We have been hosting a Thanksgiving potluck at our house with our friends for the past 2 years, so it was customary that we’d have our 3rd annual dinner this year. I submitted my proposal to Foodbuzz about our traditional event, and to our surprise (*jumping up and down*), we were chosen as one of the 24 bloggers to be a part of November’s Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24. Although we were ecstatic about being chosen, we knew that we had to go above and beyond to make this event spectacular – and that means creating a beautiful Thanksgiving ambiance in our home by using a ton of fall leaves, making centerpieces and place settings, mixing up fancy cocktails, and of course, having the ultimate Thanksgiving menu surrounding the center-of-attention: our deep-fried turkey.
Nonetheless, our Thanksgiving dinner would not have been successful without the help of our friends who all contributed to the menu by bringing homemade side dishes and desserts. We made the potluck more interesting by implementing a contest for the best side dish and the best dessert – and we were blown away by the creativity and expertise that our friends put in to their dishes. Wow, talk about competitive! All in all, everyone enjoyed each others’ dishes and most importantly, each others’ company. This was hands-down the best Thanksgivings ever! Thank you, everyone!!
A week before the event, we came up with the idea to design a fall foliage in our dining room which would sit above the tables, creating a luminous Thanksgiving feel.
As you can see, we decked the dining room with as much fall leaves as we possibly could. It was like we were all dining outdoors.
Our friend Cecille graciously helped us with many creative elements for the party (thank you so much!). Our Thanksgiving was complete with her beautifully crafted Cornucopia.
We thought it would be cute to have turkey place settings for all our guests. We were inspired by procrastistamper's version (which we googled), so we made our own with what we had. We cut out circles using scallop-shaped scissors and leftover scrapbook paper.
We trimmed and taped the tail feathers together, then taped a Hershey's Nugget to it. Finally, we added the heads, little orange beaks, and best of all, googlie eyes! The final masterpiece is a turkey place setting with the guests' name written on it.
To complete the table setting, we tied a flower to everyone's dinner napkin and made a pretty candlelit centerpiece.
Our friends had the option of 2 different cocktails - a Raspberry Bellini made with raspberry puree and champagne, or a Holiday Sangria.
On to the side dishes! Here we have the ever-so-popular Green Bean Casserole and Stuffing, both made from scratch by Andy. Impressive!
I kept it simple by making Balsamic-Glazed Pearl Onions and Chunky Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes with bacon, chives, and roasted garlic.
Daniel made Mini Jalapeno Cornbread and Ham with Pomegranate and Port Glaze.
Cecille wowed everyone with her Pumpkin-Spiced Bread with Whipped Honey Cinnamon Butter and Spicy Crab Stuffed Mushrooms.
Aaron made a hearty Crab Mac-n-Cheese as his side dish, and even had time to make an awesome Creme Brulee for dessert.
Kat & Tim brought their famous Pasta with Creamy Clam Sauce (yum!). Sarah & Mark made Candied Yams for the very first time, and it was delicious!
Jen made a fantastic Waldorf Salad, which is a sweet and tangy fruit salad. Nate brought his special cranberry sauce again, which we've enjoyed the past couple of years.
Our friend Rich shocked everyone with his culinary skills by making a succulent Rack of Lamb flavored with herbs and a wine reduction sauce. Let's just say people who didn't like lamb had a change of heart! This dish ended up taking 1st Place - so congrats to Rich for a job well-done. Yes, ladies, he is single.
Sandy made a refreshing mango pudding that almost won 1st Place in the dessert category! Ben brought a nice helping of potato salad.
I made sure people had some room for dessert! Aki made his semi-homemade Peanut Butter Cookies with Vanilla Sugar and a Hershey's Kiss. Huong made a really scrumptious Pumpkin Pie that was perfect for our Thanksgiving dessert.
Our 15-lb turkey went into 4 gallons of vegetable oil and fried until it was perfect. What makes a fried turkey so tasty is because the oil seals in the moisture and doesn't allow the texture of the turkey to get greasy.
The night before, Daniel had injected the turkey with a liquid marinade which consisted of: butter, Newcastle beer, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, and seasoned salt. On the outside, he rubbed the turkey with a blend of brown sugar, mustard powder, and salt & pepper. This turkey could not have been better!! Everyone loved it and nearly ate the bones too!
It was definitely a very happy Thanksgiving, in more ways than one.
The gift baskets went to Rich for the Rack of Lamb and to Joyce for her creamy Cheesecake. Unfortunately I was too busy eating it that I didn't get a picture of it! Congrats to both of you!
Do I have to reiterate that this was by far the best Thanksgiving ever? After our unbelievably delicious feast, we all played Cranium, Taboo, and Charades until the wee hours of the morning. It was the Battle of the Sexes, and needless to say, the girls won in every single game. It was definitely the cherry on top of our very fulfilling evening. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and a warm thank you to Foodbuzz for sponsoring our grandiose event!