Thanksgiving Is Home For The Holidays

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.

dining-room-table-Thanksgiving

I could not get happy with the Thanksgiving scheme I originally envisioned for our Thanksgiving dining room holidays on style parade.

decorative-turkey-figurine

Knowing the rule of there is no hard and fast holiday decorating rule, I cleared the canvas and decorated from the heart.

cake-plate-pumpkin

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.

plates

salad-plates-vintage

Thanksgiving is home for the holidays

My grandmother’s blue hobnail cake plate, vintage plates, and silver knives found on eBay tap into traditions, memories, and timeless treasures.

hobnail-cake-plate

black-white-ginkgo-1

Color born from nature is visually captivating, but there is something to say for the dramatic effect of the black and white option.

Louisiana-appetizer-plates-sideboard

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.

Eat well.

Travel safe.

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.

love your style

Thanksgiving Day Simple Solutions and Suggestions

Almost here, never fear Thanksgiving Day simple solutions and suggestions is exactly what we’ve got going for today’s one week until Thanksgiving post.

Are you ready?

trio-of-cheese-ballsGood Housekeeping – Photography: Mike Garten

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.

Enter the recipes for a trio of cheese balls that can be refrigerated up to 2 days.

Guess what I’ll be doing the Tuesday afternoon before Thanksgiving Thursday?

turn-the-music-up-loud

I’ll be in the kitchen with my Now We’re Cooking Thanksgiving playlist turned to holiday volume whipping up a trio of cheese balls for Thanksgiving appetizers.

Everything Cheese Ball

¼ cup sesame seeds

2 tbsp. poppy seeds

2 tbsp. dried onion flakes

2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

¼ tsp. salt

2 8-oz. bricks reduced-fat cream cheese

Savory Dill Cheese Ball

1 8-oz. brick reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill

2 tsp. lemon juice

Spiced Cranberry Cheese Ball

1 8-oz. brick reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

8 oz. goat cheese, softened

¼ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

Directions

“Everything” Cheese Ball: 

Combine sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried onion flakes, black pepper, and salt.

With mixer, beat cream cheese with 2 tablespoons seasoning mixture. By 2-tablespoon portions, scoop and roll into balls. Roll in remaining seasoning mixture, pressing to coat.

Savory Dill Cheese Ball: 

With mixer, beat cream cheese, feta cheese, dill, and lemon juice. By 2-tablespoon portions, scoop and roll into balls.  Roll in 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill.

Spiced Cranberry Cheese Ball: 

With mixer, beat cream cheese, goat cheese, dried cranberries, and nutmeg. By 2-tablespoon portions, scoop and roll into balls.  Roll in 3/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped, pressing to coat.

Refrigerate cheese balls at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.  Let stand 15 minutes at room temperature before serving.  Serve with crackers or bread.

-Good Housekeeping

rustic-coaster

Tree Branch Coasters- Country Living

family cotton napkins sugarboo and coSugarboo & Co.

Give the cocktail crowd something to ponder with these Jane Howard cocktail napkins from Sugarboo & Co.

Thyme-Pear Gravy

Thyme-Pear Gravy

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.

Thanksgiving Day Simple Solutions and Suggestions

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.

Amazon Fire 7 with Alexa

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.

ziploc-slider-bags-gallon

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.

Yankee-Candle-Velvet-Woods

Presentation is key at the holidays.  A vintage ironstone bowl filled with ice and topped with pinecones is natural styling for chilling wine.

wine-on-sideboard

I love the unique styling and look created with a vintage bowl filled with ice and topped with miniature pinecones.

wine-on-ice

Miniature Pinecones

Miniature Pinecones

Tie a loose knot around the neck of a wine bottle with the ribbon material and color of your choice.  Tuck the stem of a pinecone into the knot and- voilà!- a befitting embellishment.

velvet-ribbon

Grab a marker and personalize take home boxes.  Another suggestion is to ask guests to bring their own containers to tote their take home Thanksgiving leftovers in.

take-out-boxes

Continuing the embellishment theme, tie a ribbon around the take home box and adorn with a house or cabin Christmas ornament with a from our house to yours card.

house-ornament-grosgrain-ribbon

As they say, it’s the little things that mean the most.

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Thanksgiving Tastes, Tips, This, That, Observations, Recipes

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.

foyer-vignetteTraditional Home

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

bacon-ranch-green-beans

Cooked in a ranch butter sauce and topped with crispy onions and bacon, this Bacon 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

southern-living-savory-corn-pudding

Savory Corn Pudding is the side dish staple of the Southern holiday table.  Full recipe from Southern Living here: http://bit.ly/2AHihJW

corn-husks-napkin-ring

I don’t know why I love you but I do, Pewter Corn Napkin Ring from Vagabond House Harvest Collection.  Beautiful piece to add to the Thanksgiving tablescape.

And with that, there you have my Thanksgiving tastes, tips, this, that, observations, recipes of need to know info show and tell.

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A Most Fetching Friday

fetch·ing

 

/ˈfeCHiNG/

adjective

adjective: fetching

attractive.

synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible

 

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.

Thanksgiving-apple-pastry-package-del1014-lgnWrapped Baked Apple Crumble – Country Clever

beekman-boys-buttermilk-pie-with-pecan-crustButtermilk Pie with Pecan Crust – Country Living Magazine

apple-nut-cake-walnutsApple Nut Cake  with Caramel Walnut Icing

white-chocolate-pumpkin-cheesecakesNo Bake White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecakes with a Pecan Pie Crust

Butter-pecan-cakeButter Pecan Cake

butterscoth-pudding-Coquette-New-OrleansButterscotch Pudding with Snickerdoodle Cookie Crumbs & Bacon Whipped Cream

I hope you have a most delicious and fetching Friday.

Love your style!

Thanksgiving Turkey Talk: How To Cook A Turkey

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.

plymouth-turkey-platter-1

Williams-Sonoma

Well then, let’s get the how to cook a turkey conversation started.  You may want to copy and paste or at the very least hit the bookmark icon- there’s some good information here.

raw-turkeyMy Recipes

Rules of Thawing:

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.

mrs-meyers-apple-cider-scent-dish-soap

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.

stuffed-turkey-on-platter

Martha Stewart

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.

prepping-turkey

Martha Stewart

Seasoning the Bird:

Rub turkey with seasonings of your choice of seasonings such as salt, pepper, thyme, garlic, rosemary, or Creole seasoning.

turkey-seasonings

I usually add a stalk of celery cut into three equal parts and ½ peeled and sliced onion or 2-3 cut green onions.

Add 1 ½-2 cups of chicken broth or white wine to roasting pan to keep the turkey moist during baking.  Cover with roasting pan lid or a foil tent for first 1-1½ of roasting.

turkey-seasoned

House and Home

Roasting the Bird:

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.

turkey-cooking-chart1Resource: 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.

To Baste Or Not To Baste:

basting-a-turkeyThe Kitchn

Nobody Loves Dry Turkey:

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.

Clean Up:

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.

carving-turkey-williams-sonoma

Williams Sonoma Edge-Grain Carving Board

Williams Sonoma Edge-Grain Carving Boards

Carving the Bird:

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.

carving roasted turkeyFood52

Find the hip joint connecting the thigh and the breast and begin slicing through.  Repeat on the opposite side.

Separate the drumstick from the thigh by cutting through the joint.

carving-turkey-on-board

Martha Stewart

Let’s move on to the drumstick/ turkey leg.  Pull each leg to extend them away from the body and slice between the breast and the drumstick.

carving-turkey-thigh-legThe Kitchn

Move the leg backward to loosen it away from the socket, cut away from skin and remove.  Repeat on the opposite side.

Paula Deen turkey recipePaula Deen

Now we’re winging it!  Locate the joint connecting the wing to the body and slice on through.  Repeat on the opposite side.

For the breast, begin by slicing as close to the breastbone as possible.  Slice all the way down as to have one large piece and repeat on the opposite side.

Turkey-breast-carved

Better Homes and Gardens

Place breast on cutting surface and slice from smallest end to the largest.

Arrange and plate as you like.

carved-turkey-the-kitchnThe Kitchn

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For Your Culinary Consideration: Holiday Side Dish Recipes

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.

Mama-papa1

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

English Pea Salad

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.

– Country Living Magazine

glazed-pearl-onionsPhoto- Clive Streeter

Glazed Pearl Onions

Ingredients

2 teaspoons olive oil

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)

Directions

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.

-Martha Stewart

Mashed-Potatoes

Make-Ahead Mashed Potato Casserole

Ingredients

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

Directions

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

– The Kitchn

southern-sweet-potato-casserole

Southern Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes

½ cup sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/3 cup milk

½  cup melted butter

Topping:

1  cup brown sugar

½  cup flour

1/3 cup melted butter

1 cup chopped pecans

Directions

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.

-Food.com

 

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