Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be all pumpkin pie and turkey legs. For non- traditionalists we’ve got you covered from the table setting right through to dessert.

Setting the Table

I was inspired by the October issue of Style at Home Magazine to use burlap on the table, but the all-over look was too much for my taste.  Instead, I opted for a simple runner that still gives a casual effect without covering the entire table.

Burlap table runner
Source: Creative Bag

The corner flower shop is chock-full of gorgeous blooms to adorn the harvest table. While mini gourds and tiny pumpkins are festive and reflect the holiday, they are not the only way to go. Pairing orange roses with dark purple carnations matches well. Add some garnish, and for an affordable price you have a centrepiece that will last long after your leftovers.

A insider tip: if you don’t have floral tape on hand, duct tape works well to hold the stems in place for easy trimming. Remember to choose the container before buying your flowers. If the mouth of the vase is too large, the flowers will flop to the sides and look sloppy. Don’t be afraid to cut the stems so that the blooms are just above the rim.

I like to use short vases from the dollar store for centrepieces. They do the trick, and I pop them into the dishwasher to clean.

My favourite find of the season has been these mercury jars to house candles but they could easily do double-duty as a vase.

To finish off this simple Thanksgiving table setting, basic white plates from Kitchen Stuff Plus and plaid napkins from Indigo (on sale now). While I love the look and feel of cloth napkins, I don’t like the clean up involved. I always count on one being stained with red wine, and ironing them crisp after washing isn’t my idea of time well spent. When purchasing table linens, I leave the luxurious ones behind and go for best price over longevity. This plaid pattern could be dressed up for Christmas with a thin red ribbon or tossed in a basket for a summer picnic.

Plaid napkins
Source: Indigo

Put altogether it’s a simple welcoming tablescape that requires minimal effort to create with pieces that can be carried forward to the holidays.

Non-Traditional Menu

When it comes to the dinner, why stick with the traditional fare if it’s not a favourite? In my large family tastes range but it’s almost unanimous that no one really loves turkey. So why spend hours roasting a bird that only a few truly appreciate? Here’s a try this instead of that.

Roasted potatoes instead of mashed potatoes. Bonus: Delicious home fries for the morning after!

Seasoned and ready for roasting!
Seasoned and ready for roasting!

Mexican street corn instead of the basic cob. Bonus: The leftovers are a great addition to a basic green salad the next day.

Mexican Corn

Smoked pork ribs with a maple glaze instead of turkey. Bonus: Isn’t it obvious?

smoked pork ribs

Pumpkin seeds with Cajun spice instead of a bag of chips while watching the game. Bonus: A much healthier option that makes your house smell heavenly!

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Sweet Endings

Confession. I don’t like pie. I don’t like apple pie or pumpkin pie, and both these desserts are staples on the Thanksgiving menu, but here’s an easy-to-make cake that is a crowd pleaser.

Start with a basic chocolate cake mix. Bake 2 8-inch cakes and let completely cool. I like to bake the cakes the night before to ensure I don’t run out of time.

To make the icing, add 1 cup of softened butter to a mixing bowl. Some people prefer unsalted when baking but I like the flavour of salted. Either way, it’s going to taste delicious.

Butter in bowl

Blend the butter with 3-4 cups of icing sugar. This is where you have to use your palate to gauge how sweet you like your icing.

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Add some vanilla. I add 2 teaspoons but anywhere from 1-3 is recommended.

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Mix in 1 tablespoon of heavy cream.

Adding heavy cream

Whip together until completely blended and consistent.

buttercream icing

Take one of the 8-inch circle cakes and using a long, sharp knife level the top of the cake and then add a generous heap of the icing. Spread evenly before placing the second 8-inch cake on top.

Cake with buttercream icing

Use the rest of the icing to cover the cake.

buttercream icing on cake

Take chocolate-covered ladyfinger cookies and place vertically around the outside of the cake.

lady fingers on cake

Add your favourite seasonal candies on top.

I like to add raffia around the circumference of the cake to help secure the ladyfingers and to add some decoration.

Halloween Cake

Whether you prefer to celebrate the start of the holiday season traditionally or with a modern twist, we wish our American readers a Happy Thanksgiving and in the spirit of giving thanks, we are thankful for all of you and for your continued support of Plenty.

Read Plenty More:  How To: Fall Tablescapes Made Easy and visit our Pinterest Board, Plenty of Thanksgiving for more Thanksgiving inspiration.

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