#thanksgiving 2015

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I can safely say that with absolutely no hesitation. This year was one of the most memorable to date because our family was lucky enough to be able to spend the long weekend with 10 of our nearest and dearest family members. Both my grandmothers were here staying with us along with my aunt and uncle, their two kids, and each of their significant others. On top of that, our cousins from my dad's side of the family were with us too. It was so special to me because both sets of cousins (from each side of the family) are the ones I spent the majority of my childhood with. We would count down to family trips to hang out with our cousins from months ahead. To be able to have all of us under one roof was the biggest blessing.

What I'm most proud of though is the fact that this year yours truly cooked and baked EVERY dish (except the turkey). I look back now and can't believe it all worked out but I had the luxury of being home all of Wednesday before Thanksgiving so I started around 7am and worked through the night. Sadly I guess we were too excited to eat the food instead of take photos of it first (shocking, I know)... So I only have photos of our set up and my ham! But for those who care here's our menu -- all of which I made from scratch:

- Honey/pineapple/mustard glazed spiraled ham

- sweet potato and yam drizzled with balsamic brown buttered honey

- green bean casserole

- garlic Rosemary mashed potatoes

- lemon-zested cranberry sauce

- balsamic brown buttered gnocchi with andouille sausage and mushrooms

- peanut butter brownies

- spiced cardamom banana cake with mascarpone icing (our favorite of the night!)

I loved loved loved being in the kitchen and doing all the cooking this year. It's so rewarding when you see how much people enjoy what you've made and it makes all the hard work worth it. Given, I was about to drop afterwards... I give so much credit to my mom now; cooking is such hard work!

We thought long and hard about how to make our table settings as Pinterest-ing as possible. Thanks to my mom's creativity and some inspiration from her pins, we created table settings that we were super proud of. Yes, all those names were drawn by hand by me!!

See photos below :) I can't even express how thankful I am to have spent this weekend with family, it was so needed. I love those moments where you don't even bother looking at your phone all day because you're with the ones who matter most. What I would give for another evening dying of laughter playing charades with all of us around the fire.... Memories to last forever! <3