Our Thanksgiving Menu and Some Tablescape Inspiration

For the past few years we’ve hosted Thanksgiving here in Knoxville. The first few years we were crammed in our studio apartment around a desk and card table turned dining table (above). Last year was our first year to host in our house, but we didn’t yet have a dining table. So, a card table it was again. This year, we’re excited to put our Vermont Farm Table to use for the holiday. In case any of you are hosting or need ideas on dishes to bring elsewhere, we’re sharing our favorite menu items from the past years and some simple tablescape inspriation. First things first, the menu…

Happy Tudor Thanksgiving Menu

  • Turkey: I know many people are big fans of brining, and maybe one day I’ll muster up the space and energy to do it. However, we have had really great results from stuffing lemon and orange zest, butter, garlic, tons of herbs, and salt and pepper under the skin the night before. It’s ready to stick in the oven the next morning and makes for some delicious pan drippings to turn into gravy.

  • Dressing: This is a big ticket dish in Tennessee and is usually not a dish I am responsible for. This year, my mom is making the dressing with my grandmother’s recipe. It’s good stuff, and while I don’t have the recipe, this one sounds similar.

  • Honeybaked Ham: Adam’s favorite!

  • Parker House Rolls: I usually purchase these delicious, buttery rolls from a local bakery, but here’s a recipe in case you want to try your hand.

  • Pineapple Cranberry Sauce: With a similar texture to applesauce, this is a fresh take on traditional cranberry sauce. So easy!

  • Mashed Potatoes: However you prefer your potatoes (smooth, rough mash, etc.) you can’t really go wrong. One ingredient I think really takes mashed potatoes up a notch is good buttermilk.

  • Sweet Potato Casserole: I’m more on the streusel band wagon than the marshmallow band wagon. My mom makes one similar to this every year, and it’s one my favorites. It’s also very good for breakfast the next day 🙂

  • SautĂ©ed Brussels’s Sprouts with Pancetta: Even if you don’t think you like brussels’s sprouts, this may change your mind. I sautĂ© brussels’s sprouts with pancetta, balsamic vinegar, onion, and beef broth similarly to this Ina Garten recipe.

  • Baked Apples: This isn’t really an exact science. Slice some apples and toss with cinnamon (I like to use a lot), nutmeg, brown sugar, maple syrup (optional), and lemon juice. Bake in a covered container until soft and the sauce has thickened. Some recipes call for a ton of sugar, which I don’t think is necessary and can really drown out the apples.

  • Green Beans: I usually roast green beans with onions and garlic, but I’m thinking about trying this recipe this year.

  • Creamed Corn: Fresh or frozen is best for this- not canned. Simple recipe.

  • Deviled Eggs: These are pretty straight forward, but I have a few musts. I used stone ground mustard, pickle juice instead of vinegar, finely diced fresh onion, mayonnaise, and smoked paprika for the topping. No sugar for me. I don’t like them too sweet.

  • Pumpkin Pie: In the past we’ve ordered pies from Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop, but this year, I’m planning on trying out this recipe.

  • Chocolate Chess Pie: Made by my mom and delicious. Similar recipe.

  • Fruit Tea: My mother-in-law makes this for all special occasions, and it’s delicious. It’s very similar to the Fruit Iced Tea recipe here with one key exception. She uses Constant Comment tea, which adds great spice.


Tablescape Inspiration

If you’re in need of some tablescape ideas, here are a few that caught our eye.

The natural table linens paired with the rose and gold are so soft and beautiful. More photos of this tablescape can be found here.

Stripes add interest and bit of a modern element. The rosemary sprig is also extremely simple and cost-effective. This lovely design is from Park and Oak.

We used brown paper one year, and it made for such simple cleanup. It also pairs well with classic fall colors and greenery. This table setting kept the flower budget low by using greenery (eucalyptus would be great) and loads of pillar candles. Another bonus of brown paper is the ability to write directly on it. Great job Lemon Thistle!

I love this soft table setting, and while this was used for a wedding, the warmth and simplicity of this tablescape would be great for Thanksgiving! What a genius ideas to weave in copper lights! Photo via Wedding Sparrow.

These were inspiration photos we took for our tablescape last year. We went with a harvest type of theme, using wheat, sunflowers, dried flowers, and corn for votive candles. We’re going in a different direction this year, but I really enjoyed this one.

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