Hope you have a fantastic day with family & friends ……
[photo credit: photo by adza//styling: courtney lake]
There are three things I can’t stand: racism, homophobia and canned cranberry sauce. Something about the fact that it takes the shape of the can weirds me out. Bleh! As a kid, I would pile my plate full with everything else at Thanksgiving in the hopes of avoiding the dreaded sauce, yet my Grandma always found a way to wedge a quivering sliver of it on my plate. I would build a green bean moat around it and go about my way enjoying the rest of my meal knowing that it would be meeting a quick deal under my napkin and eventually the trash can.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that I was introduced to the whole concept of fresh cranberry sauce. It totally blew my mind – BOOM! Tangy, sweet and fresh tasting this quick cranberry sauce is the perfect palette awakener during a meal that can be bogged down in heavy foods. Even better is that after the meal it done, try the sauce on a turkey sandwich in lieu of sandwich spread. Totally delish and since it’s made from fresh fruit, I like to think it counteracts the two slices of pie I will most likely have on Thanksgiving……
Wash and pick over cranberries. In a saucepan bring to a boil water and sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add cranberries, return to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 10 minutes or until cranberries burst.
Stir in orange zest and remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and refrigerate.*
* Don’t worry if the sauce looks runny. It will thicken as it cools.
For more quick and easy dishes, check out my Recipe section…..
[photo credit: photo by adza//recipe & food styling: courtney lake]
We are going to take a bit of a break from Motivational Mondays as we enter the holiday season. I figured why serve you up some inspirational sayings about the holidays and keeping calm when I can show you how to do it!
I stress out about many things; work, relationships, global warming, will Olivia on Scandal ever find true love….you know, those important things in life. However, one thing I don’t stress out about is holiday meals. Maybe it’s because I spent years planning corporate events or my brief stint in culinary school but I created some “rules” to insure I don’t end up in some corner clutching a turkey crying. I mentioned last week that I was lucky enough to share those rules with the ladies at Joyus.com in a video segment on how to host the perfect party.
One of the questions during the show was about how to handle ensuring that food comes out at the same time and is still warm. Unless you have a commercial size kitchen, it can be difficult to time it perfectly to ensure that all your food comes out precisely 5 minutes before dinner begins. I recommend you invest in a good quality chaffing dish and think about what items can be served at room temperature. I love making side dishes that can be served hot or at “cold” for a meal.
I recently perfected my recipe for green beans with mushrooms and roasted red peppers and couldn’t be happier with it. Fancy enough to serve during the holidays yet super quick to put together. However, the best part is that it tastes even better at room temperature or out of a fridge for a late night ‘nosh fest……
Blanche green beans in salted boiling water for approximately 4 minutes. Drain green beans and place in sauté pan on moderate heat. Add oil and butter to the pan. Add garlic and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Saute mushrooms 3 to 5 minutes and add green beans back to the pan.
Add sherry and simmer for 2 minutes. Transfer green beans to serving bowl and add roasted red pepper slices. Lightly toss and finish with salt and pepper.
*Feel free to substitute home-made roasted red peppers but be sure to add 1 additional tablespoon of olive oil.
[photo credit: photo by adza //recipe & styling: courtney lake]
Can you believe that this time next week that it will be Thanksgiving?!? Kinda crazy right? Well don’t stress out because I teamed up with two different partners to show you how to avoid the Thanksgiving “craziness” ……..
The online retailer Joyus.com invited me onto their web talk show to discuss my short cuts and tips on throwing a stress-free holiday party and creating beautiful holiday tablescapes. In the segment I show three different table settings that can take you from Thanksgiving all the way through New Years without breaking the bank or you in a cold sweat! It’s all about creating a fun and easy approach to decorating.
For my monthly column at SheKnows.com, I am talking about how to set up a Thanksgiving Buffet. Whether you are opting for a more relaxed holiday this season or a simply don’t have the room in your abode, I show how you can create a beautiful buffet that will wow your guests and leave you with time to still enjoy the meal!
And next week for all you procrastinators still in need of a menu, I break down my picks for simple, quick and yummy Thanksgiving dishes! So relax I got you covered this holiday season! Now I just have to follow my own advice and get started! Sometimes the “teacher” is the worst pupil. Now if you will excuse me, I need to start planning own menu…..
[photo credit: joyus.com//photo by adza]
This year, I will not be hosting dinner at the house. I am a little sad by the fact that my home won’t have the heady scent of roast turkey, garlicky mash potatoes and the spicy hint of a pumpkin pie. However, I am excited to break bread with new friends and contribute to their holiday in my own little way.
While I won’t be setting a table this year, I thought it would be nice to revisit my Thanksgiving table from last year. Truth be told, it is one of my favorite tables I have done to date. It has a traditional elements that have been modernized thanks to color and interesting floral arrangements.
So as I take a stroll down, memory lane, I hope this inspires you in our own way to make your home the inviting and warm haven you wish it to be this Thanksgiving…..
As you gather with family and friends, give thanks to all the things you have in life. In a time where so many of us are struggling on multiple fronts, take time today to look around the table into the eyes of your family and guests, at the food on the table and the roof over your head. Know that all these things are blessings and fruits of your labor, so enjoy them to the fullest.
See y’all tomorrow. Be safe and be well until then…….
Thanks for all the kind words about this year’s Thanksgiving tablescape! As I said, I made this made specifically with ME in mind. This was the table I always imagined for my own dinner and I am happy I was able to create it this year! Surprisingly, there are not that many elements and many are available at large big box stores.
So let’s break it down…..
The gold charger was a score from Walmart during their holiday clearance sale for one dollar per charger. The purple dinner plate is from Crate and Barrel and was picked up at the local outlet for $3.99. The salad plate was found at HomeGoods for $6.99 for 8. The napkins are my favorite linen napkins from Crate and Barrel for $4.99 each and the napkin ring was a clearance purchase from West Elm for $0.98 each. Silverware (not seen) was rolled inside the napkin and is my everyday cutlery. On top of the salad plate is a small ear of dried Indian corn picked up from the grocery store for about $0.75 per ear.
Tablecloth & Glassware
You may remember the glassware from last year’s Thanksgiving table. They are the Luster Glassware from Pier One which go on sale repeatedly throughout the year ergo I am sure I didn’t pay full price. The tablecloth is Ralph Lauren and was a great find at HomeGoods for $14.99.
The centerpiece is a cornucopia shaped basket from Michaels that I light sprayed with bronze paint. The basket was $12.99 but I used the ever-present 40% off coupon to get it for around $7. Inside the basket, I used a variety of gourds, herbs, fruits and flowers including a large succulent cutting to anchor the centerpiece. Pumpkins were staked to one side to add visual height and interest.
Candlesticks, Wreath & Salt-n-Pepper Shakers
All of these components are part of my core decorating “kit”. The candlesticks are part of my ever expanding collection of thrifted crystal candlesticks that I use for various decorating vignettes or dining events. The actual candles were bought from Ross Dress for Less for $4.99 for a set of 6. The wreath was recycled from last year’s Christmas decorations and augmented with live florals and berries. The pheasant salt and pepper shakers were a purchase from eBay last year that I love using for their sculptural quality.
And that’s it. I wasn’t kidding when I said there were not many elements to the table! If you wanted to get a similar look, here are some options, all of which you can order from the web…..
Even with the table set, I feel I am still behind the ball! So are you ready for Thanksgiving? If so, what is your secret for an organized and chaos free holiday?
Speaking of secrets, I have one to share with you later today. I will be announcing who won the Shabby Apple Dress Giveaway!