Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu Plan and tablescape preview

Thanksgiving Menu Plan:
Salami/cheese/cracker tray
Crudites and dip

Stuffing w/ golden raisins and walnuts
Mashed potatoes w/ gravy
Sweet potatoes
Green bean casserole
Cranberry sauce
Cranberry Fluff

Sparkling grape juice

Pumpkin pie w/ homemade vanilla bean ice cream
Pecan Pie
Pumpkin Twinkie Dessert

A little preview of the tablescape.  Greg and I decided that we are going to use our formal china and flatware for Thanksgiving dinner this year.  We got most of this for wedding gifts and rarely use them (we do use the crystal often).  Please ignore the wrinkled tablecloth, I was just testing out the color combo.  The table linens have been washed and will be pressed for Thursday.

 Noritake Chandon Gold China
 Noritake Vendomme Crystal
Yamazaki Ariana Gold Flatware

I will post a photo of the complete tabslescape later.  I just wanted to give you all a sneak peak.  I hope all your Thanksgiving preparations are going well.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because I love the food and hanging out with my family, without all the stress some other holidays bring.  A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is also my favorite show of all the Charlie Brown movies.  :)

I bought the movie The Long Way Home for us to watch together as a family.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I am back with a recipe review Barefoot Contessa's "Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with warm cider vinaigrette"

I have to apologize to all of you for neglecting this blog for so long.  The simple fact of the matter is that I teach 7th grade math full time, have three very active young boys (two of which played tackle football and fall baseball this fall).  That means we had two football every Saturday and two baseball games every Sunday until late October.  We had a wedding in Chicago the second last weekend of October and then we spent three nights in Door County the last weekend of October.  I spent the day shopping in Chicago the first Sat of November and last weekend we visited our beautiful brand new (one week old) niece Josie.  That pretty much brings you up to speed of where I am at.  My dh and oldest son are hunting this weekend and it is honestly the first weekend since last Spring that we I have no plans!

I promise you I have been spending loads of time cleaning, organizing, menu planning, doing laundry (some things never change), shopping, decorating, and getting us ready for the holidays.  I also planned a birthday party in Sept for my youngest, and two parties for my middle in October (which included a sleepover and taking five third grade boys and my oldest two to the HS homecoming game... yeah I am either the best mom EVER or just plain crazy).  I have had the opportunity to try out several new recipes and I will be sharing my feedback with you.  I am anxiously awaiting my copy of my new book:

I love Ina and dream of the day that she invites me over to her house for a delicious home cooked meal.  Until then I will have to settle for cooking her recipes myself.  ;)  I recently made a new recipe from Ina Garten.

Recipe review  Roasted butternut squash salad with warm cider vinaigrette


  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash, peeled and 3/4-inch) diced
  • Good olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
  • 1/2 cup walnuts halves, toasted
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the butternut squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, the maple syrup, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Roast the squash for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 minutes.
While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture, the walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Spoon just enoughvinaigrette over the salad to moisten and toss well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.    -Source Food Network

A photo I took with my iPhone of the finished salad.

The salad was delicious and I will definitely make it again.  The flavors really seemed to work well together.   It was a bit labor intensive for a salad, but we were eating it as our main course.  I used cubed butternut squash from Trader Joe's which did save some time.  If you decide to make the salad let me know what you think.