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Thanksgiving Recipes & Decorations

Thanksgiving is coming up so quickly this year! It seems like just yesterday was Halloween, some of you may still have your decorations up in the yard.

Here at Just Like Family, we love a good Thanksgiving meal. It brings everyone together around a shared common interest: food! It’s a great way to get everyone thinking about the present and what they are grateful for, right before the rush of Christmas and the winter holidays comes along.

If you’re like us, you can’t wait to start making that delicious stuffing, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows. We have some fun recipes that are a little different from the usual, along with a few decoration ideas to make your space feel festive.

At the bottom of the article, we also have links to a few of our other Thanksgiving-themed posts that include tips for not going crazy during the holidays and more fall decorations and recipe ideas.

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Pumpkin Pecan Pie

We’re starting with dessert! Pumpkin Pie and Pecan Pie are two favorites for this holiday, so why not combine them?

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Bacon Cheddar Chive Petite Scones

Don’t force yourself to eat plain rolls this year. Spice things up with these scones that have bacon, cheddar, and chives.

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Stuffing Cupcakes

These stuffing cupcakes are so cute! Use stuffing for the base and mashed potatoes with gravy for the “icing” part.

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Apple Cider Moscow Mule

Have a little pick me up ready for the big day with this made-for-fall drink recipe.

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Apple Pie Turnovers

Too full for dessert? These bite-sized apple pie turnovers are just small enough that you won’t feel too guilty about eating them.

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Maple Bourbon Tamarind Toast Turkey

Of course we can’t forget the turkey! To spice things up from the traditional turkey, add a bit of maple, tamarind, and bourbon.

Bonus!

If you haven’t seen our other holiday related articles here are a few you should check out. They cover topics like staying sane during the holiday rush, decorating ideas, recipes, and more.

How to enjoy the holidays without going crazy

Thanksgiving recipes

Age-friendly Thanksgiving

Fall decorations


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How to enjoy the holidays (without going crazy)

The holiday season is upon us, and boy are we excited! Halloween just came and went, now we get to look forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukah. It’s no wonder this is the “Most wonderful time of the year”.

But for many of us, we greet the holiday season with a sense of dread. We think about the money we’ll be spending, all of the relatives and guests we’ll have to host and see for multiple days on end. And don’t forget about all the cooking, decorating, and preparation that goes on.

The holiday season doesn’t need to be stressful, but many of us have let it become just that. Here are some ways to start enjoying the holidays this season without going crazy.

  1. Limit or forgo gifts
    You don’t have to do this, but if buying gifts and receiving them makes your heart race and your palms sweat, maybe this is a good year to start this tradition. Now, it’s harder to do with kids, because they all want tons and tons of gifts. It may be best to ween them off the gifts slowly. If you have very little kids, order a box of toys on eBay and save yourself the hassle of going to the crowded mall. Your family and friends my call you a Scrooge or cheap for doing this, but if it helps relieve some stress, then it’s worth it. Ask friends and family not to give gifts, and if they must they should abide by the 4 gift rule.
    Not only will this help limit the stress of thinking of and buying gifts for others, and receiving things you don’t really need, it will also help you feel relieved when you look at your bank statement on December 26.
  2. Pay attention of bad holiday habits
    This is a tough one, because certain traditions and routines are a staple of the holidays. Many of us don’t stop to think “Why am I going to the mall and stressing myself out just to buy someone a bottle of perfume I don’t even know they’ll like?”
    Think about what caused you stress last year. Was it going to visit family? Was it stuffing yourself for Thanksgiving? Think about these habits and routines that occur during this time of year. Once you acknowledge them, you can start to work on them.

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  1. Set aside “me” time
    You need some time to yourself. If you have family staying at your home, or went to go stay with family, or even if you just need to get away from your own family, do it. Maybe you just need to sit in the park with a nice book, go for a run, take a walk. Whatever it is, do it. It will allow you to reset and feel calm enough to get back into the rush of the holidays.
  2. Say no
    It’s ok to say no sometimes, but many of us feel a sense of guilt when we do. If you have too much on your plate, and a friend asks you to go shopping with them, just let them know this isn’t the best time and that you’d love to reschedule for another time. Saying yes to everything will only continue to add stress to your busy holiday schedule.
  3. Savor little moments
    Stop and take in the holidays. We spend too much time rushing around: the mall, the store, buying a tree, decorating, running to get new Christmas lights, buying last minute gifts, cooking. Many of us don’t stop to take in the holiday season. Sit down with that cup of eggnog or hot chocolate and savor it slowly. Take a stroll down 5th Avenue South here in Naples and enjoy the decorations.
  4. Get some sleep
    It’s never a good idea to run on empty. Sure, it adds hours to our day, but it takes away from our health and well being. Many of us end up grumpy or in sour moods which can ruin the day. It’s best to set a time to sleep and set an alarm for 8-9 hours later if you’re worried about keeping a set schedule.


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Decorate for Fall and Thanksgiving

Fall means Thanksgiving, and with this season comes the changing of the leaves, the browns, reds, oranges. You see more dark colors, a more earthy-woody feel. For those of you who love doecorating in conjunction with the season, we’ve got some great ideas to help you get started. We’re going to include table decorations for Thanksgiving, cute mason jar lights, and mantle pieces, among others. So grab your Michael’s loyalty card and start making a list of all the items you’re going to need to decorate for fall.

Magnolia Wreath
thefrugalhomemaker.com
wreath fall

Burlap “Give Thanks” Banner
thefrugalhomemaker.com

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DIY Thanksgiving Sign
thehappytulip.com

thanksgiving sign

Autumn Leaf, Mason Jar Candle Holder
Sparkandchemistry.com

mason jars

21 Festive Wreaths to Make for Thanksgiving
Goodhousekeeping.com

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8 Thanksgiving Day Recipes

Now that October is over, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. You already started taking down the Halloween decorations and pulling out the Thanksgiving boxes from the attic. The best part about Thanksgiving? The food! Nobody can deny that the ample amounts of food on this day will cause you to gain a few pounds, but not to worry, you workout daily…right? If you are looking to change up your Thanksgiving day foods, here are some tasty recipes!

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Rosemary Dinner Rolls
These rolls from Cooking Classy are a nice twist on your ordinary fare.

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Sweet Potato Casserole
Some tasty sweet potato casserole with toasted marshmallows and pecans from Le Creme de la crumb.

mini pumpkin pies

Mini Pumpkin Pies
Teeny, cute pumpkin pies that will make you go Aww, from Home is Where the Boat is.

mini apple plies

Mini Apple Pies
Who doesn’t love apple pie? Especially in miniature form. (Pillsbury)

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Pumpkin French Toast
Start Thanksgiving Day off with this tasty pumpkin french toast. (Cooking Classy)

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Caramel Apple Cream Cheese Spread
Let your guests snack while you prepare! (She Wears Many Hats)

crispy potato roast

Crispy Potato Roast
Those potatoes look so delicious! Make them as a side dish for the big day. (Joyously Domestic)

caramel apple bars

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Crumble Bars
Finish off dinner with these tasty Thanksgiving-inspired treats. (Averie Cooks)


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Happy Holidays from Just Like Family

Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and Christmas and New Year’s are just around the corner!  It’s one of our favorite times of year, full of family, friends, food and happy memories.  So, from our family to yours, we have just one thing to say:

Happy Holidays!Happy holidays, everyone!


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The Age-Friendly Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving nearly here, we wanted to share this lovely set of tips for hosting an all-ages-inclusive Thanksgiving dinner that we found floating on the Internet.  They were originally posted here on the eCaring blog, and were written last year by Melody Wilding.  Remember, it can be hectic to work out getting family from far flung locations together in one place, preparing an enormous meal, and making sure everyone is comfortable and having fun, especially the elderly or infirm members of the family.  We want you to have all the help you can get!

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Tips for Hosting an Age-friendly Thanksgiving Dinner

By: Melody Wilding

Between coordinating travel plans, cooking, cleaning, and throwing a cast of personalities into one room, anxieties can run high around Turkey Day. If you are entertaining a mixed age group this year, respecting the eldest guests should also be high on your list.

How can you host a Thanksgiving dinner that accommodates the unique health and physical needs of elderly relatives and friends? Creating an age-friendly Thanksgiving dinner is simple with some forethought, planning, and communication.

Here are ways to ensure it is a happy holiday meal for young and old alike:

  • Be mindful of seating arrangements – If your aging parent or grandparent has physical limitations, seat him or hear at the end of the table, providing ample room to get up easily and more often without disrupting others.
  • Review the floor plan – Run through your home’s layout to make sure it is safe and free of any hazards that could cause a fall. Add additional lighting, secure carpets, and reduce any clutter in walkways. If your elderly loved one has a walker, wheelchair, or medical equipment (such as an oxygen tank), ensure that passageways have enough room to accommodate. Going out for dinner? Visit the restaurant beforehand to see if there are many stairs, tight spaces, or other conditions that would make it difficult for your aging relative to navigate safely.
  • Ask about dietary requirements – Begin planning your dinner menu in advance by asking your loved one and consulting his or her medical provider for dietary guidelines. For diabetics or persons with chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure, special diets such as low salt, low sugar, or low fat must be adhered to. If your loved one has suffered a stroke or otherwise has trouble swallowing, consider including a soft food dish in your menu.
  • Strike up conversation – Do not make the mistake of making your loved one feel invisible at Thanksgiving dinnertime. Many falsely assume that seniors are cranky and uninterested in chatting. However, the communal, family-feel of Thanksgiving is the perfect time for aging loved ones to share stories and lessons. As host, help encourage intergenerational communication by making children, teens, and older adults comfortable and meaningful, rather than awkward.
  • Enlist help – Consider hiring in-home respite care services to support caregiving duties around Thanksgiving crunch-time. This person can provide assistance with personal care, such as feeding, as well as companionship and stimulation. If your aging parent of grandparent has a home health aide, invite the caregiver to share dinner with you. Knowing your loved one has the help they need within range will bring comfort and peace of mind.
  • Acknowledge the person’s pace – Persons with dementia become uncomfortable and fearful in situations filled with noise and action. If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, find a peaceful place him or her to rest before the event begins to help ease the transition. Keep the volume of music and conversation even and fairly low. If being around many people or at a restaurant is too stressful of physically impossible, improvise! Plan family visits throughout the day to cover all meals shifts – breakfast, lunch, or dinner – or ask small groups of family members to visit with the person on alternate days before or after the Thanksgiving holiday.