Thursday, November 21, 2019

Planning and Preparing

The finished puzzle my husband was working on - it is now in the living room as a decorative way to usher in Thanksgiving!  : )

It was raining overnight (or, I should say, early this morning) and it has changed over to snow (only sticking to the roofs so far).  I really do get more motivated at this time of year.  I love the seasonal changes.  We keep clearing away what is left of the leaves, but we have a "dirty" tree in our front yard that has literally hundreds of long seed pods that fall all over the yard and our roof.  The squirrels love them and it's fun to watch them hold the pods in their little hands like they're playing the harmonica or something and then they flip it over to get to the other side.  Our tree has never been so full of pods and that is why I think we will have another winter of deep snow.  So keep your pantries full, your cars in good condition, and enjoy the season!!!  : )

I know this is unusual to blog on a Thursday, but I wanted to keep in touch.  So far it's been a good week and like the title of this post says - I'm planning and preparing.  Getting ready for our gathering for Thanksgiving even though it's a small group of us is both fun and enjoyable for me.  I love writing ideas down and then seeing how I can incorporate them. I begin writing them in hand-written notes and then I type them out because it just looks tidier and more organized, leaving room to write notes off to the side.  

I begin by writing out the week's menu and this time I wrote out my Thanksgiving menu and EVERYTHING that needs to be done and when.  I then write out what needs to be bought yet next week - things like fresh fruit and vegetables.  Lastly, I wrote ideas down on what we can do after we eat.  I am SO not the kind of person who likes to just sit around and talk - in our home we either have to play games or do a craft project!!!  I remember one year at my in-laws when our son was really young yet and they decided to plug in a movie to watch after we ate.  It wasn't but a half hour later that everyone was asleep except for our son and me!  After that I was determined that we're going to stay a little more on the active side.  LOL  : )

My menu for Thanksgiving is VERY traditional (because that's just me) but I will share it with you anyway.  : )   I make EVERYTHING before Thanksgiving day except for the green beans which is quick and easy to pull together - other than that everything is done and just re-heated and it's just as good.

*Turkey (with a small group I put a turkey breast into the crockpot on Wednesday, slice it, put it into a roasting pan with all the juices and pop it into the oven to heat up on Thanksgiving - that way you still have that turkey smell in the house!)
*Dressing - this is another item that I make in the crockpot the day before.  When it's done, I put it into a casserole and reheat it along with the turkey.  Because I don't have a lot of room to dry my bread, I'm one of those who opts to buy that bag of dried, cubed, bread at the store!
*Mashed potatoes - we really like the make-ahead potatoes that have sour cream in it (a casserole of mashed potatoes) so, again, I make this the day before and into the oven it goes with the turkey and dressing to reheat!
*Gravy - this is also something I make the day before because all I do is make a roux, add the turkey broth and seasonings and then juices from the already cooked turkey.  Reheat on top of the stove when ready!
*Cranberry sauce - I make this a couple of days in advance.  No canned sauce for me - I need the real thing - chunks of cranberries.  : )
*Green beans - this is made right before serving.  Just blanching the beans first, put them into an ice bath, melt butter in a skillet, add minced shallots, the beans, salt and pepper and saute.  So good.  : )
*Dinner rolls - I found another bread machine dough especially for dinner rolls so I will make these the day before as well and just reheat before serving.  Serve with REAL butter!!!!!!
*Beverages - we just serve water and/or milk

This year I'm going to try something new - an appetizer board.  I guess these "boards" are how people are entertaining now and I love the idea.  I bought a new board so that I can entertain in this way.  They have boards for brunches, appetizers, desserts, etc., so this year I'm going to try an appetizer board because we won't eat for a while after everyone gets here.  So on to this board goes:

*A baked brie with figs and fig jam
*Crackers and toasted sourdough bread
*A variety of regular olives and stuffed olives
*A variety of regular dill pickles and sweet pickles
*Mounds of red grapes
*Sparkling cider

I'm envisioning this in my head and I think it will look pretty.  : )

As for what to do afterwards we will either:

*Play games, or.......
*The craft project to work on will be treats for the birds - we'll be stringing cranberries, popcorn, and Cheerios as a garland to hang on the outdoor tree.  And we will also put peanut butter on pinecones and sprinkle them with birdseed, attach a string and then hang those as well.  If time permits, we'll melt suet and add birdseed to that and fill our cookie cutters with this mixture to hang those up too!  I'll provide boxes to put them in for their houses - these can all be frozen until ready to put up.

So, we'll see what we feel like doing but at least there are options!!!!!!!!!!!!

Since the day is filled with food, I'm foregoing any pie this year but I do like to offer some kind of dessert with coffee later so I'm going for the no-churn Pumpkin Spice ice cream.  This is SO good and we'll still feel like we got a little pumpkin in the deal!!!  Here is the recipe if you'd like to try it yourself:


14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
2 cups heavy cream

In mixing bowl, combine pumpkin with all the spices (I mixed the spices together first so there aren't clumps of any one spice) and then add the milk and vanilla and mix thoroughly (I do this with a mixer).  Set aside.

In another mixing bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form and then add the pumpkin mixture and fold in carefully.

Pour into a freezer-proof pan.  Cover with plastic wrap and then foil and freeze for at least 6 hours (I always do mine the day before using).  Enjoy!!!!!!

This will go great with a cup of coffee.

That's it!!!  My Thanksgiving menu and craft ideas.  Now I've got to get to the day ahead!  God bless you as you plan and prepare for your holiday.  


  1. Dear Mary, I love the puzzle. It's so perfect for this time of year! Like you, I keep to a traditional menu. I too, am a great believer in lists and prepping for the coming week/event. I love the recipe for the ice cream. It's a shame that my husband doesn't love pumpkin quite as much as I do, but I have been meaning to try one of your recipes for ice cream, so I need to go back through your posts to find the coffee one I think.
    We too, like to play games on Christmas Day. If the tv is on, everyone tends to veg out too much. It's so much more of a celebration when you can do activities, isn't it?
    God Bless,

    1. Hi Christine - I tried the pumpkin ice cream out for our Bible study last night and they liked it! I KNOW you will like the coffee one - let me know. : ) Have a wonderful upcoming holiday in all YOUR planning and preparing. : ) God bless. Mary

  2. I'm enjoying all of your pictures! Your meal will be just like ours, but we'll also have soft rolls, chocolate mousse, and pumpkin pie. I'm going to my mom's on Tuesday to clean and help make pumpkin bread. I suggested doing more ahead of time, but my mom is a pro and said it was "too easy" so no need to do anything except the bread! She just does a turkey breast so I guess that doesn't take as long.

    I'm like you - I make things the day before so I can just reheat most items; otherwise, all the talking gets me off track (I do the Christmas dinner for my DH's family on 12/26). I also set the table and everything we need the night before, and put a cloth over the table too keep cats off.

    I'm impressed that you do your own cranberry sauce. This year my mom said she wants to buy from our local grocery deli, because she just had it at a friend's and loved it. And we don't need to do pies, because a widow neighbor is bringing it.

    I won't be online much for the rest of the year, so Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. I've never been one to try new things at Thanksgiving. If everyone likes it from year to year, I'm going to stick to it!!! : ) Sounds like your Thanksgiving is wonderfully taken care of by everyone - it's so fun to share and let others shine with whatever dishes they like to prepare. Happy Thanksgiving, Janine!