Putting Together an Easy Thanksgiving Celebration

The final countdown to Thanksgiving has arrived; we’re down to just six days! This is our second Thanksgiving celebration this year as we enjoyed a feast of fine proportions last month when our Marine was home on leave. I’m very much looking forward to doing it all again and seeing my parents, siblings, nieces and nephews!

I don’t know how your plans are going, but there have been a flurry of text messages between my sisters, momma and myself as we finalize the menu and plans for Thursday. Momma has already decided we are using her Blue Willow on the table which is by far her favorite china.

We seem to stress too much over holiday celebrations, so today I thought it would be timely to share some ideas for a gathering that’s relaxed and lively as we celebrate the end of the autumn season from harvest fruits scattered across the table to organizing your time so you enjoy the relaxed feeling Thanksgiving Day should truly have!

Putting Together an Easy Thanksgiving Celebration / ohfiddledeedee.com

THE TABLETOP:

Thanksgiving is a celebration of the harvest, so besides cooking with autumn’s bounty, decorate the table with it too! Lay a tablecloth or placemats out that coordinates with your dishes, then add pumpkins, leaves, dried Indian corn. Grocery store flowers really add to the festive atmosphere of the day and won’t cost you a lot of money. Round off your centerpiece with candles. Seriously, who doesn’t love candlelight?! Besides keeping the decor seasonal and simple, you can set the table (or tables) a couple of days in advance and have that knocked off your to-do list!

If you desire to use paper plates, by all means set them out! If you prefer china, use it! Here in our home I have a set of Thanksgiving china that adorns the table every year. They are mostly white and neutral in color which allows me to coordinate with my plain white dishes for serving the meal.

I plan out the dishes I need for serving in advance so I’m not rushing around Thanksgiving morning like a mad woman looking for everything. Things like gravy boats, deviled egg trays, and soup tureens aren’t everyday pieces so it helps to be organized.

GETTING READY:

Having a perfectly prepped dinner allows you to spend less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your family. Six days out should see your menu completed, grocery list made and a trip to the store imminent. If you don’t want to find yourself in a madhouse or unable to find ingredients, head to the market as soon as possible.

*Make a list. Seriously, sit down with a note pad to write your menu, who is bringing what, your grocery list, and what must be done around the house. It takes 30 minutes. Make the lists and put them where you see them.

{Then, use them.}

*Allow plenty of time for your turkey to safely thaw out. I have a 20 pound bird that will land in my refrigerator tonight to begin thawing.

*Most pies can be baked a couple of days in advance so take advantage of that; it takes a couple hours to prepare bourbon pecan and pumpkin pies. Having them out of the way is a huge help come Thanksgiving Day.

*If you are ordering any part of your dinner (Honeybaked Ham is my friend), order at least two weeks ahead of time and pick up early the day before so that you miss the heaviest of crowds.

*Have all of your ingredients measured, chopped and placed in prep bowls before you begin cooking. By taking care of as much as possible beforehand, you’ll leave plenty of time to visit with family and friends.

*Prepare a soup a day in advance or put together a fruit and cheese board for everyone to snack on while the turkey is in the oven.

*Offer a range of beverages to compliment the meal. Besides tea and soda, consider serving a spiced cider or flavored tea.

*On Thanksgiving Day plan to start cooking early – your turkey needs 3-4 hours (maybe more) in the oven, plus an additional half hour to rest before carving. If you are using stuffing in your bird, cook it before the turkey so that the bird has time to cook.

It doesn’t take much to put on a memorable Thanksgiving dinner. Just don’t let the little things stress you out. Taking a couple of evenings beforehand to knock out prep will make the day so much easier, and I hope I’ve given you some ideas to get you started!

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2019 Home for the Holidays Designer Showhouse

Last week I was invited out to the 2019 Atlanta Designer Showhouse for media day. Each year Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Magazine puts on this event as a fundraiser for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and this years home is just amazing!

Instead of a new build, the home was a remodel of a 1950’s era saltbox in Sandy Springs taken on by Harrison Design and decorated by some of Atlanta’s most talented designers! They proved you can do absolutely fantastic things with a remodel!

Besides showcasing the interiors of this home, the talented designers of each room also decorated for Christmas! Room after room of elegant interior and holiday inspiration awaits as you wander through each room.

Here’s a peak at the beauty this home boasts, beginning with an exterior before and after!

BEFORE:

Via Harrison Design

AFTER:

This 5,500 square foot, five bedroom home with limestone foundations now boasts an office tower, keeping room (butlers pantry), a dreamy and totally enviable kitchen, new master suite addition and open floor plan with plenty of space for entertaining year round. The exposed beams, marble counters, spiral staircase and amazing bathrooms make this a dream home for sure, but at the same time a home that is warm and welcoming.

Enjoy a glimpse of this fabulous home!

Entry into the house

FRONT/SIDE PORCH:

The original entry is now a beautiful covered side porch, perfect for dining or lounging.

Sigh…. THE DREAMY KITCHEN:

Sitting area off the kitchen… part of the open concept

DINING ROOM:

LAUNDRY ROOM:

DOWNSTAIRS BATH (just one of them; this one includes a built in foot bath in it own space!):

HOSPITALITY LOUNGE:

MASTER SUITE ADDITION:

Shower and tub together with the tub being drawn from the ceiling!

Those Views!!

 

UPSTAIRS SPACES:

There is so much more to this home than what I shared, but you must visit the Homes for the Holidays Showhouse for yourself to catch it!

 

The Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles 2019 Home for the Holidays Showhouse is presented by Harrison Design and The O’Donnell Group, produced by Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles and benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The home is located at 4825 Woodvale Dr. NW, Atlanta, GA 30327, and runs now through December 8, 2019. Advance admission is $33. Tickets at the door are $35. Parking is available along Woodvale Drive Northwest with a shuttle running daily. Find more information at atlantaholidayhome.com.

Fall Fresh Fruit Salad

Despite the heat and humidity in this early fall, nothing is more enjoyable than strolling through your local farmer’s market on Saturday morning, then preparing a meal! The little market In Snellville is my favorite Saturday morning adventure. Audley and I will often wake early just to go over and pick through the seasonal fruits and veggies while planning our meals for the week.

Snellville Farmers Market

Market Flowers

Local Figs

Right now we are at the very last of nectarine season and fig season. As we were strolling through the market I was concocting a yummy, but healthy supper in my mind using some of the fresh goodness around me. What I came up with was such a hit, the family was disappointed that it disappeared so fast.

Fall Fresh Fruit Salad

 

Honestly this is so easy and versatile that it doesn’t warrant a recipe card (I added it at the end of the post so you have a shopping list). I’m going to tell you what I used for this super easy and flavorful supper, giving you the opportunity to let your own creative juices flow!

Salad Ingredients

There are no measurements for the salad, as you will create it to fit your own personal tastes and the number of people dining at your table. I’m just here to share suggestions!

Slice your nectarines and figs, then toss into the mixed greens. Cook your bacon crisp (I used a whole package for four of us), but not over cooked, and dice the prosciutto to sauté. After draining the excess grease from the bacon and prosciutto, add it to the salad, reserving a couple of pieces for your dressing. Add your pecans as well.

My bacon vinaigrette is not a traditional vinaigrette dressing as I use less oil than most people. But the dressing simple to whisk up and consists of white balsamic vinegar, stone ground mustard, honey, garlic, bacon, bacon drippings! When the ingredients are well mixed, drizzle over the salad and toss together. Don’t over saturate the salad with dressing or you’ll take away from the fresh fruit flavor!

You can serve this with grilled salmon, rotisserie chicken, a steak, or just enjoy it on its own!

It’s that filling and satisfying!!

What I love about salads of this type is you can swap the fruit for whatever is in season (pears and apples for example). You can also swap up which nut you add (cashews & walnuts for example). I chose pecans as living here in Georgia they are plentiful, fresh and so delicious!!

Click here for a printable recipe for this Fall Fresh Fruit Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette.

Have a great weekend y’all and eat well!

Summer Fruit Salad

Summer has fully encompassed Georgia and let me tell y’all…. it’s ridiculously sticky, humid and hot. Georgia has always been known for these type of summers and rarely disappoints its residents and visitors.

When the temps are still at 95° and it’s time to prepare supper I don’t know about you, but I have zero desire to turn on the stove and cook. I still want my husband and our occasional guests to feel spoiled and special, so enter my go-to dish: fruit salad.

Now this isn’t a big bowl of fruit like you might be picturing , but instead a crisp green salad which includes fruit. I love adding fresh, seasonal fruit to homemade salads and serving them up with complimentary vinaigrette dressings.

Summer Fruit Salad / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

When my friend Tammie joined me for lunch last week I served up a salad that incorporated peaches that was a real hit!

Peach Orchard / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

With Georgia’s peach season in full swing, peaches are definitely my fruit of choice, but it pairs so well with other fruits as well. For this particular salad I also added blueberries, mozzarella cheese, pecans, and bacon.

All of the ingredients (including the cheese, bacon & greens) were local and fresh which makes a summer fruit salad taste even better! You can hit up your local farmers or Saturday market, or a U-Pick Farm to find the freshest of ingredients as well as support locals farmers.

Peach & Blueberry Salad / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

As you can see from my picture, all I did was layer the ingredients so that they look appetizing. It is quite simple.Peach Blueberry Salad / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

For the peach salad I made a Lemon White Balsamic Vinaigrette using a gourmet Sicilian balsamic vinegar (purchased at a vinegar & olive oil shop nearby) and combining with California olive oil; 1/3 cup vinegar to 2/3 cups olive oil seasoned with salt & black pepper, and fresh minced garlic. Shake well and taste to see that you like the flavor. If it’s too bitter for your taste, add a teaspoon of sugar. I like mine a little extra vinegary, so I often add extra.

Make the vinaigrette yours.

Peach Salad with Chicken / Oh FIddle Dee Dee

I served the peach salad with sliced rotisserie chicken breast (once again, no oven/stove needed) since it was lunchtime. When I ate leftovers later in the day I just enjoyed the salad!

That’s the beauty of summer salads; they’re delicious and filling!

And if peaches aren’t your thing you can definitely change up your fruits. I served a similar salad in red, white and blue for our Independence Day cookout.

{My husband doesn’t care how hot it is when he fire’s up the grill; Audley holds the well-deserved title of Grill Master for a reason.}

This salad included strawberries, blueberries, mozzarella cheese, and almonds. Using the same ratios above for my dressing I used balsamic vinegar to make the dressing.

Red White and Blue Salad / Oh Fiddle Dee Dee

Red, White & Blue for the holiday. This salad is also delicious with blue cheese instead of mozzarella, and pecans instead of almonds. I told you these are so versatile.

There are so many ways to keep your diet fresh and clean as well as cool in the summer. These salads just happen to be my favorite way! How would you serve up a summer fruit salad? I would love to hear your ideas!

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