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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

In-Law's Thanksgiving Left Overs Spinach Salad

I'm really particular about left overs.  There are only a few things I like left over, some of them are Thanksgiving goodies like mashed potatoes, stuffing and pearled onions. But once they are gone I'm usually left with lots of turkey and you can only have sandwiches so many times.

Thankfully my mother-in-law shared a new salad that is perfect for Thanksgiving left overs. It looks and tastes vibrant and fresh, completely opposite of usual beige left overs! 

Turkey or Chicken meat, cubed or flaked
Cranberry sauce (Trader Joe's Cranberry Orange Relish is delicious!)
White Stilton cheese with Cranberries
Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds) or Candied Pecans
Balsamic Vinaigrette

What's your favorite way to have Thanksgiving left overs?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 at the Basses

Jeanine's favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. She's 'called' it and gets to host it each year.  This year we spent it together with our family including my in-laws and my grandparents. It was one of our smaller Thanksgivings with 8 people.  In the past, when family and kids were close, we would have up to 20!

Jeanine, the chef, with the table set, waiting for food to cook!

We have a lot of traditions revolving around Thanksgiving.  My mother did her first Thanksgiving when she was 16. I followed her tradition, doing my first Thanksgiving when I was 17.  Jeanine has been serving the same items at Thanksgiving every year since she was 16... except the 1 year when I did my Thanksgiving. Just like everything we do, she follows every recipe every year and I mix everything up to try something new.  It's what makes us work well together.

The Menu
Turkey with Stuffing and Giblet Gravy
Green Bean Casserole
Mashed Potatoes
Pearled Onions in Cream
Creamed Corn
Acorn Squash (instead of the customary Yams)
Orange Jello Salad with Pineapple and Mandarin Oranges
Cranberry Sauce
Black and Green Olives
Pumpkin Pie (made from actual whole pumpkins!)
Dutch Apple Pie (made by Grammy)
Pecan Pie (Jenn's favorite!)
Cherry Pie

From the time I've been little,Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, all us kids would sit in front of the tv, watch classic Thanksgiving shows like "Mouse on the Mayflower" and "It's Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown!" and cut loaves of white bread into little squares for the stuffing. Mom makes the best stuffing from scratch!  This year was the first year Jeanine didn't have any kids at home to cut the bread so we introduced my in-laws to this great tradition.  The bread stays out over night to harden up like croutons before they get turned into yummy stuffing and in the turkey.

Jeanine cooks the turkey in a Reynolds Oven Bag.  Its the best way! No basting needed, all the juices get collected for the gravy and clean up is a super snap.

Turkey out of the oven ready to be put on the platter.

I learned a trick, used so much that I think its a tradition, to best host a meal.  My mom does it every year. You set the table or buffet area and write the names of dishes on scrap paper on the serving dish.  This helps you make sure you have a place for everything, the right serving utensils, trivets, etc.  The first time my husband saw me do it on my own he laughed.  But to be honest, this is definitely one thing where I don't mind 'turning into my mother' ;)

Jeanine's favorite side dish, Creamed Corn.

As always, we finish Thanksgiving dinner with my mom's famous pies.  Its too hard to choose a favorite so we usually all have a piece of each!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Seasonal Decorating: Acorns & Autumn Leaves

Autumn is an important time for our family.  Its especially important to my mother, Jeanine, who always hosts the family at her house for Thanksgiving.  She's decorated her house with turkeys, pilgrims and cornucopias. Since she's got the holiday reserved for her home I decided to keep our November decorations simply autumn.

I found beautiful unique autumn fabric that is a gorgeous golden mustard yellow with brown acorns and green oak leaves.  It goes great with cream birch and brown bark fabric to bring in natural elements.


Check back for our next holiday decorations: A Peace, Love & Joy Christmas
Our next seasonal decoration change will be for December.  Our Christmas decorations was the first project I completed after getting married last year. It was the perfect theme of Peace, Love and Joy for our new life as man and wife!