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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

thanksgiving inspiration

Halloween is only days away, which means Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  I love Thanksgiving!  I love to cook and I love to bake, but most of the time I just don't have time to do it right.  Thanksgiving is my excuse to go hog-wild and make everything from scratch, the way I would if I had unlimited hours in the day.  I literally spend three days straight in my kitchen cooking up a storm.

For most people, Thanksgiving is all about the Turkey.  As a vegetarian, for me Thanksgiving is all about the side dishes.  My husband takes care of the turkey and homemade gravy (both of which, I'm told, are divine), and I do the rest.  But I am a traditionalist.  On Thanksgiving, I don't want any weird fancy vegetarian tofu nonsense.  I want down-home comfort food--mashed potatoes, stuffing, homemade rolls, & pumpkin pie--and I want each dish to be the best thing I've ever tasted.  As far as decor goes, I want autumn leaves and decorative turkeys, and maybe a few pumpkins and ears of corn here and there.  No modern interpretations, no plum and mauve color scheme, just harvest goodness at its best.

Here is my inspiration:

(Photo Credit:  MarthaStewart.com, BetterHomesandGarden.com, Delish.com, Ruth Soukup 2009)

Over the years, I've collected a handful of amazing recipes that I make only at Thanksgiving  The rest of the year, I drool just thinking about them.  They are time-tested and delectable, and although each year Husband begs me to scale back a little, these dishes are the core of my Thanksgiving dinner and I can't stand the thought of missing even one.

Here is this year's menu:

Roast Turkey
Cranberry-Orange Compote
Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
Cornbread Stuffing
Roasted Parmesan Brussels Sprouts
Corn Casserole
Caramelized Onion Pull-Apart Rolls
Pumpkin Pie with maple whipped cream
Apple Pie with homemade vanilla ice-cream

(If you would like me to post any of these recipes, please leave a comment below!)

For decorations, I am going to attempt to make the tin-can luminaries that I wanted to make for Halloween (but ran out of time for).  I've already collected the cans and bought the spray paint, so now it is just a matter of pulling it all together.  I love the idea of autumn leaf place cards and autumn leaf trivets made from felt.  Those directions are found on MarthaStewart.com.  Using scrap ribbon to tie up the napkins is also a very cute idea.

Pulling it all together on a budget is going to be a challenge.  I've managed to accumulate a great stockpile of staples, which will help, and now that I have established my menu, I will make a list of needed ingredients and try to collect as many as possible on sale over the next four weeks.

So tell me, what's your favorite can't-miss Thanksgiving dish?


  1. Please post the recipe for the twice-baked sweet potatoes! And I read your coupon tutorials (1 and 2) and went on my first go around today! I saved 51% w/ coupons and sales. I thought this was decent for my first attempt! :)

  2. Umm...how about ALL the recipes?? :) If that's asking too much, how about the Roasted Parmesan Brussels Sprouts and Corn Casserole. Thanks!!

  3. I absolutely LOVE thanksgiving because of all the food. and I love having leftovers for at least aweek. mashed potatoes...i can eat them three times a day, SO YUMMY!

  4. The caramelized onion pull aparts sound deelish!

  5. As a vegetarian as well, I'd love to see your recipes!! I always enjoy reading your blog...thanks for taking the time for us!


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