Impressing The Guests: Thanksgiving Sides

When it comes to Thanksgiving, I’m an extreme traditionalist. I like my meal to be generally the same from year to year, at least when it comes to what I consider the “staples.” For me, a turkey is great, however as I was a vegetarian for most of my life and still now do not eat that much meat I tend to gravitate towards the sides to carry most of my meal.

So today’s Impressing the Guests focuses on just that, Thanksgiving sides. Some of the traditional variety and some that have taken on a slightly more modern take from their longstanding counterparts to win your guests over.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts: You really can’t go wrong with a roasted sprout. Never did I used to be a fan of this oddly shaped vegetable, but as I learned how I liked to eat it I have become a big fan. And if you still have finicky guests, throw a little bacon on top and they’ll be raving for more.

Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce: Never a huge fan of straight cranberry sauce (especially the canned variety) I’m loving the idea of adding in handfuls of pomegranates and perhaps the juice of a few clementines. Yum!

Ricotta Mashed Potatoes: If mashed potatoes were an acceptable meal, I would eat them everyday. I love all varieties of potato, but mashed hold a special place in my heart. Add a little butter, maybe a handful of chives and a scoop of cream or cheese and I’m in heart attack heaven. But for one day, allow yourself to indulge and treat your guests to a smooth and creamy spoonful of these ricotta mashed variety.

Candied Yams: On a normal day I prefer my yams with a little brown sugar and dash of salt and pepper. But on Thanksgiving, let’s take it to the next level and make this normally healthy dish into a dessert-like treat. Just don’t look at the calorie count!

Green Bean Quinoa Casserole: Now, don’t tell my husband but I’m not a huge fan of the traditional green bean casserole. Canned beans, creamy soup and fried onions. Let’s indulge in the mash and yams and lighten things up for a bean dish that is simple and rich in protein.

Warm Dinner Rolls: A meal at our house wouldn’t be complete without a basketful of warm yeasty dinner rolls. Jon’s mom has perfected a recipe that we’ve slowly been trying to replicate, with little luck. This version takes a little over an hour for a pan full of fluffy perfection.

So are you hungry yet? What are some staples you always want at your own Thanksgiving meal?

Impressing the Guests: The Gallery Wall

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I’m still not feeling fully up to my normal blogging routine. My commute continues to be long due to storm-related issues and we have suffered through a second storm – one with a considerable pile of snow, so conditions for those who are still without power or homes have gotten worse. So please, don’t forget to keep giving – your time, your donations, these people need our help!

However that being said, I know that I can’t shut down indefinitely so I’m hoping that by trying to getting back in to my normal blogging schedule that it might help my spirits.

I figured we jump in to this week’s “Impressing the Guests” with some discussion on the gallery wall. An extremely popular trend that allows you to pile together your favorite artwork and cover a large portion of an otherwise blank wall.

While the idea of putting up a dozen or so frames, canvases and wall decor into a stylized mish-mash my cause heart palpitations from some, I promise with a little planning, it’s nearly impossible to mess up.

1. As a general rule of thumb, keep either a consistent color palette running through your pieces or keep the frames a similar shape.

2. Don’t be afraid to mix media. Prints with wall objects with frames with canvases – it adds character.

2. Layout all of your pieces on the ground, moving art around until you find a general pattern that you like. It will help you to visualize the final result.

3. Measure the wall and the measure your art placement that is currently lying on the ground.

4. Make a sketch of the rough measurements on scrap paper to ensure for accurate wall placement.

5. Start with the most central piece and work out.

6. Remember, if you mess up. Just patch up the hole and try again!