Hosting Thanksgiving has always seemed like a rite of passage for me—a true sign that one is, in fact, a real grownup. Over the years, I’ve made tiny contributions to Thanksgiving dinners (an entree here, a dessert there), but never have I attempted to produce an entire one myself. Last year, my fiancé, Daniel and I moved into a beautiful, albeit quite dilapidated home in the Hudson Valley. Of the many domestic fantasies we saw playing out within its walls (laundry-doing, bed-making, bedside-table-vignette-obsessing), Thanksgiving was always towards the top of the list. If we could host Thanksgiving, we could do anything. We would have, as the phrase goes, arrived—true members of the elusive, seemingly impenetrable League of True Adults. This year, despite our home still looking like a slightly more put-together version of Grey Gardens, we have decided to make the leap. Thanksgiving or bust!
With a little bit of help from our pals at IKEA, we have crafted what we think is a darling little homage to some of our favorite things—Scandinavia, The Hudson Valley, and—of course—obscene amounts of food. We’ve prepared some of our favorite seasonal recipes (new family traditions, possibly!) and set the table in true Upstate Dandy fashion. We’re ready. LET’S DO THIS. Check out all of the photos, plus our not-s0-secret recipes, after the jump! —Max
This post was created in collaboration with IKEA. Their selection of holiday and celebration essentials are an important part of family gatherings! #showusyourIKEA
Click through to see Max’s and Daniel’s Thanksgiving celebration and their essentials for a wonderful meal.
Image above: We crafted these snazzy napkin rings using 1.5-inch copper pipe from the hardware store. The pipe was cut down using a miter saw and then its edges were filed with a Dremel. The napkins are TEKLA towels from IKEA.
Image above: Can’t forget the pumpkin pie! We placed it on a RYSSBY cake stand.
Image above: Daniel chopping brussels sprouts, lookin’ sassy as always.
Image above: Daniel’s famous mac and cheese nestled into an oval SMARTA dish. Recipe below!
Image above: Mapled Brussels Sprouts, recipe below. We used the SMARTA series used once again. We did say essentials, right?
Recipe: Daniel’s Famous Mac and Cheese
- 8-oz macaroni noodles
- 2 cups grated cheese (I like 1.5 cups sharp cheddar and 1/2 cup smoked gouda)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Ground pepper, to taste
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons Panko breadcrumbs
- Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish and begin boiling water for noodles.
- Grate cheese.
- On medium-low heat, melt butter in saucepan and blend in flour, salt, and pepper with a whisk. When combined and bubbling, gradually blend in both cups of milk. Increase heat and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
- Once water is boiling, cook macaroni until al dente. Drain.
- Stir grated cheese into white sauce. If it does not melt, return briefly to low heat until combined.
- Mix the sauce into the cooked macaroni and pour mixture into prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle Panko on top and bake for 20-30 minutes, until top is lightly browned.
Recipe: Mapled Brussels Sprouts (adapted from Anna Dorfman’s recipe)
- 2 lbs. brussels sprouts
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons butter/Earth Balance
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat oil in large cast iron skillet over medium heat.
- Prepare brussels sprouts by removing ends and cutting in half length-wise.
- When oil is hot, pour brussels sprouts in pan, add salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Increase heat to medium-high. Allow sprouts to sit for a few minutes until nicely browned (even a bit charred).
- Stir in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon and toss to coat. Add maple syrup, stir, and allow everything to simmer for 5-10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and sugars have caramelized. Remove from heat, serve, and enjoy!
Here’s a list of Max and Daniel’s IKEA essentials if links in captions are not appearing for you:
RYSSBY cake stand http://www.ikea.com/us/en/
LYCKAD serving bowls http://www.ikea.com/us/en/
TEKLA towels (to be used as napkins) http://www.ikea.com/us/en/
POKAL water glasses http://www.ikea.com/us/en/
RYSSBY wool blanket http://www.ikea.com/us/en/
KASTRULL Pot http://www.ikea.com/us/en/
NORDEN dining table http://www.ikea.com/us/en/
ENSIDIG vase http://www.ikea.com/us/en/
SMARTA oven serving dish http://www.ikea.com/us/en/