Friday, November 29, 2013

Giving Thanks.

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday. A whole day of being thankful with your loved ones, eating delicious food, and sipping some fantastic drinks? AND there's a parade, a dog show, and football on TV? Sign me right up.

Our decorated hearth and fire going!
This year was extra special because Adam and I hosted dinner (for ten family members) for the first time. Overall, I think we did well and everyone enjoyed themselves! We deviated slightly from our planned menu, but flexibility is key right? The turkey moved from freezer to fridge on Saturday night, and I think next time we'll take it out a day earlier as he was still ever-so-slightly frozen on Thanksgiving morning. Nothing a little bath wouldn't fix!

Adam and his kitchen helper.
Dinner was planned for 3PM, so we muched on appetizers while cooking. Mom brought over two of these beautiful pumpkin pies, and I served up simple cheese and crackers.

What really makes holidays special in my family is stuffed ham. This is a delicacy found only in the southern Maryland, so it's a staple on special days like Thanksgiving. Simply put, it's sliced corned ham stuffed with kale, cabbage, spicy stuff, and just general goodness. Frankly it's probably kind of scary if you've never seen it, but if you ever see this on a dinner table, do not pass it up. It's absolutely fantastic, and even better the second day on sandwiches. 

I may or may not be salivating right now. 
Sticking to a schedule definitely helped me prepare not just for the meal, but for getting it on the table on time. The weekend before, I had made a list of little things I could do throughout the week to cut down on prep the day of. I chopped veggies, made graham cracker crusts, and sliced cheese a few days in advance. For the day of, I simply counted backwards from dinnertime to figure out what needed to be done when. 

Adam carving his first turkey
Important tip: Don't forget to allow 30 minutes at the end for the turkey to rest! This actually is the perfect time to make your gravy, hopelessly burn bake your rolls, and heat up casseroles in the oven. The schedule was instrumental in enjoying the holiday while hosting. I think it is a tradition we'll be happy to repeat each year! 

Perfect cheesecake, recipe here. Hint: skip the waterbath. The topping will cover any cracks anyway.


  1. Your pie is beautiful! I love cooking but my presentation is always a bit lacking. Also, your mantle banner is too cute!

    1. Aww, thank you! I desperately need a better camera. My poor iPhone 4 just doesn't do things justice!