Recipe: Chocolate Pudding Cake with Coke Frosting — Stranger Thanksgiving

Going home for the holidays is like going to the Upside Down, back in time to when the world still felt strange and new. Welcome to Stranger Thanksgiving, inspired by Netflix's hit Stranger Things and the Thanksgivings of our childhoods.

One of the most beloved aspects in the series Stranger Things is the show's ability to look at the past through the lens of today. It captures the moods we remember fondly as children and embraces those in modern storytelling. The desserts of Thanksgiving are much the same. There will always be the standard pumpkin pie, but dessert is the place to introduce new traditions with ease.

Taking a slight detour from tradition, the final chapter of our Stranger Things-inspired Thanksgiving gives a nod to Eleven and the kids who valiantly save the world fueled by Snack Pack pudding stolen from the school cafeteria. Chocolate — in this case, a chocolate pudding cake — is a welcome respite in a pumpkin- and sweet potato-heavy season and a nostalgia-packed departure from tradition.

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Recipe: Coke-Glazed Upside-Down Turkey — Recipes from The Kitchn

Many of the things we love about the '80s-inspired Duffer Brothers' series Stranger Things are the same things we love about Thanksgiving: a longing for our old family traditions as we also embrace building new ones. There's a distinct sense of time and place deeply rooted in our memories that this television show taps into. It's all strangely familiar in a way that makes it both comforting and scary at the same time.

At the center of both these stories is a Demogorgon. In Stranger Things we know this as the Monster from the Upside Down, often unseen as he looms in darkness. On our Thanksgiving table, the turkey is much the same, a monster to cook, which at once terrifies us and draws us in.

Instead of being intimidated by the monstrous bird, we must face it head-on as Eleven does her own demon, literally flipping the turkey upside down and enrobing it in a dark glaze that is both a nod to this series and to our own '80s nostalgia.

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Recipe: Banana Bread Smoothie — Recipes from The Kitchn

No matter how much you love turkey, mashed potatoes, and the seemingly endless stream of pies that come with the holiday season, there are times your body craves a break from the indulgence in favor of something truly nourishing. Smoothies to the rescue.

Whether it's the morning after Thanksgiving or any other day of the week, this smoothie full of bananas, dates, and cashews is a welcome respite from rich holiday fare.

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How To Make Mulled Cider in the Slow Cooker — Cooking Lessons from The Kitchn

Hot mulled cider is a must-have at all our fall and winter shindigs. It's probably a holdover from when we lived in New England and the frigid winters necessitated lots of hot beverages. But mulled cider is just so delicious and the smell so inviting, we serve it even in our mild California weather. Guests of all ages never seem to turn down a mug, and the adults especially relish the opportunity to do a little self-spiking with their alcohol of choice.

A slow cooker does double duty of both mulling the cider and keeping it warm for hours, making it the perfect appliance for this classic cold-weather beverage.

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Make Marshmallows into Spooky Eyeball Hot Chocolate — 10 Spooky Marshmallow Treats

Stare your hot chocolate right in the eyes — spooky, no? Well, not really. It actually is pretty cute. This easy finish to a steaming mug of the good stuff involves ingredients you already have in your pantry, but dresses it up for the holiday and makes it a lot more fun to sip.

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Recipe: Banana Milk — Recipes from The Kitchn

Did you know you could turn a simple banana into a delicious milk alternative? There have been a few recipes floating around the internet for some time, but in the last couple months the concept has really picked up steam. This is largely in part to a new company making banana milk you can buy in a grocery store, and a coffee shop using banana milk in cold brew. Now it's time to try your hand at this delicious milkshake-like beverage.

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