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.
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 House, Mod Vintage Life, Lori's Culinary Creations, Home Stories, StoneGable, An Extraordinary Day, I'm Not a Trophy Wife, Between Naps on the Front Porch, Rustic Refined, Tumbleweed Contessa, A Stroll Thru Life,, Life With Garnish. Elizabeth & Co, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Savvy Southern Style, The Recipe Critic, Janine Huldie, Carolyn's Homework, Fluster Buster Designs by Miss Mandee, Craftie Allie, Wednesday morning The Blissful Bee, The Newlywed Pilgrimage, Chic California, Lamberts Lately, Live Laugh Rowe, Sweet Bella Roos, The Charm of Home, From My Front Porch to ours, Delightsome Life., Posed Perfection, Katherine's Corner, Nancherrow, The Freshman Cook, Jann Olson, Home Maid Simple, Anderson + Grant, Rooted in Thyme, Everyday Enchanted Home, Pure Grace Farms A Dish of Daily Life, Bacon Time, Sunflower Supper Club, Tater Tots and Jello, Cooking with Curls, Made from Pinterest, Simply Gloria