Hello everyone! I hope you all had a beautiful Thanksgiving! I can hardly believe it is December, I’m still enjoying Thanksgiving thoughts and smells, and then, BOOM, it’s time to think about Christmas! It’s a bit jarring, is it not?
After I posted the above photo on my Instagram, I got a few questions and emails about it, so I thought I would tell you all about my table decor, flower arranging, and my favorite recipes from this year’s dinner. Even though Thanksgiving is over, these are definitely ideas you can use for your Christmas dinner, plus it’s nice to tuck away inspiration for next year.
My tablecloth is vintage linen, and yes, I did iron it. Unfortunately, it got forgotten under a pile of things to put away, and then got wrinkled. Since I didn’t have time to iron it again, I threw it in the dryer for a bit, and frankly, it did not help much. But I figured this is not really something to worry about, and hopefully, everyone would be looking at the pretty table, and not fretting over a few wrinkles in a tablecloth. At holiday time, sometimes I think we (and I’m talking to myself, too) get wrapped up in these silly details that don’t matter and no one cares about.
The metallic gold placemats with the tree are from Target circa last year (Target always has great, affordable placemats for the holidays), and I love them because they can work for Thanksgiving or for Christmas. They are not available this year, but you can see their great placemat selection for 2013 here. The napkins and runner are from West Elm. (napkins can be seen here - I bought the “chambray” color because I thought they could easily transition to other holidays) The runner is no longer available online, but they had several left in the store when I bought this one, so if you love it, you should go get it. I wanted a navy, orange, and cream theme for my Thanksgiving table colors this year, and this runner is stunning in person. The gold shimmers, and it is really lovely; in fact, I may use it again for Christmas and do a navy, gold, and silver theme. I am also dying over how lovely these gold napkin rings are, but they didn’t have enough for my table when I was in the store (the night before Thanksgiving, I might add).
The goblets are vintage opaline, and I love them so so much. The color is simply spectacular, and I want to use them for every special occasion! They are getting more difficult to find and pricier as they get more rare, but you can still find them on Ebay from time to time. I have picked my goblet sets up on Ebay and at estate sales throughout the years, and now have a set of ten blue opaline goblets, and six blue opaline champagne/sherbet goblets. I use this search on Ebay when I am looking for them. (you can also find white opaline goblets which I think are really pretty, too) The gold flatware is vintage also, and I have several mismatched sets. I just pick them up at estate sales when I find them.
As much as I love a simple vase of one type of flower, I wanted something a teeny bit fancier and more interesting for my holiday table. I approach the design of flowers much like I do the design of a room – by grouping them together in a pleasant array of textures and colors.
Since I was going for a loose navy, orange, and creme color combo, I picked up blue hydrangeas, coral-y orange tulips and carnations, thistles, and cream ranunculus at my local grocery store. I find that if I arrange my flowers in my hand and then set them in the vase, they are a bit easier to get settled once I have placed them in my container. Notice that I grouped each type of flower together to create a beautiful bouquet that still looks a little wild and not overly arranged.
The colors and textures and delicate looking greenery all together made me feel so good. I kept peeking into the dining room just to see them. (I get silly like that over fresh flowers in my home)
I ran out of time, and didn’t have anything special for place cards, but eh. It looked great anyway.
Let’s talk food, shall we?
I will confess, I am not a big Thanksgiving food fan. Does that shock you? There’s nothing I really look forward to…except dessert…only if there is something chocolate. Therefore, this year, I set out to make Thanksgiving-y food that was a little out of the box. Here are a few of the dishes I cooked…
Dressing…everyone loves dressing, and I have never understood it. Well, until now. This is the MOST delicious dressing I have ever had, and it is a little unusual in that it has sausage in it. (it also calls for chestnuts which I think you could leave out) I used the turkey cranberry sausage from Central Market, and the dish was out of this world delicious. This is a major crowd pleaser. Recipe here.
These green beans are super easy, and everyone loves them. A little bacon, butter, brown sugar, and garlic powder, and you are golden. Recipe here.
I have no recipe for this because I’m not sure my Mom would release it. But I had to include a picture because they are famous, my Mom’s sweet potato balls.
On to the desserts…
On Thanksgiving morning, I woke up at 3am to cook, mostly because I had too much going on the day before to prepare much. It was kind of nice though. I never mind working while the house is quiet, and I can actually think.
Chocolate Pecan Pie Tart. I don’t really have a recipe for this because all you need is your favorite pecan pie recipe, and then dump in some dark chocolate chips before you fill a tart shell with the filling. After I baked the tart and it cooled, I cut it into pieces.
Roasted Apples with Mincemeat Filling and Brown Sugar & Oat Topping. I’m interested to see how many of you eat mincemeat pie at Thanksgiving. I think perhaps this is a Southern thing? You can buy mincemeat filling at most grocery stores (in Texas at least) during Thanksgiving time. I cut Granny Smith apples in half and then cleaned the seeds and core out using a melon scoop. I filled each apple with a bit of the mincemeat filling and made a quick topping by melting oats, butter, and brown sugar together and mixing it up. Sprinkle the topping on your apples and bake at 325 for about 20 minutes. This was really yummy!
Bourbon Pumpkin Pie. I don’t love pumpkin pie. It’s just not my fave, but this recipe is really tasty. Recipe here. (Note: I made this recipe last year and didn’t have the fancy Williams Sonoma Pumpkin Pecan Butter so I just made a regular pumpkin pie batter and added some finely chopped pecans. It was just as good in my opinion.)
Super Apple Pie. I lovingly call this the “7 hour apple pie”. This one takes some time and energy, my friends, but people literally flip over this pie. My husband and I saw this recipe on the Food Network while watching an episode of one of Alton Brown’s shows a few years ago, and Kent was so enamored with how yummy it looked, I decided to make it. You will need a pie bird and grains of paradise, both of which I had never heard of, but once you gather your needed items, it will be worth it. Recipe here.
Are you hungry now??
Tutorial for my “All is Calm” & “All is Bright” chalkboard prints coming tomorrow!