As many of you may already know, John and I hosted his family in Madison for Thanksgiving this year. It was a full house, but with help from a cute little Airbnb rental, we made it work! We had a wonderful few days full of eating, visiting, relaxing, and site seeing around Madison. We enjoyed visiting the Madison Children’s Museum, exploring the Bolz Conservatory at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, and touring the Wisconsin State Capital building.
For our Thanksgiving dinner we decided to keep the dishes pretty traditional. We were able to prep some things on Wednesday evening, so Thursday was (surprisingly) relaxed. All of the desserts, minus the ice cream were made on Wednesday. Along with the desserts, we also prepared the vegetarian gravy, the gluten free bread for the stuffing, the baked mashed potatoes, and the sweet potato casserole ahead of time. Our entire menu consisted of…
Free range turkey (a 22 lb one nonetheless)
Regular turkey gravy
Vegetarian mushroom gravy (that was almost better than the regular turkey one)
Gluten-free stuffing (made from GlutenX Great Harvest gluten-free bread which is made fresh on Wednesdays!)
Creamed corn casserole (from my moms tried-and-true recipe)
Balsamic glazed green beans with cranberries and almonds from Lauren Kelly Nutrition
Sweet potato casserole from Creme de la Crumb
Baked mashed potatoes from Recipe Girl
And for dessert…
Gluten-free pecan pie from Gimme Some Oven (with a homemade GF pie crust from Simply Gluten Free Desserts cookbook)
Gluten-free pumpkin pie from American Heritage Cooking (with a homemade GF pie crust from Simply Gluten Free Desserts cookbook)
Gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake from Paula Deen (I just needed to substitute the regular graham crackers for GF ones)
Homemade vanilla ice cream
For the tables, we used pretty fall tablecloths and coordinating napkins that I tied with jute twine and embellished with an artificial leaf. I had been dying to make my own pumpkin centerpieces since I came across some beautiful images a few months ago. What better time to make them than Thanksgiving?!
For the centerpieces I used small pie pumpkins and carved out the insides, cleaning as much pumpkin goop out as possible to delay rotting. I made sure to carve the top opening of the pumpkins large enough to fit in a short wide mouth mason jar to hold water for the flowers. Then I trimmed the flowers (I needed to cut mine pretty short) and arranged them in the jars, before placing the entire thing inside the pumpkin. I loved the way they turned out! I would highly recommend this idea to anyone who is looking for a creative fall centerpiece!