I haven't begun detoxing from Thanksgiving weekend yet, so it's still fair game to post celebratory pictures.
We hosted a Friends giving dinner this year, and it turned out great! Several weeks were spent planning and shopping and madly pinteresting..
I did enjoy looking at Pinterest a lot for inspiration, but I did not want to make myself any crazier than I already am. The one bit of advice I took to heart actually came off of a site called Houzz. They have a great plan ahead list that I looked at a few times this month. The tip I borrowed from them is to print out your recipes ahead of time and make a laminated binder. I know it sounds nuts, but I did it, and I can't tell you the number of times I flipped thru it in the days leading up to T-day. On the day of cooking itself, it was instrumental. I've gone back and printed out some pictures and laminated my shopping lists and prep times and added it to the binder, so I am ALL SET for next year.
I told myself I was going to be super organized this year, and I was. Apart from the day my landlord came in (Thanksgiving Eve) and installed a new washing machine and proceeded to break the water valve, and I had an inch of water all over my floor. No planning for that, alas. I also didn't plan to drop an empty wine bottle and chip out a piece of my kitchen tile.
Ooops. It's not a party till something gets broken, right?
Southern Comfort Apple pie, pre baking. I love this recipe, but it gave me some trouble this year when it came to warming it up. I don't know why, since I've made it at least a half dozen times. Pies can get crazy on you sometimes. As long as they taste good, though, who cares?
Some fall inspired decorating the week of. I also set the table the night before and watched Theo like a hawk so he wouldn't pull the tablecloth down and destroy my wedding glassware.
Very simple tablescape. I got lucky and scored some sunflowers the day of the party. It's not always easy to find what you want the day you want it, here in BDA, so I was super happy. The burlap was another score here on the island. I love Urban Cottage.
Crostini, with goat cheese, fig jam and toasted pepita - courtesy of the Food network magazine I picked up while we were vacationing last month in the US. Delicious, but you really have to time the laying out. I put it out a bit too soon, I think and the cheese got a little dry.
We had quite a few kids join us, and they had their own table, which I covered in a chalkboard tabletop runner (another Urban Cottage find.) I put out a bunch of puffy paint pens and chalkboard markers, and they went to town. I know you can find this stuff really easy in the US, but it's more of a challenge here. Kudos to DNA Creative Shoppe, here in Hamilton. I walked in and swooned. I won't even tell you how much I spent on pens for myself. I am a notorious pen junkie, and hide all the good ones so the kids don't take them.
Jeff opening the libations. Prosecco topped with a splash of Aperol liqueor. I may have enjoyed these a wee bit too much.
Yeah - exhibit A on that point. Look at my wee beady eyes. When will I ever learn?
I was happy to host this dinner for a number of reasons, among them - it gave me a chance to toast a goodbye to our dear friends, who will be leaving the island in December. They welcomed us here five years ago, and have been like family to us. They depart for the US, and I know, as sad as it is right now, we will see each other again soon.
Miss Mina, posing with the ever fabulous Nisha. I have never seen a bad picture of this woman.
And my favorite part - the leftovers the next day! YES! This turkey was so good. I used the recipe from Anne Burell, and brined it in my fridge. No fancy heritage birds for me (since they don't exist here, and the fresh ones I've ordered in the past are too small to feed the crowd I had.) I just used a boring old Butterball, but defrosted it properly, herbed and buttered it properly, let it do a dry out in the fridge the night before, and flipped it during cooking (with Jeff's help.) I think that's key. Her recipe doesn't say anything about that, but I know you have to do the flip.
Flipping is your friend.
Also, make the gravy ahead of time. Ain't no one got time to make gravy when there are twenty people waiting to be fed. I used Chef John's recipe. He's never failed me.
Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!