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Recently returned from serving the people of Honduras for 3 years

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'm Thankful for Thanksgiving!

I'm so thankful for warm fuzzy holidays.

I get really excited about almost every holiday. I think that came from growing up in a household where my mom always went to a lot of work to make the holidays special days. I've been looking forward to Thanksgiving since about hmmmm . . . the day after Halloween, the most recent holiday we celebrated at our home. Every couple of years we host a family gathering at our home for Thanksgiving. That usually ranges anywhere from a dinner for 10-40 people depending on the year and the family. This year I think were expecting about 27 people, a mixture of our family, my husbands family (it's the Klein year), and many of our BYU student friends.

I'm thankful for the blessing of having everyone gather in our home.

We host many events and dinners at our home throughout the year and most of them are pretty casual affairs. But not Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving for me is an opportunity for a sit down dinner for everyone. Everyone gets to mix and mingle amongst family members and friends, complete with beautiful tables (that doesn't mean everything matches - quite the opposite in fact), real plates and silverware, real glasses - none of the paper stuff, although sometimes I dream about how much easier the clean up would be, but then it wouldn't be Thanksgiving!

I'm so thankful for all our family and friends!

Usually we haul out the living room sofa and rearrange to make room for the 4 or more tables needed to accommodate the holiday crowd. While a formal dinner for 27 could be overwhelming, it usually works out just beautiful by the time everyone brings something to contribute towards the meal. I always reserve my favorite food items for our family to prepare and let everyone else bring the rest. So far our menu looks about like this:

Thanksgiving Menu
Roast Turkey with Sausage Craisin Stuffing
Spiral Honey glazed ham
Baked Potatoes with butter & sour cream
Sweet Potato Casserole
2 different salads by family members
Green Bean casserole
Fresh Cranberry / Orange Sauce
Pumpkin Cobbler with whip cream
Grandma Kleins famous pies
Vanilla Ice Cream

Wow, just seeing the whole list, that looks like a lot of food! Don't all of you wish you were coming to my house! :) Thankfully, everyone is so helpful with dinner and clean up - it will be a wonderful day. I just thought I'd share a few of my very favorite Thanksgiving recipes just in case anyone is looking for something new this year. Almost all of these recipes come to me from dear friends or family members that have inspired my cooking over the years.

Mashed Sweet Potato Casserole
(a favorite, wish I could remember who I got the recipe from!)
6 C. cooked / mashed sweet potatoes
1 C. sugar
1/2 C. milk
2/3 C. butter - melted
2 t. vanilla
4 eggs beaten
1 1/2 C. coconut
1 1/2 C. brown sugar
2/3 C. Flour
2/3 C. butter - softened
1 1/2 C. chopped pecans
Blend the first 6 ingredients with a mixer. Pour into 81/2 x 11 size baking dish. Briefly mix the topping with a fork and sprinkle on top of potato mix. Bake in 375 degree oven for 30 min or until hot and bubbly, and topping starts to brown.

 (photo credit - A Sweet Pea Chef)

Crock pot Honey Glazed Spiral Ham
(one of my friends gave me this great idea!)
1- Spiral cut ham 7-10 pounds

Place ham in the crockpot with:

 1/2 C. apple juice
 1/2 C. orange juice
 1/2 C. brown sugar
 1/2 C. honey
Heat on low for 6-8 hours, brushing with glaze occasionally.
(See comments below for additional tips)

Cranberry Orange Sauce 
(thank you Dee Aullman
 I always thought canned cranberries were wonderful on Thanksgiving until you 
shared how easy this was to make!)

1/2 C. sugar
1 orange, zest and the juice

1/2 C wa
 12 oz fresh cranberries
 1/4 t. salt 

Shred zest from orange and then juice the orange. In a medium pan combine the zest, juice, water, sugar and salt, warming and stirring until dissolved. Stir in the cranberries, bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until cranberries burst and sauce has thickened somewhat. Cool and serve. This can be made the day ahead and served cold from the refrigerator.

 (photo credit - Two Peas and Their Pod)

Sausage Craisin Stuffing 
(Thank you dad, I added the Craisins)
1/2 C. chopped onion
1 1/2 C. diced celery
 1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
1/2 C. butter or margarine

 1/2 lb. Jimmy Dean spicy hot bulk sausage (browned)
1/2 C. Craisins

2 t. poultry seasoning

 1 t. sage
 2 t. salt 
1 t. pepper
 3/4 C. chicken broth
 8 C. dry unseasoned bread cubes. 

Cook onion, and celery until almost tender in the butter or margarine. Add sliced mushrooms for the last 4 minutes and finish simmering until tender. Stir in the seasonings and craisins. In a large bowl combine the bread crumbs with the sauteed vegetable mix. Stir in the chicken broth just before stuffing the turkey. For convenience - the stuffing can me made the day before and stored in the fridge overnight covered in the large bowl. In the morning, just add the broth, mix and stuff the turkey. I always double the recipe and make extra that I cook at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes in a greased casserole dish. 

 Hopefully you all are down to your last preparations. 
Here's to a Happy Thanksgiving for all of you and yours!

Time to set the table - 
So many wonderful ideas for lovely Autumn table settings.
I thought I'd share some of my favorites
 to get you started!

 (Photo credit - Fancy Cribs)

I'm so thankful for Thanksgiving!


lmk1411 said...

We can't wait to see everyone!! Thanks for going too all the work to host it. We're so glad that we'll get to see everyone without having to drive all over. We fly out tomorrow morning, see you on Thursday!!

Kevin and HolliJo said...

We are so excited to come have Thanksgiving with yall! And the menu looks awesome!! See you Thursday!

Jackie said...

Will you please email me your address?


Anonymous said...

Can you do the crock pot ham with any kind of ham?

Kristin Klein said...

Just noticed this question / comment from last year, I always use a spiral ham. But recently I did this with a picnic smoked shoulder, which is a very different type of ham. Kind of in between a ham and a pork roast. It had to cook longer for about 8 hours, but it was delicious. You do have to cut the skin / fat off the picnic pork shoulder at about the 5 hour mark and continue cooking. Hope this helps.


Ely said...

For the ingredients portions, what size ham should be used?

LINNY D said...

What size is the ham for this recipe?
I would love to try it!
Thank you,

LINNY D said...

What size is the ham for this recipe?
I would love to try it!
Thank you,

LINNY D said...

What size is the ham for this recipe?
I would love to try it!
Thank you,

Kristin Klein said...

I have done this with many different types and kinds of ham, from about 7-12 pounds. Hope that is helpful :) Thank you for stopping by!

Best wishes, and Happy Thanksgiving!


Anonymous said...

Trying to get a 10lb spiral ham to fit into a good sized crock pot. Can't get the lid to be completely closed. Do you trim the ham? Thanks. Happy Thanksgiving

Kristin Klein said...

So sorry for the delay - I hope your ham turned out in the end! I haven't had to trim the ham to fit it in the crockpot, but I imagine it would be fine to do so. Usually the ham cooks down a bit during the process and shrinks somewhat, I would probably start with the lid fitting loosely and increase the cooking time but about an hour.


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