

Vineyards PathVineyards Walk WayFall ColorsFlowersWooden BenchesChampagne Glasses

You have the option of doing your tasting in 1 of 3 rooms, including outdoor on the patio overlooking the vineyard.

Mumm Outdoor Seating

I already thought I LOVED Mumm because of their 2 for 1, but, I found out I could LOVE them even more when they decided to give us an industry discount on the champagne for our holiday party.  I think it’s awesome when other businesses support local businesses.

2 for 1 Mumm

They have a formal menu, but, the tasters really listen to what you like/don’t like and bring out several different options for you to try.

I also learned so much about how Champagne is made and things that are important like:

* the smaller the bubble the smaller the headache

* the sweeter the champagne, the bigger the headache

Mumm Champagne Tasting Menu

They give you these delicious light buttery crackers to “cleanse” your pallet in between tastes.

"wine" crackers

The first selection they brought out was made by/for Carlos Santana.  I really WANTED to like it because he actually comes out to taste it/determine how sweet the champagne should be, but, in the end, Carlos didn’t win our hearts.

Santana Champage

D.V.X Blends

DVX Champagne

I LOVED the little mini champagne decor.

Mini Champagne Glass



Did you all know there is actually RED Champagne using Red Wine Grapes?! I had no clue, but, I totally wanted to pick this one for color alone 😉

Sparkling Red Champagne

So many options…..

Champagne Tasting

So little time 😉

Mumm Tasting Room

Another “bathroom” shot.  You know, I had a full on conversation with my co-worker that places like to put quotes in the bathroom just so people like me will take pictures of them 😉 LOL….I know I am NOT the only one 😀

Bette Davis Champagne Quote

It was such a fun way to spend the afternoon, but, I was pretty much NOT hungry the rest of the day.  That actually worked out perfectly because I had to whip up an appetizer for tonight’s Better for you Holiday ~ Taste and Tweet. I can’t take all the credit for this idea though, it’s simply a spin on this recipe with what I had on hand and a few flavor additions.

These tasty little meatballs turned out even better than I envisioned.  They are perfect as an appetizer or an an entree.  You can definitely taste the fresh thyme, the seasoned bread crumbs, cranberries, Apricot and Merlots.  The flavor combination tastes just like you’ve scooped up a little stuffing, cranberry sauce and turkey all in one bite!


Thanksgiving in a "ball"


3 Tbsp. Butter or Margarine like, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!, divided

1/2 cup onion, finely chopped

1 large celery stalk, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 lb. extra lean ground turkey

1 large egg

1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs (or make your own)

1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped

1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 cup organic fruit only apricot preserves

2 Tbsp Merlot (something you’d drink)

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Additional thyme, cranberries and flaked sea salt as toppers, optional


1.  Melt 2 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook onion, celery and garlic, stirring frequently, 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

2.  Combine ground turkey, egg, bread crumbs, cranberries, onion mixture, thyme, salt and pepper in medium bowl; shape into 40 (1- inch) meatballs.

3.  Melt 1 tablespoon  butter in the same skillet and brown 1/2 of the meatballs over medium heat, turning frequently, 7 minutes or until golden brown and almost cooked. Remove meatballs and set aside; repeat with remaining meatballs.

4.  Combine the preserves, merlot and cider vinegar.  Return meatballs to skillet, then stir in apricot glaze. Cook over medium heat, stirring gently, 5 minutes or until sauce is thickened and meatballs are cooked.

5.  Top with additional thyme, cranberries and flaked sea salt and Enjoy!

Although, I have not tested this, I think you could definitely make these ahead of time and keep warm on low in your crock pot serving with a container of toothpicks on the side.

Makes 40 meatballs

Nutritional information per TWO meatball serving, ONE Point+ EACH



Melt you butter in a large skillet.


Meanwhile, use your handy dandy food processor or mini chopper to finely dice your onion, celery and garlic.

Food Processor

Add your celery mix to your butter and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.


While your veggies soften, “chop” your cranberries.  I used these beautiful Ruby Red Cranberries I got from Amanda at Two Boos Who Eat as part of my Foodie Gift Exchange.

Ruby Red CranberriesQuick Chopped Cranberries

While your celery mix cools slightly, add all your ingredients to make your meatballs and mix with a spoon or your hands.

Turkey Meatball Mix

I like using my 1 inch cookie ball scooper to make sure all my “balls’ are the same size.

1 inch cookie scoop

As you roll them place them on a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick spray.

Cranberry Turkey Meatballs

Add a little more butter to the pan and brown your meatballs on each side, about 7 minutes.  You will need to do this in two batches unless your pan is big enough to hold 40 meatballs.

More Buttah!Pan fried meatballs

Make your glaze by whisking together your apricot preserves, merlot and cider vinegar.

Apricot Merlot Glaze

Once all meatballs are browned, pour the glaze over them and continue cooking over until the glaze thickens and the meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Action shot - sort ofApricot Merlot Glazed Turkey Cranberry Meatballs

Since I served them up as appetizers, I used toothpicks, a little fresh thyme and cranberries to decorate.  I also like scooping a little extra sauce on each meatball.

Turkey Cranberry Thyme Meatballs with a Apricot Merlot Glaze

Dinner involved a few meatballs and this Creamy Butternut Squash Soup.  It’s so easy to make and filling.

Butternut Squash Soup

Phew!  That didn’t seem like a long post when I was thinking about putting it together :) Ha!

Tomorrow is another fantastic day ~ Work, Boot Camp, stopping to visit Annie The Baker then, it’s Biggest Loser Night!  I cannot wait!

Night all!

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen November 16, 2010 at 4:50 am

Oh that cornbread…WOWZERS!!!! I have never been able to make good cornbread, but I love it!
Love the Thanksgiving balls too, they look amazing!



Amanda (Eating Up) November 16, 2010 at 6:29 am

That cornbread AND veggie burger look delicious! Cranberries in a veggie burger?! What an awesome idea! And I love that red champagne–so festive!


Elise November 16, 2010 at 6:51 am

please tell me this is a special vacation or something because if this is an average monday for you im moving to wine country right now.

have you started at the new building yet? hows the commute going so far?


Carbzilla November 16, 2010 at 9:32 am

What a fabulous day AND you get to look forward to Annie the Baker? I’m pretty much loving your life!

Re: your Atkins comment. I’ve tried everything and even worked for Diet Center and Weight Watchers. Now I kinda do a combo diet that works for me and my wonky thyroid.


Amy November 16, 2010 at 9:39 am

There really is a Santana DVX? LOL. I thought it was just something that The Lonely Island made up. That’s hilarious!


Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) November 16, 2010 at 9:48 am

Your meatballs sound so fun! I love the idea of Thanksgiving in a bit 😉

Your tasting dinner looks SO GOOOOOD 😀 Oh the benefits of living in Napa!


Roz November 16, 2010 at 10:10 am

What a fun post! Tons of great food, great scenery, great wine and great recipes!!


RunToTheFinish November 16, 2010 at 10:25 am

you travel and do so many wonderful things, i just looooove it!!!

If i were to be in LA is that really far from you? I have not relation to where things are in CA


Susie Bee @ eatlittleeatbig November 16, 2010 at 11:39 am

Love the Rutherford Grill, your photos made me miss No. Cal! If you figure out the cornbread I’d love to know.

I think I’ll use your recipe next time I made turkey burgers, should adapt I think to full size burgers.


Eden November 16, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Ok, I hate you a little for all the wonderful food, wine tasting, god basically everything about this post! Can we trade lives?
I’ll have to make that thanksgiving ball, its so creative!


Josie November 16, 2010 at 4:49 pm

OK first I wanna be wine / champage tasting that looked FUN! also the turkey balls looked yummy and I have not doubt coming from you they are! I will have to make some!!


Liz @ blog is the New BLack November 16, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Love this dinner idea- looks yummy!


Lynn (The Actors Diet) November 16, 2010 at 6:53 pm

so jealous you’re gonna see annie! munch on a few balls for me!


Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) November 16, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Looks like you had such a good day. I want to go champagne tasting! Red wine champagne sounds like fun.

The meatballs look incredible. I love making meatballs as appetizers for parties and these look like they’d be a hit for sure. The sauce is drool-worthy!


janetha November 20, 2010 at 11:41 am

I love the idea of chiles in cornbread. Such a southwest twist. And you lead such a glamorous life!! I love the ball recipe, I am going to be making it ASAP.

Love you, see you WEDNESDAY!


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