Thanksgiving With the McDowells

thanksgiving1Happy December!  How can this be?!  I swear it was just May…I’m content though and should start setting up our little apartment for the Christmas season.  But!  Before I do, I want to share our Thanksgiving with you.  I planned the holiday down to the details (or at least the details that were relevant for our dinner), much more so than our first Thanksgiving last year.  I’m very into doing things right…as in real dishes, nice presentation and homemade foods…even if it means spending the majority of my time in the kitchen prepping, cooking and cleaning!  I think it’s worth it.  So this year with those details in mind I bought a special tablecloth from Anthropologie to serve as the perfect backdrop for our glass tableware and a seasonal & bohemian floral arrangement from Bloomsbury Blooms.

thanksgiving2I may be obsessed with this centerpiece.  A pomegranate, orange, and mini mums?  I want to squeal every time I look at it.  It set the mood for the evening without breaking a sweat!

thanksgiving3I dressed Simon up in his SillyBuddy Christmas bow tie from last year, since I wore red as well.  Isn’t he dashing?  He’s so furry though that you could barely see it!

thanksgiving4When it came to the dishes this year, I wanted to stretch my culinary skills and do recipes I’d never tried.  While I had the turkey and sides decided for a while, appetizers were somewhat of an afterthought.  But it just so happens I thought of the perfect pre-Thanksgiving dinner bites– bacon wrapped water chestnuts.  Barbecue sauce paired nicely with them too!  These didn’t last long…lucky for me Ethan kept snagging some just for me, as I was working until I served dinner!  I allowed about two minutes to change into nice clothes and cool down.  Honestly, I don’t know how anyone can look chic while preparing Thanksgiving dinner!

thanksgiving5Thursday’s turkey post was a hint…I now am the proud owner of four pieces of Spode’s Woodland Collection and they all were so beautiful.  Sometimes I feel limited by our living situation to really see my ideas through.  But this!  This amped up the presentation one hundred-fold and I cannot wait to include them in all of our future Thanksgivings.

thanksgiving6I heard somewhere that for dinner parties it is important to pick and choose your battles.  In my case I wanted to focus on the special dishes and not so much on the necessities.  Frozen yeast rolls were exceptionally easy to bake without the hassle of working with dough and were a favorite.  Canned turkey gravy was made more special by the gravy boat that held it.  Store bought apple cider with a few cinnamon sticks floating in a glass punch bowl kept drinks festive and hassle-free.  With those items taken care of, I could focus on made-from-scratch stuffing, a turkey that needed basting every thirty minutes, and the like.  Below are the recipes I used throughout the day.

 Perfect Roast Turkey

Classic Stuffing

Green Beans with Bacon

Potato Gratin

Overall our Thanksgiving was much less stressful than last year.  I knew with a more intimate guest list I could relax about portions and just have fun preparing everything (but we have leftovers up to our eyeballs anyways).  I watched the Macy’s Day Parade and National Dog Show from the kitchen while Ethan slept in, and I gathered enough courage to finally break in my wooden utensils.  It was amazing to me how much more effective they were!  When the boys came over at 2:30 the turkey was almost done already.  After eating my gal friend came over for dessert and we played a round of Clue after vegging out on the couch.  Heck I deserved it…and then I kicked butt in the board game, after working all day and the previous night!  Can you tell I’m pretty proud of myself?

How was your Thanksgiving celebration?  Did you start any new traditions or make any special memories?



  1. Mary Ellen · · Reply

    And I am proud of you too!!!! Everything looks beautiful!!!

  2. Looks like a fabulous evening! And Simon looked so handsome!

    1. Thank you so much…Simon had the easiest Thanksgiving job of all! Looking cute and welcoming our guests =)

  3. caseylane · · Reply

    holy cow Martha stewart! this feast looks amazing – great job!
    my favortites: simon’s bowtie and that dusty miller in your arrangement

    1. I really tried…we will be eating leftover stuffing for literally years! I love it too! Adds a whole other level of beauty and texture =)

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