Thanksgiving for 12

First time hosting. The Saturday after Thanksgiving. First time Lance's Mom has met my family. 8 adults and 4 kids. The kids made the place tags. Worked on the menu and grocery list for weeks. Got my stove fixed just in time for this feast!

A few months ago I got a subscription to Food and Wine Magazine. Recipes are from there, primarily. But adapted.

From Melissa Clark:
Mustard and Rosemary Turkey. Didn't happen. Hers were roasted in pieces on a sheet. For my first go I needed to go whole bird.

Port and Black Pepper Gravy. Tasted great, looks disgusting. Kind of grayish-purple. No wonder there wasn't a photo in the magazine.

Mashed Potato Casserole with Sage and Fontina. This was divine. The buttery crunchy panko on top gave it some great texture. Couldn't find fontina in my small town, so I used quesadilla cheese and havarti. Any soft white cheese will do.

From Anthony Bourdain:
Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Carrots with Bacon and Brown Sugar. Genius. Thrown in a grain and you have a complete meal of sorts.

Cranberry Relish. The easiest and most delicious thing on the plate, in my opinion. Bag of cranberries. Whole navel orange. Tons of sugar. Food process it and let it chill. Yowza.

Sausage and Mushroom Stuffing. Left the sausage out. Lance's Mom doesn't eat pork, and I had already baconized the veggies. Left the mushroom out, too. Just did broth, celery, carrots, onions. The bread was onion rolls and wheat rolls stale and chopped up. Delightful. Simple.

From Jessica Koslow:
Dinner Rolls. Disaster. Had to throw them out and call Mom to pick up some on the way. I'm not good at bread. I want to be.

Friend: slaw. Didn't happen. She was ill and couldn't come at the last minute. More leftovers for me and Lance!

Dad: wine. He makes it and brought some. My siblings brought more. I had the port open for the gravy, so I worked on that. Cheers.

Mom: Tippins pies. A Kansas City favorite. Pecan and pumpkin. Store bought whipped cream. It was perfect.

Sarah: An appetizer tray with raspberries, blackberries, peppers, flatbread, and an onion chutney. Fresh and colorful.

Jeremy and Amanda: The family cheeseball and caramel bars. We devour this cheeseball every holiday chance we get. Type of crackers doesn't matter, as long as they can hold up to busting through chopped pecans and cream cheese. YES. And Amanda's caramel bars are gooey and buttery and stellar, and I don't even like dessert.

Rookie mistake. Did not cook the birds breast up. So had to flip them and dinner delayed an hour. We were fine. Everything else went well; rubbed with butter, stuffed with lemon and garlic, had them sitting in the roasting pan on top of quartered potatoes and onions with some broth and sage thrown into the pan. 

The kids were awesome and patient. They love my board games. They also walked down the street to play soccer in a park in my neighborhood. It was smart that we started gathering at noon. Had good daylight hours.

Lance catching up with his Mom, Mary. Clearly, they can get intense. But it was all good. It was lovely having her meet my family for the first time (in 5 years). Better late than never?

Dad. He showed me the error of my rookie turkey cooking ways. I let him carve them up, putting dark meat on one platter and white meat on another. Carving and the prayer are traditionally his duties.

Sybil was at the table ready to eat. That's my girl! Eclectic decorations courtesy of my Grandmother: table cloths and napkins and china. A bit of Talavera pottery from New Mexico, and IKEA clean design to pull it all together. The kids made the cute woven corn place tags.

The stuffing. Nom nom.

Roasted brussel sprouts and carrots with bacon and brown sugar.

Cranberry relish. Isn't this gorgeous?!

Mashed potato casserole. Winner for most butter. 

White meat turkey platter.

Loading up buffet style.

Notes of the last steps of cooking morning of. And my critique notes. It was a lovely day. Family was so great to all road trip to my house in Carthage. Can't say I'll do it again, but proud that I did it!