Midway through cooking for Thanksgiving tonight, I called my mom.
“I love our Thanksgiving menu,” I told her.
“Yeah. It’s just so stress free.”
It wasn’t by design. And it wasn’t always that way. But somehow over the last few years, our standard feast has evolved into a menu that is totally doable. Stress-free. Manageable with two kids underfoot. And most of all, delicious. For the past few years, we have had the same core dishes. I like that. Maybe it’s because I make so many new recipes during the year, that it’s nice to have a familiar menu full of family favorites to look forward to. I’m certain that’s why. And this year, more than ever, I want the familiar. The reliable. The constant. I almost crave it.
The Thanksgiving table will be filled with the usual suspects.
Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes. Good, comforting mashed potatoes that you can make ahead to free up much coveted oven space.
Cranberry Conserve. At our office Thanksgiving lunch the other day, the conversation turned to cranberry sauce. Particularly the kind from the can with the lines. Ick. I’m sorry, but ick. If you try this, you will never have that one again. I can almost guarantee it. I’ve been making it for several years now, and I wouldn’t touch cranberry sauce before this recipe.
Stuffing. We’re partial to the standard kind. Nothing funky in it, ‘cept for the traditional flavors you have come to love. Bread. Sage. I love Emeril’s version, although I skip the oysters when I’m making it for my family.
My mom’s in charge of the turkey and this dessert that she made a few years ago. Love that trifle. Turkey cupcakes for the kids….
Usually when Nick finishes his homework after school, he wanders into my office, asking me to find him a craft online to work on. He hasn’t completely grasped the concept that crafting sometimes take a little bit of preplanning … to find the craft, to make sure we have the right supplies. It’s not usually a spur of the moment thing.
Imagine his surprise the other day when he asked about doing a craft, and I was ready for him! As much as I love the holidays, every last one of them, and the associated decorating that comes along with them, we don’t have very much in the way for Thanksgiving. I wanted to change that. Enter the Thanksgiving banner.
The craft was very simple to make, and I love that it’s something that we can pack up and use again and again, year after year. I did the cutting, and Nick was responsible for the gluing, taping, hole punching and ribbon stringing. We made a great team.
I used foam sheets in a deep chocolate brown color for the base of each letter. They run about 30 cents a sheet, and I was able to get several pieces from each sheet. For the layers, I used sheets of scrapbooking paper, choosing different colors and patterns, but all keeping within the warm colors of the Autumn palate. On top of the patterned paper went a piece of plain ivory, again using scrapbook paper. For the letters, I chose a font in Microsoft Word and found the size I wanted (175). Once printed, I cut out all the letters to layer on top of the ivory piece of paper.