It’s just not Thanksgiving unless…

It almost feels like Thanksgiving has become a forgotten holiday, doesn’t it? Or is it just me? Halloween costumes and candy quickly give way to Christmas carols and decorations and turkey day seems to be pushed aside, lost in the shuffle as the seasons switch rapidly.

Thanksgiving, however, is a holiday that should not be overlooked. It’s a day to slow down and count our blessings, to enjoy family and friends and delicious food.

When I was growing up, Thanksgiving didn’t feel as rushed or stressed as the other holidays. We set a pretty table, used the fancy china dishes and everyone took their time savoring the meal. Sometimes we all went around and said something we were thankful for that happened that year. Other times we all shared our favorite part of the meal. When we were done eating, some of us cleared the table while others washed and dried dishes. Then we’d settle in to watch some football, or take a nap (or a little of both) before we busted out the board games and made leftover turkey sandwiches as day gave way to night. Thanksgiving always followed a predictable routine but there was something comforting about that.

I have fond childhood memories of waking up and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade as my mom started popping food in the oven: the turkey first and then staples like her sweet potato casserole and stuffing. We always had two kinds of cranberries, too. The fresh ones made on the stove top with a cup of sugar because that’s what mom and grandma liked best. We also had the canned version, too – you know, the one that still showed the can indentations when you slid it onto the plate – because that’s the kind my dad liked best. We’d always have mashed potatoes and gravy and green bean casserole and pumpkin pie — without these, it just didn’t quite feel like a Thanksgiving meal. And now that I’m grown with a family of my own, these items still make it to the table, even if we’ve added other dishes into the mix.

That’s what makes Thanksgiving what it is, isn’t it? The routine, the traditions, the memories mixed in with the meal. We gather around the table and eat with our loved ones, and we repeat recipes because without those generational dishes, it just wouldn’t quite feel like Thanksgiving.

Here at Ashley’s, we know there are favorites that make their way to your table each other. For some of you, Thanksgiving might not be complete without butterscotch rolls or sand tarts or butter flake rolls. You may need to start the morning with one of our delicious coffee cakes. We love that we are part of that tradition, and we are honored to have a place at your table, right next to grandma’s apple pie and Uncle Tom’s famous sweet potato casserole.

We know there will be plenty of traditional dishes and family favorites served up this year, but we also thought we’d share a side dish or two, in case you’re hosting and want to offer a different option or you’re headed somewhere and want to bring something tasty (but perhaps easy to do!). We really like this recipe from Cooking Light for Tangy Glazed Brussels Sprouts. It’s not too hard to make, but offers a tasty twist on a classic vegetable.

And if you want to bring a dish that looks like you put more in than you did (hey, we get it; we’re busy too!), here’s something easy to try: turn pre-made mashed potatoes into a casserole.

  1. Scoop two to three pounds of (premade) mashed potatoes into a baking dish
  2. Top with shredded cheddar cheese, bacon and scallions
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Garnish with green onions.

From our family, and our table, to yours, we are thankful for you this holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!