Thanksgiving Playlist

The food is bought and prepped. The table is set. The wine is chilled. The turkey is roasting away in the oven. Don’t forget about the music!

Here’s our Thanksgiving 2018 playlist. If you follow it on your own Spotify, you can ask Alexa to play it by just saying, “Alexa, play my Thanksgiving 2018 playlist on Spotify!”

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

 

Thanksgiving Dinner Tips

I always used to feel stressed and anxious going into hosting a dinner. Getting the timing right, making it look effortless, enjoying it. I wanted to share a few tips and a few round ups of tips that I think will help you get through Thanksgiving dinner, or any other dinner party.

  1. Make a timeline, working backwards. What time do you want to serve your main course? Work backwards from there, allowing time for each recipe. I assume an extra 10 minutes for everything I’m making which allows me to:
  2. Clean as you go. The kitchen, when preparing for a holiday meal or dinner party, can become so unruly so quickly. If you clean as you go, you won’t be stressed 5 minutes before guests arrive trying to clean up in a panic.
  3. Set your table the night before. I even set out the serving dishes with sticky notes to remind myself what I wanted to use the dish for.
  4. Make sure you have a list. This seems so obvious, but make your grocery list well in advance and tick things off as you go. This will save you from the “honey-go-get-me…”.
  5. Make sure your menu makes sense. And isn’t overwhelming. I start with a huge list, then get practical and scratch things off. I also always, always try to mix in hot and cold things for appetizers, knowing my stovetop and oven will be occupied. I always make sure I have a few things that I can make the day prior and reheat the night of. Write the reheating instructions on your containers and account for reheating in your timeline!
  6. Be prepared for your guests arrival 15 minutes before. And account for it in your tasks for the day. Make sure the wine is chilled, glasses are out, music is playing and all your candles are lit.
  7. Make a playlist!

 

Here are some other Thanksgiving tips that will help you get to the main event with a smile on your face:

The Kitchn’s Thanksgiving Tips

Martha’s Thanksgiving Tips

Pioneer Woman’s Tips

Food52’s Thanksgiving Hotline

And of course, the Butterball Turkey Talk Line: 1-800-BUTTERBALL

 

Butternut Squash & Apple Soup Recipe

I love the idea of leaning into a meal with a soup (okay, a salad right after, too, because I’m 100% extra when I start cooking and planning an experience for friends & fam). This Butternut Squash & Apple soup is so, so good. It’s cozy and hits all the notes you want a soup to hit in the fall. It comes together relatively quickly, once you’ve roasted up your squash and can be made a day or two ahead.

You start with roasting up your squash with fall spices and while that’s roasting, you get your mirepoix going (it’s easy, promise!). Once that squash is nice and roasted, you combine in a pot with your mirepoix, add some broth, hit it with a stick blender, taste for S&P and you’re done.

 

Butternut Squash & Apple Soup Recipe

Yields: Serves 8-12 | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 1hr

Ingredients:

For the Squash:

3 lb butternut squash, peeled, and cubed

2tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp salt

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

1 tsp each: cinnamon, allspice, chili powder

For the Mirepoix:

1 chopped medium sweet or spanish onion

2 chopped medium celery sticks

2 chopped medium carrots

1 chopped sweet apple, such as gala

2 tbsp butter

 

You will also need:

Salt & Pepper, to taste

4 cups of chicken broth

2 cups of water

 

Optional, for garnish: pecans, pepitas, goat cheese crumbles, freshly ground pepper.

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 400°.  Prepare a pan with foil & oil spray, or a silpat.

Peel & chop your squash into cubes. Tip: they don’t have to be perfect, but will roast more evenly if you keep them about the same size.

Place the cubed squash into a large mixing bowl and add olive oil, S&P, spices.

Toss the squash to coat evenly with oil and spices. Tip: your hands are the best tool in your kitchen!

Bake your squash 30-40 minutes, until easily poked with a fork.

 

While your squash is baking, prepare your mirepoix ingredients.

Melt butter in a pot large enough to hold the squash and 6 cups of liquid. (Might I suggest at least an 8 qt pot?)

Once the butter is melted, add your mirepoix and sautee until soft and onions are translucent, about 8-10 minutes.

When the squash is finished, add to the pot and top with broth and water. Stir to combine.

 

Remove from heat and use a stick blender/immersion blender to blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can add your mixture – carefully – to a blender. Allow to cool or serve immediately.

If making ahead of time, allow the soup to cool completely, before transfering to an airtight container and refridgerating. Bring to room temperature and reheat on the stovetop, adding some liquid to thin the soup again.

To serve, top with some nuts and cheese, such as pecans or walnuts, pepitas, goat cheese.

 

Our Thanksgiving Menu

Okay, this is really our Friendsgiving Menu, but hey, it totally works as your Thanksgiving Menu, too! Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday – I love the entertaining, the houses full of friends and family, that cozy, romantic vibe that starts to fill the air. Plus, there’s no pressure of gift giving – just getting together with your loved ones and making some excellent food in the kitchen.

All week, I’ll be sharing the recipes, tips and tricks and some table inspiration for your Thanksgiving meal!

 

This year, we’re serving up:

  • Butternut Squash & Apple Soup
  • Green Bean Casserole (from scratch!)
  • Caramelized Shallots
  • Spicy Sausage Stuffing with Cranberries
  • Homemade Cranberry Sauce
  • Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes
  • Bourbon Glazed Turkey Thighs

 

Get ready to get cooking!

 

Light, Refreshing and Skinny Grapefruit Margarita

Okay, if you are a mixologist, you might just want to leave now. I’m calling this drink a margarita because there’s tequila involved and it pairs so nicely with my fish tacos I’m dishing out for our cinco de mayo party this weekend.

The grapefruits were so fragrant at the market, I couldn’t resist. As soon as I caught the scent walking past them I knew they would be perfect with some tequila and seltzer. Is this an actual margarita? To me it just needs tequila to be called as such!

Simple Fish Tacos for Cinco de Mayo

I love a good fish taco, but I’m pretty sure I’ve spent 3/4 of my life never ordering them. I can’t remember exactly the first time I had a fish taco, but hands down the best I’ve ever had is at Taco Boy in Charleston, South Carolina. So next time you’re there, but sure to go to TB and have all the tacos!

I’ll serve these tacos with guacamole, pickled red onions and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. I used tilapia but you can use any fresh, hardy white fish you like!

I love having a theme to celebrate with friends around, and let’s be real, who doesn’t love tacos? Our full cinco de mayo party menu can be found here!

Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing Recipe

I’ve always loved a light vinaigrette, especially one that’s a little creamy. And I’ve finally cracked the code – dijon mustard is the secret to this vinaigrette!

Everyone needs a good dressing recipe in their back pocket, and I swear I could put this on everything – from salad to fish to meat to veggies. I’ve made this twice this week already and it’s only Wednesday!

 

Creamy Vinaigrette Recipe

Yield: Appx 1/4 c. | Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 large garlic clove, zested (or minced if you don’t own a zester)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

3 tbsp dijon mustard (the smooth kind, not grainy)

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp white wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Combine all ingredients and shake it like a polaroid picture!

You can adjust the ingredients to your liking. If you want a thinner consistency, add water 1/2 tsp at a time.

2 Simple Ways to an Elegant Easter Table

When I planned our Easter table, I wanted to find a few special ways to elevate the spring tablescape to be a little more elegant. Flowers can go a long way, I mean, check out those peonies and ranunculus!

I think of hosting gatherings as an event for our guests – how can we make every detail a little more special to really make a meal be an event for guests? It almost always comes down to taking one little extra step for a pretty detail.

Pretty ice cubes have always been #goals for me, but for some reason they always feel like so difficult to pull off. I’m here to tell you that’s not the case! Grab a bunch of edible flowers (here’s a list, super important to check first and not poison your guests) and toss some petals in an ice tray, topped with water. So simple, but so special!

My other favorite way to elevate a meal is a drink in a pretty bottle. I found these adorable bottles of elderflower sparkling water at World Market. It’s my new favorite place to find specialties to make my table feel elegant and I can’t wait to have an excuse to go back and find more goodies! Use a unique vessel to house the bottles, such as a large punch bowl filled half way with ice.

 
Follow my blog with Bloglovin