Planning Your Perfect Thanksgiving

By Jessica Tomes, TMD Social Media Director

We are less than a week away from Thanksgiving, so it is officially crunch time! No worries if you haven’t yet decided upon your preferred turkey cooking method (to deep fry or not to deep fry), finalized your dinner menu, or selected your tablescape design—we have you covered. Before you ask, no, we cannot help you uninvite great aunt Helen twice removed. But we do have a plethora of ideas and recipes to get you in the holiday spirit, and hopefully leave you inspired to plan your very own Thanksgiving feast!

The Bird, the Mainstay of Your Menu

Historians say more than likely turkey was not served at the first Thanksgiving dinner. 19th Century magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale (of Godey’s Lady’s Book) is credited with the initial efforts to make the bird such an integral part of the Thanksgiving menu, “writing letters to governors, congress, and even the president…campaigning for a national holiday” and “writing novels about romanticized turkeys”. (www.npr.org)

I find it interesting that a woman lobbied for the turkey to be named the meat du jour of Thanksgiving. Let’s face it ladies, cooking that Thanksgiving turkey can seem like a daunting, and frankly fruitless task. Anyone who has cooked a turkey knows this bird is one of the driest tasting meats if not prepared properly. Thank goodness blogger Gabrielle Blair (www.designmom.com) wrote a comprehensive post (complete with pictures) entitled, “The Seven Secrets to the Juiciest Thanksgiving Turkey.” From thawing to brining to roasting, she covers it all—the Idiot’s Guide to Turkey, if you will. Disclaimer: While I cannot 100% vouch for her method at this moment (I plan to give it a test drive this upcoming week), it sure sounds like a good plan to me. And if this doesn’t work, you could always purchase a pre-cooked turkey to serve to your family. There really is no shame in this—sometimes it’s best to acknowledge our shortcomings.

And just in case you need a few more turkey recipe ideas, Camille Styles, one of my favorite bloggers, shares her “10 Best Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes” here.  Personally, the Apple Brined Turkey from Food and Wine sounds like a winner to me.

Deliciously Southern Sides

What good is a turkey without all the trimmings? Honestly, when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, I would have to say that I am a bigger fan of the side dishes and the dessert than I am the main dish. Gasp. My husband is the carnivore in our family. Bread and a mix of several traditional sides (with a twist) are must haves on my Thanksgiving dinner menu. For the record, I am especially fond of the green bean and the sweet potato casseroles. Before heading to the grocery store this weekend, here are a few scintillating online recipes for you to peruse.

Parker House Rolls with Thyme from Williams-Sonoma (25 minutes to cook)

Sweet Potato Cornbread from Leite’s Culinaria (gluten free, 50 minutes to bake)

Macaroni and Cheese with Butternut Squash from Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Creamy Green Bean Casserole from Taste of Home (35 minutes to prepare)

Sourdough Cornbread Dressing from The Right Recipe (45 minutes to bake)

Sweet Potato Casserole with Pears and Marshmallows from My Recipes

Images appear in order of mention via www.camillestyles.com, www.williams-sonoma.com, www.leitesculinaria.com, www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com, www.tasteofhome.com, www.therightrecipe.org, and www.myrecipes.com.

Images appear in order of mention via www.camillestyles.com, www.williams-sonoma.com, www.leitesculinaria.com, www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com, www.tasteofhome.com, www.therightrecipe.org, and www.myrecipes.com.

Sinfully Scrumptious Sweets

I am a huge dessert fan (always), especially now because I am pregnant with our second little one. The holidays are the perfect time to over indulge in delicious yummies, and the New Year is the perfect time to make resolutions to burn off all those extra calories, right? At least that is the motto I live by—I just cannot say no to sweets, and I am surprisingly okay with this. Here are a few to die for dessert recipes I am desperate to try my hand at this holiday season. I’ve even included a liquid dessert for those who prefer to drink their calories!

Brown Sugar Buttermilk Pie from Martha Stewart

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Pie with Honey Sweetened Meringue from Bakeaholic Mama

Mini Pumpkin Pie Slice Cookies from Sweet Sugar Belle

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting from Damn Delicious

Rustic Apple Tart from Sprinkle Bakes

Warm Apple Pie Cocktail from My Recipes

Images appear in order of mention via www.marthastewart.com, www.bakeaholicmama.com, www.sweetsugarbelle.com, http://damndelicious.net, www.sprinklebabes.com, and www.myrecipes.com.

Images appear in order of mention via www.marthastewart.com, www.bakeaholicmama.com, www.sweetsugarbelle.com, http://damndelicious.net, www.sprinklebabes.com, and www.myrecipes.com.

Setting the Table

This Thanksgiving I am particularly inspired by modern metallics mixed with traditional touches (pumpkins and classic fall colors). I love the idea of a beautiful harvest table with tapers of various heights, simple, chic floral, and a mix of fall textures—pheasant feathers and velvet accents are big on my wish list. And how adorable is that DIY “I am Thankful” placemat? The DIY gold foiled pumpkin place cards appear equally achievable. Your dinner menu, artfully printed on corresponding linens, completes this “Rustic Luxe” Thanksgiving tablescape. Here is a tutorial for creating your own linens. These are just a few ideas to get you started. Don’t be afraid to let your inner Martha out, let’s get creative this holiday season! Bon Apetit!

Pumpkin and floral centerpiece via www.cebollafineflowers.com. TMD Industrial Romance Styled Shoot, photographed by Archetype Studio Inc. Velvet silverware details via www.simplyseleta.com. Gold foiled pumpkin place cards via www.cupcakesandcashmere.com. DIY Thankful Placemats via http://trendstate.weebly.com. Festive tablescape via www.stylemepretty.com. Feather and printed menu details via http://myhomesweetblog.com. Festive Thanksgiving table via http://myhomesweetblog.com.

Pumpkin and floral centerpiece via www.cebollafineflowers.com. TMD Industrial Romance Styled Shoot, photographed by Archetype Studio Inc. Velvet silverware details via www.simplyseleta.com. Gold foiled pumpkin place cards via www.cupcakesandcashmere.com. DIY Thankful Placemats via http://trendstate.weebly.com. Festive tablescape via www.stylemepretty.com. Feather and printed menu details and Festive Thanksgiving table via http://myhomesweetblog.com.

Born and raised in Southeast Texas, Jessica currently lives in Billings, Montana with her husband Tyler, and her one year old daughter Savannah. Jessica went to school at Texas Christian University where she studied Broadcast Journalism. (“Go Frogs!”) A writer, blogger, and fashion enthusiast, Jessica also owns her own business: Jessica Morgan Photography and Events. She loves everything about weddings, and is so excited to have joined the team at Tamara Menges Designs! She is also expecting her second little bundle of joy, another little girl, in March of 2014.

 

 

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