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November 13, 2017

Thanksgiving Countdown Day 1 | The Menu & Recipes

I remember back in 2010, when I wrote this post for the first time.  We had just returned from our honeymoon in Italy on the 11th.  I sat down at our old kitchen counter and made the plan for hosting our first Thanksgiving at our house.  We had all of our new weddings gifts to use and I couldn't have been more excited to get organized, prepare a feast and set the table.  I spent the week scouring antique stores looking for an extra table and chairs to accomidate all of our family.  I was still new to the blogging scene then, and it is so fun to think about where we've come since then. 

This year, I am not hosting Thanksgiving.  My Mom has retired this year and I thought she might really enjoy having the time to plan Thanksgiving at her house.  Back in September when we were making holiday plans, I was feeling our Fall schedule tighten up a bit.  So, I offered my hosting responsibility to her instead.  It is a completely luxury to have plenty of time to prepare and I know she'll enjoy it.

We will be hosting the family after Thanksgiving for the rest of the weekend.  We're planning a fun shopping day for the cousins, a big spaghetti and meatballs feast at our house for dinner, then hot chocolate and out to see the Plaza lights.  Hosting the Thanksgiving Dinner + entertain Weekend Guests can be a lot, so I'm glad we've decided to divide and conquer the holiday.  
(Left is a photo of our first Turkey from the First Thanksgiving Mike and I hosted in our home, 6 years ago.  Above is the turkey from our Thanksgiving last year.  It was DELISH with really flavorful skin.)

I spent the morning getting organized for you all since I'm not hosting : )  I used my "The Plan" worksheet to outline my ideal menu, then used my "Weekly" planner to schedule the errands and prep schedule.

I'll walk through all of our favorite recipes included in this list below.

"The Plan" Tablet

Weekly Planner Tablet

Roasted Turkey & Gravy Recipes

One thing that I highly recommend, is trying the Turkey recipe I have posted from Martha Stewart I shared years ago.  We stared using this method a our first Thanksgiving and everyone goes crazy over it.  You stuff the bird with lemon, garlic, thyme, and sage, then baste it with a mixture of a bottle of chardonnay and 4 sticks of butter.  It makes the most unbelievable pan drippings for gravy.  Turkey is usually a little bland, but this recipe makes it amazing.

The last couple of years we've brined our turkey, as well.  I used a mixture of water, apple cider, brown sugar, sea salt, garlic, rosemary and bay leaves.

Two years the girls help me prep the turkey - each had a lemon wedge, onion wedge, bunch of parsley and thyme to put in.

Last year, Emma loved being the baster.

See how rich the gravy is?  Full of white wine, butter and pan drippings.

Cranberry Orange Scones

Of course, while the turkey is roasting, there is a "light" breakfast + coffee for the parade watchers.  Make the scones days in advance, keep them in the fridge, then bake them on a Parchment Lined Baking Sheet in the morning.

After breakfast, there are appetizers.  I like to keep appetizers light.  Last year, I served my obsession from the "Cooking for Jeffery" Barefoot Contessa book - Fig Preserves with Goat Cheese.

I put it out on my bread board with other store-bought munches and crackers.

Kale, Pumpkin Seed, Apple & Cranberry Salad

Always nice to have something fresh and crunchy in addition to such an indulgent meal.  We added this one two years, and everyone loved it.

Traditional Herb Stuffing Recipe - This is the best dressing!  I prep the sautéed vegetables and bread cubes in advance, then mix it together the morning of.  It bakes in the oven just before dinner.  I bake it and serve it in my large Staub.

Bacon Braised Green Beans  These can be made ahead of time and reheated, or are easy to make the day of, too, as long as the green beans have been cleaned and trimmed.

Roasted Root Vegetable Platter

I clean and cut all of the vegetables in advance.  They day of, I put them on a large baking sheet and roast them for 30-40 minutes after the turkey has come out.

 The Best Classic Mashed Potatoes

I make the potatoes completely ahead of time.  On Thanksgiving day, I reheat them in the oven with cream poured over the top and pats of butter so it stays moist as I reheat it.  Usually 30-40 minutes in a 350 oven will get them piping hot.


Pecan Tart | A New Twist on a Classic Pecan Pie Recipe

Find the Mini Leaf Cutters to easily dress up your pie, here >

Chocolate Meringue Pie + How to Make the Prettiest Pie Crust Tutorial

I'm in charge of pies this year, as I mentioned.  I think I will definitely be making Pecan Pie, and Chocolate Meringue.  I might also make something new and fun...  I'll keep you posted on that!

Tomorrow, we'll talk tables, centerpieces, candles and linens : )  

See all of my Thanksgiving Posts, here.

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