Happy early Thanksgiving everyone! As turkey day is approaching, I hope all of you have gotten your shopping done. It's getting a little hectic out at the grocery stores, so get what you need as soon as possible.
Times during the holidays can sometimes be stressful, so make sure you also prepare a hearty, Thanksgiving breakfast to help you prep for the day. It doesn't even need to be a complicated recipe, but something easy that will get your mind, and body ready for great company, and a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner.
One of the simplest things for me to stir up in the morning is oatmeal. Who doesn't love a creamy bowl of oatmeal? It's warm, filling, and good for the soul. If you really want to switch it up, try this slow-cooked, pumpkin pie oatmeal recipe from Sweet Anna's the night before. You'll definitely wake up looking forward to this dish!
My daughter is a big fan of pancakes, so I always try to do something different. And holidays give me the advantage of re-creating a yummy starter. Pumpkin pancakes are also on the list. They are light and fluffy, and will give you the right amount of boost for the day. Get this recipe from Julia's Album.
Don't forget your protein and mix up broccoli, eggs, and sausage for an egg omelet muffin. These are definitely easy and tasty, and you can find this recipe on Cooking Pinterest. There are other ingredients involved to achieve this dish fully, but if you want to make things easier, quickly toss it up on the stove, and enjoy!
I hope these recipes will keep you active. And maybe even after breakfast, go for a walk, and get some fresh, cool air!
Green beans are a traditional holiday side dish, usually made as a casserole with cream of mushroom soup. This healthier green bean side dish has made it into our meal plan for the holidays the last few years.
The ingredient list for 8 servings:
1 lb fresh green beans (I prefer Haricot Vert french green beans)
8 strips of turkey bacon (my hubby prefers real bacon)
1/2 finely chopped onion (I prefer more onion)
2 Tb olive oil (or real butter for a treat)
1 Tb white wine vinegar
1 Tb Xyla birch sweetener (or real sugar if you prefer)
salt to taste
How to make:
Steam the green beans until they are tender but still crisp.
Wrap about 12 beans in each bacon strip, use toothpicks to secure.
Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes until the bacon is done.
While bacon is cooking, saute onion in olive oil until tender. Add vinegar, sugar, and salt.
Remove bundles and plate them with onion sauce over the top.
Remember that nice presentation makes for tastier food!
I once ate this dill garlic carrot dish at a restaurant and have recreated it every year as either a side dish at the holidays, or as an appetizer dish.
Dill to taste
When making a side dish, I used sliced carrots as you see below. You slice the carrots into a bowl, drizzle them with olive oil, add minced garlic and dill. I prefer fresh dill if I have it on hand, otherwise, dry dill will work too.
When making as an appetizer, I like to use baby carrots. They are relatively easy to eat with your fingers. Try this cold side dish at your next holiday gathering. They will be a hit for sure!
Last year I made this fantastic fall harvest salad for our holiday dinner. I can't recall now if I made it for Thanksgiving or for Christmas but it would work for any holiday dinner. It does take a bit more time to make the Peppered Parmesan Bowls but it sure makes the presentation of the salad just amazing. And one thing I've learned being in the wedding event industry is that presentation makes ordinary foods taste extraordinary!
Ingredients for the Parmesan bowl:
Plan about 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese per bowl.
Pepper or other desired spices or herbs.
How to make the bowls:
In a small bowl, add the cheese and add some pepper to taste. You can even add other spices are herbs if you want to get creative. Using a nonstick skillet (or even a crepe pan), spread your cheese mixture evenly to make about a 6-7 inch circle. You have to make one bowl at a time. It only takes 2-3 minutes before the cheese starts to bubble and the edges may begin to brown. Remove from the heat and very carefully, using a large spatula, drape the cheese over an upside down ramekin bowl. You can use any bowl really, but 4 inch ramekins are a good size. Gently mold the cheese to hug the bowl shape. Let cool completely. Repeat this process for as many bowls as you need to make. I found that you should have some extra Parmesan cheese on hand in case you mess up and have to create an extra bowl. :-)
Ingredients for the Fall Harvest Salad:
It's important to mix your preferred salad dressing with the greens before you use the greens in the Parmesan bowls. As a suggestion, you can use a Poppy-seed dressing. Start layering each bowl with all the ingredients. Remember presentation makes food taste better. Start with your mixed greens. Then I layered each of my fruits into a different area of the salad bowl, and finishing with some nuts in yet another corner. You will be surprised how excited your guests are to be served a restaurant quality salad!
One piece of advice I learned in Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project, is to "spend out". What this means is that you shouldn't think of using the good china only for special occasions. You shouldn't save those good linens in a drawer to use some day. Some day may never come. Life is short and every day is a special occasion.
When it come to Thanksgiving day meal planning, it's easy to plan the traditional food: Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, rolls, maybe even some cranberry sauce. But often the table decor is overlooked as part of meal planning. You may not have enough room to seat everyone at your normal dining room table, but never fear, you can rent tables and chairs! You can even rent glassware and dinnerware if needed. And it's pretty reasonable.
You can rent table runners and napkins too so that they match. I pulled out our family china and set the table so that when guests arrived. It's nice to have it already done for a few reasons: 1) it allows you to have more time to visit while family is there and 2) they get to enjoy the sight upon their arrival and it lets them know they are special.
I have a hodge podge of silver napkin rings and I Iike to use them all. Each place setting can be unique.
I don't have family silverware, but my cousin does, so I asked her to come early and bring hers.
Don't you think it looks great? Very simple but elegant.
We even added the special touch of printed menu cards showcasing our meal plan. It sure makes a typical turkey dinner seem fancier! Our meal plan was paired with a wine too.
Adding a menu card for our appetizer plan went with our theme to fancy-ify our Thanksgiving day. Once again, we paired appetizers with a pre-dinner cocktail.
Even simple appetizers can be made to look a bit fancier by paying a little attention to presentation.
While our dinner is cooking, we like to invite family to play a few games, cards, pool, or even just watch football.
Don't forget to snap a few impromptu photos of family as they are lounging around. These moments are ones that we cherish.
Thanksgiving Day wouldn't be complete without dessert! Our menu card showcased our pies along with our coffee and port.
I hope your Thanksgiving Day is a fun-filled family day!