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Planning the perfect Thanksgiving evening

No matter what the year has brought, there is always something to be thankful for. As we take stock of the year that has passed, here are some suggestions for planning the perfect Thanksgiving evening.

Make your own Thanksgiving centerpieces

For many Canadians, Thanksgiving is the most important meal of the year. Aside from a delectable spread, a beautiful centerpiece is sure to catch the eye of even the hungriest guest. Running short on ideas for how to decorate your dinner table? Panoramic Properties has a few tips to make your Thanksgiving centerpieces memorable.

Colour

Pick a palette with saturated colours and don’t be afraid to mix texture and patterns. This Thanksgiving, think beyond the traditional orange and brown. Canadian Living recommends the following colour combinations:

  • Deep spice, aubergine and gold accents
  • Dark chocolate with blue and grey accents
  • Dark chocolate, taupe and natural 

Use what you have

Bring out those table linens and cloth napkins that you’ve stored away and play with interesting colour combinations. Get out any vases you have and don’t worry if they don’t match exactly. Show off a variety of heights and shapes gathered at the center of your table.

Source from Nature

To fill the vases, simply look outside. On your next walk, pick up pinecones, acorns, branches and leaves. Arrange your findings and incorporate some twinkle lights. 

We’ve found some interesting twists on using the pumpkin as part of your centerpiece. We’re big fans of Canadian Home Trend’s tips on some simple DIY Thanksgiving centerpieces using pumpkins.  

Crafts 

Get the kids involved and have them make placemats or a table runner. No kids? No problem! Get crafty and decorate. Remember those handprint turkeys we all made growing up? Revisit that memory with your guests and make your own.

For a more mature take on crafting, download a project file and head to Michaels to purchase supplies. You can construct a one-of-a-kind centerpiece. 

The great thing about Thanksgiving is that the décor is secondary. What matters most is being close to friends and family. Remember, there are no rules when it comes to centerpieces. Do what feels right and enjoy the holiday.

Easy Thanksgiving recipes we love

Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday for getting together and relaxing with loved ones — you don’t have to spend all your time in the kitchen. Take it easy with the help of these simple-to-prepare recipes that we love.

Easy Turkey

The thought of cooking a turkey can be intimidating. This Easy Roasted Turkey recipe will take you through it, step by step, so you never need to be intimidated again. It only takes about 20 minutes of preparation and about three and half hours of cooking time (for a 12-pound bird). Make sure you save the drippings in the roasting pan to make basic gravy.

Basic Gravy

Basic can be defined as: relating to the easiest part of something, or, relating to the most important part of something. This Basic Gravy is both easy and important. You can have Thanksgiving without gravy, but why? Turkey with no gravy? Mashed potatoes without the gravy? Gravy is what brings the whole meal together. It can be ready in less than half an hour with about 20 minutes of hands-on time. 

Perfect Mashed Potatoes 

Everyone loves Mashed Potatoes when they are done right. They need to be light, fluffy and smooth. This recipe will give you the knowledge and techniques that you need to make mashed potatoes perfectly and easily every time. Plan for about 20 minutes of prep time and another 20 minutes to cook.

Easy Green Beans

Green Beans are delicious and can be ready in 15 minutes. All you need to do is boil or steam a handful of them until tender and toss them in some olive oil, add a little lemon zest and salt and pepper. They are perfect for brightening up a holiday meal and have a satisfying crunch that even people who hate vegetables will love.

Super Easy Pumpkin Pie

A little dessert after a holiday meal is something to be thankful for. Whipping up this Super Easy Pumpkin Pie is dead simple. If you can stir cream into coffee, you have the skill set needed to make this delicious pie. It only takes 5 minutes to prepare and 55 minutes in the oven. Top it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, and your Thanksgiving is complete.

A Healthier Thanksgiving

This year, do the holiday right and create a healthy family menu. There is no shortage of healthy food choices that are full of flavour. Here are some great tips on how to have a healthy Thanksgiving.

Shop Early

Plan your Thanksgiving shopping list in advance of the holiday. By shopping early, you have plenty of time to create a healthy list and avoid the holiday markups. When we shop at the last minute, we have a tendency to over buy. By getting to the stores early, you have time to take advantage of valuable coupons, and the opportunity to comparison shop for the best deals.

Substitute low-calorie options

Choose foods that have fewer calories. Many recipes can be created using substitutions. For example, replace whole milk with skim, soy or rice milk. If a recipe calls for sour cream, try low-fat Greek yogurt instead. Sugar can be replaced with flavourful fruit syrup, honey or agave nectar. When baking, coat baking tins with a cooking spray rather than butter.

Start a new tradition and try these tips for a healthier Thanksgiving. Cut out high-calorie options such as mashed potatoes; serve your guest sweet potatoes with honey instead. Good Housekeeping magazine has an excellent recipe for a unique low-fat, high flavour South-West Cornbread stuffing.

Make small health-conscious changes to your meal’s offerings. It wouldn’t quite be a Thanksgiving meal without turkey, stuffing and lots of desserts; but there are ways to cut calories without compromising on taste. Instead of cheese or carb-loaded appetizers, serve crisp veggie sticks with a low-calorie dip or hummus. Instead of cookies, serve a selection of fruit with a yogurt dipping sauce.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Prep some of the Thanksgiving meal early. By preparing beforehand, you can make healthier choices and reduce the Thanksgiving Day stress – all with less mess to clean up.

If you are making homemade rolls for your meal, make whole-wheat dough and place it in the freezer until the day before Thanksgiving. Prepare your pies or cakes at this time as well.

Make the most of Thanksgiving leftovers

Is your fridge full of holiday leftovers? Put them to use in one of the mouthwatering recipes.

Turkey soup

After a holiday of hearty meals, a simple soup might be all you crave. Use leftover turkey to make Turkey soup. This recipe combines a few seasonal vegetables with basil, garlic and rosemary. Add a dab of sour cream and a touch of parsley to garnish.

Waldorf sandwich

Use holiday leftovers to pack a quick and delicious back-to-work lunch. Need some inspiration to help you get started? Try making a simple Waldorf sandwich. You can throw together this turkey-based wrap in only 10 minutes.

Sweet Potato Muffins

Sweet potatoes are one of Thanksgiving’s most popular side dishes. If you have extras after the holiday, use them to make sweet potato muffins. This recipe is ready in about a half hour and can make a great breakfast-to-go on a busy morning.

Cranberry Sauce Scones

Cranberry sauce is a delicious addition to any holiday feast. How can you use excess sauce? Set aside a half-hour to make cranberry sauce scones. Adjust the amount of sugar you add to the recipe to taste, adding less if your sauce is a sweeter version.

Potato pancakes

Transform lumpy leftover potatoes into savoury potato pancakes. Pair with eggs and bacon for a post-holiday breakfast the family will enjoy. This easy-to-prepare recipe requires only about a half-hour to make.

Giving thanks around the table

Thanksgiving is a holiday that we celebrate with family and friends each year. Gathering around the feast while laughing and catching up on good times is what it is all about.

An easy way to get started is for the host to describe the person or people they are most thankful for and why. After she or he has finished, these small speeches can continue around the table.

Getting a bit creative can make this tradition more fun. Consider using place cards to arrange your guests around the table. With their names on the front, leave a blank space on the back for them to write what they are most thankful for this year.

Another fun option is to play a little game to facilitate the grateful spirit. Make gratitude cards with scrapbook paper, cut them out with scissors that have decorative edges and add cute embellishments or stamps to give them a bit of flair. Give the cards to your guests prior to dinner and ask them to transcribe what they are thankful for. As the meal starts to wind down, ask the guests to share their feelings.

Being in the crafty mood will surely help you to get your guests to give thanks around the table. Put together a paper journal to commemorate the Thanksgiving celebration. For full instructions on how to make these journals, click here. Pass the booklet to all guests so that they can record their memories and sentiments. You can make one for each year and bring them out annually to remember what it was you and your guests were most thankful for the year before.

Happy Thanksgiving, from all of us at Panoramic Properties.

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