Happy Thanksgiving, friends!
This year is a little less lighthearted than normal, with everything that’s going on in the world. That said, I’m doing my best to proceed as normal and to enjoy my fortunate life with the people I love. That’s all we really can do. Life must go on.
Speaking of life – it’s been crazy around here in the weeks leading up to the holiday. My dad and brother are spending Thanksgiving with us, so we finally made some progress on our guest room so that they’d each have their own designated space to stay. We finally got the room painted and the bed set up with new linens, and put a nightstand and a lamp in there. We were going to get the room carpeted (we had an appointment and everything), but ended up cancelling last minute due to the company we were using not really following through and us not being able to reschedule at the last second. So, we decided to re-finish the hardwood floors ourselves instead. Jeff wanted to do it last weekend, but I was nervous that something would go wrong and leave the room totally out of commission for the holiday, so we held off. I did order a rug for the room and it arrived earlier this week, so we just laid it over the huge, gross rug that’s already in there for the time being. The room isn’t perfect yet, but it’s livable, and I really like the way it’s coming together. I’ll put up pictures once the floors have been refinished. Between trying to get the guest room finished, visiting guests at work for Jeff, and wedding planning (I finally bought my dress (!!), and we had our cake tasting Monday evening), life has been non-stop.
This is my third year hosting Thanksgiving, and I’ve developed a nice little rhythm and schedule. I try to take most of Thanksgiving week off, so that I can get everything done at a relaxed pace. I made my pies and finished grocery shopping yesterday, and I’ll prep most of my food today. My dad and brother will arrive at some point this evening, and I have the house mostly good to go for their arrival. Jeff and I have established a tradition of ordering hoagies from a local shop on Thanksgiving eve, since I’m always cooking and don’t have time to worry about dinner, and it’s become one of the things I most look forward to. I’ll set the table tonight, so all I’ll really have to do tomorrow is roast the turkey, cook a couple veggies and the rolls, and heat everything up.
I’ve made some little tweaks to the menu each year, and while I can’t say I’ve settled on the perfect menu just yet, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve got. Here’s this year’s finalized menu, if you’re curious:
Simple Roast Turkey – New York Times (This is seriously such an easy recipe, and it’s far and away the best turkey I’ve ever had. Highly recommended, especially if you’re intimidated about making a turkey for the first time.)
Green Bean Casserole – Smitten Kitchen
Whipped Sweet Potatoes – Tyler Florence
Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Mashed Potatoes (I literally make 10 pounds of potatoes. For 5 people.)
Turkey Gravy – Sam Sifton
Fresh Cranberry Sauce
Martha’s Macaroni and Cheese – Martha Stewart, by way of Smitten Kitchen
Parker House Rolls
Broccoli, Cheddar and Wild Rice Casserole – Smitten Kitchen (do you notice a theme here?)
Cornbread Stuffing – Michael Symon (I don’t really like stuffing – I KNOW, I know. So I try a new recipe every year, and this will by my first attempt at cornbread stuffing. This recipe looks really tasty!)
Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie – Smitten Kitchen
Pecan Pie – Smitten Kitchen
French Silk Pie – Cup of Jo
Do you guys think that’s enough food for FIVE FREAKING PEOPLE? I’m a real sicko. I also grabbed a couple little things to set out as appetizers – dinner was usually kind of rushed previously, but it should be more laid back this year. I’m happily going to push the meal back a couple of hours, make some festive cocktails (sparkling wine with cranberry juice? Yes, please!), and set out some hummus & crackers and let everyone munch away.
I hope everyone has a happy, relaxing, delicious holiday weekend. I also took off Black Friday for the first time in years, so I’m excited about that as well (although I’m DEFINITELY not going to go out shopping – I’m just excited to relax at home with my family and probably do some online shopping). Cheers!