Thanksgiving!! A time of giving thanks, of offering our gratitude for the bounty and abundance we have in this great country, of sharing this bounty and love with family and friends. A time spent lovingly preparing a feast! Enjoying great food, too much food, tryptophan induced turkey coma’s…oops, I digress.
Amazingly this is my very first Thanksgiving to ever host! Yep, only our 4th spent at our home and 3 of those we spent at family members homes celebrating. Normally we’re enjoying the soft, sandy beaches of Carmel with dear family friends or shooshing down the slopes in Crested Butte with family. A first for us to be in our own home for Thanksgiving and I’m bursting with excitement to host!
I love this holiday, with no pressure to get the right gifts, no gifts at all; just thanks! Gratitude, thankfulness, gratefulness, appreciative. I hope you take some time to reflect on the reason for this American holiday, before you jump into the sumptuous feast prepared by/for those you love. Maybe read a story, a few passages from the Bible on thanksgiving and gratitude or just go around and have everyone say what they are thankful for this year.
I’ve been busy this week, on Sunday we hosted some friends for a mock Thanksgiving! All so I could get photos of each step to several of my favorite recipes. I had so much fun setting the table (watch Setting the table in 30 seconds) preparing the dishes, smelling the smells, savoring the food, enjoying the company.
I love setting my table several days ahead of time, I get to enjoy the pretty table for several days and can fine tune the settings if need be. I mostly used things that were around the house; leftover ribbons, jars and candles. Bought a few bright red apples and pomegranates to brighten the table, and some fresh eucalyptus…make it your own by gathering things you have around. If you can, it will take a lot of stress off of you if you can set your table ahead of time.
I started with my centerpiece, a variety of candles in jars and on candlesticks. Just wrapped some ribbons, raffia, string around them.
Get your dishes, silverware and glasses all ready and iron your napkins..
And then assemble! Use leaves, sticks, cinnamon, wheat, herbs, nips from pine trees, berries, cranberries whatever you have on hand.
One last shot of the table, just before we sat down to eat.
To go along with last weeks post, we are rounding out the Thanksgiving meal, just so everyone understands, I do not normally make the entire meal! I highly encourage you to A.S.K. for H.E.L.P.! I have a large family and typically there are a few friends, neighbors, boyfriends/girlfriends sprinkled in as well. We’ll have 28 at our table(s) this Thursday! Ask everyone to bring something; sides, drinks, appetizers, desserts, $100, a new puppy…whatever your heart desires. And if you are going to someones house, offer to bring something or three somethings!
And even though this meal was about capturing photos of all of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes, I still asked my friend Wendy to bring a few things and I bought my bread! A beautiful loaf of soft, chewy Challah bread, warm from the oven! One thing I remember Ina Garten saying years ago and it’s so very true, is to make a couple of the main items, then buy quality items to make up the rest!
The first thing we’ll start with is our Giblet Gravy, because you can make it ahead of time! Woot-woot to making dishes ahead of time!
Read the full post with all the juicy steps for Giblet Turkey Gravy here.
Next to pour that gravy over, we’ll make these amazing Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes; creamy, dreamy, buttery, delicious! Check out this link for the step-by-step instructions for Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
Next is the stuffing; that savory, wonderful, flavorful stuffing. I thought I’d call mine “Browned Butter, Cranberry, Apple, Pecan, Sausage, Maple, Whiskey Stuffing” but that is kind of a mouthful, so I settled on The Best Holiday Stuffing. Check out the easy to follow recipe for The Best Holiday Stuffing.
And to pull the whole meal together…the Coup de gras, the centerpiece, the tender, juicy, moist turkey!
No brining, marinating, smoking or deep-frying, just a simple herb butter schmeer; follow the simple steps for my Simple Tender, Tasty Turkey.
I also made this super quick prosciutto wrapped asparagus. Simply wrap a slice of prosciutto around a couple of asparagus spears, pan fry (both sides) in a hot pan with a little olive oil, sprinkle some sea salt and pepper and serve!
And for dessert I went non-traditional with a Vanilla Bourbon Sauce over Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Cookie Butter Cookies, recipes to follow soon.
Blurry picture but suffice it to say that this sauce is DELISH!
Light your candles, sit down, enjoy your guests, enlist their help; when you’re relaxed, they’ll be relaxed!
Here’s my oldest, Kieran with his crazy big hair and my dear friend Wendy as we’re about ready to sit down to our Friendsgiving feast.
Grab a glass of whatever and give thanks. A couple of my favorite verses are below.
Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.
For he satisfies the hungry with good things. Psalm 107:8-9 (NLT)
Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks.
For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer. 1 Timothy 4:4-5 (NLT)
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever. I Chronicles 16:34 (NLT)
I found these song lyrics that can be used as a prayer, I love this!
“Grateful for each hand we hold
Gathered round this table.
From far and near we travel home,
Blessed that we are able.
Grateful for this sheltered place
With light in every window,
Saying welcome, welcome, share this feast
Come in away from sorrow.
Father, mother, daughter, son,
Neighbor, friend and friendless;
All together everyone in the gift of loving-kindness.
Grateful for whats understood,
And all that is forgiven;
We try so hard to be good,
To lead a life worth living.
Father, mother, daughter, son,
Neighbor, friend, and friendless;
All together everyone, let grateful days be endless.
Grateful for each hand we hold
Gathered round this table.”
– Mary Chapin Carpenter – Thanksgiving Song Lyrics
Happy Thanksgiving friends and family!