This year for Thanksgiving we mixed things up a bit by going to celebrate at my sister’s in Chicago. We left home Wednesday after work and were there, two and a half mercifully traffic-free hours later. After getting our things settled we had a few snacks, a few glasses of wine and a lot fun playing and laughing our way through Thanksgiving trivia and a few rounds of Cranium.

In the morning we all got up and decided to get right to eating. We had a breakfast feast of pancakes, bacon and fresh fruit. A delicious way to start the day.

After a bit of digesting and relaxing, I decided to get to work prepping some appetizers and then Thanksgiving dinner.

The most festive appetizer award went to the cranberry brie bites that I made. I saw them on Pinterest (anyone else as obsessed as I am?) a few weeks ago and could not wait to make them. They turned out almost as beautiful as the pictures, a delicious little mouthful and so simple to make.

Another great appetizer we had was a caramelized pear and goat cheese crostini with a touch of honey and goat cheese – a recipe that my sister found and I would definitely make again.

Of course we had traditional Thanksgiving fare as well. Turkey breast, green beans almondine, white rolls (tradition – I love my one (or two) white roll(s) per year), mashed potatoes and stuffing muffins – all delicious and so comforting.

Of course it wouldn’t have been Thanksgiving without pie. We finished our meal with both apple and chocolate peppermint mousse pie with a little ice cream on the side for good measure.

Tasty doesn’t have to be pretty, right?

Of course, Thanksgiving wouldn’t mean a thing without so many things to be thankful for. I am so thankful for a family to share meals with, the amazing blessings of the last year including marrying my best friend, a home to keep us warm as the winter draws near, a job – even though it’s a desk job, my “new” family who has been so welcoming, friends who are always there to help celebrate life’s joys with and the list goes on an on. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season and I am looking forward to it with a grateful heart.

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Which foods are a must-eat at your Thanksgiving meal?

P.S. If the holidays are a stressful time for you, remember…

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