I don’t know about you but I am yet another lover of fall. No, it is not the pumpkin spice everything. Really, it’s gotten old. Not EVERYTHING needs pumpkin spice. I love the crisp autumn air! I love the slight chill that makes you find your favorite cozy sweater and comfy slippers. I love the smell of wood burning in fireplaces. I love the colors of fall. Fall just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, like those slippers I mentioned.
Another wonderful and amazing feature of fall is the celebration of harvest and welcoming in the holiday season. While some shy away from cooking a large Thanksgiving feast I relish the idea. I will spend hours planning the menu and days cooking. My step-daughters will start asking about what is for Thanksgiving dinner weeks in advance and will occasionally send me some requests like scalloped potatoes, pumpkin cheesecake, or pecan pie. I am always on the lookout for recipes that will become a new Thanksgiving staple. Last year I found many amazing recipes that I will be using again this year. My favorite find was the recipe for Amish Dinner rolls from King Arthur Flour. You use mashed potatoes as well as the water from boiling the potatoes. My family loves these rolls so much that they have become our standard dinner roll. I’ve even used the dough to make cinnamon rolls, they came out delicious and extra tender.
Last year I made a small ham and a small(ish) turkey with hopes of leftovers for amazing Monte Cristo sandwiches. Sadly all the meat I cooked was gone within a day or two so no fancy sammiches! This year I placed an order for a 20 lb organic free range turkey from our local butcher. The price was comparable to a turkey I could get at a local grocer and a much higher quality. It is also delivered fresh not frozen so I will not need to spend days defrosting. I’m still trying to decide on how to prepare the bird this year. Last year I used a brine and I feel that it came out really well. I also slow roasted it starting the night prior. I’m guessing everyone enjoyed it since there was hardly any turkey left after dinner. However, this year’s turkey is higher quality meat and I won’t need to defrost it. I defrosted in the brine last year.
How does your family cook their turkey? Deep fried? Smoked? Or do you cook something different like pheasant, goose, or duck?
Here are some of my favorite recipes from last year, maybe you and yours might like to give them a try this year!
Another thing I love about holidays is the decorations and the chance to have a fancy table setting. One year I had my in-laws over for a holiday dinner and my sister-in-law sent us a beautiful centerpiece with candles and garland. The following year when they hosted Thanksgiving dinner I returned the favor by sending a cornucopia flower arrangement. I really do feel that a nice centerpiece upgrades the feeling of any holiday or celebration.
I often day-dream that I will have holiday decorations neatly tucked away and change the seasonal décor of my house one a regular basis. Well, I’m still dreaming! I do however keep an eye out for seasonal décor, especially after a holiday has passed so I can use it the next year. The problem with that is sometimes you forget you even had an item or the item is not nearly as cute the next year. I try to get items that are good quality and simple so they can be used for many years. It also helps to store all of the items in the same area, but that doesn’t always happen.
Recently I ran across a small wicker cornucopia at a local Salvation Army and I snagged it up to use as part of a centerpiece for this year’s Thanksgiving dinner. I was so excited about this find until my husband kindly told me it looked like a sabot. It turns out a sabot is a wooden shoe, like a clog, and now it cannot be unseen. So, will the wicker sabot be gracing my Thanksgiving table or will I grudgingly accept the $1.00 loss and re-donate it? I will let you know in a couple of weeks!
I hope your harvest celebrations are full of warmth, love, and laughter! Happy Thanksgiving!