Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Thoughts

The turkey is roasting happily in the oven, the pecan dressing is waiting to get toasty warm, the myriad of sides are waiting for their turn in the oven and the pumpkin pies are baked.  The tables are set with a variety of gourds, candles, fall foliage, and my Johnson Brothers His Majesty china; otherwise known in our family as the infamous "traveling turkey dishes"!  More importantly, upstairs sleeping are my sweet boys home from the big world and college.  My heart is full!  I thank the Lord for His goodness, mercy, and grace.  I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving!
Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Supporting Ronald McDonald Houses

I don't know about you,  but I have already planned my Thanksgiving menu.  Do you need a little inspiration?  Look no further than this post!  It's that time of year again when Dillards, Southern Living, and McDonalds team up to create a cookbook to support Ronald McDonald Houses.   McDonald's does three things really well...coffee...french fries...and more importantly, their development and support of Ronald McDonald Houses around the world.  Ronald McDonald House charities offer families a home away from home while the family is dealing with a sick child.  RMH belief is that families should not worry about where they will lay their heads at night or where their next meal will come from while taking care of a sick child, often far from home.  They have helped families with ill children for the past 39 years.  What a blessing for families dealing with a child's medical crisis.

Our youngest child was born over two months premature.  He was hospitalized in the NICU  at Ochsners Hospital which is an hour and a half drive from our home.  We were offered the assistance of the Ronald McDonald House for the duration of his stay in the hospital.  We were able to make the daily drives back and forth, but it was comforting knowing that if needed, they were there for us. I recently made my annual trip to Dillards.  I not only picked up a terrific cookbook at a bargain price of $10.00, but also helped support this wonderful organization.  Let's get some ideas for your holiday dinner table!

I was excited to see that this years edition two sections.  One is a Christmas cookbook and the other is year-round celebration ideas.  All of the photos in my today's post are from Southern Living and the photographers names were noted when available.  When I grow up, I want to be a Southern Living food photographer!
Let's take a look at a sample of the delicious recipes found in this cookbook!  Great meals always start with an appetizer.  How about a yummy cheese ring with strawberry preserves and crackers?  For all you vintage gals, this is something you might have seen at a 1950's dinner party.
This appetizer is right up my alley.  I love pepper jelly and combined with goat cheesecake on a little crust...yum!
Lately I have been craving olives.  I would be happy with a serving of citrus-marinated feta and olives.
Let's check out a few side dishes and salads.  Who wouldn't like to see creamy-fried corn on their Thanksgiving table?  Let's all say "Yum, yum"!  I am adding this to our table this year.  
I love refreshing salads.  A fresh pear and green bean salad with sweet and spicy pecans topped with a sorghum vinaigrette would be delicious.  
My husband will not eat cornbread dressing...I know, he doesn't know what he is missing!  I must always make sure that mashed potatoes are a part of our holiday dinner table.  Southern Living offers a buttermilk mashed potato recipe with five twists ranging from smoky sweet potato bake to bacon and blue cheese bake.  Trust me, plain ole mashed potatoes is all the Mr. Still Woods will eat!
My boys and I love roasted vegetables.  How about cranberry-roasted winter vegetables this year?  What a beautiful display for your table!
We always have turkey as well as ham at our Thanksgiving table.  Southern Living always offers a variety of ways to prepare meats.  I am not one to cook with bourbon and would probably subsitute with a meat stock, but this turkey apple bourbon turkey looks delish!
If you are having a small gathering, fig and balsamic glazed quail would be wonderful.  The quail can be substituted with cornish hens.
Another option is a nice roasted chicken.  This one is complimented with sweet potatoes and apples.
I don't know about you, but I am ready for dessert!  Often, I am so full from dinner that I can barely eat dessert.  What a terrific time for Bosc pear dumplings.  These look so good!
A tiramisu layer cake is a show stopper. Three layers of cake soaked in coffee syrup and topped with mascarpone frosting would tempt anyone!
For the chocolate lovers, a peppermint-hot chocolate cake will be appreciated.  I think this would also make a wonderful addition to your Christmas dinner table.  
A pumpkin-pecan cheesecake topped with praline topping and glazed pecans is a must.  Doesn't this dessert make you wish you could grab the piece through the computer?
I hope I have given you some ideas for your Thanksgiving table.  Please head down to your local Dillards and support Ronald McDonald Houses and their fabulous work with a purchase of a fabulous cookbook.  I have looked at mine over and over.  Stop back by because I will be sharing brunch ideas from this years cookbook in a few days.
Blessings from Still Woods Farmhouse

Let's Party!