Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thanksgiving Table - Blue and Brown Together

Next year, we are adding built-ins to our dining room. The china cabinet and table are going. My goal was to find a table that sits 10 in this smallish room. We found a table but I will tell you more about that later.

This Thanksgiving, I wanted to incorporate blues and yellows in the traditional brown color theme. 

Start with this old tool box filled with hydrangeas, grasses, fiddlehead ferns and dried pods. It is long but the new table can handle it. 

My favorite addition of this beautiful crewel table runner and matching napkins both from Pottery Barn. The rich colors gives you a wide variety of color choices. 

Pewter chargers and place cards are such a traditional Thanksgiving look, especially with my Turkey place card holders.

My Spode Woodland china combined with blue Portmierion plates 

or these blue berry plates. If you don't have enough of one plate you can add others if they are in the same color. 

Wood candles in these pretty lanterns.

Twisty flatware to add more texture.

A rustic but elegant table for the family. My Thanksgiving Menu is done and here. I am also joining Susan and I am sure she has some of the greatest Thanksgiving tables on her linky party.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving Turkey can be intimidating. As a new bride I had the honor of making the family turkey for the first time. With knees knocking, I actually made a practice turkey to make sure I would be able to handle this task. My turkey has been perfected over 30 years and here it is..

The newest step is to brine the turkey. I have used the salt brines but I prefer to brine my turkey in a fruit nectar. This year I am going with pear. Combine the pear nectar, thyme, sage, bay leaves, garlic cloves, kosher salt, peppercorns and brown sugar in saucepan and bring to a boil until sugar has melted. Cool completely.

Remove all bags from the turkey, saving for later and place in turkey breast side down in a brining bag. Pour brining mixture into bag and place Mr. Turkey in a cooler filled with ice… he sits in the garage over night.

Next morning, I pull him out and rinse him completely. Drying him thoroughly with paper towels. Next I stuff the turkey. Loosely place the cooled stuffing in the neck cavity and the underside (Butt). Close the back flap (either with sticks or sew it shut.

Place turkey breast side up in roasting pan. Tie the front legs together with twine. Rub all over with butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  

Bake at 325 degrees for 5 hours. We always have a 22 to 24 pound turkey so cooking time will vary with size of the turkey. Now I baste the turkey every 30 to 45 minutes, with 32 oz. of chicken stock heated very low on the stove with the turkey neck in the stock. After about three hours, I cover the turkey loosely with foil.

Once the thermometer reaches 165 in the thigh, remove the turkey. Cover very tightly with aluminum foil for 20 to 30 minutes to let the turkey rest. Even with a double oven , I have dishes to finish in the turkey oven.

Transfer to a decorated serving platter and you have made the perfect turkey!!!  I can never decide if it is better to decorate the turkey or the cut up turkey platter. 


Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labors.

Pear Thyme Brine

8 cup(s) pear nectar
1 small bunch fresh thyme, divided
4 large fresh sage sprigs
3 fresh bay leaves
3/4 cup(s) kosher salt
1/2 cup(s) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoon(s) coarsely ground black peppercorns
6 clove(s) garlic, crushed

Monday, November 17, 2014

Thanksgiving Planning and Menu Week Ending November 23rd

 With Thanksgiving around the corner, it is time to start planning the menu. Family comes in for Wednesday evening and stays until Saturday morning. Yes, we have leftovers but you don't want to eat turkey all weekend so I have to come up with a plan and cook as much ahead possible. Leftovers are a Friday lunch tradition. Everyone goes their own way or we are out shopping and they can eat when they are hungry. My strategy for Thanksgiving leftovers is here.

The rest of this week is busy with school, babysitting grandbabies and upholstering another chair. So dinner is flavorful but very easy. I have prepared some of the items ahead for an easy week of dinners.



Chicken and Dumplings


Tacos and Taco Salads
Queso Dip
Cilantro Lime Rice


 Out to Dinner with Family


Chicken Cesar Wrap
Potato Chips


Shrimp and Grits
Garden Salad

Pine Cone Mini- Cakes



Cheese Steaks
Homemade Fries



Cinnamon Rolls
Eggs in Hashbrown Basket
Assorted Fruits