Well, a little breather before the next rush of the Holiday activities. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving break. It was very relaxing and for the first time in many years, we didn’t dash off to shop on Black Friday. Extended Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday has kinda eliminated the need to.

Every year since we came to the U S, Thanksgiving has always been held at our house. Different combinations of relatives have graced our tables. I have had so much fun planning the meals and preparing it. I thought it would be nice to deconstruct my Thanksgiving preparation and share the process with you.

I usually start a week before TG and list out all the usual suspects of a vegetarian TG meal and l start to think about how to make a menu out of it. I mull over different combinations of meal ideas, then run it by my family and we decide on what is going to grace our table. One caveat though, no repeats from previous years. Except for a bread stuffing which has become a staple every year.

So here is my list I started with for this year,

Cranberries, Pecans, Members of the Pumpkin/Squash family, Corn, Lima beans, Green apples, Apple cider, Sweet potatoes, Green beans, Bread, Biscuits, Sage, Maple Syrup.

And this was our menu that we decided on

Mulled Cider

Bread Stuffing

Succotash  Pot Pies

Salad with Sweet Potato Chips

Apple Cider Dressing

Oven baked Green Beans and Onions. [A nod to the classic Green Beans casserole, skipped the mushrooms as we were not feeling it this year]

Upside down Apple Cake with Cranberries, Pecans and Maple Butter.

I woke up on Thanksgiving Day, literally with a song on my lips and a smile on my face, happy to cook our planned meal. I set a huge pot of apple cider with cloves and cinnamon to simmer on the stove so the aroma would infuse the house and greet the family as they woke up. While everybody was still asleep I made candied pecans and sugared cranberries. These were going into the cake that I was going to make. Besides making mulled cider, I also reduced some apple cider to ¼ of its quantity. This was going to make an appearance in several recipes later. Got a head start on a few things, till the familia could come down and help with the rest of the meal.

Candied Pecans [for the cake and munching!]

1 cup pecan halves

2 tablespoons reduced apple cider [reduced to 1/4 of original quantity]

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1/2 tablespoon melted butter, salted or unsalted

1/2 teaspoon salt, scant

1/4 teaspoon powdered cinnamon


Pre heat oven to 350 degrees [175 C]

Mix all the ingredients together and stir till pecans are evenly coated.

Bake on any oven proof dish for 12-15 minutes turning them once midway.

Remove from oven and cool completely. Can be stored for several days. For stove top candied pecans, check here.

Tip; Put pecan halves in a colander and shake to remove tiny pecan crumbles and grit before adding the seasonings.

Sugared Cranberries

1 cup fresh cranberries

1/4 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoon reduced apple cider, reduced to ¼ of its volume

About a cup of granulated sugar to coat the candied cranberries.


Put powdered sugar and the cider in a wide pan over very low heat.

Stir to combine and add the cranberries.

Coat the cranberries with the syrup while continuing to stir, till you hear a few cranberries starting to pop.

Turn the heat off, and stir till all the cranberries are glazed with the sugar syrup.

Cool completely. [At this stage you have plain glazed cranberries which are delicious, just the way they are. I set aside a batch for my cake]

Spread granulated sugar on a plate and roll the cooled berries and coat thoroughly.

Store at room temperature, will last at least a few days.

So that was just some of the prep work. In my next few post I will I’ll share the rest of our Thanksgiving meal recipes. 

Thanks for dropping by,

Best, S.