I had many a plan for this Thanksgiving, and although some of them came to fruition, there were many that lay by the wayside. I had a horrible cold that leads to a pretty severe case of vertigo but it all I was determined to push what sickness I could aside and make 2012 still a Thanksgiving to remember! Dan helped out A TON, as did the rest of my family, and despite not being able to make my classic Autumn desserts it was still a lovely little country Thanksgiving dinner!
Dan was my keen little photographer, as was my dad, and they were able to capture some picture of all my decorations, little details and food I worked so hard on before this sickness took over.
As Thanksgivings go it was a slightly cooler one than other years but in spite of this, the Fall colours were all the more vivid! The bright foliage exploded off the trees and made for a beautiful landscape to look out over during the day as I cooked.
My little decorations were my favourite part of the party. I went with a more modern colour scheme of blues, creams and small touches of autumn hued highlights. No overwhelming orange pumpkins to be seen, only small, rugged white ones with cute green stems and then wrapped with autumn leaves and pine cones.
To go along with the blue and white country colour scheme I took some of my old mason jars and gave them a new paint job in varying colours of vintage blue. With a few candles lit inside they were stunning! My centrepiece was a white pumpkin filled with autumn flowers and was the pride and joy of the table. I was so proud of how gorgeous it turned out but I never got the chance to get a good single snap of it but you can view it below on the right. This idea was so simple to make: just cut the top off a pumpkin and stuff a small vase inside. Fill the vase with flowers and stuff greenery around the sides to hide the hole and the vase. Done. Easy and beautiful!
Days before the dinner I made crisp, sweet and delicious Caramel Apples with a different topping. Dan busily wrapped the apples in parchment paper and blue ribbons so they could be easily taken home after the dinner was over. I know the cousins are coming home from university appreciated some homemade candies take back to last even after the holidays!
We topped the plain Popsicle sticks with decorative blue and white striped straws. Under the beautiful wrapping, there were pecan caramel apples, salted caramel and as a final decadent option: chocolate almond caramel. The dark caramel and autumn fruits were the perfect taste for this fall meal.
My other big project for the party was to create a cute, country drink station. I found this fabulous Bell Jar-esque glass canister for the apple cider and decorated the antique steel tray with mini orchard apples. The blue stripped straws where the perfect compliment to the whole colour scheme and everyone loved the hay bales and vintage beer bucket!
A homemade bunting banner hung from an old string on the wall inviting a guest to come in and give thanks for the year that's been and the years to come...
And then the cooking began....despite being ill, I managed to pull together and cook what I could! It felt like one of those adrenaline-fuelled moments when mother's lift cars off their children - I knew I had no choice but to get cooking and for those few hours before dinner I really did feel OK and as quickly as I could - I got to peeling carrots, basting the turkey, roasting vegetables, glazing the desserts and stirring the various sauces...
As usual, everything started with my Butternut Squash Soup (with my trademark hint of HOT cayenne pepper). The week before I pre-made the soup, then the day of reheated it and added a dollop of whipped cream cheese to top it off (Thanks Anna for that great tip!). Butternut squash soup is one of those things that fills your home with decadent fall aromas and prepares you for the season to come.
The cider and sage roasted turkey only fell off the bones and was wonderfully succulent. I always try and make everyone's fall favourites so we had: sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows for Dan, my grandmother's stuffing for my mum and her siblings, turnips for the farmers, drumsticks for John, and elegant roasted veggies for everyone else!
As I sat down and dinner was served I felt the dizziness and sickness return, but I enjoyed just sitting there and watching everyone dig into the delicious food I barely managed to make!
We bought the pies since I couldn't muster that feat but they were beautiful cakes made from a local baker and were (from what I heard) very delicious! I did manage to make my grandmother's cherry cheesecake though which is one of a kind and honestly it wouldn't feel like Thanksgiving without it.
Poor Lucy and Chloe had to wait until the last of the diners were finished until they could lick all the plates clean, indulging in their own little Thanksgiving feast!
After the dinner was over the adults chatted over tea and coffee in the living room, and the "kids" went to the games room to create a double boarded Settlers of Catan mega game that seem to last forever and whose competition was heated throughout the evening.
We love love love the new games room. We love games.
As for me? I collapsed on the couch. Tired and weary and still fighting the sickness, Dan brought me some dessert to eat while laying down and I curled up on his lap. I was just happy to have pulled what I could off and as I lay on the couch, falling asleep next to Dan, the happy laughter of my family and loved ones around me made it all worth it!!