3 Thanksgiving Sides & Our Plans

This year for Thanksgiving, we’ll be spending it as a family of three. We decided that the mix of rising COVID cases and the fact that I’m pregnant made a good case for staying home. Like many people this year, I feel really sad about missing out on a tradition we’ve had since my childhood, and I’m going to miss my extended family like crazy, but I’m trying to reframe it to make the best of the situation.

This is our last Thanksgiving as a family of three and we’re going to have a fun and festive weekend. On Thanksgiving itself, I’m going to cook a delicious traditional meal including at least one of the sides from this post if not all plus my aunt’s pecan pie recipe which is my favorite of all time!

We’ll FaceTime with different family members throughout the day to make sure we connect with everyone 2020-style.

And watch the parade that morning on TV, of course! It won’t be the same but it’s going to be wonderful in its own way.

Then we’re going to spend the rest of the weekend decorating the house for the holidays, baking Christmas cookies, playing outside, and writing letters to Santa. At the end of the day, I want it to be a beautiful long weekend for Amalia and I know she will love every second of it.

I put out a survey over the weekend about the holiday and 1200 of you filled it out! Check out some of the responses below for ideas on how to make this very weird holiday special. And scroll down for three delicious Thanksgiving sides.

Who will you be spending Thanksgiving with this year?
– 55% just people in your household
– 35% immediate family (parents, siblings)
– 7% small family gathering (aunts/uncles, cousins, etc)
– 2% small friend gathering
– 0% large gathering

Where will you be spending Thanksgiving this year?
– 78% at home
– 20% at someone else’s house
– 2% outside

What are you doing to make the holiday feel special this year?

– Will Zoom call with family during the meal to make it feel like we’re eating together.

– I’m taking orders now from my children of what they want to eat that night. We are going to drive somewhere we haven’t been and go on a morning hike then come home and watch Christmas movies and cook & bake the meal

– Volunteering!

– Making sure to remember all that we have to be grateful for this year, especially when so many have lost so much.

– Ordering a special Thanksgiving takeout meal from our favorite restaurant.

– Games, theme nights, “bar crawl” around the house (each person is responsible for a different appetizer and cocktail in a different room of the house), dog/pet costume contest

– Decorate EXTRA, make a BOMB tablescape and make our favorite foods, not crowd pleasers

– Giving the kids personalized ornaments at dinner which they can hang on the tree when we decorate the next day. Start of a new tradition maybe 🙂

– Instead of Turkey which both my girlfriend and I don’t like or probably know how to cook, we are having lobster rolls, oysters, and chocolate soufflé (aka all of our favorites).

– I’m organizing a socially distant neighborhood fun run/5K!

– Beautiful table setting, printed menu cards, Zoom other family members.

– Actually really excited to spend it at home and not have to go anyplace! That’s the treat. I have a lot of holiday anxiety

– I am going to decorate our table extra nice and decadent! And planning to do some baking and drop off little packages and flowers to my friends/family that I won’t be able to see over the weekend.

3 Delicious Thanksgiving Sides

My very large Italian American family has a very large Italian American Thanksgiving every year which includes an antipasti course and a lasagna course so I’ll definitely be making my dad’s famous lasagna at some point over Thanksgiving week, but for dinner on the big day, I want to make a more traditional meal just for fun.

It will include a roasted chicken since neither Anel nor I like turkey, some sides, canned cranberry sauce (my favorite thing on a Thanksgiving table), mashed potatoes, and pies. Or maybe just one pie.

I tested a few sides that I found online and found that these three were my favorites if you’re looking for something with traditional flavors but a modern flair. I hope you enjoy them!

Warm Brussels sprout salad (vegan):

My assistant Nicolette made this a few weeks ago and insisted I try it for this post. It doesn’t look like much but it’s a great alternative to your regular side salad. It’s warm and filling, savory and sweet, and filled with nutrient-dense ingredients.

Loaded slow-cooker potatoes:

In my first trimester, I had cravings for loaded baked potatoes every single day so when I saw this recipe I had to try it. Oh. Em. Gee. It’s insane. So decadent and comforting and perfect. This is definitely not the healthiest recipe I’ve ever posted but oh is it worth it! If you can’t eat cow dairy, you can make this with goat cheese and it’s still incredible.

Quinoa-stuffed butternut squash (vegan):

If you’re looking for something both beautiful and tasty to impress, this recipe is for you! It looks like it’s from a restaurant but is pretty easy to make at home.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving sides? Share them below!

Photos by Julia Dags.

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