There’s usually so much anticipation built up before Thanksgiving but this year the day sort of came and went without that grand finale feeling. I think it’s mainly because I was so busy all week and barely spent any time just relaxing at home.
Needless to say, we had no planned menu for Thanksgiving. Instead, we basically ended up winging the food and came up with a few classic staples:
turkey (organic, free-range, and delicious)
mom’s classic mashed potatoes with homemade gravy
sweet potato casserole
butternut squash soup (we’ve been making this soup for years and continue to love it)
baked brie cheese (appetizer – similar recipe here)
stuffing (pre-made from Whole Foods)
desserts – pumpkin cheesecake, chocolate ice cream, cookies (all store-bought)
The day started early with a filling breakfast of smoked salmon and poached eggs over avocado toast. Oh and coffee, always coffee.
I hung out with my precious fuzzball for a bit…
…and then we got to cooking. I was out with my friends the night before (shame on me I know) so my mom & sister graciously prepped foods that could be made ahead of time – cranberry sauce, butternut squash soup, baked sweet potatoes, and gravy.
This was the first year we actually added dried cranberries into the cranberry sauce, and the difference in texture was astounding in the best way possible. The sauce was thick, tart, and delicious!
Our yearly tradition is to feast early, leave the house for a movie, and return home for round two. This year was no exception. To keep our growing appetites at bay, my sister put together a simple yet luxurious appetizer featuring brie cheese nestled in pastry dough, topped with jam and almonds, and baked until golden + melty inside.
This appetizer was everything and more…
We all couldn’t get enough!
Cutting into the brie wheel released a gooey stream of decadent melted cheese held back only by the flaky pastry shell surrounding it.
We scrambled to stop the lava flow with small pieces of bread because it was the right thing to do.
After recharging with all the cheese, I whipped together a simple spinach salad loaded up with many veggies while my mom warmed up our favorite butternut squash soup.
And finally, we all sat down at the
dinner lunch table and began our decadent feast!
Out came the potatoes, stuffing, and a gorgeous turkey straight from the oven.
Before diving into more food, we went around the table and expressed everything we’ve been grateful for this past year. This has always been one of my favorite components of Thanksgiving and one that I hope to continue for many years to come!
I know many people don’t enjoy turkey thanks to its dry texture, but I happen to love it with cranberry sauce and gravy. Plus, leftovers make for an excellent salad topping.
Stuffing is probably my favorite Thanksgiving dish ever. Once upon a time I attempted to make my own stuffing but failed miserably, so this year we purchased a pre-made version from Whole Foods. You simply throw it into the oven for 30 minutes and serve!
Dare I say it was delicious?! It definitely tasted much better than the bagged versions many stores sell, at least in my opinion. But this year my favorite dish was the sweet potato casserole.
We’ve been making this dish for the past few years, but this year I quadrupled the topping amounts. So much sweet and crunchy goodness! I couldn’t resist secretly reaching into the dish to pick out lonely topping pieces, shhh…
We filled and refilled our plates multiple times before finally calling it quits. After an hour or so of rest and conversation, we moved on to dessert. I clearly failed at creating a homemade dessert (I ran out of time to make vegan chocolate pumpkin pie) but the store-bought replacements weren’t too bad.
Of course my mom purchased cheesecake, her favorite dessert, but I was surprisingly able to tolerate it thanks to the prominent pumpkin flavor. Although one bite was enough for me, and I went with chocolate ice cream topped with cookies instead.
And then it was time for one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions – movie night! We all piled into the car and drove to the movie theater to see the 3rd Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay. The theater was all ours! At least for a few minutes…
I didn’t love the movie as much as I thought I would, but it kept my full attention so I can’t complain. The best part was arguably when we all returned home and had Thanksgiving dinner round two!
And so concludes our wonderful Thanksgiving celebration. I can’t help but continue expressing love and gratitude for my incredible family and their endless support. We may all live far away from each other (at least I live far from them) but distance makes the heart grow fonder and feel infinitely blessed. I’m one lucky girl!
One more moment of appreciation before we part – thank you to everyone who continues to read this pointless little old blog of mine. Words can’t express how grateful I am for all my readers and commenters!