Thanksgiving Preparation: Table, Food & a Giving Idea
Well my friends, in case you haven’t noticed, Thanksgiving will be here in 27 days…not that I’m counting. Can you even believe it? Wow, I swear I just finished putting away the dishes from last Thanksgiving (0k…maybe that’s a wee bit of exaggeration, but you know what I’m saying.)
I am tickled to be joining my great group of friend for this Thanksgiving Blog Hop. When I count my blessings this Thanksgiving, this group will be among my many blessings.
There is a lot packed in to this post as I am sharing Thanksgiving Ideas for the Table, the Food and (the) Giving.
First up is the Table:
One of the things Kate and I have always loved doing together is to decorate for the holidays. When she was home last week for a quick fall break, we took the opportunity to figure out our Thanksgiving Dinner table.
We hit up our local Michaels and shopped our home to put together a Thanksgiving table that we both are quite tickled with.
The punch bowl that my mom gave me years ago and that has been sitting up in my attic for way too long became the ‘vase’ for our floral and feather arrangement.
We used silk artichokes, gold-tinged leaves, pheasant feathers and dried hydrangea from our neighbor’s yard to fill the punch bowl. (in addition to the jasmine on the front porch, my hydrangea was another victim of my yard boy (aka my 17-year old son) this summer).
The crystal that sits in my china cabinet for 363 days out of the year came out, as did the silverware that belonged to my grandparents. I am really trying to be better about using my china and silver on a more regular basis.
I found these chargers at Michaels and they are just perfect for Thanksgiving. And I got them at a B1G1 deal…SCORE!
I was originally thinking about a brown toile tablecloth for Thanksgiving, but was having a hard time finding one. When I saw these I knew it was that kismet thing.
I can’t find them on-line…if you’re hoping to find them you might try your local Michaels…and keep your fingers crossed.
We ‘made’ the placecard holders by bending the wire stem of the silk artichokes and placing the name card in front of one of the oak leaves we pulled from a stem left over from the centerpiece.
I am using the linen napkins that I made for Thanksgiving last year. You can see this easy tutorial here.
And since 99.9% of the time our table is set with just a fork and a knife, I had to google to find out the proper placement of silverware when you’re using all the extras! So, this is the correct placement and here’s a couple tips on proper placement:
- Think of the word FORKS…Forks, then the O is the plate, Knife and Spoons (yeah…no R, but you get the drift)
- Knife blade always aims towards plate
- Wine glasses are always to the right of your water glasses.
- Bread plate always above your forks
On to the Food:
How could I possibly talk about Thanksgiving Preparations without sharing our recipe for Turkey Stock, which we use to make the very best gravy on Thanksgiving day. It’s so easy to make this stock ahead of time and put it in your freezer until you need it.
For the Turkey Stock you’ll need:
- 4-5 pounds turkey wings
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 6-8 sprigs of thyme
- 15 cups of water
- Preheat the oven to 450°.
- Place turkey wings on roasting pan, brush with olive oil and roast for 45 minutes until golden brown.
- While wings are roasting, put 7-8 cups of water in your stock pot. You will add more water and reduce it down and it’s helpful to have a sense of where the level of water should be once reduced enough. I
- Remove the turkey wings and reduce temperature to 350°.
- Add wings to stock pot with water
- Add chopped vegetables to the fat that was rendered while your wings were roasting, put in oven and roast for 15 minutes.
- Then put the veggies into the stock pot with the wings. At this point, I measured from the top of my pot to the water level because that’s where I’m going to want the level to be when it’s adequately reduced.
- Add 8 more cups of water, put it on the stove and simmer for 5-6 hours very slowly until the stock has been reduced to 7-8 cups.
- Once it cools a bit, strain it and pour it into your fat separator and let it sit for a couple of minutes so that the fat can rise to the top.
- I save the fat and freeze it for future use. If I have a turkey breast and Terry is hankering for some gravy, I can use the fat to make the roux for a quick gravy.
- Pour your stock into freezer-safe jars, making sure to leave a good inch plus to allow for expansion, and freeze until the day before Thanksgiving. Take them from your freezer, put them in your fridge and send up a little thanks when you taste that amazing gravy on Thanksgiving Day.
As far as making the gravy, there are 2 methods I use.
- One is to make a roux with equal amounts of flour and fat (about 4 TBSP each) and whisk it until it is a nice light brown and smells a little toasted. Then I’ll slowly whisk in 4 cups of my turkey stock and add salt and pepper to taste.
- The second is to use the drippings from the turkey. I bring that to a simmer and slowly whisk in a slurry of 1/4 cup flour and 1 up water/broth and about 3-4 cups of the stock. This is seems to be a richer and more flavorful gravy.
And we can’t end a post about Thanksgiving without sharing with you an opportunity to put our thanks into action.
Now is the time to prepare your shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan’s Purse.
Over 125 million boxes containing toys, hygiene and school supplies have been donated throughout the world to children in need, regardless of their faith. If you are looking for a way to put your thanksgiving into action, this is one of many way to do that.
Simply pack a shoe box with a couple of toys, school supplies, basic hygiene supplies or craft supplies and take to a collection center near you. Collection week is November 14-21.
This link provides some great suggestions on what to put in your box, how to pack and label your box.
This link will help you find a collection center near you.
And if you need a few ideas of what to put in your box, here’s what’s going in two of my boxes.
Well my friends, I hope this has got you thinking ‘Thanksgiving’. It will be here before we know it. I’m looking forward to having Kate back home and to ‘do’ our family’s Thanksgiving traditions.
Make sure you head over to these other great sites for more Thanksgiving inspiration!
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Until next time,
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