Clever & tasty ideas for your November Table

Some of us have acquired lots of lovely things with which to set our Thanksgiving tables over the years. If you’ve been married more than, say, ten years, you likely have closets and cabinets overflowing with things to pull out and make a gorgeous, even formal, table for special dinners.  Whether it’s been received from your mother or mother-in-law’s sharing with you, collected from estate sales and yard sales, or bought at antique shops, (and if you’re a smart shopper, TJMaxx, Marshall’s, and the like, not to mention after-Christmas sales), you don’t have to worry about buying new things every year to be able to make a nice table for the holidays.

However, some of you are newly married, or perhaps haven’t been interested in the past in decorating for Thanksgiving, but this year, suddenly, you are.  🙂  Welcome! You may be on a limited budget, and that’s ok. I’m going to spend some time this month helping you to find budget-friendly ways to decorate your table, or anywhere in your home, in the spirit of Autumn!  This will be fun!

Here’s the first idea: go to your local grocery store or corner farmer’s market and find some of those really cute, colorful tiny pumpkins.  They can be found in bright orange, white, or even cream with green veining. I bought a bag of these today for $1.98.  It has five tiny pumpkins (about the size of a short apple.)

I think these would be so cute used as placecards for your Thanksgiving dinner! Get enough for the number of people you’ll be feeding that day. Use a sharpie to write each person’s name on the individual pumpkins. You could do this yourself, or have the children do it as a fun art project.  It could be done freehand or with scrapbooking stencils.

They could be placed on top of a napkin on each plate, or at the head of the silverware, etc. This will add so much color to your table, will make each of your guests feel special, and put a smile on everyone’s faces.  Will only take a  few minutes to do, as well.  Nice!

Now, let’s get cooking! Or…..baking, really.

I have a Twitter friend named Fran (@On_My_Plate on Twitter) who has a lovely food blog called “On My Plate.” She shared this wonderful recipe last year, and I have added it to my permanent collection!  I will be making this cake for my grandbabies someday, Lord willing, because I love it so much. My children love it, too!  It’s simple, a little rustic (which I love, esp. in the fall) doesn’t dirty up your  mixer and doesn’t have to be iced. You just whip up a warm butter sauce to drizzle over individual servings, and you’re ready to serve! The flavor of the warm, tart cranberries in the cake makes my mouth practically jump for joy! They make the cake look beautiful as you cut into it, too.   (The warm butter sauce is my 14 year-old’s favorite; he got extra to drizzle over his third piece of the cake tonight, and as he walked out of the kitchen with it, said, “This sauce is freaking awesome!”

Fair warning. 🙂

Warm Butter Sauce
fresh cranberries
smooth out the top of the cake with a spatula
I love how the cranberries become so juicy they burst!
Dessert Cake with Warm Butter Sauce

2 ¾ cups flour
2 ¼ cups sugar (divided)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups sour cream
½ cup milk
¼ cup oil
½ teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs
3 ½ cups fresh cranberries (this is exactly the amt. contained in the bags at my grocery store)
½ cup butter
½ cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375F.
Grease and flour bottom only of 9×13 pan.
Combine flour, 1 3/4 cups sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt.
Mix well.
In medium bowl, beat sour cream, milk, oil, almond extract and eggs.
Add sour cream mixture to flour mixture.
Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Gently fold in cranberries.
Spoon into prepared pan.
Bake at 375F for 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

In small saucepan, combine 1 cup sugar, 1 stick of butter and the whipping cream.
Bring to a boil.
Simmer over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla.
Serve warm sauce over cake. (20 servings for polite adults…probably ten for teenage boys.)

This photo doesn’t do it justice, trust me, but I had to take a picture inside at night before my kids ate it all! 😉  I hope you’ll try it right now, while fresh cranberries are available in the produce section. They are so full of flavor when cooked! Tastes absolutely nothing like cranberry sauce.  I think you’ll enjoy it.  Let me know, won’t you?  🙂


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