There is nothing Dion and I love more than filling our home with friends, family, or both at the same time. I love to get my table set all pretty and festive, and Dion gets so much joy spending the day in the kitchen prepping a delicious meal.
This past “Canadian” Thanksgiving was no exception. With a lot of our family out of town and not able to attend, we ended up turning it into a “friends and family” thanksgiving celebration. We had all the family that could be there and then added a bunch of friends who didn’t have family in town. Dion and I literally sat together one morning listing off names of friends who might not have a family dinner to attend and sent out text invites. There was no counting, it didn’t matter…the more the merrier! More friends means more food, no problem!
We ended up with a FULL house of bustling conversations, laughing, energy and joy! Its so fun walking around and seeing all these little huddles of conversation happening in different corners of the house.
What makes a holiday gathering extra special is the food, am I right? Those special recipes that you save just for the holidays whether it be Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas; the reason they are special is because we only make them on those occasions. Dion has developed a delicious menu over the past few years and we all look forward to the gatherings for these dishes! He always makes the staple dishes but usually throws in a new surprise dish or ingredient just to keep us on our toes! This year he went out the week before thanksgiving and picked chanterelle mushrooms! He added them to the stuffing, and oh my goodness were they ever a good add in!
The Holiday Menu
Dion usually looks for the largest bird he can find at the grocery store! He’s been known to talk to the meat manager and have them set aside the largest turkey when they come in. More turkey, more food, more people to feed:)
We usually pick up a ham to throw in the crock pot. Just another option if for some reason someone isn’t a fan of turkey or in case we get some last minute guests. Running out of food would never be an option!
It wouldn’t be a Usipuik holiday dinner without the coveted cabbage rolls. Being Ukranian, Dion has been polishing the art of cabbage rolls and I’d say he has finally accomplished an amazing recipe! Our one niece I’m pretty sure comes just for uncles cabbage rolls:)
The name says it all! This mashed potato bake is cheesy goodness at its finest. I can’t even start to list the ingredients that go in this delicious side dish, and I’m actually pretty sure that Dion throws new ingredients in every time. The basics are always there though; mashed potatoes and multiple varieties of cheese! Our other niece refuses to come unless uncle makes his cheesy potatoes (just kidding but almost true right Sierra?)
Ok, so this one has a running joke. Carrot bake was originally “my” recipe that I got to take credit for. Since Dion has taken over the holiday meal prep he off course made my dish way better with his own top secret ingredients. The basics are still there though; mashed carrots, garlic, and a delicious topping that finishes the dish.
Dion’s stuffing is AMAZING! The spices are on point, he adds in delicious sausage meat, and then off course this year the addition of chanterelle mushrooms made it next level!
Sweet Potato bake:
This is one of the items that changes each time. Dion usually goes sweet for this side dish but he switches it up every time so we are always surprised:)
Can we say…bacon??? You got it! if you don’t like Brussel sprouts you WILL once you try Dion’s. Delish!
Those are all the main dishes and then there is usually a few other last minute add on’s whether it be a guest who brings something or just an extra Dion decides to add in. The end result is always more than enough food and full tummies:)
My contribution to our holiday gatherings is the table. I usually choose a different colour palette and theme for each holiday and get my creative juices flowing to put together a pretty table scape. I get this from my late grandma Anny (which I will probably write a blog post on as we get closer to christmas) .
I usually scroll through Pinterest for inspiration, and then get to work and make it my own. I’ve collected white serving dishes, platters and plates over the years so I work with those as a basic starting point and then jazz it up based on my current inspiration.
This thanksgiving I was loving Eucalyptus so I went to the floral dept at the grocery story and bought some fresh sprigs for the table decor. I had also picked up little mini pumpkins from Homesense which ended up being cute little additions to everyones plate.
Also, throughout the year, anytime I’m at our local Winners store, I pick up pretty napkins to have on hand. They always have a great variety and its just fun having cute napkins!
– What I love most about my home is who I share it with –
To conclude, I would say that filling our home is something I am most thankful for. I don’t take for granted the blessing it is to have this opportunity! The fact that we have friends and family to share our holidays with is something to be grateful for. I know that there are many people who often feel alone during the holidays and for that my heart aches. I hope that we can do our part and offer an open door and warm meal to anyone who may be alone during a holiday. If I can be known as someone who is generous, I would feel that I had accomplished much.
photography by Bernine Marie Photography