12.01.2010

Thanksgiving Feast!

Thanksgiving - a time for giving thanks! In America, we do this by eating copious amounts of food and drinking ourselves silly. Sort of odd, when you think about it. However, this was the first year I've ever had the pleasure of hosting a traditional Thanksgiving dinner myself (last year consisted of a very non-traditional antipasto platter, cheese, fruit, fresh bread, and lots and lots of wine), and strangely, going through the ritual of putting on this extravagant feast really opened my eyes to how lucky I am and made me so thankful for everything and everyone in my life. Putting on the dinner was a ton of work and also very expensive. I don't know about you, but I never really thought about the cost when I sat down at someone else's table to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast. I knew it was time-consuming of course, but man oh man; I was thankful that I could afford to do what so many families in America cannot afford to do: work my butt off and make a huge, lavish, fantastic Thanksgiving meal. My dinner was only for four people (and two dogs): my mom, my step-dad, my husband, and myself; and our two pups, Bella & Jax. After weeks of planning, shopping, ordering, and organizing; I still had to tackle prepping, baking, roasting, cooking and serving!

Basically, I woke up on Thanksgiving morning and cooked straight from 9am until 3:30pm when we ate. Literally, non-stop. Luckily, Keith, my mom and my step-dad were all able to step in and help out.

My Menu
Prelude
Sparkling Pear Cranberry Cocktails
Assorted Cheese
Shrimp Cocktail
Ham Roll-Ups

Dinner
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
Honey-Glazed Carrots
Baked Artichoke Hearts
Fresh Green Beans with Wild Mushrooms
Cranberry & Satsuma Sauce
Mom's Stuffing
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Turkey with Herb Butter
Homemade Gravy

Dessert
Homemade Pumpkin Pie
Apple Spice Cake with Homemade Caramel & Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but everything was so good! I was so nervous because I hadn't test-driven most of the recipes and putting on such a big dinner is a daunting task. Everything came together, though, and I was so happy with the way things came out! There was a lot of planning that went into the meal, so I suppose my project manager personality came in handy to keep everything on track.

Things I did in advance:
  • Planned the menu three weeks out (including deciding what I was serving and finding all the recipes for each item)
  • Roasted the pumpkin and made pumpkin puree four days before and froze it
  • Ordered the turkey one week before and picked it up the Saturday before Thanksgiving
  • Grocery shopped for all items (except produce) the Saturday before
  • Sliced up the bread, seasoned it, and laid it out to dry the day before
  • Picked up the produce and a few last minute appetizer fixings the day before
  • Made the pumpkin pie, homemade caramel, and apple spice cake the day before
  • Chopped celery, onion, and carrots the night before
Things I wish I would have done in advance:
  • Peeled and chopped the potatoes
  • Cleaned and prepped the green beans
  • Washed and sliced the mushrooms
  • Made the gravy base
  • Prepped the artichokes
  • Made the ham roll-ups
I learned a lot this Thanksgiving! I'm so thankful that I got to share it with my mom and step-dad, and my husband of course. I have a lot to be thankful for.

Here's wishing you all had wonderful Thanksgivings, too. Now to get ready for Christmas! Ah, the holidays.
 
My mom's toy Aussie, Jax


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