Friday Five {Thanksgiving}

It’s the countdown to Thanksgiving – just another 13 days! Are you ready? We are gracefully bowing out of the Thanksgiving chaos for the second year in a row. Last year we took the kids to the Denver Aquarium for their Thanksgiving buffet. Let’s just say  that’s where you end up when you book late but at least the kids loved it. This year we’re going to attempt something a bit more grown up at one of Denver’s finer hotels. We’ll stay on in the city for the lighting ceremony the next night and have a fun, relaxed, happy weekend. I’m used to mass numbers of people cramming into my grandmother’s undersized town home – aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins and probably perfect strangers she pulled out the street thinking they were cousins. If I can’t have chaos and family around like that I’d rather go to the opposite extreme.

Are you hosting Thanksgiving? They I’ve found what you need to make this the best year ever!

1. The Turkey

Have you ever brined a turkey? If you haven’t maybe you’re thinking you’d gag on all that salt or that it’s too much work. Nah. It’s great and makes for the juiciest turkey! We’ve always used Martha’s brining recipe in the past. But this year (Mr. Man always makes a turkey after Thanksgiving – it’s his thing) we’re giving Better Homes & Gardens recipe for a maple brined turkey a try.

BHG turkey

It sounds absolutely scrumptious although we might add some bourbon for good measure. All Better Homes & Gardens recipes for Thanksgiving look delish and I love the timeline they’ve included to help keep Thanksgiving stress-free.

2. Sides

Ok, I know this is where things get tricky; everyone has their family favorites and trying to put a new spin on them isn’t always to everyone’s liking. But what about just switching up one dish and maybe just maybe creating a new special family tradition? For my family in particular we’ve got to just let go of the 70’s ambrosia salad that’s been served as part of the main course since it first came into vogue. Nothing says Thanksgiving like marshmallows and maraschino cherries!

Brussles sprouts would make an excellent addition to a Thanksgiving table like these Balsamic Brown Sugar Brussels Spouts. Of course I like mine with bacon but you’ve gotta think about all the veggies out there.

brussel sprouts

Maybe our family can switch up our “salad” for this quinoa orange cranberry salad.

quinoa salad

Since a Thanksgiving spread really shouldn’t lack for bacon this sweet potato casserole might make a good replacement to the traditional marshmallow variety. Let’s just say death to the marshmallows this year!


3. Desserts

What about switching up those old tired standard pies for say a salted carmel maple pecan pie bar? That sounds sooooo much more enticing that the traditional pecan pie.


Instead of that blah apple pie what about these carmel apple crisp bites?

carmel apple

Pumpkin pie? You’re afraid Great Aunt Mildred will never talk to you again if you don’t serve pumpkin pie (maybe not such a huge loss?) what about cute little mini pumpkin pies to shake things up just a tad?

mini pumpkin

4. Thanksgiving outside decor

If you’re not one to hop on the uber-early Christmas decorating bandwagon don’t forget to make that front porch welcoming for your company. Include some simple natural elements like white pumpkins, moss and corn stalks and you’ve created a memorable entrance.

blue porch

Stick with most of the same easy elements but add some color and you’ve got this stunning front porch.

more color

I’m always a fan of adding kale wherever you can dinner, snacks or the front porch.


5. Hostess Gifts

If you’re going to your sister’s or your cousin’s or your mom’s you’re going to want to bring something besides that customary bottle of wine to show them how much you appreciate them working their ass off so that you didn’t have to do it. Here’s some different ideas to let her know she’s the hostess with the mostest.

I love Martha’s idea of a tea garden in a box but what about instead filling it with Thanksgiving herbs?

herb garden

What hostess couldn’t use some antler place settings. I think I’d set a formal table every night if I had these!

Of course my suggestion would be an interesting six pack from your local microbrewery along with the gnome bottle opener. Can’t go wrong there! It’s my obsession of the week.



Whether you include marshmallows or not, decorate your porch or leave your dying plants in place, whether you stick to the time honored pecan pie or not we hope you have a fun-filled, safe and happy Thanksgiving (a little early)!

If you need more Thanksgiving ideas check our our Pinterest Holiday board.


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