Thanksgiving Planning {2014}

by Cate on November 19, 2014

Every once in awhile, the planets align and I am organized enough ahead of schedule to share holiday ideas before the actual holiday.

This is that.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Beyond loving the reminder to be thankful, I love it for two more reasons.

One, I can fill up the table with tons of delicious dishes and not feel guilty about having gone overboard.

Because going overboard is key. A week’s worth of leftovers as we tiptoe full blast into the crazy holiday season is not a bad thing.

The second reason? Because our gratitude tree comes out.

Gratitude Tree

It’s one of my favorite traditions, and every year, it’s fun to look back and see what people wrote on their leaves from previous years.

And who was at our table.

Exes. In-laws. Friends. Family.

A reminder of what was important then.

And what is important now.

Although I haven’t hosted our family Thanksgiving in a few years, I have instead had a Bloggers Thanksgiving Feast.

Which allowed me to satisfy my inner hostess just the same. (You can see those write-ups here > 2013, 2012, 2011).

But this year, because one of the bloggers is getting married, and one moved to far-flung regions (also known as Maine), that isn’t happening.

So I’m doing something else.

Changing it up.

And cannot wait.

And in the meantime?

A little round-up of Thanksgiving suggestions for you as I share some of our favorite go-tos for the holiday. You just might find YOUR newest tradition here too.

Cute little place cards I made a few years ago using scraps of paper.
The Give Thanks banner that Nick made one afternoon.

Thanksgiving Recipes

Spinach Cheese Squares, Cheese Delights and Sausage Cheese Balls are all tried-and-trues and have made appearances over the past ten years. 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. This Cranberry Conserve Brie En Croute I made for the folks at Pillsbury is also a little bit of heaven.

Side Dishes
Sweet Potato Souffle first appeared on our table in 2011, and man, am I glad it did. Even if you don’t like sweet potatoes, I think you’ll love this. I mean, it’s like dessert, but a side dish, so not.
This Cranberry Conserve has been hitting our table for over ten years. And this year is no exception.
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes are smooth and creamy and everything mashed potatoes should be. You can also check out a Cheddar and Chives version I created for the folks at Bangor Daily News right here.
Cranberry Broccoli Salad is super colorful, with a nice crunch, and very simple to pull together. And it has bacon in it, so, winning.
Emeril’s stuffing is a go-to, although I usually leave out the oysters since my family doesn’t care for them.

Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie is the easiest pie ever and your guests will think you slaved for hours. It will be our little secret.
Caramel Apple Cheesecake is one of those awesome, sneak-attack desserts because it looks like it took you hours and hours to make, when, in fact, it didn’t. Delicious, even if you’re not a huge cheesecake fan.
This Cranberry Nantucket Pie is perfect when you’re looking for something a little different.
Many years ago, my Mom made Paula Deen’s Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle and it remains one of my favorites.
I created this Caramel and Toasted Coconut Rum Cake for the folks at Captain Morgan, and it is simple and it is perfect for Thanksgiving. Moist, delicious, and understated.

And although I have never made it myself, I think I’m going to attempt The Ex’sOvernight Turkey next week as well. If you don’t want to cook and entire turkey, this smaller version of a Bacon and Herb Roasted Turkey Breast from Emeril is simply divine. And, bacon.

For even more inspiration, check out this Thanksgiving-themed Pinterest board.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne November 19, 2014 at 7:48 am

I’m kind of bummed we’re not doing Blogger Thanksgiving this year, but I vote for a Blogger Christmas Par-tay! It can even be Thanksgiving-food-themed.
Joanne recently posted..Wednesday Coffee Talk


Stephanie November 19, 2014 at 11:43 am

“never fail to disappoint” … I think you meant disappear? Everything sounds so good, love your blog! :)


Sarah Walker Caron (Sarah's Cucina Bella) November 20, 2014 at 8:15 am

I am so sad we aren’t doing it this year. But the kids and I will be in town (well, CT) from Dec. 24-28 or 29 … So I second Joanne’s idea of a Blogger Christmas. Or a Blogger Pre-New Years Bash.
Sarah Walker Caron (Sarah’s Cucina Bella) recently posted..20 Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes


Paula Ann November 26, 2014 at 2:03 am

I’m making the Sweet Potato Souffle for the husband’s office Thanksgiving Dinner tomorrow. Oh, how I love it!! I refrain from making it any other time of the year because I could, single-handedly, eat the entire dish all by myself!!


Cate O'Malley November 27, 2014 at 7:46 pm

So glad you love it, it’s one of my favorites!
Cate O’Malley recently posted..Eating Meals Together {#FamilyDinnerProject}


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