My Thanksgiving Dream Meal

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays! There's lots of sweet family time, people to catch up with, time to reflect and be truly grateful, and anticipation building for Christmas. I just adore it! One of our new favorite traditions is participating in an annual "friendsgiving" with a few close friends. These are people we're deeply grateful for, so this meal together takes on extra dimension as we share our thankfulness for the ups and downs we've shared over the past year.

We get to host friendsgiving this year for the first time (wahoo!) I won't have a ton of time to prep everything I'd like, but if I did, these gorgeous dishes would be my pick! These ideas are recipes I collected on my friendsgiving pinterest board.

You'll notice a common theme: due to some tummy troubles, I always associated Thanksgiving with stomach aches and food I didn't care for. When I broke things down, I realized that I did enjoy each individual element, I just needed to put my own spin on them! So, here's a thanksgiving table, Stephanie Style!

The meat and gravy

 This Applewood smoked turkey with cider bourbon gravy. I can't wait to try my hand at brining and roasting our turkey this year! This brine sounds absolutely perfect-now to find friends with a deep fryer...Boozy gravy is a new and welcomed thing for me-I made a fabulous vermouth gravy to accompany ham at Easter and I'm sold! 

The stuffing

I never understood stuffing...soggy bread?? what? But I'm already drooling over this pretzel bread, quinoa stuffing with garlic butter mushrooms.  and I will freely admit that I'd probably make this and openly refuse to share it...so...I'm debating this choice...

The relish

I grew up tasting cranberry relish every year and spitting it out-too tangy, too mushy, too sweet. It was always weird to me. But a few years ago, I made a simple maple cranberry compote to accompany a marinated pork loin and I've since fallen hard for cranberries.

I hope to make this bourbon maple cranberry compote-it is a fabulous multitasker, pairing well with nutty or tangy cheeses before dinner (try our favorite 1655 Gruyere, a triple cream brie, or a beautiful Cambozola for a buttery tang!) and a yummy topping for either ice cream or fruit pies afterward!

The Sides

Okay, this is the easier part. Give me some classic sweet potato casserole, a potato option, any number of simple green veggies, and I'm happy (keep them simple and fresh with great flavors and real butter-no cream-of-anything please :)

The Desserts

Mushy, bland colored sides just never really did it for me. Pumpkin pie was included, but it always tricked me! I loved the comforting smell and would talk myself into trying this crowd favorite. But I'd typically take one bite and decide I was done. I think I could be coerced into loving this triple chocolate pumpkin pie though. Chocolate makes everything better, right? And wouldn't this be mind blowing with a crushed gingersnap crust instead of graham cracker crust? Would anyone make this for home delivery? I have a friend...

I'd also not complain if I could dive headfirst into Pioneer Woman's caramel apple pie. I'd probably find a way to make it sea salt caramel...but who's checking?

Thanks for drooling through my dream thanksgiving meal with me. Enjoy this time with your loved ones. Squeeze them close, tell them you love them, and make beautiful food for me, okay?