Thanksgiving, served up handmade! Tips and tricks for the feast

Thanksgiving, served up handmade! Tips and tricks for the feast

The Food

thanksgiving table


  • Roast a chicken sometime before Thanksgiving week, and freeze the drippings. You can make gravy while the turkey is roasting, and not have to do it last minute while the bird is resting. Shh… no one will know it’s chicken gravy!

  • A little cognac or brandy is just the thing to give your gravy extra depth!


Plated up! You can preheat stoneware plates in a 200 degree oven.

Plated up! You can preheat stoneware plates in a 200 degree oven.

Mashed Potatoes

  • Be generous with salt when you’re boiling the potatoes.

  • A potato ricer is my preferred method—they come out so fluffy!

  • Make them early in the day and use the slow cooker to keep them hot.


Serving up turkey


  • Yes. those are chickens, but I was shopping in October for the photo shoot 🤣

  • We smoked our turkey the last few years—so good!

  • You can get turkeys that are already brined from Trader Joe’s. Saves on a huge mess (raw poultry juice mess is the worst!), and makes for a much juicier and flavorful bird.  


Green bean casserole

  • Pacific brands mushroom soup (in a box) tastes a lot more “real” than what you get from a can. Doctor it up with some crimini mushrooms, sautéed in butter in a large cast iron skillet. Criminis add more flavor than white mushrooms

  • Aldi now sells fresh haricots vert, pre-trimmed. They are longer and thinner than typical green beans, and have better texture. Blanch them for a few min, then cool in an ice bath before baking with the soup and mushrooms. 

  • I’m still trying to figure out a step-up from the French’s onions in a can that doesn’t take a ton of work!

This is my must-have!

This is my must-have!



  • If you ask nicely, Panera can send loaves of bread through their bread slicer, then rotate the slices, and send them through again. The avalanche of crumbs in the kitchen from cubing bread drives me crazy, so I love this! Do this several days before Thanksgiving, so it can dry out

  • Bake the stuffing in a muffin tin—each serving gets a lot more “edge!” And it’s easy to freeze leftovers as single servings.



  • Best panini ever? Turkey and brie, dipped into cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce is the recipe on the bag of fresh cranberries—simply boiling cranberries in water and sugar!

  • Chicken tortilla soup, but made with turkey and handmade stock. Frying tortilla strips and dusting them with a little seasoning salt is the kicker topping!


Salad bowl

The Table

  • As the last parts of dinner come together, I’ll put dishes in the oven at 200 degrees to keep them hot. Pottery doesn’t like fast temperature changes, so I will not do this in a hotter oven.

  • I keep things simple, because the table fills up with food quickly! I use a table runner, and I’ve decided that grey plate chargers make for a lovely frame to handmade wood fired plates.

  • My serving dishes have wide rims that frame each dish. Shaped to be welcoming to the hands that pass the dishes, they are created to be a joy to put to use!

Oh the mess!!!

Oh the mess!!!


The Aftermath

  • Confession—here’s what the kitchen looked like at the end of cooking our lovely dinner. In my defense, I had my kids join in and help cook, which gets the work done faster, but cleaning up as we go kinda went out the window.

  • I load them carefully, but I put almost all of my homemade bowls and plates in the dishwasher. They are made from stoneware and are very strong. As long as they are loaded such that nothing will be rattling against the rims, I don’t worry about them. The biggest pieces get hand washed. Life is too short for handwashing!

  • Mostly, just ask your family very nicely for help. 

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