Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Menu Planning

Every year, I get excited about planning the Thanksgiving menu. I love to experiment with new and traditional dishes. We are keeping it very simple this year, but that doesn't mean it won't be special! Our gathering will be small and will include my Grandparents, my Dad, and my boyfriend and will include calls to many more family and friends! I am thankful for them all!

I am trying hard to keep the ingredients we use local with other preferences towards organic or free range (when we can swing it). I will be using homemade applesauce given to me from my Grandma in an applesauce cake to start Thanksgiving day. Our turkey is a free range turkey that was raised on a family operated farm in California. I actually called the store and asked someone in the meat department to give me the details about the turkey. I will also be purchasing locally made sausage (for our stuffing) at Pike Place Market this week. I will see what other ingredients I am able to find at the market, including potatoes. It is hard to find all locally grown and produced ingredients for your turkey dinner, but it feels good to try. Local farmers and merchants need our help!

In addition to planning a menu, I also enjoy decorating. What will I do for table decorations? I know for certain we will have a table with mismatched dishes and serving plates. That doesn't bother me one bit, however! It use to, but now the eclectic table setting feels more comfortable and welcoming (especially to guests) and less like we are going to spill or break something. I don't really have the money to spend buying a whole new set of matching dishes. If I did, I'd head to the thrift store where there are plenty of dishes to choose from (even plain white dishes you can decorate up to any holiday occasion). This year, I plan on using what we have. I also plan on taking a trip outside to the garden to find colorful branches, leaves, pine cones (whatever I can find) to add color and interest to the table. Another option is buying small pumpkins and gourds or other edible items you can decorate with now and eat later. In years past, I've cut oranges in half (scooped out the flesh) and placed a votive candle inside to create a small lantern that glows a glorious orange (if you do this, make sure to cut a small circle on the top to let out the heat). Whatever you do to decorate, there are many free and low cost options if you just use your imagination!

The best part of Thanksgiving for me is spending the day relaxing and eating with family and friends. I am thankful for many things in life, but I couldn't do it without my faith, my family, and my friends! I have much to recognize and be grateful for.

Thanksgiving Day Menu

  • Breakfast: Homemade Applesauce Cake
  • Hors d'oeuvre: King Crab Artichoke Dip
  • Main Course: Barbecued Turkey
  • Side Dish: Cornbread Sausage Stuffing with Sage
  • Side Dish: Steamed Green Beans with Lemon Butter
  • Side Dish: Whipped Sweet Potatoes
  • Side Dish: Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
  • Side Dish: Apple Cranberry Chutney
  • Side Dish: Hot Biscuits
  • Dessert: Lemon Meringue Pie
  • Dessert: Pumpkin Walnut Pie with Whiskey Butter Sauce

How do you make your Thanksgiving Day special?

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