Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I love entertaining at our house every once in a while. The planning is fun for me. I enjoy thinking about how I will set the table, or what recipes I want to make/try. Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that has its own built in theme and yet, the possibilities for food, decor, guests, is pretty much endless. I do have a few limits, however. First, if I want everyone to be able to sit at the same table (our dining room table), I have found 10 is optimum, 11 is sort of doable. Unfortunately, we only have china for 10. If we go over 10, we use every day Fiestaware. If we go over 11, we have to split into multiple tables and put people in different rooms, which we have done, but it is nice to keep everyone at one table. Although this year we started out with a possible guest list of 18, we did end up with 11. Yay, everyone at one table, and yay, everyday dishes, which go in the dishwasher.

I have been planning the menu for a couple weeks, but Thanksgiving prep officially started for me on Sunday. Michael and I hit the grocery store with a list totaling 75 items. We were able to get 73 of those items at one store. My Thanksgiving Day Menu included 21 items, plus drinks. I would be responsible for  5 appetizers, 9 main dish items, 5 desserts, and 1 punch. Grammy would bring 2 main dish items. The reality of the situation, I made 3 appetizers and Tiff & Danny brought spinach cheese squares. I made 9 main dish items and picked up rolls from a bakery. Grammy did bring 2 main dish items (sweet potatoes & fruit salad). I made 3 desserts, Michael picked up the pre-ordered Caramel Pecan Pie at a local bakery and a variety of ice cream flavors from Salt & Straw including Cinnamon Snickerdoodle and Coffee Bourbon. Grammy brought a flourless chocolate cake for dessert, which was unexpected.

I organized myself by splitting the cooking into three days. Day One: Monday. I made my favorite cranberry sauce.

Day Two: Tuesday, I made the potatoes (The Pioneer Woman's Delicious, Creamy Mashed Potatoes), two appetizers (Trisha Yearwood's Hot Corn Dip

and Bobby Dean's Pimento Cheese Dip), and three veggie recipes (The Best Vegan Green Bean Casserole, Creamed Spinach, and Carrots with a hint of maple syrup).

Day Three: Wednesday, I made another appetizer (Ina Garten's Cheese Straws), three desserts, Four Ingredient Vegan Pumpkin Pie-just as good as last year...

so yummy and worth making again

really rich

I also prepped the turkey with Williams-Sonoma Dry Brine.

Day Three: Thanksgiving Day included making the Not So Humble Pie Turkey Recipe

Cornbread Stuffing and Regular Bread Stuffing
and Gravy, of course.

Plus, heating up everything else that had been previously prepped.
Since I am somewhat adaptable and I wanted a pretty table more than I wanted two more appetizers and Thanksgiving punch, I abandoned those recipes due to time limitations.

The other thing that was abandoned due to time limitations, me spending any time on myself, or even changing my clothes from what I had been wearing for two days: shorts and my "Nice Peaches" Savannah t-shirt. Ugh!!! Thank goodness my family does not care what I look like.

I do think my table was beautiful

Michael is currently obsessed with Hard Apple Cider and buys a different kind every time he goes to the grocery store. I do hope his cider turns out or I fear he will be utterly dejected. Here he has asked Sammy to pose with some cider.

Appetizer/Sweets Table:

Guests arrive:
Peter, Grampy & Rylan, Kyle, Tyler
(Geo is a Great-Grandpa!)

Same people-take 2

Grammy, Kyle, Grampy & Rylan, Hannah, Tyler, Peter

Just sitting down to eat. I'm sure I am thinking... what am I missing?

Michael finally gets to stop cleaning the house and sit down and eat. He is very happy.
Of Grammy and Grampy's five Grandsons, we were missing Austin (who had to work)
and Joey (who is in Amsterdam until next month).

Rylan, 6 months, not particularly fond of the flash.

Grammy, Sammy, Aunt Tiffy & Lily in a stupor after dinner. I tried to get a picture of Coco, but realized she never sits still. Lily is almost always calm, but usually under foot.

This morning I woke up to this beautiful girl sunning herself. So happy to be roaming free after being locked up all Thanksgiving Day. Cat fur and Thanksgiving Dinner were never meant to go together.

My centerpiece looks even better today

and I was able to salvage a bag of these delicious spiced pecans.
I love Baker & Spice.

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving.

This Old House: Fireplace

About three years ago I wrote a post about our living room. In the picture below, just a peak of the left hand side of the original fireplace is visible:

The original fireplace was kind of art deco style with rounded column structures on each end and black marble tiles around the opening and on the hearth.

I could not stand the look of that fireplace, but did not have the money to re-do it, so I had Danny remove the white columns and the black tile. He built an inexpensive mantel and mounted it and we left the brick exposed. We used leftover corbels from the kitchen remodel and in the picture below, you can see about half of the fireplace.

For years I have been looking for a man-made stone composite (or something like it) for the fireplace surround. I never could find exactly what I wanted and anything close to what I thought I wanted was really expensive. I decided I had had enough of the exposed brick.

Last winter, as I was perusing the internet, or Pinterest, or whatever, I came upon a tile manufacturer in San Diego (Tierra Y Fuego: Artistic Handcrafted Tile). I immediately fell in love with their ceramic tiles. Specifically, their Santa Barbara Tiles. Of course we do not live in California, or even in a Craftsman Style home, but a girl can dream... and maybe even make a few of her dreams into a reality.

For the living room fireplace, I decided I would go with a decorative painted wood surround with San Carlos Santa Barbara tile around the box and on the hearth. These tiles appealed to me because I think they look beautiful, I love the blue/green, red & yellow color combination, and also because they remind me a little of Sweden for some reason (ironically, not Santa Barbara or San Carlos).

The nice clean living room represented in the picture above was long gone. Joey had used the living room as an art studio and I had used it as a catch-all for lots of things that did not have a home. Before the fireplace remodel, this is what the living room looked like:


Danny got to work removing the old mantel, leveling out the bricks and cleaning the box:

Danny finished the fireplace a few months back, however, Michael and I did not get to cleaning up the living room until the day before Thanksgiving. I am thrilled to report, we love our new fireplace:

and we love our newly clean living room:

Once we get those hardwood floors re-done, and the hard cider in the corner finds a new home, the living room will be "done". It only took 16 years to get to this point, ha!