How ya doin'?

Today we are three weeks away from 
Th a k s i v n g ! 

You probably have figured out who is coming over, who is bringing what, maybe you've even ordered your Thanksgiving Package

If you haven't, and you're hosting, it's time to get menu planning. 

In this email you'll find a bunch of great Thanksgiving information and tips to make this your best Thanksgiving yet:

Delicious Sides: recipes for new and traditional side dishes 
- How & Why to Make an Oven Schedule: Chef Parker's advice
- Kid's Crafts & DIY Table Decorations: keep those little hands busy!
- Thanksgiving Ordering information 

Also, editorial error last week: In Trevor's Brine Recipe, we listed "6 lbs of onions per gallon of liquid" in the ingredients. That would be way too many onions-- we forgot to delete "per gallon of liquid" when modifying the recipe! Thanks to Roger L. for catching it!

Here are those ingredients again, corrected:

- 3 cups kosher salt (if using table salt, reduce the salt by 25%. If using sea salt, increase salt by 25%) 
- 1 gallon apple cider vinegar 
- 1 gallon apple cider 
- 1 gallon water (usually in the form of ice, 10 lbs ice = 1 gallon water) 
- cup crushed black peppercorns
- 1/8 cup mustard powder
- 6 lbs onions
 lbs peeled and crushed cloves of garlic

- Your friends at Fresh Fork Market
A Few Delicious Side Dishes 
 The best part of your table might be the co-stars. 

There's the turkey of course, but what about her wingmen? Picking the best sides to accompany your bird can seem daunting, but here's some help. 

We'd suggest the following as a template, adjusting more or less depending on how many guests and their dietary restrictions:

 2-3 Vegetable Sides
Greens, green beans, kale, collards, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage

3-4 Root Vegetable Sides 
Beets, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes

1 Soup 
Winter squash, sweet potato, kohlrabi or cauliflower

Biscuits or fresh bread
With an herbed or whipped butter

1-2 Stuffings/Dressings 
One with sausage, one without 

Veggie Sides
Sweet & Sour Green Beans

Harvest Kale Salad

Braised Red Cabbage

Root Veggies
Turnip & Potato Mash

Harvard Beets

Two Potatoes Gratin

Smokey Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup

Parker's Bacon & Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted Acorn Squash & Apple Soup

Parker's Traditional Stuffing

Adam's Savory Bread Pudding

Cat's Autumn Strata

Just Pin it!

We have also been collecting some links on Pinterest with some delicious looking side dishes. Click here to check out that board. 

People we're following this Thanksgiving? Well, Martha of course, but also Cookie & Kate, Smitten Kitchen, & Food52 

How & Why to Make an Schedule 
"A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish."

Thanksgiving is the biggest "eating" holiday of the year- whether your day revolves around driving to visit family, serving in a soup kitchen, or watching a little football with dessert, it almost always centers around the food. That's why it's so important to take the time to sit down and actually make a plan for your feast.
Step one: plan your meal around what's in season.

This will keep you from running all over town trying to track down uncommon spices and ordering exotic fruits from different purveyors. 

What is in season in mid-November in Ohio? Well-- plenty! Hardy greens and cabbages (collards, kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, chard), root veggies (potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, onions, parsnips, rutabagas) and some Winter Squash. You can also find lots of flash-frozen Summer produce, like corn and berries, to supplement your dinner. And of course, all of the pasture-raised meats you need- turkeys, sausages, and bacon-- are all available through Fresh Fork. 

Step two: Write your menu.

Whether using recipes from Fresh Fork, your favorite family recipes or a combination of both, it's really important to write out the whole menu. Include the list of ingredients for each item-- this will help you make a shopping list later on.

Are any of your guests bringing items for the dinner? If so, make sure they have ingredients and the recipe, and if you don't have it make sure to get a copy. Also check in with how much of it they'll be preparing at home versus in your space.

Step three: Make a list of cooking surfaces and oven spaces.

Do you have counter prep space and adequate oven space? If not, adjust your menu to suit what you have. Don't forget about that handy counter-top toaster oven you have down in the basement! 

One important thing to keep in mind is that the turkey can come out of the oven hours before dinner and be wrapped tightly in foil. It will keep warm for a very long time and before carving, it can be re-warmed quickly in the oven. This makes the oven available for the last few hours before dinner for casseroles, pies, or anything else that needs to be cooked.  

Step four: Determine what part of each recipe, or what whole recipe can be done in advance.

Review your recipes to determine what parts of each dish can be made in advance for later assembling. 

  • Prepare the cauliflower by removing a "florets" from the stalk
  • Chop, dice and measure all the ingredients for the stuffing
  • Peel the potatoes and store in water
  • Roast the sweet potatoes on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Step five: Do you have the cooking tools, cooking dishes and serving platters you need?

Look at your inventory of cooking tools and vessels. Do you have an appropriate pan or the proper tool to do the job? If not, there are lots of sales out there right now or you can find some new treasures at second-hand stores. 

Step six: Who will help you cook and serve?

If you will need extra hands in the kitchen, particularly at serving time, make sure you discuss this with you "team" in advance. Provide them with clear directions. Make sure that each helper has a specific place to work. Make sure they know when to start their part of the process and when to take things to the table. Do not hesitate to assume the role of "the boss." Post instructions with the assigned person's name next to each task.

Quite simply, make sure you have a plan. Don't wait until the big day to pull things together. Remind guests to respect your schedule. Two o'clock is not mid-afternoon or when the game is finished or when kids are ready. Two o'clock means the big hand is on 12 and the little hand is on 2.

- Chef Parker Bosley
Crafts and Table Decorations
Here's our digital scrapbook for decorations DIY.

We like the look of natural elements on a table: dried corn, winter squash, shiny apples, burlap and denim. But in case you're not having Thanksgiving in a barn like we did, here are some more ideas.

Let Nature Be Your Guide.

From Country Living

Striped squash, acorns, leaves, greens and baby pumpkins all look great, are festive, and cheap! Click the picture above for more DIY Natural Centerpieces from Country Living Magazine.

Carving's not just for Halloween. 

from Half-Baked Harvest
from Simply Scratch

Carve out an apple and set in a tea light. Serve pumpkin soup in a pumpkin bowl. Serve your herbed butter in a small, scooped out squash. Get creative with your serving ware! Click the images above for recipes and How-to.

Tell People Where to Sit with Fruit or Leaves.

from Country Living
from Shorely Chic


You can use herbs or twigs in a bundle, fruits, small pumpkins, or even preserved leaves (soak for a couple days in 2 parts water to 1 part liquid glycerin, then let air dry) to make a beautiful name card for your guests. 

Use nature to make art!
from DIY n' Crafts

Why not make your to-go containers a little more festive? Or have you kids make colorful "What I'm Thankful for" lists to pass it around the table at dinner time? You can also paint acorns, squashes and gourds, or dip skinny twigs in paint to make tiny, bright bundles. Click the image above for more leaf art ideas. 

Looking for more? 

Click here for all of our Farmhouse Thanksgiving Decorations we've collected on Pinterest! 

But your best bet? Head outside and start collecting. 

An All Local Thanksgiving 
Oh wait, the turkey!! 

Have you placed your order yet?


Not yet? There's still time! 


Just click here, place your $25 deposit, and you're ready to go! 


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You'll be getting a confirmation email with all of your pick up details closer to the big day.  


A reminder-- all the turkeys and packages are delivered fresh (not frozen) the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving. 

Click here for more details.


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