Thanks for joining me for another Nine Favorite Things post.
(ready for the holidays)
How is it already the middle of November? We are exactly halfway through the month and it’s crazy how fast time is flying. And how little time it feels like there is in each day! I know everyone is really wishing 2020 away, but I’m not ready to say goodbye just yet. I know I always say this every year, but I wish November and December could last longer. Wouldn’t it be nice if instead of thirty days in the month we could have double that?
These are my tow favorite months of the year, but also everyone’s busiest months. It’s always so hard to get everything done, you know? Can you guys tell I’m a bit stressed today? Don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited and loving these days leading up to Thanksgiving. It’s always so exciting for me once the holidays hit! So, yes, I’m stressed, but yet happy and excited all at the same time. It’s a weird thing that I can’t explain. But that’s me!
Anyway, I’m running around trying to get loose ends tied up before a trip to LA for work this week. This is my first work trip since March and even though it’s going to be a very different trip (filled with a COVID test day), I’m excited! It’s yet another busy work trip, but I’m really looking forward to it. I’m shooting two very special videos and then filming two segments back to back at Hallmark Home & Family. The Home & Family segments are so my thing. The first will air a week from Monday, just before Thanksgiving and the second is very heavily focused on Christmas. It’s all going to be so much fun, and honestly, I’m really excited to just get out of my house.
It’s been a while!
That said, I’m kind of nervous, but that’s more because I have a long list to check off before I fly out on Wednesday.
Question: what’s your Thanksgiving looking like this year? Are you guys getting excited? Are you celebrating as a family? Doing something smaller? I’d love to know!
And incase you are menu planning today, here is our 2020 Thanksgiving Menu and Guide.
Speaking of Thanksgiving, a quick reminder, in case any of you missed it, today is your last chance to order your Belcampo turkey and use code HALFBAKEDHARVEST for 20% off. The 20% off applies to all items on Belcampo’s website. We just ordered two for our Thanksgiving, which my family will be spending in Lake Tahoe. My younger brother, Red, has a house there and the whole family will be together. Everyone is really looking forward to a good family dinner.
And lastly, an Oslo update! He’s doing great! We’re so in love with the little guy, my mom especially. For most people, a new baby can be a little daunting and everyone is fearful of losing sleep. But my mom? She’s extra special and taking care of little babies is like her bread and butter. There isn’t anyone better fit for the task. She stopped by the studio the other day with Oslo in her arms and you can tell in her eyes the joy he brings her. It’s like she’s got a special sparkle in her eyes these days. It’s the sweetest thing.
So, yes, Oslo has wiggled his way deep into all of our hearts and he’s officially settled right into our family. We love him.
And, what you all really care about, the photos! Can you tell he’s getting bigger by the day?
Coming up this week… We’ll be starting the week off with a simple dinner that’s perfect for the busy (and cold) days leading up to Thanksgiving (we had a full-on snowstorm here yesterday!). Then on Tuesday, we’ve got an easy holiday breakfast that everyone will love (this is Asher’s favorite). For Wednesday, it’s a last-minute Thanksgiving side dish that’s essential on all Thanksgiving tables. And of course, a sweet chocolate treat on Friday. Saturday will be yet another Thanksgiving cocktail…any guesses? It’s something I’ve never made before. Lots of great, simple recipes this week!
As always, happy Sunday guys! Hope you love this week’s favorites!
1. Things i’m loving, wanting, and excited to try…
watching…Emily in Paris. Finally. I know I talked about this show a while back, but I finally started watching it. Granted, I’m only about 1 episode in, but it seems really cute! Just something easy to watch that’s relaxing.
loving…Oribe Shampoo and Conditioner also from Violet Grey. I’ve been using for the last week and honestly, my hair has never felt better (and smells pretty good too)!
excited to watch…Dash & Lilly on Netflix. A show based in NYC at Christmas? All about that.
loving…these cute Printable Thanksgiving Coloring Pages. Fun for the kids…but I’d use them too.
reading…The Book on Pie by Erin McDowell. I just received this and it’s full of SO MANY pies. I now have a list a mile long of pies I’d like to bake. I’d better get to them before Thanksgiving.
loving…Mutha Body Butter. This is a splurge, but my dry winter skin is loving this cream.
thinking about ordering…The Mani System for Asher. Do you guys think she’d like this? She loves doing her nails.
drinking…Spiced Honey Bourbon Old Fashioned. My current favorite cocktail.
watching…Inside Hilary Duff’s Family Home.
gifting…the Full Holiday Collection from Boy Smells. Three Christmas scents bundled into one. The perfect gift.
ordered…The Broken Rosary from Boy Smell. Because I can’t resist a cinnamon candle. My favorite.
2. Homemade Holiday Gifts…
A few of my favorites from years past. Start prepping these to ship to friends and family.
3. Prep Your Holiday Bar Cart…
4. Favorite question of the week.
q: Do you get tired of the cold and snow?
a: Yes, of course! I LOVE the snow all November and December long. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else other than home in the mountains. But come mid-February/March? I’m pretty over it…but most years we get snow through May, even into June. So, I’ve learned to live with it. It’s all a little give and take, right?
5. Thanksgiving tips of the week.
Thanksgiving Tip: 5
Rent your plates, glasses, and silverware. You send them back dirty, so there are fewer dishes to do!
I’m all about fewer dishes and companies like Social Studies send you everything you need to create the perfect tablescape so you don’t have to think about it.
If your feeling overwhelmed, this is an easy way to check one more thing off your thanksgiving to-do list!
Reader Tip: Make Tons – Everyone Loves Taking Home Leftovers
I know this isn’t groundbreaking, but everyone keeps asking me how to downsize their meal since most of us are hosting a much smaller crowd this year. My tip? Make the meal as you normally would and don’t skimp on a thing. It’s Thanksgiving!! Make the dishes you LOVE and enjoy the leftovers on a very lazy Black Friday. Trust me, you’ll be so happy for all those leftovers!!
And if you can’t eat all the leftovers, donate them to your local church or a friend who didn’t get celebrate this year. You’ll make someone’s week with good leftovers!
Thanksgiving Tip: 6
Invest in a Slow Cooker and or Instant Pot
If you’re working with limited oven space, I highly recommend using your slow cooker and instant pot. They can cook mashed potatoes from start to finish, or just keep your dishes warm without taking up any oven space.
Reader Tip: You can never, ever use too much butter.
100%. Start stocking up now.
Thanksgiving Tip: 7
Test Your Recipes
If you’re trying new recipes, make sure you test them out before Thanksgiving Day. Certainly, no one wants to be disappointed on Thanksgiving with a bad batch of mashed potatoes. Test your recipes out now so they’re perfect for Thanksgiving.
Reader Tip: Make more gravy than you think you’ll need, then double it.
Yes to this! You can never have too much gravy!
Thanksgiving Tip: 8
Don’t Cook the Stuffing Inside the Turkey
If you cook the stuffing inside the turkey, you’ll have to overcook the turkey in order to actually cook the stuffing to a temperature that’s safe to eat. And even then you end up with soggy stuffing…and dry turkey. Not good. Instead, bake the stuffing separately and get soft on the inside and crisp on top stuffing that actually tastes good.
Reader Tip: Eat breakfast and lunch! Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t have to be at 4:00 pm!
I am all about this one! I never understand why we eat so early. We eat between 6 to 8 pm. What time do you eat Thanksgiving dinner?
Thanksgiving Tip: 9
Roast Your Turkey Wrapped up in Butter Soaked Cheesecloth
My number 1 tip for the best turkey. Soak a layer of cheesecloth in melted butter, then drape the butter-soaked cheesecloth over the bird. Roast the turkey with the cheesecloth ON. The cloth protects the skin from burning, while also basting the turkey with butter the entire time it roasts.
This trick never fails and creates the best turkey. Every single time. The skin comes out perfect, the meat is incredibly moist and so flavorful. Trust me on this one. Or just read the comments on the recipe, everyone loves it.
Recipe: Herb Butter Roasted Turkey
Reader Tip: Warm Your Plates/Bowls Before Putting Your Hot Food on Them
This is an extra special, extra step, BUT I love this tip!! My pet peeve with Thanksgiving is cold food. That is the worst. I would imagine warming the plates helps keep things the perfect temperature. Totally trying this out this year!!!
Thanksgiving Tip: 10
Make your Gravy Ahead of Time
Especially if the gravy stresses you out and you’re going to have people in the kitchen before dinner. I have no shame in admitting that gravy stresses me out. I learned the hard way that rushed, last-minute, gravy never turns out well (for me at least). You just end up with lumpy, very sad gravy because everyone wants to “help”. It wasn’t pretty, but lesson learned! I now make my gravy ahead of time!! It saves so much stress and I know it’s always going to turn out perfect.
Recipe: Make Ahead White Wine Gravy
Reader Tip: Get Everyone To Make a Dish So You Aren’t Overwhelmed
If you’re open to it, delegate!! I’ll admit, I’m not good at this. But if cooking the whole meal stress you out, ask whoever is attending to bring one dish (and tell them what dish you’d like that to be!)
And on the same topic, if the host tells you to bring nothing, I’d at least show up with their favorite alcohol. You can never have too much of that. Or a fun hostess gift (I’ll share ideas soon!)!
6. Feel Good About Every Gift You Give This Season.
(photo from The Little Market)
The holiday season is all about giving back. The Little Market makes that so easy to do. Their fair trade goods are made by artisans in need. Including refugees, people with disabilities, formerly homeless women, and survivors of trafficking and domestic violence. Each purchase helps artisans build a brighter future for themselves and their families. You guys know how much I adore The Little Market, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite picks from their shop. These items will make great gifts for anyone on your list. And while you’re gifting to loved ones, you also gift to someone in need as well. I love a good gift that gives back!
Also? Their candles are some of my favorites. I’m currently burning the Pie Crust Candle, and honestly, my house smells like a pie baking away. It’s like holiday magic.
Other favorite candles for the holiday season include my November favorites Pumpkin Pie and Holiday Spice (I will be lighting this as soon as I return from LA). Then there’s Gingerbread Cookie (my December favorite), and Pine Tree (almost better than the real Christmas tree). I also love these fun holiday phrases too, Hey Pumpkin, ‘Tis The Season, and of course, Merry Christmas.
7. Favorite links i’m loving…
This Woman’s Gingerbread House Building Hack Is Genius…100% trying this out this year. Such a good idea!
26 Minimalist Thanksgiving Recipes That Only Need 5 Ingredients Each…but still taste amazing.
The Most Expensive-Looking Holiday Decor Is Hiding Out at Target…Isn’t Target just the best? I love these little reindeer and small Christmas trees.
How to Organize All of Your Cookie and Cake Decorating Supplies…baking this holiday season? Read this.
Louise Roe Oxfordshire Home Renovation…adore this cozy meets vintage British countryside home.
My New Business Was Set to Open and Then COVID Happened…inspiring and fun Sunday read.
12 Things to Do If You’re Celebrating Thanksgiving Solo…some fun ideas!
20 Healthy Soup Recipes…yum, these all sound so good!
The New-Era Gift Guide…39 items that are 100% relevant in 2020.
10 Email Mistakes You Should Always Avoid…taking note.
24 Brand New Trader Joe’s Foods To Stock Up On In November…so many fun holiday foods.
How to Save Your Skin From These Top Winter Woes…so many good tips/tricks.
6 Ways to Challenge Yourself to Be Better With Money…simple ways to save some cash.
5 Ways to Get Your Heart Rate Up Indoors This Winter…for mini-breaks during the day, try these!
Stressed? Try These 10 Simple Things…You all know my favorite, I love lighting a candle!
How To Hang Art Correctly…3 simple tips.
20 Streamable TV Shows and Movies So Good…you’ll look forward to a night in.
How Team Domino Is Setting Their Thanksgiving Tables…if you need some ideas for Thanksgiving.
Say “Yuck” Or “Yum” To These 20 Thanksgiving Foods And We’ll Guess If You’re An Extrovert, Introvert, Or Ambivert…mine was spot on. See below.
8. My Favorite Holiday looks from Dresses to Cozy Knits…
9. this week’s dinners…
Saturday Drinks: Spiced Honey Bourbon Old Fashioned
Sunday Appetizer: Mini Pastry Wrapped Cranberry Baked Brie Bites
Check out all the past Nine Favorite Things posts here.
Lastly, if you’re catching up on blog posts from the week, be sure to sign up for our daily newsletters. They’ll help you to stay up to date with everything that’s happening here, as well as fun content you’ll only get via email. If you’re meal planning today, don’t forget to check out my menu below (it’s # 9 on the favorite’s list). You can grab the full grocery list for this week’s menu in our special Sunday newsletter.