First things first – Old Navy started their Black Friday sale WAYYY early this year, and literally everything is already 40% off. I bought this vest, this coat, and this adorable sweater – all for under $50. And I’m SO not even done!!!
Ok – now to the hostess-with-the-mostest part. Let me start off by saying… I LOVE hosting Thanksgiving.
I know it might seem weird – because I’m kind of young – but I’ve hosted many Thanksgivings over the years. That being said, I have a couple of tried and true tricks that make hosting Thanksgiving much, much easier. AND I have a handful of recipes that are my Thanksgiving “go to-s”. I’m sharing everything with you guys in this post.
I always start prepping for Thanksgiving with the table. I usually set the table a couple of days in advance, this way, I know if I’m missing anything and have plenty of time to pick up any extras. I’ll be setting our table tomorrow night, and you can watch the whole thing on my snapchat: Efarren, or on our @twopeasininaprada insta-stories!
This year, we only have 7 of us at Thanksgiving at our house, but we have had as many as 15. For me – it’s – the more the merrier. I love a full house, and a full table at Thanksgiving makes my heart very happy. Anyhow, no matter if we’re having 5 or 15, I always set my thanksgiving table the same way: a magnolia leaf centerpiece, silver candlesticks, neutral placemats, dark brown rattan chargers, our wedding china, and the monogrammed napkins from our wedding. I also love adding in touches of brown with tortoise shell glasses, and touches of green with small evergreen wreaths that I usually pick up at Trader Joes.
Shop Emily’s Thanksgiving Table:
When it comes to cooking for Thanksgiving, we have some tried and true recipes we use in our house. I’ve listed them below – and you may notice a theme – most of them are Ina Garten recipes. Sorry not sorry, but Ina is my girl. All I know is that whenever I use one of her recipes, it’s usually perfect, and I never have to try another one. So that being said – here is how I prepare Thanksgiving dinner – including all my tried and true tricks that make cooking for Thanksgiving simple and easy. <<< If you can ever call it that.
Appetizers: I always go with a charcuterie plate and a crudité platter. ALWAYS. You can cut up everything in advance and just arrange it all before your guests arrive. They’re both easy, beautiful, and always crowd pleasers. Besides – you have so much else to worry about – the appetizers shouldn’t be one of them.
Salad: I like having a healthy option at Thanksgiving – and yes – you guessed it, we’ll be having my Kale salad this year. The recipe is >>> here. 🙂
Turkey: Joe is always in charge of the Turkey, but I help prep it right before it goes in the oven. All I know, is that when it comes to turkey, we are of the camp that brines our turkeys. So we use the turkey brine you see below, and then we use this recipe, here.
Gravy: My mom and dad try to teach me every year how to make gravy, but I always keep a jar of this turkey base (below) on hand, just in case. And I SWEAR it tastes exactly the same – if not better. You mix this jar with some cream, heat on low, and voila! Perfect Thanksgiving Gravy every time – and no rushing at the end to get it done.
Dressing: We stuff our turkey with onions, apples, carrots, and celery — so we make our stuffing outside of the turkey – aka – it’s called “dressing”. I have used this recipe from Ina for years, and I am OBSESSED with it. I use a Jimmy Dean sage sausage in it, and I’ve found that it enhances the Thanksgiving flavors even more. I also omit the cranberries, for me, the apples give it enough sweetness.
Mashed Potatoes: My dad is the mashed potato king – so I always delegate mashed potatoes to him. One of these years, I’m going to have to watch how he does it, because I have no idea. All I know is that it involves A LOT of butter, milk, salt… and then some potatoes too. :/ But that’s what Thanksgiving is all about, right?!?
Butternut Squash and Pancetta Risotto: I started adding this dish to our thanksgiving table a couple of years ago and it is ALWAYS a hit. I hate the usual sweet potato pie thing that my mom always made, so this is my compromise. And guess what?!? People love it…. and you can make it ahead of time if you want to! Such a win- win in my book. Check out the recipe >>> here.
Cranberry Sauce: I usually use this recipe >>> here , but if I’m feeling lazy or rushed, I’ll use a bottle of what you see below.
Green bean casserole: I didn’t grow up with this as a side dish, but Joe is obsessed with it. So I use the recipe off the back of the fried onions. It’s like cream of mushroom soup, canned green beans, and the fried onions on top. I think that’s it. (woof) <<< my opinion.
Dessert: I like baking, but to be completely honest, I suck at it. I am really horrible at following baking directions – so I usually delegate dessert to my mom. This year she is making this pumpkin cheesecake >>> here, and her famous Heidihos. <<< chocolate blondies… SO YUMMY.
I hope you enjoyed seeing what we’ll be serving, and how we’ll be serving it this Thanksgiving. It’ll all be on my snapchat and our Instastories this week – so be sure to follow along!
I wish you the happiest of holidays with your loved ones! XooX