Joie de vivre. A Breezy and Bountiful Thanksgiving Plate. Here’s how to have a delicious and carefree traditional Thanksgiving meal with friends – without the hassle.
Sometimes you have to go to the French to describe the joy of life, friendship, conversation and food all perfectly captured in one phrase – Joie de vivre. We had an early Thanksgiving, more accurately, a Friendsgiving Celebration this weekend. It was a wonderful combination of old and new friends and all our kiddos. Even thought invitations went out weeks ago, as I was planning the menu I realized that our gathering would be close to Thanksgiving. I decided to have a traditional Thanksgiving menu mainly because I wanted the chance to have it twice in one week. Yum!
Because it was a smallish group, about a dozen people, I didn’t want a whole turkey. And for that matter, I also didn’t want to spend the entire day in the kitchen. I love to cook for a crowd, except for Thanksgiving fare. My complete lack of interest in cooking an entire Thanksgiving meal started when I was pregnant with Jackson. I volunteered to host and make all the food. I know, what was I thinking? The number of hours I logged into the meal was ridiculous. Between researching the menu, food shopping, prep work, cooking and baking, I’m guessing it was 8-10 hours.
When we were done eating, I was utterly exhausted. I was in the first trimester of my pregnancy and the fatigue was crushing. I peered into the kitchen and stared at the battlefield and thought that it was very possible that every pot and pan that we own had been used. Even with the help of my husband, we faced a major cleanup. Kerry took one look at me and said, “I’ve got this.”
A year later we made reservations at a local restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner and we’ve never looked back. Restaurant reservations translates into this: You get to sleep in, take a long hot shower, get dressed up, enjoy a delicious meal, and have quality time with relaxed and happy people. Oh yeah, there are also no dishes to clean. It’s bliss.
A Breezy and Bountiful Thanksgiving Plate
For our Friendsgiving Celebration, I went to our local food lover’s market, Balducci’s. I wanted to have a major portion of our meal catered so I could relax, spend time with our friends and not stress. After looking over their Thanksgiving Menu and consulting with their on-site chef, I ordered Kobe Pigs in a Blanket, Stuffed Mushrooms, Herb Roasted Turkey Breast & Gravy, Traditional Stuffing and Potato & Gruyère Gratin. All I had to do was reheat the food and serve, it was a breeze. I did throw on my apron and rounded out the menu at home with mini crab cakes, brussels sprouts and crispy bacon, and sweet potatoes. Thanksgiving is all about the sides! I took some photos of the “perfect plate.” It contains all the elements of a bountiful Thanksgiving feast.
I wish I could take credit for all the food, it was that good. The turkey was perfectly cooked, and I don’t know how many layers of finely sliced potatoes went into the gratin, but it was amazing. I say this every year, why don’t I make stuffing more often? It’s one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving dinner and should totally be enjoyed more than once a year!
Here is a link to Balducci’s Thanksgiving Menu. They have two locations in Connecticut, and others in New York, Maryland and Virginia – for locations near you click HERE. Even better, if you live near a Balducci’s location, you don’t even have to leave your home! Balducci’s recently unveiled Instacart, a food delivery service from their store to your home in one hour.
Come visit the blog tomorrow for photos of the table and a few very special touches that made this Friendsgiving extra special.
| the perfect plate of food |
connecticut in style
A Breezy and Bountiful Thanksgiving Plate. Here’s how to have a delicious and carefree traditional Thanksgiving meal with friends – without the hassle.
*thanks to Balducci’s for sponsoring this post, all opinions are my own*