Countdown to Thanksgiving

by Cate on November 23, 2010

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Some bloggers start writing about Thanksgiving recipes weeks before.

I am not one of those bloggers.  Have you noticed?

I’m just not that organized.  Not ahead of time.  It comes from being a long-term sufferer of FlyByTheSeatOfMyPantsitis I believe.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Although I know exactly what our menu is, when it comes to giving you ideas ahead of time, well, you’ll just have to forgive my shortcomings.

But today is Monday, and I can give you a few suggestions in case you have a few gaps on your menu.  And I can give you a centerpiece idea.  A placecard idea or two.  And even a craft idea.  That’s good, right?  I’m going to picture you nodding your head vehemently in agreement, so here we go.

Our Thanksgiving menu over the years has remained largely unchanged, and I love it that way.  It has slowly evolved into a menu that features family favorites, old stand-bys and good old-fashioned comfort food.  It’s a menu I truly look forward to every year.  I make so many new recipes, that it’s nice to count on old favorites this time of year.

Spinach Cheese Squares

Appetizers:
Spinach Cheese Squares, Cheese Delights and Sausage Cheese Balls are all part of our starting line-up, along with a Brown Sugar Almond Brie.  The Spinach Cheese Squares and Cheese Delights are recipes that my Mom made for us growing up, and they never fail to disappoint.  I love that our kids (mine and my sister’s) are eating things that we ate as kids ourselves.  The recipes are easy, and delicious and take just a few minutes of prep, exactly what you need on the big day.

Sides:
The appetizers and side dishes on the Thanksgiving table are always my favorite parts.  We have Cranberry Conserve (if you like cranberries, you’ll love this one, and if you don’t, I can almost guarantee it will make you a convert), Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes, Cranberry Broccoli Salad and, of course, stuffing.  I’m a fan of an Emeril version, though I leave the oysters out when making it for my family.

Dessert:
This year, we’re going with cute cupcakes for the kids, pumpkin pie from Costco (the best bargain for $5.99 and delish) and a Caramel Walnut Cheesecake (from one of the kids’ recent fundraisers), so dessert is uber-simple.  An old favorite, if you need a suggestion, is Paula Deen’s Gingerbread Pumpkin Trifle, one of her few recipes that don’t contain a stick of butter or cup of mayo.  It looks so pretty in a clear glass trifle dish and is perfect for both kids and adults alike.  I just may make it over the weekend to get our trifle fix on, since it’s not hitting the holiday table.

Oh right.  The turkey.  The Overnight Turkey was one of The Ex’s specialties and I do miss waking up Thanksgiving morning to the smell of roast turkey.  If I had the energy, I would do it myself, since it’s something we had for some 12 years running, but I don’t, and as much as I loved it, I think it’s a tradition best left in the past.

Gratitude Tree

Centerpieces:
I started this gratitude tree last year, and we’re bringing it back this year, with each family member adding a leaf to the tree, sharing what they are grateful for.

Placecards:
An easy way to bring a little bit of formality to Thanksgiving.  Just a little.  I”m using the ones I made last year, but there is also this alternate version that I did for a recent Disney article.

Playdoh Turkey

Crafts:
When Nick was much younger (just looked up the date when I grabbed the picture, he was 4), one Thankgiving my Mom pulled out the play-doh and together they made little play-doh turkeys.  Too cute, and a low-stress way to keep the littles entertained while you’re putting the finishing touches on your feast.

Etiquette … before I forget, allow a slightly related vent.  With this being the holiday season and all, party invitations are likely to start coming your way.  When people are kind enough to invite you over for a get-together, be it large or small, please RSVP.  RSVP means respond.  It’s ok if it’s a no.  Be honest if it’s a maybe.  And yay if it’s a yes.  But respond.  Would you believe I had a get-together this weekend with over 100 people that didn’t even bother to respond maybe, yes or no?

Project 365
November 22, 2010, Photos #228, 229, 230, 231 and 232

Caramel Brulee Frappuccino

Starbucks has unleashed a new flavor in their Frappuccino line-up – Caramel Brulee. I think it just may have replaced my stand-by of Mocha Frappuccino, and my Spring favorite of Honey Frappuccino. I meant to take a picture when there was, you know, a drink still left, but I had a sip to taste it, and before I knew it, it was gone.

Super Shopper

This little monster (and yes, today her and her big brother were little monsters) is a super shopper. Before you know it, there are new hats on her head (complete with gloves still attached), a too-small jacket on her little body and a $1 basket filled with little goodies that she has picked up along the way. Not to mention everything she has tossed into the cart when I wasn’t looking.

Mixer Ornament

Our house rule is a steadfast “one holiday at a time,” but I couldn’t help but peek to see if Target had any new food ornaments for our special kitchen tree. And they do.

Toaster Ornament

Popcorn Ornament

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne November 23, 2010 at 7:17 am

I’m not big on posting recipes early either. I just have no time to both cook ahead AND still cook normal food. Only on rare occasions. So you’ll be seeing my Thanksgiving food…after the big day. Oh well! I would eat everything I’m cooking every day. So…it’s still relevant. Love your menu! I would be thrilled to be coming over for dinner.

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Christy November 23, 2010 at 10:34 am

I made your Cranberry Conserve last year and it will forever hold a spot at our holiday table. Delish!!!

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Ramona November 23, 2010 at 10:58 am

Luv those ornaments!

She’s cute!

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The Neighbor Wife November 23, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Oh Maddie’s just like me! A little Shopper. I can wait til she’s older, I’ll take her shopping.

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Laura November 28, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Kmart has some great cupcake ornaments this year!

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