Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving in all its glory...and our give-away winner!

My most favorite and treasured holiday is upon us and I think I love it most because it centers around family gathered around the table and creating a holiday setting that is meant to enhance the foods, the fellowship and the most important things that we can share: memories.
I always set out to make the meal and table very memorable and I use all of my top styling tricks and tips to do it. I mix and match the most colorful pieces of dinnerware in my collection.  Platters can serve more than just roasted turkey. I pile them high with rolls, stuffing and coleslaws on these intricately designed dishes:

Place settings should be thoughtful, special, and fun to create.  I used paper bags cut into strips to make napkin rings.  A black gel pen was called into service to draw abundant symbols of the season - like grapes and pineapples - and then each strip was  trimmed with scalloped scissors for a decorative finish:

Flowers from the grocery store were quickly recast as an arrangement for welcoming guests and a wreath for the buffet table.  Four generous bunches will do.  I always keep oasis floral foam on hand and a foam wreath form which makes making these displays easy and quick.  You can still gather extra foliage from outside like piitisporum or boxwood and add in naturals like cinnamon, pine cones, or any kind of pods.
A simple room decoration can add a festive touch and is just the thing to get kids involved.  We cut triangles out of scrapbook paper and then stamped each with a wheat stamp.  String on ribbon or twine and hang on a mantel or over a sideboard.
I prep my turkey with a paste I make of olive oil, coarse sea salt, pureed sage, and elephant garlic.  In a food processor, combine 4 cloves of elephant garlic,  1/2 cup first cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil,
4 tablespoons of coarse sea salt, 7 fresh sage leaves, and 2 teaspoons ground fennel seed.  Puree until smooth and rub all over the bird.  I then use the pepper mill to add coarse ground peppercorns over the top.
 As for dessert, anything that includes pumpkin is a giant hit at our house. 
We use the jelly jars from my home collection to serve up pumpkin milkshakes (above, left) made with vanilla ice-cream and fresh pumpkin puree.  At right, pumpkin cobbler is  self-saucing and part pudding/part cake.  The layers of ingredients separate in the oven to form a delicious cobbler that is perfect topped with whipped cream and pecans.  
To make our delicious jelly glass pumpkin trifle (above), check out our step-by-step slide show blog over at the Matthew Mead Style School here!  

We love opening our doors wide for as many family and friends as can join us each Thanksgiving. There is lots of love and anticipation for the event and many of our guests form their "black Friday" strategies pre and post dinner.  Jenny always says a lovely prayer that includes thoughts of those who are unable to be with us, and we all have a toast to the very, very fortunate lives that we lead.  We are all grateful, and this day holds all the warmth and pause that these sentiments evoke.


 And now, we would like to announce the winners of the Holiday memories $200 Visa Card giveaway! Matthew selected three winning entries and we hope they will enjoy getting a start on their holiday shopping with their fabulous prize!

The contest winners are:

Patricia Caruso Burgess
Sandy of My Shabby Streamside Studio.

Congratulations to the winners, and a big thank you to everyone who entered and shared their special memories with me. I enjoyed reading each and every one! Be sure to check out our next big give-away on Monday!!



Buy our expanded keepsake edition of Holiday with Matthew Mead 2011 here.


  1. The food looks delicious and the plates are beautiful!
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. Wow everything looks so good!

  3. Everything looks so festive and delicious! I love the dishes, which remind me of Thanksgiving at my aunts home. And thanks for the instructions for the jelly glass pumpkin trifle.

    Congratulations to the winners!

  4. Congrats to the winners! I love the gorgeous plates in this post. We like anything with pecans and sweet potatoes around our house! :D

  5. Beautiful. I really love the wheat and yellow pennants!
    P.S. Check the spelling on "dinning," should be "dining."

  6. Such wonderful things!!!
    Congrats to the lucky winners!!!
    Thanks for hosting such a fabulous giveaway!!!
    Prim Blessings

  7. such a gorgeous post! congratulations, winners!!

  8. Wow! Thanks SO much, guys! Happy Holidays!




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