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We were so pleased with our Thanksgiving feast this year. Over time we’ve developed a few favorites and this year focused on ways to keep things simple. Beginning with the centerpiece:

IMG_8104Potted herbs, pumpkins, persimmons and pomegranates in a brass tray with four battery-operated pillar candles. The runner is a table cloth, too small for this table, purchased from TJ Maxx during the first fall of our marriage, 2009.

IMG_8106The brass tray is from my favorite local shop, Selective Antiques (formerly Selective Consignments).

IMG_8107The candles are from Costco and the herbs from Trader Joe’s.

And now…

the Menu

Cider-glazed Turkey with Herbed Butter

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/cider-brined-turkey.html

(although I’m not sure we actually followed this)

Bourbon gravy

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/bourbon-gravy

(now a Thanksgiving staple, labor intensive but it does clean the roasting pan!)

Traditional Cranberry Sauce

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/13459/cranberry-sauce-i/

(I only eat it once a year, so I like to stick with the simplicity of this recipe. Can you really go wrong with this many positive reviews? Made a day ahead).

Creamy Mashed Potatoes with Scallion-Chive Butter

http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/creamy-mashed-potatoes-scallion-chive-butter

(make ahead and reheat – worked great!)

Trader Joe’s Cornbread Stuffing

(with celery and onions added, we stuffed the bird with this)

Pumpkin Pie

(Libby’s pumpkin pie recipe, although, when my mom makes it, everything turns out better than it is supposed to).

So family style or buffet…family style or buffet…or served…I can never decide. I love the beauty of the overflowing table in family style. Served seems so simple, but you have to get those plates out there. I have to make my own plus three. Buffet…well, it just lacks romance and adds dishes that you don’t even get to enjoy because they’re hiding in the kitchen.

This year, we blended. The turkey and mashed potatoes stayed in the kitchen and the cranberry sauce, gravy, stuffing and bread came to the table. The table dishes were all small bowls (and a beautiful antique wooden bread plate) so it didn’t overwhelm the table. The arrangement was perfect for us and felt very festive.

What are your favorite menu items for Thanksgiving Dinner?

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