It starts with the menu....

This year will be the first Thanksgiving in many, many years that my husband and I aren't traveling for Thanksgiving.  We had been either driving to Green Bay and preparing Thanksgiving for my family or heading to the wine country of California.

This year Dave has to work the Friday after so we won't be going anywhere, and you know what, I'm OK with that.  This year has been incredibly busy and stressful at work and just being at home, just the two of us, sounds really good to me.  I can make what I want.  Dave and I don't like stuffing or pumpkin pie so they are off the menu!

I've been thinking about the menu for weeks now and I think I've got it down to what we are going to have.  I'm so excited!  It starts with the menu!

We're probably going to have a little breakfast, most likely our favorite homemade English muffin topped with fresh tomato, Spicy Wholly Guacamole and an egg, scrambled for Dave and poached for me.  We may even have a side of either Otis Family Farm or Fischer Family Farm bacon, whichever I have on hand.

Early in the afternoon I'll start cooking and we'll have an appetizer of Artichoke Crab Dip and bread.  We love this recipe (see below, I can't for the life of me remember where I got it, and I've modified it to add blue cheese!).  I could eat it with a spoon, forget the bread!

Our soup course is going to be French Onion Soup.  I'm going to make a Williams-Sonoma version that sounds delicious.  Here's a link:  French Onion Soup

For our salad we are going to make a recipe from which they say is their most requested salad recipe.  It is a Gorgonzola, apple, cherry, pecan and bacon salad (yes there are greens in there too) with a sweet balsamic dressing.  It sounds delicious!  Here's a link if you want to check it out:  Most Requested Salad Recipe

I have two sides planned to go with our roasted Otis Family Farm turkey breast (I'm not doing a whole turkey, it's just two of us!).  The first is Alex Guarnaschelli's Mashed Potatoes Chantilly.  I've made these before and they are to.die.for and I'm not even a big mashed potato fan.  Here's a link to the recipe:  Mashed Potatoes "Chantilly" and here's a link to my blog the first time I made them.   Dinner by Alex Guarnaschelli

The second side is going to be a recipe I just recently found, well really Dave found in the newspaper, roasted squash with pancetta and Brussels sprouts.  We really liked this version of some of our favorite roasted veggies.  Here's a link to the recipe:  Roasted Squash with Pancetta and Brussels Sprouts  And here's a link to my blog about them:  Roasted Squash with Pancetta and Brussels Sprouts

It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce right?  There will be no can-shaped blob of cranberry on the table.  I found a recipe for what I think is the best cranberry sauce years ago so that's what I'll be making.  It's a Cook's Illustrated recipe so I can't put a link here, you have to be a subscriber to see it but it's a simple recipe of cranberries, sugar and water.  Not too tart, not too sweet and no citrus!  I really don't care for orange in my cranberry sauce.

There will also be no crescent rolls on the table this year.  Crescent rolls are fine, they're easy but we decided we wanted popovers instead!  So I'll be making Gruyere-chive popovers too!  Here a link to the recipe from the Just a Taste website:  Gruyere-Chive Popovers

And for dessert?  I mentioned we don't like pumpkin pie so we're having chocolate bread pudding!  I've made this recipe before and it's simple and delicious.  This time though I'm going to make it special for the holiday!  I have some Espresso Balsamic from my friends at the Olive Grove Olive Oil company.  I'm going to reduce that down with a little sugar and drizzle that over the bread pudding!  But wait!  I'm not done yet!  I also have some salted caramel sauce from my friends at the Golden Fig.  I'm going to drizzle some of that on top too!  Doesn't that sound amazing?!  Here's a link to my blog post: A Week with Curtis Stone - Friday

After all of that I'm sure Dave and I will be nearly comatose in front of the fire, probably watching one our favorite Thanksgiving movies, either Home for the Holidays or A Christmas Story.

Watch this space... you know I won't be able to not share pictures of our meal!

Now it's time to bundle up and head to Farmer's Market to buy the best ingredients I can for our Thanksgiving meal!

Artichoke Crab Dip Recipe
1 cup crab meat -- lump or white; not artificial; 2 six ounce cans

cup Parmesan cheese -- recommend:  shredded rather than grated

1 cup mayonnaise

ounces artichoke hearts

8 ounces water chestnuts, canned -- chopped

4 ounces sour cream

2 cans  refrigerated bread dough -- 11 oz. cans; recommend:  Pillsbury Crusty French Loaf

Mix all ingredients together and place in a shallow dish or pie plate.Bake at 400 degrees until cheese bubbles. Serve hot.

Bake the refrigerated bread dough in a bread tube at 375 for 50-60minutes.  Slice and serve with dip.  If you don't want to make the bread, sliced baguette or crackers work just fine!

I like to add a couple of tablespoons of blue cheese too!

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