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Kentucky Harvest FeastOur Thanksgiving table included a heritage turkey from Elmwood Stock Farm and ham from Newsom's Aged Country Hams
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Luxurious linens from Trawick and MartinSimple stoneware plates and everyday silverware were paired with luxurious linens and vintage hotel silver pieces from Nicholasville's Trawick and Martin
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Casual and comfortable diningMoundale Manor's kitchen dining area provided a sunny and not-too-fussy setting for our meal
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Careful planning = a great day for allBy getting as much meal preparation work done ahead of time everyone, including our hostess Megan Smith, was able to enjoy the celebration
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A trio of piesBeech Springs Farm Market apple pie and pecan and pumpkin pies provided guests with options for satiating their sweet tooths
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Dessert stationGuests helped themselves to after dinner sweets at our self-serve dessert station
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We're game!Set up board games so guests have something to do when they aren't chowing down
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Say cheers with Kentucky wineOur cocktail hour featured locally-produced wines from nearby Harkness Edwards Vineyard
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Cocktail hourHaving a few finger foods and festive libations for cocktail hour is a thoughtful touch and encourages conversation and camaraderie
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Stogie stationOur cocktail hour cigar station was a hit with the fellas!
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Artisan servingwareThis elegant and unique copper nut bowl with antler handle is available from trawickandmartin.com
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Kentucky hors d'oeuvresGuests were welcomed with a cocktail hour spread that included sheep cheeses from Good Shepherd Cheese in Owingsville, on serving pieces from Trawick and Martin
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Celebrating friends and familyThe true heart of the holiday is spending time with - and expressing gratitude for - family and friends
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Bourbon bottle stoppersHand-crafted, natural wood bottle stoppers from Trawick and Martin added earthy elegance to our cocktail hour spread
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Natural meets formalCreate a more easygoing and welcoming environment by pairing your everyday tableware with natural elements for decoration
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Beautiful organic birdOur turkey was beautiful in more ways than one: this heritage breed turkey from Georgetown's Elmwood Stock Farm was raised the old-fashioned way
Nearly four centuries have passed since the Pilgrims inaugurated what is now our annual day of feasting. The true heart of the holiday is—and always has been—more than a celebration of the harvest. It is a celebration of one another. A day of expressing gratitude for the blessing of family and friends.
Our Kentucky harvest celebration was held at Winchester’s historic Moundale Manor and featured locally grown and produced products, plus recipes from Bluebird in Stanford and Wolfe County’s Red River Rockhouse.
Here are a few tips to help you pull off your most enjoyable Thanksgiving yet, plus a down-to-the-minute schedule for organizing your feast.
Elements like music and lighting shouldn’t be afterthoughts. These small details make all the difference when setting the tone for a festive day.
Set up a small card table with a stack of board games or cards to play throughout the day. Scatter a few magazines or photo albums around, too.
Things will go wrong. The turkey may burn, the potatoes may be soupy and the pie may get left in the freezer. Don’t let these mishaps ruin the day. Have a good laugh and move on.
Let others help. As hosts, we sometimes feel the need to do it all. But more likely than not, your guests will want to pitch in to set the table or wash a few dirty dishes.
Up to 2 Days before Thanksgiving:
- Make sweet potato casserole
- Make sausage stuffing
- Make pie crust
- Cover these with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator until Thanksgiving afternoon.
Thanksgiving Day Schedule (on the day of the meal) with dinner at 5:30 p.m.:
- 2-2:30 p.m.—Start turkey (cooks 2 1/2 to 3 hours)
- 3 p.m.—Make dough for rolls (rise 1 hr 30 minutes)
- 3:30 p.m.—Take stuffing and sweet potato casserole out of the fridge and let set on the counter.
- 3:30 p.m.—Wash and cut Brussels sprouts
- 4:00 p.m.—Cut potatoes and boil the water. Boil potatoes and put them in a water bath (**see end note)
- 4:30 p.m.—Shape dough into rolls and let rise on the pan before putting them in the oven.
- 5:00 p.m.—Take turkey out of the oven (**see end note); put rolls into the oven with casserole and stuffing; start making the Brussels sprouts chiffonade; make gravy from turkey drippings.
- 5:30 p.m.—Time to eat!!!
~ Check appropriate times for cooking your turkey. For some reason, people think turkeys need to cook all day. NOT TRUE!! I really like Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for roast turkey. It’s absolute perfection every time.
~ After the potatoes boil, you can either leave them in the water until they are ready to mash or go ahead and mash them and put them in the oven on low heat.
~ You can either make desserts ahead of time or, if serving pie, bake it while eating the meal. The house will smell delicious and guests will happily devour a slice of warm pie à la mode with their after-dinner coffee.
Special thanks to the following companies and individuals for their contributions to our Kentucky Thanksgiving at Moundale Manor:
- Vanessa and Edward Ziembroski, Brett Martin and the entire staff at Moundale Manor for their hospitality and for preparing our feast.
- Beech Springs Farm Market, Winchester
- Bluebird, Stanford
- Col. Bill Newsom's Aged Kentucky Country Ham, Princeton
- Elmwood Stock Farm, Georgetown
- Good Shepherd Cheese, Owingsville
- Harkness Edwards Vineyards, Winchester
- Red River Rockhouse, Campton
- Trawick & Martin, Nicholasville
Searching for the perfect Thanksgiving side dish? Try out these recipes from Kentucky Monthly staffers!