November 2014 was the first time I spent Thanksgiving away from my family. The holiday was just weeks after I made the big move to Grand Cayman, and it simply did not make sense to go home. Besides, it was the first major holiday that my fiance and I were spending together in our new apartment and we were excited to have our own mini-Thanksgiving.
I use the word “mini” lightly, however, because we had enough food to feed the entire island. Cooking in moderation is not something I do well, and besides, I wanted to have all of the comfort dishes that I was used to. So, we cooked a giant Thanksgiving for two.
Appetizers: Bruschetta on crostini, buffalo chicken dip, and baked brie with almonds and Cayman pepper jelly
Dinner: Turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole with caramelized pecans, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, homemade gravy, and the all important stuffing.
Dessert: Pecan pie
Let me tell you, we were SO impressed with ourselves, and so entirely stuffed. With leftovers for days, we slept peacefully donning our loosest pair of pjs.
Last year we decided to invite some of our friends over for the holiday. “Friendsgiving.” It was our first and only time hosting Thanksgiving, and we were super excited because our friends are Canadian and their Thanksgiving isn't as big of a deal as it is in the United States. We hosted 3 adults and a little one, and cooked more than we did the year prior, though we probably didn't need to. Needless to say, everyone went home with doggy bags. Overall it was a success, with the exception of the fact that there was an island-wide BLACK OUT in the middle of cleaning dishes. Yea, that happened.
This year we are hosting the same bunch plus an extra two. The larger the group, the more you need to focus on remaining calm. Don't worry, the turkey isn't going to hurt you and your guests aren't going to eat you. It's going to be OK! When hosting a Thanksgiving, it's important to remember that it's a time of relaxation, football and fun.
- Come up with your menu days in advance
- Prep what can be prepped the night before
- Beat the rush by getting the shopping done early
- Cut back on the appetizers and save room for the big event
- Keep the drinks flowing, obviously
- RELAX! Don't worry about serving at 5pm on the dot… your guests will understand
My biggest piece of advice:
If someone asks what they can bring, TAKE THE OFFER! It's one less thing to make.