Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have been busting our butt getting ready for Thanksgiving. I'm not going to admit what time I'm posting this, but I will tell you that if I don't go to bed soon, I may as well just stay awake. :-P

Here is my menu for the day:
  • Roasted turkey (I even made stock to use for the gravy this year!)
  • Classic mashed potatoes
  • Cornbread dressing with onions, fennel (because I'm allergic to celery), apples, water chestnuts and pecans
  • Smushed sweet potatoes and apples (we love these, we might even try to incorporate them into the wedding menu)
  • French green beans with roasted nuts and dried cranberries
  • Whole kernel corn (because I'm weird and I like to mix it with my mashed potatoes)
  • Cranberry sauce (I made it with orange juice, a little drizzle of molasses and a splash of honey cherry wine)
  • Oprah biscuits (I totally cheat on the biscuits and use the Southern style Grands. Thanks for the tip, Oprah!)
  • Black cherry gelatin with black cherries, pineapple and pecans (I feel a little dumb admitting to making Jello, but it's our weird family tradition. Although this year I'm putting my own spin on it and I'm making a mold with my Williams-Sonoma pumpkin patch mold. I know. I'm a dork.)
  • Pumpkin bread pudding with caramel sauce and whipped cream
We'll be serving it with our favorite cranberry wine by Pasek Cellars. We plan to serve it at our wedding, too!

I don't know who took these pictures, because they were sent to me. We didn't dress our dogs up as turkeys. However, we did dress Gracie up like this for Halloween once, and Dylan pointed out that a Native American costume would be somewhat appropriate for the occasion:

Now if only we had a pilgrim outfit for Franklin. He went as Elvis.

But I digress...

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Remember to think about what you're thankful for today!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holiday and Wedding Menus

Hi everyone!

I received an email the other night from our wedding photographer checking to make sure everything was alright because he noticed I hadn't posted here for a while. Thanks Matt!

In case anyone else was concerned, everything is alright. I haven't been feeling especially inspired (or inspirational) lately in the wedding department, because I've been a busy bee. Dylan's family (aka my future in-laws) are coming to our place for Thanksgiving this year, so I've been driving myself a little crazy in preparation. I may have mentioned this before, but my mom is very much the hostess-with-the-mostess type and she set the bar pretty high when I was growing up. This will be the fourth Thanksgiving I've cooked, but it's the first one with real guests. The last few were just us, usually with one of my parents. There will still only be 5 or 6 of us this year, but our entertaining space is woefully small, so it will feel like a full house. For whatever reason, I've chosen this year to second-guess some of my Thanksgiving recipes, which means I've been spending a lot of time reading magazines and online recipes trying to see if I can find a couple new dishes for this year's Thanksgiving menu. I've been talking to some friends and clients about traditional recipes, and it's funny the way we all have our own dishes that we associate with the holiday. One of my clients recently said that the first time she went to Thanksgiving at her in-laws, she couldn't believe they weren't serving sauerkraut alongside the turkey, because that was always a family tradition for her. I haven't heard any feedback from Dylan's family, so hopefully they aren't expecting something like sauerkraut this year! Do you have any special Thanksgiving traditions? Leave me a comment and tell me about it!

Speaking of planning menus, that has been one of the toughest parts of our wedding planning so far. We still haven't found a caterer that we've really clicked with yet. I have a question for all of you brides-to-be or newly-weds: Have the caterers you've met with offered tastings? Every wedding planning book I've read (and there have been many) talks about the importance of tasting the menu you've chosen. I think that makes complete sense, because if you're going to be spending thousands of dollars on food for your guests, you want to know what you're going to be serving them. Much to my (and Dylan's) chagrin, none of the caterers we've met with offer tastings. It seems bizarre to me. Dylan is especially disappointed, because as a food-lover, trying the food was the part of the wedding planning he was most looking forward to! I'd like to hear what others' experiences have been with hiring their caterers. If you know a fantastic caterer (especially one who will let us try some of the food) in the Spokane / Coeur d'Alene area, please send them my way!

And because I always like to throw in a little eye candy, I wanted to show this crafty autumn decor idea:

You know I love the balance of elegant and rustic, and I think these corn husk wrapped votives from Martha Stewart are an interesting example -- perfect for an autumn themed wedding, or your Thanksgiving table!

Hopefully things will slow down a little soon, because I'm excited to try to put together at least a couple of winter wedding posts!