Browsing Tag

Thanksgiving

FOOD + DRINK

Last Minute Inspiration – Food for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and if you haven’t already decided on what you’re preparing this year, chances are – you’re already stressed out. In today’s blog post, the topic is all about food – different ideas to inspire you to spruce up this year’s menu aside from the traditional aspects of Thanksgiving like the turkey.

Before you leave, be sure to let us know what your favorite of these are in the comments!

 

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Bree's Blog

Building the perfect Thanksgiving tablescape

44237567 - autumn rustic table setting with berries, leaves, acorns and nuts

Bree here, from Home Zone Furniture.

It’s hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is already upon us. As you prepare your guest room for family and diligently plan your grocery list, don’t forget to arrange a tablescape to complement your beautiful Thanksgiving feast.

Overwhelmed at the thought of simply pulling out placemats? Don’t worry! This is my five-step, foolproof guide to crafting a unique tablescape that’s true to you and your family.

Style

The first thing to do is determine the style of your tablescape. Will it reflect the general style of your home, or will it be something completely different? For a traditional look, incorporate family heirlooms like fine china and silver. Go rustic with a cozy, worn-in look that’s reminiscent of the countryside. If you prefer a contemporary style, choose black and white table accessories with a minimal aesthetic. Fashion a glam table with metallic details and a bold color palette.

Color

Next, consider your color palette. It’s easy to get carried away when planning your tablescape, so choosing a color palette will ensure your arrangement looks consistent and well-planned. The options for a tablescape palette are endless. Jewel tones are a classic fall choice for a Thanksgiving tablescape. Not only are the colors rich and flattering in a number of dining rooms, but these colors are the perfect complement to Thanksgiving foods like sweet potatoes and green beans. Other stylish choices include the warm colors of the autumn landscape, or rich shades of red.

Placement

After you have a style and color scheme locked down, consider the placement of your tablescape. Lay down the essentials — plates, glasses, etc. — and then get creative with the placement of your decorative accessories. If you have a circular or square table, you’ll make a symmetrical arrangement of additional decor in the middle of the table. For a rectangular or oval-shaped dining table, any decorative arrangement should be long and relatively thin in order to proportionally fit the table. As you lay out your tablescape, ask yourself if you’ll be putting food directly on the table. If so, don’t go overboard with decorations! You want the table to look full, but not cluttered!

Dimension

Make your tablescape interesting by adding in a little dimension. If you’re stacking a charger with a dinner plate and maybe an appetizer plate on top, create dimension by mixing colors, textures and patterns. Try layering pattern on pattern, but make sure that the patterns have a similar scale and some shared colors. The most essential way to create dimension in your tablescape is with height. A well-planned tablescape incorporates different heights using tall florals and candlesticks for visual versatility.

Additions

Tablescapes are a freeform art that can be as complex or as simple as you like. If you’re a tablescape expert, go the extra mile this year with unique additions to your traditional table setting. Label each setting with a personalized place card to direct everyone to their seats. Lastly, add a little fun to your Thanksgiving feast by outfitting each place setting with a party popper — it’s the perfect post-dinner treat for adults and kids alike. You just might make a new tradition out of it!

How do you make your Thanksgiving tablescape stand out?

Bree

Bree's Blog

How to host a stress-free Thanksgiving

how to host a stress-free thanksgiving

Bree here, from Home Zone Furniture.

Turkey basters at the ready—Thanksgiving is upon us! Between the houseguests, the kids and the feast that needs preparing, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed this time of year. Keep stress to a minimum and maximize your fun with these no-brainer hosting tips and tricks. After all, the purpose is to enjoy and give thanks for this day, not dread it!

Assign: Spread around the cost and labor by asking everyone to bring something. Make sure you have all of your bases covered, whether it’s a bottle of wine, a side dish or a dessert. Aside from helping you out, this will also let everyone feel as though they had a part in preparing the holiday feast.

Enlist: For guests who either aren’t so adept in the kitchen or who are tight on cash, ask if their contribution can be to stay after dinner to help clean up. It’s no fun being stuck with a mountain of dishes when the meal is over!

Prep: Avoid last-minute stress by making a prep schedule. Write down every step, from when to shop to when to set the table, visualizing each one to help keep you calm in the moment.

Shop: There’s no shame in serving store-bought Thanksgiving food. Whether you’re buying pre-made piecrust or a pre-cooked turkey, prioritize your Thanksgiving Day enjoyment over the nonexistent Martha Stewart rivalry conjured in every hostess’ mind.

Set-up: Do as much as you can before guests arrive so you can interact with them once they’re there. It’s a good idea to set the dining table the night before Thanksgiving so you can not only cross that chore off your list, but also provide an inviting atmosphere for your guests. Make the occasion special by pulling out your holiday dishes and all of the accouterments, including chargers, napkin rings and placemats.

Snack: Buy yourself precious time by serving snacks first thing. A simple cheese board with fruits, nuts and crackers will keep the masses entertained while you’re putting on the finishing touches in the kitchen.

Craft: Keep the kids out of your hair (and your kitchen) by setting them up with an activity at a makeshift arts and crafts table. See my family’s favorite Thanksgiving crafts here.

Cook: Yes, there are expectations when it comes to traditional Thanksgiving foods, but who says you have to play by the rules? Detest green beans? Serve broccoli! Don’t like turkey? Go with roasted chicken! You’re the host, so you call the shots. You can also branch out this Thanksgiving by cooking the same, classic items in a different way. For instance, instead of making mashed potatoes, try roasted potatoes.

Lighten up: Another idea is to create some light, healthy sides to complement the hearty dishes. An arugula salad or a bowl of fresh berries will keep your guests feeling content after the meal is over rather than stuffed.

Reuse: Don’t let all of your hard work go to waste! Store your Thanksgiving leftovers and repurpose them in new and inventive ways.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Bree

 

Bree's Blog

Kids’ arts and crafts for a happy Thanksgiving

kids' arts and crafts for a happy thanksgiving

Bree here, from Home Zone Furniture.

This November, invite your family to get into the spirit of Thanksgiving with festive holiday crafts. Whether you’re looking for activities to keep the kids busy after school or are planning a project to keep little ones occupied on Thanksgiving Day, these are some favorites at our house. The best part? You’ll even get some decor out of it!

BEFORE THANKSGIVING

These crafts not only build anticipation for Turkey Day, they also provide decorative materials for your dining table. It’s a win-win situation!

Feather placemats

Materials

Craft feathers or feather shapes cut from craft paper, scissors, glue, large craft paper

Directions

Trace a plate you will use at Thanksgiving onto a piece of craft paper then cut the circle out. On one side of the circle, glue feathers down around the entire circumference. Let the glue dry. When you set the table, put the feathered craft paper down underneath the plate and you have a festive Turkey Day accent!

Place cards

Materials

Cardstock or pre-cut placards, markers, scissors

Directions

If you don’t have pre-cut placards, cut a 3″by 5″ rectangle out of the cardstock and fold it in half. On the front side, write the name of the person who will be sitting at that setting. On the inside, have your kids write down what they appreciate about that person.

Hand turkeys

Materials

Craft paper, markers, scissors

Directions

Place your hand on the craft paper and trace it using a marker. With the outline of your thumb as the head, your palm as the body and the rest of your fingers as the feathers, decorate the hand shape like a turkey. Cut the shapes out. Make enough for everyone at the table to have one at their place setting.

ON THANKSGIVING DAY

Whether there will be one kid at your Thanksgiving feast or 20, it’s always a good idea to keep them occupied and out of the kitchen. After all, the adults will need a free hand to put the finishing touches on the turkey (or watch the game in peace).

Native American headdress

Materials

Craft paper, scissors, markers or crayons

Directions

Measure the circumference of your head. Cut a rectangle out of craft paper to make a headband that’s as long as your head’s circumference and 2 1/2″ to 3″ wide. Cut about 15 feather shapes out of craft paper and glue them all on one side of the headband. When the feathers have dried and are secured to the band, glue the band together on the ends so that it makes a complete circle that fits snugly around your head.

Hunt for turkey feathers

Materials 

Craft feathers or feathers cut from craft paper

Directions

Hide a set number of feathers throughout the house. The person who finds the most feathers wins.

Cornhusk dolls

Materials

Dry square cornhusks, wool felt, twine, glue, scissors

Directions

Cornhusks dolls are a classic fall craft. View a simple step-by-step visual here.

Bree's Blog

How to repurpose your Halloween pumpkins

how to salvage your halloween pumpkins

Bree here, from Home Zone Furniture.

From costumes to candy to decorations, Halloween can be a surprisingly expensive holiday. Instead of tossing out Halloween-themed items as soon as the last trick-or-treater departs, find a way to reinvent them for Thanksgiving. Sure, faux gravestones and giant spiders might not make it past October 31, but the classic pumpkin can be easily repurposed for Turkey Day!

DÉCOR

The most obvious way to reuse Halloween pumpkins is to incorporate them into your home’s holiday décor. Unfortunately, pumpkins that have already been carved will start to rot within a week, but uncarved ones will make festive accents for Thanksgiving.

Doorstep. Keep your entryway decorated through November with a chic display of pumpkins and decorative gourds on either side of your door. To keep the pumpkins from rotting, coat them in a sealant or paint them the color of your choice.

Centerpiece. While larger pumpkins are best left outdoors, small pumpkins and other gourds you purchased pre-Halloween make a lovely Thanksgiving centerpiece. You can either group them together organically or arrange them in a large bowl. If you want to save room on the dining room table for serving platters, you could use this display approach in the family room or wherever guests will congregate before or after Thanksgiving dinner.

FOOD

As the Internet has taught us, people are crazy about pumpkin-flavored food and drinks. Why fight it? This Thanksgiving, treat your guests to delicious pumpkin recipes.

Pumpkin Latte

Why buy a pumpkin-flavored drink, when you can make one yourself with genuine pumpkin?

Ingredients: milk; coffee; a spice blend of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg; maple syrup; pumpkin puree; vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Heat 3/4-cup milk on the stove.
  2. Add 1/4 teaspoon of spice mix, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon of maple syrup and 1 teaspoon of pumpkin puree; stir.
  3. Heat mixture on medium heat.
  4. Brew coffee or espresso.
  5. Remove milk and spice mixture from stovetop before it boils and froth it using a milk frother or blender.
  6. When milk is frothed, combine it in a mug with the coffee or espresso.
  7. Top with a dollop of milk foam and add a pinch of spice mixture or cinnamon stick for garnish.

Pumpkin Seeds

Most pumpkin recipes instruct you to use the meat of the pumpkin and to discard the pesky seeds, but pumpkins seeds are a tasty (and nutritious!) snack on their own! Whether you set them out in a bowl for your guests nibble pre-Thanksgiving meal or you put them in mason jars as parting gifts, pumpkins seeds are a crowd-pleasing snack.

Directions:

  1. Separate the seeds from the orange meat of the pumpkin and wash them meticulously.
  2. Optional: Boil the seeds in salt water for 10 minutes to make them extra crispy and easier to digest. After they boil, drain them in a colander and pat them dry with a tea towel.
  3. Spread the seeds in one layer on a baking sheet, drizzle them with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle them with kosher salt.
  4. Roast the seeds on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring them about halfway through.
  5. Remove from the oven and sprinkle them with the seasoning of your choice. From classic salt and pepper to savory chili powder, you can’t go wrong!

Serving Bowl

You could always recycle your large pumpkins by turning them into a DIY Thanksgiving serving bowl. Carve out the insides prior to use, line the interior with foil or plastic wrap and fill the pumpkin cavity with one of your side dishes. It makes for practical and decorative presentation!

GARDEN

Your backyard or garden is a logical place for post-Halloween pumpkins to end up. If the weather is nice on Thanksgiving, you might invite your guests to congregate outside, so it makes sense to have the area spruced up and decorated accordingly.

Pumpkin Planter

Large pumpkins serve as lovely temporary planters. I’d suggest you try this craft just prior to Thanksgiving because a carved pumpkin will disintegrate quickly!

Directions:

  1. Cut the top off of the pumpkin and scoop some of the insides. Unlike the pumpkin serving bowl, a pumpkin planter doesn’t have to be completely cleaned out and lined.
  2. Fill the empty space inside the pumpkin with nutrient-rich soil.
  3. Situate your plant of choice inside the dirt-filled pumpkin.
  4. At first, you can place the pumpkin planter on a porch or near a doorstep, but after a week, go ahead and put it in the soil or a flowerbed so it can naturally break down without making a mess!

Pumpkin Bird Feeder

Extend your Thanksgiving feast to the birds and squirrels in your yard with an easy DIY pumpkin bird feeder.

Supplies: 3- to 5-lb. pumpkin, sturdy twigs, twine and birdseed

Directions:

  1. Cut the top off the pumpkin and scoop out the insides, leaving a 1- to 2-inch-thick wall.
  2. Poke holes in the side of the pumpkin and insert twigs to make perches.
  3. Hang the feeder by knotting two lengths of twine in the center, and tack it down in the bottom of the feeder.
  4. Fill the feeder with birdseed and watch the birds go to town!