In the still of Thanksgiving morning, while my husband took the turkey out of its brine bath and prepared it for roasting, I made the table pretty with apples, pears and dried leaves from our maple tree, set out all the desserts I'd baked the day before, filled tiny jam jars with cranberry orange compote, and lit the candles.
Later, after our friends and Jamie's parents arrived, I was too busy visiting with everyone, baking the casseroles, sampling apple cider hot toddies, mixing up biscuit dough and making gravy to remember to take any pictures. In fact, the only photo I took all weekend that wasn't a still shot, was of my husband in his pajamas, about to put the turkey in the oven, and a few quick pics with my phone.
I love the photos of our dining room table - which my husband just finished building, sanding and staining in time for the holiday. It was our first Thanksgiving in our house, and we began our own traditions, creating beautiful memories. It was a freezing cold weekend, not rising above 20 degrees in four days, but we were warm inside, with the oven working hard to brown the turkey and bake all the side dishes. There was cornbread casserole and green beans, roasted brussel sprouts with maple syrup and bacon, mashed potatoes with gravy, biscuits and salted honey cinnamon butter, cranberry orange compote, and my personal favorite, sweet potato casserole with brown sugar pecan streusel topping.
My husband made his grandma's traditional holiday dish, holupchi, also known as cabbage rolls, which are steamed cabbage leaves filled with rice that's cooked with bacon and vinegar. More vinegar is poured over the rolls and then they're baked until soft. It's a fantastic dish from Eastern Europe.
For dessert, I made pecan bourbon pie and blueberry crumb pie, almond pound cake and salted caramel sauce, salted maple ice cream and pumpkin spice bourbon ice cream. A few pumpkin cake truffles dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. And later in the weekend, an apple crisp with apples my father-in-law brought from North Dakota. Today, I have a crockpot simmering full of sweet, spiced apple butter, made with the rest of the apples. It tastes of all the flavors of Thanksgiving.