If The Places In The Home kitchen and dining room walls could talk, they would certainly join in a collective chorus of it’s gettin’ busy in here. The cling and clang of china, crystal, stainless, and steel keep thyme with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, bay leaves, oranges, and vanilla doing its smells like the holidays simmering thing on the stove. Suffice it to say, the look, scent, taste, and style of Thanksgiving is home for the holidays.
I could not get happy with the Thanksgiving scheme I originally envisioned for our Thanksgiving dining room holidays on style parade.
Knowing the rule of there is no hard and fast holiday decorating rule, I cleared the canvas and decorated from the heart.
Less is more soon became more mission than motto, and the statement have nothing in your home that does not please, delight, or reflect a sense of you and yours delightfully set the tone, table, and sideboard.
My grandmother’s blue hobnail cake plate, vintage plates, and silver knives found on eBay tap into traditions, memories, and timeless treasures.
Color born from nature is visually captivating, but there is something to say for the dramatic effect of the black and white option.
Birds, family and friends of a feather…
From our family to you and yours, the Places In The Home gang hope y’all enjoy this holiday week.
Count your blessings.
Shop friendly and local when you can!
Stand back and admire your beautiful handiwork. Personal style and Thanksgiving is home for the holidays.
Lift a glass of your favorite beverage in celebration of blessings, joy, traditions old and new. Turkey and dressing traditional times for one is a homemade hamburger with a side of fries new comfort food fest tradition for another.
There is no right or wrong way to set the tone and taste for a day or evening with a party of one, a passel of kinfolk, or tribe of friends who are family in celebration for what and who you are grateful for.
I am grateful for you, my readers who are like family, and wish each of you a Happy Thanksgiving.
Simple makes a tasty appetizer plate, and a make ahead recipe for a simple yet impressive appetizer is an absolute appetizer must. Thanksgiving day is a culinary marathon. I don’t want to gloss over a step or course, nor do I want to give up one precious minute to the tedious or the trying.
Use an insulated coffee carafe to keep the gravy hot and a burner ready to go for the next dish. Pre-warm the carafe by filling it with hot tap water allowing to sit for a couple of minutes. Empty out the hot water and add the gravy.
The closest my iPad gets to the kitchen is the accent table in the dining room. I’m still recovering from the great spill debacle of two years ago when Dave the Builder “cooked” my tablet with a spilled Dr. Pepper.
Thanksgiving day is stressful enough without the extra worry of liquid vs. tablet. Tuck your tablet into a Ziploc slider bag to protect it and worry no more.
A scent of the season scented candle is a holiday greet the guests essential. I don’t depend on pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to carry the weight of the waft throughout the house.
Presentation is key at the holidays. A vintage ironstone bowl filled with ice and topped with pinecones is natural styling for chilling wine.
I love the unique styling and look created with a vintage bowl filled with ice and topped with miniature pinecones.
In between Thanksgiving menu plans and the long holiday weekend Christmas is coming preparations, Thanksgiving tastes, tips, this, that, observations, recipes of need to know info have caught my eye and piqued my interest.
In this holiday season, it seems many long time home decor bloggers are currently embracing the less is more quality over quantity aspect of holiday decorating, present company included. The if one looks good then umpteen will look fantastic approach to decorating is one way to go, but without balance or cohesiveness present this is a difficult look to pull off. Failure teaches a valuable lesson- one I learned rather quickly in my early interior decorating days. Remember the 80s? I don’t miss the decade of excess in any shape, form or what where we thinking fashion. I much prefer understated with a twist- a visual curve ball of sorts. The interior design and home decor choices displayed throughout the 1854 cottage of Joe and Evelyn Adams strike a stunning pose of color balance, period contrast and charming personal style.
Have you planned what you’re cooking for Thanksgiving yet? Automagic Thanksgiving Menu Maker from Food52 can help you do just that. Answer a few questions, select recipes from the collection, and make your personalized menu. http://f52.co/2AuieQG
Cooked in a ranch butter sauce and topped with crispy onions and bacon,thisBacon Ranch Green Beans recipe from Dinner at the Zoo puts a spin on the green bean casserole of holiday table tradition. Full recipe details here: https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/bacon-ranch-green-beans/
There’s appetizers and then there’s Baked Brie with Maple Caramelized Apples and Spiced Praline Bacon. Full recipe from Allrecipes here: http://spr.ly/6004D6kT0
This week’s A Most Fetching Friday is dedicated to dessert, the art of baking (and no-baking), and the edible works created, admired and deliciously celebrated as the grand finale of the holiday dinner.
Tryptofantastic turkey times make the holiday celebration go round. With the holiday countdown on, the Thanksgiving turkey talk centers around how to defrost and how to cook a turkey. Being prepared for the gather round the table holiday celebration with a bird done to absolute golden perfection is the Thanksgiving holiday way to go.
Last minute does not work well in the grand scheme of turkey thawing. Since the majority of supermarket turkeys are sold frozen, prepare to thaw. Figure 1 to 1½ pounds of turkey per person when purchasing the bird.
As tempting as it may be to leave the bird out on the counter to expedite the thawing process, don’t. Why invite a problem to the party? You don’t need or want the hassle of food poisoning.
For Refrigerator Thawing:
Place turkey on a tray to eliminate leakage to other areas of refrigerator. Thaw breast side up, in original unopened wrapper on a tray in the fridge (40 degrees F or below). Allow at least 1 day of thawing for every 4-5 lbs.
Suggested thawing time for a frozen turkey:
4 to 12 pound turkey: 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pound turkey: 3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pound turkey: 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pound turkey: 5 to 6 days
Cold Water Thawing:
Thaw breast side down, in original unopened wrapper. Cover the turkey completely with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes. Estimate a minimum thawing time of 30 minutes per lb.
4 to 12 pound turkey: 2 to 6 hours
12 to 16 pound turkey: 6 to 8 hours
16 to 20 pound turkey: 8 to 10 hours
20 to 24 pound turkey: 10 to 12 hours
Now, let’s say Thanksgiving Day comes and you’ve followed the above rule, but the turkey did not cooperate and the bird is still frozen. Then the bird needs a soak. Place the uncooperative turkey in a kitchen sink filled with cold water. Soak the bird 30 minutes per pound to thaw; changing water every 30 minutes.
Remember to practice safe turkey prep & handling. Clean and sanitize all the surfaces and utensils that come into contact with the uncooked bird and its juices.
Don’t forget to wash those turkey covered hands thoroughly with soap and warm water!
Prepping the Bird:
Remove any contents from the turkey cavity. Remove the clamp from around the legs. Remove the extra skin from the neck area. Tuck the wings up under the turkey bottom to prevent burning.
If you plan on stuffing the turkey, now is the time to do so. The ingredients you will be stuffing the turkey with can be prepared ahead of time. It is advised by the USDA to keep the wet and dry ingredients separate. Keep wet ingredients refrigerated until time to use. Do not mix the wet and dry ingredients until time to fill the turkey cavities, filling loosely. Immediately cook the turkey.
Use a food thermometer to make sure the center of the stuffing reaches a safe minimum internal temperature of 170 °F.
Rub butter, margarine, or oil of your choice under the skin of the breast area, over the legs, and the turkey undercarriage to promote browning.
Place turkey breast side up on rack in your roasting pan and secure legs with kitchen twine.
Roast the turkey at 325 °F using the chart below as a guide for approximate roasting times. The turkey and the stuffing is done when the internal temperature reaches an internal temperature of 170 °F. Make sure to also check the stuffing for an internal temperature of 170 °F. Use a food thermometer to check the turkey in the thickest part of the breast. The internal temperature should reach 170 °F for safety.
Resource: USDA Food Preparation and Inspection Service
I do not baste our turkey. I find opening the oven door frequently allows the oven temp to swing and adds more time to the roasting. Sufficient prep and seasoning will keep the turkey moist. When the turkey is done, remove it from the oven and cover with foil. Allow to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before carving for easier carving.
Turkey breast dries out easy due to the fact lean breast meat cooks quicker than the legs and thighs. Here’s several suggestions to eliminate this issue:
You can separate the breast from the whole turkey and cook the bone-in breast separately.
My personal favorite way to combat dry turkey is to simply roast a turkey breast.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Dry the skin of the turkey breast by patting with a paper towel. Give the outer skin of the turkey a generous rub down with butter. Season the turkey breast with salt and pepper or Creole seasoning. Rub the seasonings into the skin of the turkey breast.
Place turkey breast, breast-side up, into the roasting pan. Roast the turkey breast at 325 degrees for 2 to 2 ½ hours or until thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the roast reads 170 degrees F.
In a spray bottle combine 1 quart (4 cups) warm water, 1 teaspoon liquid soap, 1 teaspoon borax and ¼ cup undiluted white vinegar. You can also add 1 tsp. of essential oil such as rose, lemon, orange, or lavender. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and cleaner however, I don’t suggest using this on granite or marble countertops.
Place the bird on a carving board or reliable surface for carving, breast side up with the legs facing away from you. Position the carving fork in the lower part of the breast to hold the turkey steady as you carve.
Home is where the heart and a mighty holiday hunger is. People get ready, there’s a holiday coming, and holiday side dish recipes are on the menu. The Places In The Home gang holiday side dish requests are noted and the recipes selected. I like to bring at least one new or improved upon recipe with the accent mark on easy to the holiday table. This Thanksgiving I am paying homage to my great-grandmother by serving two of her favorite dishes.
Country Living Magazine provides the recipe for English Pea Salad and Martha Stewart comes through with the recipe for Glazed Pearl Onions. Southern Sweet Potato Casserole is a must have, must serve at our holiday dinner table, and if it’s Thanksgiving, it is definitely cornbread dressing time at our house. I am most intrigued with a new recipe from the Kitchn, Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole. I considered eliminating one of the starches but reasoned it out with simple math. Starches + tryptophan= full, satisfied and sleepy husbands, fathers, sons, brothers and nephews, and that means guilt free Black Friday shopping, keyboard style.
English Pea Salad
2 large hard-boiled eggs, whites chopped and yolks crumbled
1 (½ cup) yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
2 ounce(s) (½ cup) Cheddar cheese, shredded
½ cup(s) mayonnaise
½ cup(s) sour cream
3 tablespoon(s) dried basil
2 tablespoon(s) finely chopped red onion
2 teaspoon(s) chopped pimiento
1 teaspoon(s) apple-cider vinegar
1 teaspoon(s) sugar
1 teaspoon(s) soul-food seasoning or seasoned salt
1 teaspoon(s) granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
2 dash(es) hot sauce
60 ounce(s) (four 15-ounce cans) early peas (such as Le Sueur), drained
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the peas, mixing well. Then stir in the peas. Refrigerate the salad for at least 10 hours or up to overnight. Serve at room temperature.
1 pound frozen pearl onions, thawed and patted dry
2 teaspoons sugar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme (or ¼ teaspoon dried)
Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add onions. Cook, tossing occasionally, until beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar; season with salt and pepper. Add 2/3 cup water and thyme; cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender and liquid has evaporated, about 20 minutes.
3 pounds small russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3-inch chunks
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 whole bay leaf
4 (3-inch) thyme sprigs
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream (full-fat)
¾ to 1 cup whole milk, warmed
1 teaspoon seasoned salt, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons butter, cut into bits and chilled
Generously butter a shallow 2 ½-quart gratin dish or baking dish.
Place the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water to a depth of 2 inches. Add the kosher salt, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat, partially cover, and simmer until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Do not let the potatoes break apart or become waterlogged. Drain well and let stand until the potatoes steam dry and their edges look chalky, about 3 minutes. Discard the bay leaf and thyme stems.
Press the hot potatoes and garlic through a food mill or ricer into a large bowl. Alternatively, mash them as smooth as possible with a hand-held potato masher.
Add the cream cheese, butter, sour cream, and ¾ cup of the milk to the warm potatoes; stir until smooth. The mixture will firm up as it chills overnight, so at this point it should be slightly softer than you want to serve it. Season with seasoned salt and pepper.
Scrape the potatoes into the prepared dish and smooth the top. Dot the top with the bits of chilled butter. Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days ahead.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Remove the plastic wrap and bake until the top is golden brown and the potatoes are heated through, about 1 hour. Serve warm. Serves 6 to 8
Combine first 6 ingredients. Pour into a buttered 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish. Mix remaining ingredients together and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until top is browned. Serves 6 to 8.