Thanksgiving Tablescape

I’m a firm believer that the Thanksgiving tablescape really adds to the day. Sure the company and food can be great, but there’s something magical about a well set table. In other news, have I mentioned that Martha Stewart is my spirit animal?

You can obviously go a few different directions with the color scheme, but my parent’s dining room has gold metallic walls, so I like to stick with warm metallics and natural tones. Here are some items I’m thinking about at the moment (not all at once, but some combination of the below). Keep in mind, I’ll be adding flowers and possibly gourds or other natural elements.

Table Linens

I’m working with a large medium stained wooden table, so I usually opt for a runner and placemats instead of a tablecloth. I crocheted a million placemats in fall colors a couple years ago, but I’m always looking for a new runner.

NateBerkusrunner

This Nate Berkus table runner from Target is my natural and metallic theme all in one!

gold-jute-table-runner

A Crate and Barrel Gold Jute table runner is both subtle and flashy at the same time.

beckett-natural-linen-table-runner

A Crate and Barrel Natural table runner would be a great backdrop for fun candle holders and is definitely seasonless.

Lighting

I like to have different levels of candles on the table. It creates a warm picturesque glow, and allows you to turn down the main lights a little bit.

cratebarrelcandle

I have been stalking these Crate and Barrel taper candle holders. They are a great modern take on taper holders.

CB2votive

A few of these little CB2 Rose Gold votive holders would be great scattered around the middle of the table.

mercury-tealights-rose-gold-o

These West Elm Mercury Glass tea lights had me at mercury glass.

Crate Hurracaine

We have a couple hurricane candle holders similar to these from Crate and Barrel, and I think they would be great with a natural colored (unscented) pillar candle, and maybe even some dried acorns or fall type things…

One More For the Road

napkinrings

I really love these horn napkin rings from West Elm.

Do you have your tablescape ready to go?

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Thanksgiving Prep Time!

My family takes Thanksgiving very seriously (aka my mother and I take it seriously and my family is along for the ride). Every year the guest list fluctuates, and I think some of the especially well attended years have really helped us lock down our process. We usually host out-of-towners (myself included) so hosting Thanksgiving means the Thursday meal, plus all the other meals that weekend, plus accommodations. The general plan is as follows (eye candy from Crate and Barrel):

Three Weeks Out

Pull together the guest list, and check in with any family or friends who are on the fence. It doesn’t have to be finalized but starting the conversation will help the planning process.

Scour Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, and West Elm, etc. for Thanksgiving tablescape inspiration. This year I’m thinking a natural and/or metallic table runner (the walls of my parent’s dining room are metallic gold), with large hurricane candle holders and natural colored pillar candles. Plus some extra votives and fall flowers or branches. I try to repurpose things we have as much as possible, with a couple new items from Target on occasion.

Crate and Barrel Table Setting

Two Weeks Out

Start the list making! I pull together an Excel spreadsheet that has a few different lists:

  • Thanksgiving menu and family member responsibilities (everyone gets at least one item)
  • Make ahead items verse day of dishes
  • Groceries needed for Thanksgiving meal
  • Meal plan for the rest of the meals from Wednesday dinner through Saturday (especially if guests are staying a few days)
  • Groceries for the non-Thanksgiving meals

Take an inventory of plates, utensils, and table linens to make sure you have the correct amount. This gives us time to get everything clean and polished for the big day.

Crate and Barrel Table 2

One Week Out

Grocery shop for all non-perishables on your list, because you best believe there will be no cans of pumpkin left on the shelves on Wednesday! And if you can’t find something, you have time to check a couple more stores before the big day. Pick up perishables and the turkey as early as makes sense. Do not forget the turkey!

Crate and Barrel 5

Wednesday Before

Get going on the turkey prep if you’re not already defrosting.

Make all of your make ahead items. For us that includes the cranberry sauce, some mis en place, one or two pies (Mom makes three), one or two flavors of ice cream (Mom makes two or three), and any extra baked goods for the weekend such as cookies and pumpkin bread.

Buy flowers for the table and the house, and set the table. We try to use a local florist, but sometimes Whole Foods is a better bet on busy holidays. Make sure you have your game face on if you brave Whole Foods on Wednesday!

Set the table.

Crate and Barrel 4

Thanksgiving Day

Game time! Get the turkey in the oven, and make the rest of the dessert items in the morning. Let everyone know what their assignments are, and start knocking out the side dishes! Some things will go smoothly and some will inevitably not go smoothly. That’s what makes for good stories for years to come!

Crate and Barrel 3

Are you ready for Turkey Day?

Pretzel Perfect

So I mentioned on my Thanksgiving recap that I would post the soft pretzel recipe I made for an appetizer.  I pinned the recipe for the pretzels when I saw them on Food Gawker a couple months ago, and I knew they would be great for the Thanksgiving crowd at my house.  Let me tell you something.  Re-prioritize your life today and make these now.  Your family and friends will thank you.

I’m still trying to get the hang of dealing with yeast, but this time it worked out for me.  The recipe has a few different steps but each step is pretty easy.  Just remember to budget an hour to let the dough rise.  It was the toughest hour of my day, I was chomping at the bit to get those pretzels in the oven!

Soft Pretzel Bites

Yields about 100 bites depending how big you cute them, recipe from Snixy Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 Tbs light brown sugar
  • 1 packet of active dry yeast
  • 3 oz melted unsalted butter (3/4 of 1 stick)
  • 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil
  • 12 cups water
  • 3/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salt for the top of the pretzels (I just used kosher because I couldn’t find pretzel salt in the store)

Method

  1. Put your dough hook on your stand mixer or hand held electric mixer.  Mix together warm water, brown sugar, yeast, and melted butter.  Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Add salt and flour and mix until dough starts pulling away from the bowl. About 3-4 minutes.  Turn out on a floured surface and knead with your hands into a ball.
  3. Coat a bowl with Vegetable oil, place dough in bowl, and turn over to make sure it is coated with oil.  Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about an hour.  It should double in size.
  4. Preheat oven to 425.
  5. Bring a the 12 cups of water to a boil and add the baking soda.  Divide dough into 8 portions.  Roll the portions into long skinny strips and slice into small nuggets.  They will puff when you boil them so you can be conservative when you cut them.
  6. Drop the nuggets about 15 at a time in the boiling water for about 30 seconds.  Push them a little to make sure they get wet on all sides.  After 30 seconds pull them out with a slotted spoon or strainer.
  7. Put the boiled nuggets on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush them with egg wash and sprinkle them with salt.  Pop them in the oven for 10-15 minutes until they are a medium brown.  Careful they don’t burn on the bottom!
  8. Grab some mustard and enjoy!