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Thanksgiving 2016 tablescape


I loved this Thanksgiving. It was such a joy to cook a big meal for more than just our immediate family.


For years it’s just been the five of us; Dave, Marissa, Connor, my dad and me. Every few years, Dave’s mom would join us, which made the six of us. Still, that’s not many people to eat a meal that you go to so much work for.


Happily, in 2014, Jeff and his parents, Dean and Amy, joined us for the first time. Since my mother-in-law was here too, that took us all the way up to nine people, the most ever at our table! I was over the moon!


Fast forward to this year. Steve and Tram are in a rental while their new home is being built. Steve’s parents are in town.


Add in the twins, Zak and Zoey and there are fourteen of us! I am in heaven.


For the first time in… ever… I am actually cooking for a respectable number of people, thus making the huge Thanksgiving feast worthy of being called a feast. I am in my element!


I mean, it’s the same number of dishes I make every year, but this year it made sense to go to all that work. Love it!!


And, of course, having 2 ½-year-old twins join in the day, makes everything more fun! Zak and Zoey are so adorable, well-behaved and, well, I’m just in love with them and so are Connor, Marissa and Jeff.


I posted a few photos on Instagram and my friend, Sheila, called them Bigs and Littles.


So sweet!


OK, how about some tablescaping?


Since we were at fourteen and my dining room table seats only eight comfortably, we had to eat outside. Not a problem in Arizona, even in November. But just in case it did rain, I flip-flopped the furniture arrangements. Moving all the seating that is under the long covered “fireplace patio” to the open patio area and moving the oblong table that is usually out in the open, to the covered area.


I also brought over the rustic 60-inch wood round table from the other covered patio to create one long table. The photo above is of the two tables under the covered patio and the beginnings of my table arranging. This all took place early on Wednesday morning.


At the same time that I was setting this up, I was also cooking; smoking a turkey breast, making bread dough, cranberry-pomegranate sauce, butternut soup and prepping the sweet potatoes and stuffing. So by the time this photo was taken of the finished tables, it was late afternoon.


The oblong table was covered with a tablecloth, since it’s a patio table and not attractive enough for placemats. Not to mention that I don’t have 12 matching Thanksgiving placemats and napkins anyhow.


The two tables were joined by two large green Jarrahdale pumpkins along with a large white pumpkin. Jarrahdale are my favorite pumpkins. I drove all the way Chino Valley to buy some a few years ago when I couldn’t find them locally. Now that they are available a few places, I’ll drive to half a dozen different stores to find them.



Each placesetting had a wood slab charger, a dinner plate, a white turkey salad plate, napkin, and a covered pumpkin soup bowl. Plus a bread plate and butter knife, wine and water glasses and flatware consisting of a salad fork, dinner fork, stag horn knife, table knife, soup spoon and a dessert fork which was above the plate and just below the place card.



Although these birds-eye views of the two tables show just how different they looked, somehow they melded together.



Two more photos before I end my Thanksgiving 2016 posts. This first one is my wonderful family rolling out our favorite dinner rolls. Thank you for all your help with cooking and especially with cleaning up! xoxo


And my favorite photo of the day…


“Littles” Zoey and Zak entertaining themselves with Mommy Tram’s iPad after dinner, while “Bigs” Connor passes out from exhaustion next to them on the couch.

Yep, it was a really great Thanksgiving!

P.S. In the comments, Debbie just asked for the menu. It didn’t vary much from years past… in never does! Here it is:


Appetizers & Signature Cocktail

Hot Feta and Tomato Spread

Cranberry Pumpkin Walnut Spread

Ginger-Honey Bourbon Cocktail (recipe forthcoming)


Butternut Squash Soup with Blue Cheese, Walnuts, and Sage

Brussels Sprout Salad

Roast Turkey with Pan Gravy

Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast

Sage Stuffing/Dressing

Green Onion-Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Triple Onion Creamy Corn Gratin with Bacon

Refrigerator Potato Rolls

Green Beans with Pistachios and Red Dried-Fruit Vinaigrette

Cranberry-Pomegranate Sauce along with purchased Cranberry Jelly


Pumpkin Pies (baked by Steve)

Fruits of the Forest Pie (brought by Amy Sandell)













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1 Debbie J. Elder { 12.02.16 at 6:53 AM }

Looks like a fabulous day Linda. Love your tablescape. Thanks for sharing parts of your day. What was your menu?

2 Lori Vento { 12.02.16 at 7:47 AM }

LOVE all the pics! Everything looked amazing!!. So happy for you that you finally had a proper “crowd” for all of the deliciousness! Know it makes you so happy (and I’m sure your guests were pretty happy too!)

3 Linda Hopkins { 12.02.16 at 8:17 AM }

Good morning Debbie, I’ve posted the full menu, with reicpe links, at the bottom of the post. Thank you for asking

4 Tram Mai { 12.02.16 at 10:54 AM }

No Linda, WE were in heaven!!!! We absolutely LOVED everything about Thanksgiving this year- SO MANY wonderful memories!!! THANK YOU so much for making the afternoon so great!! The food was amazing (Stephen was just raving about your brussel sprouts salad yesterday in fact!), the tables were gorgeous, but the best part- spending Thanksgiving with the people we love. You made it so incredibly special! My favorite pics are the ones with your kids and mine- PRECIOUS!!!!! We love you Linda!!!! 🙂 XOXO

5 Jeff Sandell { 12.02.16 at 11:35 AM }

Everything was so great, thank you so much Linda!

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