A Thanksgiving Collaboration with Kendra Thornton

I failed you guys. Thanksgiving came and went here in Canada without me providing a single recipe for turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce or anything other than fall desserts really. I don’t have a good excuse for why it turned out this way. Sure I tend to focus on dessert anyways but I have never excluded savoury recipes from my site. I think what it really came down to for me was the fact that Thanksgiving all holidays are really more about family and tradition than they are about blogging. Let’s face it, I’m not going to do two Thanksgiving meals, one for photo purposes and one for actually celebrating Thanksgiving. Even though I do it around my immediate family, I don’t think it is appropriate to let 12 people’s food get cold while I work at getting the ultimate shot of the Thanksgiving spread. I guess you don’t technically need pictures to share a recipe but I know they are the first thing that catches my attention. 

Thanksgiving Turkey
I figured somewhere on my computer I would be able to find a picture of a turkey from Thanksgivings past.
Charred Brussels Sprouts
Charred Brussels

Enough about the actual logistics, pictures or not I am going to share with you a little of what Thanksgiving looks like in Canada, or at least in my family. The bird is the word, no questions asked. Somehow even as a vegetarian I still take on the responsibility of cooking the turkey. Hypocritical, perhaps, but I would rather do it just to remain in control in the kitchen. I always roast it hot and fast. I tried the low and slow thing once and it produced the driest turkey I have ever served in my life. I was not even eating it and I was embarrassed that others had to. For the 6kg (about 13lb) bird I cooked this year, I started it in a 450F degree oven, turning the heat down to 350F and letting it go for just under 3 hours. A little bit of stuffing goes in the turkey but I cook most of it in a 9×13 pan (mainly because that makes it vegetarian!). Homemade cranberry sauce is a necessity. My sister and I always fight over who gets to clean out any leftovers in the bowl, eating it straight with a spoon. Otherwise it really is a straight forward spread; mashed potatoes, gravy, carrots, pickled vegetables (this year beets and carrots made the table), homemade buns, a variety of salads and pumpkin pie. 

Brioche Buns
Brioche Buns

A fellow blogger contacted me the other day with the idea of doing a collaborative Thanksgiving piece and I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast her Thanksgiving traditions in Chicago with mine here in Calgary. I would say there are more similarities than there are differences. Although I had to laugh when I read her description of autumn, we are already well into winter! Here is what Kendra has to share about her upcoming Thanksgiving plans. You can check her out on Twitter too!

There is no doubt that you have seen the signs that autumn is upon us. You simply cannot miss the orange leaves falling from the sky, the cool breeze that emerges in the late afternoon and of course the buzz about family plans for the holidays. I adore Thanksgiving simply because it allows the entire family to gather together to give thanks. My family loves to express gratitude and thankfully we get to go to Chicago this year to do it!
One of my favorite online tools of recent years is Pinterest. I’ve been using it to find new ideas for desserts and appetizers, especially ones that the little ones can help with. I am always delighted by the willingness of the kids to help me prepare meals and decorate for the holidays, especially as they get older. Unfortunately, mess is still a problem with us. I find that the simpler the task I provide, the better (and cleaner) the results. Regardless, I love their help and I am always looking for new meals we can make together. It is truly a great bonding and learning experience.
I love our family’s established traditions for Thanksgiving. Like many families, we have a few annual staples that are readily available. These include turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and stuffing. That does not mean I don’t like to mix things up on occasion. Since we will all be in Chicago this year I really want to try some new dishes for all of our family and guests! Recently I read an article on Gogobot that featured what five luxury hotels will be cooking up for their guests on Thanksgiving called, “Turkey Trimmed to the Nines!” I saw a velvet pumpkin soup with lobster that I’m going to make my own and add to the menu this year! This is just a little appetizer but I think it will be delicious for our family. This will really spice things up in the dining room this year alongside our traditional fare. I’m really excited to try it!
Each year that we sit down for Thanksgiving dinner we go around the table and express at least one thing we are thankful for. This year I am going to express gratitude for my loving family. I really think this is a great idea for any family and I encourage you to try it this year. This is the time to make memories, whether you are cooking with the kids or traveling around the world; do it safely and have fun!
What are your Thanksgiving traditions?!
Kendra Thornton is a travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. She currently resides in Chicago, IL. 
Kendra Thornton

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