We Had a Beautiful Thanksgiving, You?

Big Red Kitchen was buffed and shined ready to receive guests for the big show- Thanksgiving. Our neighbors who are from the UK and Germany were our guests of honor which was incredibly special to me since it was their first ever American Thanksgiving. I was determined to serve them the most authentic and traditional American fare.

This is the first Thanksgiving meal I have ever cooked entirely from scratch by myself. I usually have Ma or Wegman’s to help me.

Our Menu:
Cream of Peanut Soup- a traditional Williamsburg, VA dish
Rosemary and Orange Turkey and gravy
Virginia Spiral Honey Ham
Boursin Mashed Potatoes
Savory Corn Pudding
Lime Jell-O Fluff
Stir-Fried Green Beans with garlic and orange rind
Golden Harvard Beets
Sweet Potatoes
Company Bread
Cranberry Sauce

For dessert I served a Bûche de Merci or a Thankful Log. This is my Pumpkin Roll with its end cut off and placed on top of the log to look like a knot. I made mushrooms out of mini marshmallows and candy corn Hersey Kisses and held them together using a toothpick, then stuck them decoratively on the cake. I dusted the entire log with powdered sugar to look like snow. It was simple and cute and the children loved it. I also served Hot Cocoa, Egg Nog, Tea, and Wassail. My neighbor brought two wonderful pies, pumpkin and sweet potato.

What made cooking for Thanksgiving so easy this year:
1. All groceries were purchased by Tuesday
2. My kitchen was clean and clear before I began cooking.
3. My dishwasher was empty.
4. Every ingredient I needed was pulled out and put on the counter them promptly put away when I was done with it.
5. All recipes were printed out along with a list of all dishes I was cooking.
6. I cleaned up as I cooked.
7. My photo shoot area was ready with lighting and tripod.
8. All dishes were par-cooked on Wednesday and reheated on Thursday except for the green beans, turkey and ham, and bread.
9. I made the turkey breast in the crockpot. So moist.
10. For clean up after the meal I had every sized plastic storage container ready for all the leftovers. Plus takeout containers so that our guests may take home some leftovers too.

It all went off without a hitch except for being full until Saturday.

So tell me your triumphs (or disasters!)

PS- the Newsletter goes out tomorrow, December 1, and can you believe that 768 people are signed up for it!


  1. Karen
    Posted November 30, 2009 at 7:45 PM | Permalink

    Everything looks wonderful! Good tips for organizing a meal like this, too. It makes a world of difference to clean up as you go!

  2. Donna
    Posted November 30, 2009 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

    Oh, that looks so yummy! I love the mushrooms, what a great idea. Amy made our dressing this year for the first time. We also cooked squash casserole, green beans, apple crisp, and fudge. My sister did the rest of the meal.

  3. Linda
    Posted November 30, 2009 at 8:55 PM | Permalink

    What a lovely feast! We had a gorgeous roast turkey. I liberally sprinkled the cavities with poultry seasoning and then stuffed them with an onion, a lemon, celery stalks, an apple and fresh thyme. The gravy I made was the best ever. My husband made his Italian sausage dressing. We had fluffy mashed potatoes with sour cream and chives and I mashed the sweet potatoes with some homemade applesauce, butter, cinnamon and a splash of orange juice. I added chopped pears and orange zest to the cranberries. Our local bakery makes "snowflake" rolls…the lightest and most delicious rolls ever. My mom brought squash and the apple and pumkin pies. My sister-in-law brought the broccoli casserole and I also made the cranberryswirl cheesecake I posted a few days ago. WE ARE STILL STUFFED!

  4. Sabrina
    Posted November 30, 2009 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

    Your spread looks fantastic. And I am sure it will be hard for any other Thanksgiving to live up to for you guests. Great job!

  5. unconfidentialcook
    Posted November 30, 2009 at 10:15 PM | Permalink

    Wowowow! What a feast! It's gorgeous! You must have been cooking nonstop. Just hope you weren't too pooped to enjoy it. What a triumph!

  6. Patsyk
    Posted November 30, 2009 at 10:29 PM | Permalink

    Very nice feast! This was my first year hosting Thanksgiving and while the turkey was a bit drier than I would have liked, everything else came out perfectly! I also did some of my cooking on Wednesday to help offset some of the craziness on thursday. Worked wonderfully!

  7. alanna rose
    Posted November 30, 2009 at 11:44 PM | Permalink

    Looks delicious!
    The tips (especially working in a clean kitchen, and par-cooking) are so useful 🙂

  8. Velva
    Posted December 1, 2009 at 12:30 AM | Permalink

    Your Thanksgiving spread looked wonderful! Fabulous job! How special to share with visitors from abroad.
    I know you must have been exhausted this weekend.

  9. Grace
    Posted December 1, 2009 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

    what an awesome array of food! of course you were stuffed til saturday, and rightly so!

  10. Dolce
    Posted December 1, 2009 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    Congratulations to you! This is truly impressive. This year, no disaster nor success, as I was not cooking, but traveling to France for my grandmother's birtday. But the amount of food equalled 3 days of Thanksgiving. I guess the only sucess I can account for is that I did not gain weight!

  11. Joan Nova
    Posted December 1, 2009 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

    Organization 'rules' on holidays like this. Great job and great menu, Robin. I was particularly intrigued with the peanut soup. And I love the idea of the buche de merci.

  12. Rate This Recipe!
    Posted December 1, 2009 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

    Your kitchen is very pretty!

  13. That Girl
    Posted December 2, 2009 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

    Everything looks delicious, but I have to say, I never cease to be enthralled by mushrooms on bouches. Never. Love them!

  14. Ingrid
    Posted December 2, 2009 at 11:52 PM | Permalink

    WOW, you go girl!

    Love your pumpkin roll log especially your cute mushrooms. I made a pumpkin roll as well. While mighty tasty it wasn't as cute as yours. 🙁

  15. Jessica@Foodmayhem
    Posted December 3, 2009 at 11:07 PM | Permalink

    Beautiful looking Thanksgiving meal. Lucky guests!

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