Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thanksgiving dinner . . . at home

I have been so incredibly blessed to host Thanksgiving Dinner in our home the last 3 years.

This year marks my 4th year hosting a completely home-made, traditional dinner for our family and extended family members.

My first year hosting was quite an under-taking . . . and I still remember feeling like I had conquered Mount Everest.  I was exhausted . . . and so very happy . . . all in one!

Four years later, I feel like I've perfected the menu, the timing, and all the preparation that goes into hosting Thanksgiving Dinner.

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Thanksgiving Dinner 2011, my first Thanksgiving Dinner
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The table centerpieces and decor change every year.  

These photos are actually from LAST year's Dinner. I had hoped to share them last November, but December rolled around so fast that I didn't have a chance to. So I thought I would sneak in a few photos before this Thanksgiving.

I love displaying one large, framed menu, or small menus at each place setting. Guests like to know what they'll be eating . . . and it also gives them something to look forward to.

I researched recipes for weeks and weeks before creating my menu, with the goal of preparing and serving (what I felt was) the perfect Thanksgiving dinner.

I have a binder dedicated to this very special meal, and it includes . . . .

my shopping list,
recipes with personal notes, 
a day-to-day schedule that starts the Sunday before Thanksgiving Thursday, 
and - of course - an hourly schedule that starts at 7 am on Thanksgiving Day

It might sound intense, but being organized is the key to pulling off a 'successful' Thanksgiving Dinner with little, to no, stress.

My menu was/is completely inspired by recipes from Cook's Illustrated and American's Test Kitchen. They're exceptional recipes and dishes!

The only recipe that's original to me are the home-made bread rolls. Bread baking was passed down to me by my mom shortly after I got married. A recipe and method that she learned from her grandmother shortly after she married my dad more than 45 years ago. It is quite an honor to bake bread for my family on this special day.

I haven't swayed much from my original menu, with the exception of a new dessert that I added last year . . . Pumpkin Cheesecake with a sweet sour cream topping.

And although I still prepare a Classic Herb Roasted Turkey, I baste it in Chardonnay now. A new method that I learned from a dear friend. It involves basting the turkey every 20 minutes during the cooking process. It yields a tender, and slightly sweet turkey. It's amazing!

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I make every. single. dish. from scratch . . . even this amazing Apricot Ginger Cranberry Sauce (photo below). It's a little bit of sweet, spicy, and tart . . . yum! A delicious compliment to turkey and stuffing.

I wish I had photos of all the side dishes to share with you in this post, but I lost many of them a few months ago when my computer crashed (Yikes!). We were able to recover 90% of my photos; but sadly, I lost several from last year's Dinner. 

My hope is to take more photos of this year's Thanksgiving side dishes, so that I can share the recipes (and photos) with you next year.

Whether you're hosting Thanksgiving Dinner, or attending dinner at someone else's home . . . I send you warm and happy wishes that your day is filled with love, family and friends, and exceptional food.

Happy Thanksgiving,

to be truly Thanksgiving,
is first Thanks,
then giving . . . 

LET'S STAY in touch!

Sharing with . . . .

Stephanie Lynn, It's Overflowing, Twelve O Eight, Carrie This Home, Baking in Pajamas, Huckleberry Love, Dwellings, Smart Party Planning,  The Dedicated HouseMod Vintage LifeLori's Culinary Creations, Home Stories, StoneGableAn Extraordinary Day, I'm Not a Trophy Wife, Between Naps on the Front Porch, Rustic Refined,  Tumbleweed ContessaA Stroll Thru Life,Life With GarnishElizabeth & Co,  My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Savvy Southern StyleThe Recipe CriticJanine HuldieCarolyn's Homework,  Fluster Buster   Designs by Miss Mandee,  Craftie Allie,  Wednesday morning The Blissful Bee,  The Newlywed Pilgrimage Chic California, Lamberts LatelyLive Laugh RoweSweet Bella Roos, The Charm of Home, From My Front Porch to ours, Delightsome Life.Posed PerfectionKatherine's CornerNancherrowThe Freshman Cook,  Jann OlsonHome  Maid SimpleAnderson + Grant,  Rooted in ThymeEveryday Enchanted Home, Pure Grace Farms A Dish of Daily Life, Bacon Time, Sunflower Supper Club, Tater Tots and Jello,  Cooking with CurlsMade from PinterestSimply Gloria


  1. That looks amazing, Suzanne, and I can tell you put a lot of love into this meal! Sorry about your pictures -- that's scary! :)

    1. Hi Dee, I have an account with DropBox now, so that I won't have to go through that again.
      I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Thanks so much for coming by!
      Have a great weekend,

  2. Everything is as beautiful and looks delicious. You never leave me less than speechless when I visit your beautiful blog. You have such exquisute taste and style. xo

  3. Wow, I have never been to a Thanksgiving dinner that had all these delicious looking dishes. So far, all the home made Thanksgiving dinners I had been to sucked. I don't have any friends or relatives in my families who can cook a decent Thanksgiving dinner. I can't either. I need to make friends who those who can:)

  4. Your table from last year is stunning. And I love that you print out the menu. Hosting Thanksgiving dinner has not been passed down to my generation yet. The lists and time management is key to pulling off any sort of gathering. Clearly you've got it down. The food looks amazing and the menu has my belly rumbling. I look forward to seeing the spread from this year!

  5. This is amazing, Suzanne!! Gorgeous and I'm sure very delicious!

  6. It looks beautiful!
    Love those gorgeous fall colors.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Hope to see you on my blog :)

  7. You have a lucky family! I remember when I first hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas...yes it was a huge undertaking and one can be very proud when it is pulled off. All from scratch here too, with standard fare and a few new recipes tried out each year.

    THIS year my middle son and wife want to host. He's all excited. He wants to wrap his turkey in bacon...should be a new experience :) I will just remind him to cook it upside down. Yes I did that one year by mistake and it was the tenderest turkey ever so that's how I've done it ever since, lol.

    I think I'll still be helping a bit....providing desserts and probably showing how to make gravy...

    Have a wonderful sure looks as if you know how! :)

  8. Looks like a wonderful dinner you have planned and I love your table! Thanks so sharing it with us at Foodie Fridays!

  9. Suzanne- I am so impressed with your hosting skills! It is truly a feat to perfect each dish and the timing. Everything looks amazing. Good luck this year; I hope you have a wonderful time with your family!

  10. Suzanne you are such a gifted hostess, your table is beautiful and the meal is divine. Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving!

  11. Can I come eat at your house?! Wow how yummy, and yes what an undertaking!

  12. Anonymous12:46 PM

    I'd love to be a guest in your house Suzanne for Thanksgiving, it sounds as though your guests are treated to a very special meal indeed. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Thanks for linking up to Sweet and Savoury Sunday, stop by and link up again. Have a great day!! Laura@Baking in Pyjamas

  13. Yum! What a great menu.

  14. Can we all come over and enjoy? Lol. Good luck this week

  15. what a welcoming table! I would so be able to do all this if Dino wasn't a destroyer. Stopping by from Tickle my tastebuds

  16. I'm a big fan of Cook's Illustrated. You can never go wrong with their recipes. You have a real gift for putting a menu together... ever thought about running a restaurant? Pinned. Thanks so much for sharing this with us on Weekend Bites, and Happy Thanksgiving.

  17. Wow, Suzanne! Gorgeous tablescape, awesome recipes...wish I were coming over - would so love to chat with you and enjoy your lovely dinner! I will be featuring your post in this week's Home and Garden Thursday,


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