Happy Monday! Are you guys recovered from the weekend?
This is the first time in a while that I have felt rested after the holiday weekend. Usually we get back home late Sunday afternoon after trying to squeeze in every last minute with family. While I have always loved Thanksgiving, I have dreaded the Monday after the long weekend. I usually come home with no food in the fridge, scrambling to get ready for Monday morning, and still am in a food-induced coma.
We hosted Thanksgiving this year so we had the rest of the weekend to kick back and relax a little since we weren't traveling. I have always wanted to host Thanksgiving but since we don't live close to home, having our entire family come to our little apartment just didn't make sense. This year, none of our siblings were in town, so it was just a small group of six. But, guess what? Even if there had been double the amount of people, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat! For one thing, I got to use the crystal, silver, and china we got for our wedding for the first time in five years! Also, as I mentioned last week, it's more about the people you are with than the space you are in so it just didn't seem to matter that I was setting my china on a fold up table in the middle of our living room.
Since I didn't know how the whole thing would go, I didn't want to wow you with a menu or a timeline before the big day. But, the day was a success so I thought I would share with you what I made and when I did things. I figure you can always us it for next year, right?
Here's what I made:
White Bean Dip with veggies by Two Fit Moms - this is a go-to dip recipe that I love to make. It's so good, so easy, and so healthy! It's a nice change from regular hummus.
Sweet Potato Polenta Bites with Thyme Marinated Mushrooms by Kara Lydon - these were definitely a crowd favorite and I will be making them again!
My mom brought a goat cheese dip, baked brie, and more veggies
A lot of people were asking if I was going to eat turkey since I've decided to eat a more plant-based diet. I always planned on making one but wasn't sure if I'd eat it. I ended up not having any because all of the sides were soooo delicious and turkey has never been the star of the day for me anyways. According to my guests, the turkey was a success. Here's what I did: I roasted it in my grandma's electric roaster (close to 75 years old!). I stuffed the cavity with celery, carrots, thyme, onion, garlic, and parsley. I rubbed some softened butter mixed with herbs de Provence under the skin and drizzled the top with olive oil and salt. I roasted it at 325 degrees for about three hours. I let it rest for 30(ish) minutes before carving.
Sides (the real thing we all care about, right?!)
Mashed Parsnips by yours truly - these are still one of my favorite sides that continue to crave on an almost daily basis.
Sweet Potato Casserole...coming soon to a blog near you ;) - I made over a family favorite to make it a little lighter and vegan-friendly. No one knew the difference!
The Best Damn Vegan Mashed Potatoes by Minimalist Baker - I wasn't going to make mashed potatoes since I had the parsnips but...it was Thanksgiving and I thought our ancestors would turn over in their graves if I didn't. These were well worth it!
Vegan Cornbread for Two by Minimalist Baker - these have been a go-to recipe for me this fall. The recipe makes 6 muffins in my muffin tin.
Simple Vegan Stuffing by Minimalist Baker - this was surprisingly amazing! The ingredients are simple but the result was outstanding. I debated adding the lentils but am really happy I did. They added great texture!
Kale Citrus Salad by Minimalist Baker - this kale salad is a winner!!!
Easy Mushroom Gravy from the Oh She Glows Cookbook - I plan on making this over and over...it was the perfect thing to pour over everything on my plate and then some!
Cranberry Sauce by Eat Your Beats Celebrate Harvest e-Cookbook - the addition of blueberries added some natural sweetness to the sauce. I will definitely be making this one for Thanksgiving in the years to come!
Brussels Sprouts with Peanut Vinaigrette by Julia Moskin - I've never been a green bean casserole fan so this was a great substitute .The crispy fried shallots require dirtying another dish but are well worth it!
Paper Bag Apple Pie by me - I mean this pie...it's just too amazing for words.
My mother-in-law brought pumpkin pie
I had so much fun the whole week getting ready for Thursday. My husband might say I had my moments, but overall, I think the week leading up to the main event was smooth sailing. Here's a rough outline that led to my stress-free day.
Saturday and Sunday:
- Started defrosting turkey in the fridge
- Shopped at the farmers' market for all the produce
- Went to the grocery store for the rest of my groceries
- Washed all my produce
- Peeled and chopped parsnips, carrots, celery, onions
- Set the table
- Made pie crust (stored in freezer)
- Made dinner for tonight and tomorrow night
- Shopped for any ingredients I forgot
- Measured dry ingredients for apple pie crumble topping and sweet potato casserole topping
- Made veggie stock
- Made cranberry sauce
- Cooked and mashed sweet potatoes
- Cut bread into cubes and placed in a bowl to stale
- Trimmed Brussels sprouts
- Made salad dressing
- Made vinaigrette for Brussels sprouts
- Made polenta for sweet potato polenta bites (stored in fridge)
- Made the white bean dip
- Made mashed potatoes
- Put together sweet potato casserole (didn't bake)
- Put together stuffing (didn't bake)
- Made mashed parsnips
- Made mushroom gravy
- Made marinated mushrooms for polenta bites
- Baked polenta squares
- Took pie crust out of freezer
Thursday (we ate around 6pm):
- 8:00-12:00 - made apple pie, made cornbread, washed and chopped kale for salad, massaged kale with oil and orange juice, peeled and sectioned oranges for Brussels sprouts and salad
- 12:00-1:00 - worked out
- 1:00-2:00 - prepped turkey
- 2:00 - turkey in the roaster
- 2:00-3:00 - put salad together minus the dressing, cleaned the kitchen, set up buffet table
- 3:00-3:45 - showered (my guests appreciated that ;))
- 3:45 - reheated polenta squares and mushrooms, put the apps out
- 4:00 - 4:45 - guests arrived, enjoyed a glass of wine (or two!) and some appetizers
- 4:45 - stuffing and sweet potato casserole went in the oven
- 5:15 - turkey taken out to rest
- 5:30 - sweet potatoes out, Brussels sprouts in the oven
- 5:45 - mashed potatoes and parsnips in the oven to reheat (covered in foil), reheat gravy on stove. carve turkey
- 6:00 - toss salad, toss parsnips, EAT!
I'm not going to lie, the period from 5:00-6:00 was planned out the way I wrote it out but I'm not sure in exactly what order it all happened. My mom, mother-in-law, and hubby were helpful in making sure everything was on the table. By that time, it didn't matter since we were all together with delicious food!
I hope you guys had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving and were able to enjoy some quality time with your loved ones. I can't wait to share my sweet potato casserole recipe with you soon!