I've been looking forward to Thanksgiving for a long time now and it did not disappoint! It did come and go rather quickly, though, and I've been sad ever since without the menu to daydream about and the anticipation of my family's visit. At least now I get to relive it all here on my blog. Here's our Thanksgiving table. Ashley and my Dad figured out how to fold my mother's Thanksgiving napkins into poinsettas and we placed a leaf-shaped shortbread cookie on top of each of them as favors. This was my first time using my china for guests, so it was a big deal for me. Ashley unpacked and washed each piece, and then after my Dad handwashed our dinner plates, she stood and repacked them all after dinner! That's a lot of work after a big meal! We were late getting everything ready to go, but everyone was so nice and patient and willing to make last-minute trips to the store or home because I forgot to buy Cream of Mushroom soup! (Thank you, Chrissy!)
I have no picture of the beautiful golden turkey. I feel a little bit sad about that, but I do have a funny story to share. I brought the turkey to Natalie's house to roast. (Thank you Natalie!) I brought it over at 6:45 AM and knew it would need a long time to roast due to it's enormous size. At 1:30, two hours before showtime, I called Ashley who was staying at Natalie's for an update on the bird's internal temperature. She checked the thermometer and reported a whopping 197 degrees! I couldn't stifle the "WHAT?!!!" when I heard such a high number. Luckily, I had inserted the thermometer into the wrong part of the turkey, and the temperature was exactly where it needed to be. Phew!! I ended up using a combination of this and this for my brine. I stuffed the cavity with the apple-sausage stuffing, which tasted fabulous by the way.
A disclaimer: I was having camera issues that day but no time to deal with them, so the pictures I do have leave something to be desired. That said, let's get a look at the food!
My mother's artichoke dip. This recipe is a holiday party staple in our family. It's easy and delicious and gets the people going! I don't know about that last bit, but it's definitely a crowd-pleaser. 1 cup mayo, 1 cup shredded parmesan, 1 softened package of cream cheese, 1 drained can of artichoke hearts, blended with a hand mixer and baked in a dish at 350 for one hour. Serve with tortilla chips. Also pictured above is the spinach gratin. It was definitely good, but I'm not sure it can hold its own on the Thanksgiving table and therefore will most likely not be making an appearance next year.
Ah, here are my two FAVORITE Thanksgiving side dishes. Mmmm.... raspberry pretzel jello salad and Smashed Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Apples.
We were lucky enough to have Ashley's famous dinner rolls prepared by Ashley herself and served with raspberry butter. Also, a delicious homeade cranberry sauce prepared by Chrissy that was perfect. And here is my Thanksgiving dinner plate masterpiece. I love all the pretty bright colors- like an artist's palette! (Not pictured: creamed corn. Creamed corn and I have had a volatile relationship ever since my Mom forced me to eat it as a kid and I gagged. Maggie loves it and insisted on Aunt Gayle's recipe. She and I have had several conversations about my creamed corn aversion and this time something she said finally got through to me: corn, cream, and parmesan cheese.... what's not to like? Hmmm... a valid point, Maggie. Well put. Still couldn't make room on my Thanksgiving plate for it, however. Maybe next year I'll make a little room for some yellow.)
I am so glad I only made two pumpkin pies, and not three. I also made an apple pie and my mother's peppermint dessert. I thought it seemed like an appropriate way to usher in the Christmas season after a big Thanksgiving meal. I am fully aware that I think about food way too much. Even with all the people, we still had a lot of leftover dessert, so I've been having a little helping of each of them with just about every meal since Thursday. Naughty.
And our guests. (Bobby is missing from this photo because he was helping Franny.) We were so glad to be able to have friends and family with us on Thanksgiving. I had so much fun with all of you. I am so pleased with my first Thanksgiving-hosting experience and I think my Mom would be proud. I tried to do it "Marianne-style" and even got to use her table cloth and napkins and Thanksgiving salt and pepper shakers, thanks to my Dad. He also brought See's candy like she always served at parties. Dad, you're the best. It was fun to use the china she helped me pick out and the beautiful Lenox casserole dish she surprised me with at one of my bridal showers for the mashed potatoes. There is nothing like having the perfect serving dish! Thanks for coming everyone and for all your help! Some of you had to travel to get to us and we were so grateful to have you all there with us.