Happy Camerican Thanksgiving! A Pre-Thanksgiving Feast

on November 26, 2013

We are a blender family. We used to say blended.. or I did.. now we just say blender. It’s more us. As many of you blender families know, to survive the holidays, what with visitation and the constant coming and goings of every day, you need complete flexibility and a willingness to bend the holiday rules if necessary, to ensure that you have a meaningful season regardless of who’s year it is to have the kids. Having the desire and ability to move the days you celebrate on a whim, with really understanding friends and family, doesn’t hurt either. We don’t always master those things, but we do our very best. Rum and eggnog helps. Kidding. Mostly.

The table, complete with these fun, coppery, spoon-art candle hurricanes

We share custody of two of our girls, and alternate holiday visitation every year. This year, our daughters will spend Thanksgiving with their other parents and their families. Although you get used to it, and it is important for children to spend time with all of their family, it is hard to not see your child on a major holiday. We’ve been doing this a while, and have a plan that works well for us – to compensate for not being with them on the actual holiday, we often plan a pre-celebration on a different day. We, of course, don’t want to take away from the importance of the actual holiday, but we still want them to know how important it is for us to celebrate with them, even if it doesn’t fall on the right day of the calendar. We’ve found that giving the day we celebrate a whole new name all on it’s own, has given us a whole new reason to celebrate and something new to look forward to on off years.. And, so it was that Ca-merican Thanksgiving was born. Actually, we are still figuring out what to name it – Shay favors Canadican Thanksgiving, I’m all about Ca-merican Thanksgiving. Regardless, what it boils down to (ha! pun!) is a big dinner with all the fixin’s, to be shared with all of our children and some great friends, who, we a) really are thankful for, b)think of as family, and c) lucky for us, are willing to eat turkey twice in a week.

A leftover pumpkin gains a new life as a turkey centerpiece, complete with our national flags. 

Camerican (or Canadican) stands for Canadian and American Thanksgiving, but what it really stands for is A Canadian and An American making their own rules and days to be thankful. In case you are wondering, I’m the Canadian. It’s also a way for me to pass on some of the traditions from my time growing up Canadian

in a more meaningful way. Maybe it’s just another excuse for me to eat too much and throw a party.. because apparently, I need another one!?

Holiday crackers – a family tradition 

In creating the menu, I tried to serve dishes that were at least slightly different than we’d all be having this coming Thursday, the real Thanksgiving day.

I had some help – our friends brought yummies to share. Unfortunately, I do not have those recipes, but I can share some that are comparable.

The menu was as follows:
Apple Orchard Punch
Coffee with Pumpkin Spice Liquor (following dinner)

Mixed and pistachio nuts
Veggie and dip tray
Cheese, summer sausage and cracker platter, with cream cheese and bread and butter pickles on the side
Goldfish – yes, I know. So sophisticated.

Main course
Pineapple-glazed Ham
Simply Roasted Turkey
Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes
Steamed Green Beans
Caramelized Brussel Sprouts with Bacon
Baked Mashed Potatoes
Waldorf Salad
Macaroni and Cheese
Turkey Pizzas – kid friendly food!
Scissor Rolls with Honey Butter
Cinnamon-Sugar Kuchen

Pumpkin Cheesecake with a gingersnap/graham cracker crust
Chocolate Cream Pie
Mini Apple-Crisps
Pumpkin Pie Tarts
Pecan Pie Bars
White Chocolate Pudding with Nutterbutter Accorns

We started with a yummy, refreshing punch and simple appetizers, consisting of mixed nuts and pistachios, a veggie and dip tray, and a cracker, cheese and sausage tray. A bowl of goldfish was a favorite of the kids. I’m weird, I love bread and butter pickles with my sausage and cheese cracker sandwiches and I also love canned oysters, packed in oil, with cream cheese and crackers. You’ll also find a bit of both pickles and oysters on the counter.

For our main course, we offered both ham and turkey. The turkey was a simple roasted bird, stuffed with carrots, onion and celery, coated in butter and salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. The recipe can be found here.


The ham, marinated in a pineapple, brown sugar and spiced rum marinade soaked for 24 hours before being baked to perfection – Yes, we know that ham is usually a Christmas treat, but that’s just how we roll on Camerican Thanksgiving! The ham was sweet, and slightly smoky – it’s a family favorite.


For both the sweet and mashed potatoes, I tried something new – both amazing. The sweet potato recipe came from Rachel White and I can’t even tell you how good they were. They were just the right amount of sweetness, the texture was perfect, and the baked marshmallows on top – it was like all of my sweet potato dreams coming true at once!


The potatoes, baked mashed potatoes with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs, were a food network recipe from Giada De Laurentis. We skipped the breadcrumbs, but loved, loved, loved the mix of parmesan and mozzerella cheese. 401 Reviews gave the recipe 5 stars – we concur! I do believe we’ve found a new favorite! It was super easy, and could be made up to 6 hours early, freeing up the oven for other things like.. a ham.. and a turkey.


 Mini pizzas all dressed up as fun and funky turkeys gave the kids something to talk about. Pillsbury pizza dough and turkey pepperoni, with turkey printouts made making them not only a snap, but fun!

This brussel sprout dish is always a pleasant surprise – even by determined brussel sprout haters! Brussel sprouts are roasted along with bacon, shallots and pure maple syrup. This recipe has become a family favorite that we sometimes have just because. Even if you are not a lover of the brussel sprout, I would highly recommend giving this a try. You won’t be sorry! 

We rounded the meal off with homemade scissor rolls complimented by honey butter, courtesy of Melinda, Macaroni and Cheese, thanks to Jolie, and kuchen or, kucha, the way I pronounce it, a favorite pastry to be served with turkey or ham. Kucha is like a german coffee cake – a very thin, yeasty, sweet dough shell, filled with custard and lots of cinnamon and sugar, and baked to perfection. There are many versions of kuchen – our family enjoyed something similar to what you see below. My grandmother made the best kucha – I’ve spent years trying to get close to the same texture and taste, which is a bit hard, because I only make it once every year – this year was the closest! 

Next up, dessert!

Melinda slaved over and brought an amazing pumpkin cheesecake with a graham AND gingersnap cookie crust. It was AMAZING. You can find a similar recipe here.


We also served apple crisp bites.. bite-size bundles of oh, so good apple crisp. Chelsea has a plethora of amazing recipes to share – do take a look around her site if you have the time.


Pumpkin pie tarts, using a basic pie crust (I used kroger brand refrigerator crust), and a no-bake filling  – again, amazing, and so, so easy. I used a scallop-edged flower cookie cutter and a muffin pan to pre-bake our shells, and then filled with this no-bake filling. We topped with whipped cream right before serving. Yum!


Pecan pie bars rounded out the list of more traditional desserts with a bit of a twist – a shortbread crust, with an ooey, gooey topping had me eating more than my fair share of these. I’ll probably be working them off until Christmas, at least.

White chocolate pudding cups, dipped in chocolate and seasonal sprinkles, with hershey kiss and nutterbutter acorns were a fun and kid-friendly addition to the dessert table. This idea came from Stephanie Keeping at Spaceships and Laserbeams, a favorite blog of mine. Stephanie’s version below is so much prettier!

Store-bought cupcakes and chocolate pie ensured there were plenty of choices to feed our sweet tooth!

My beautiful daughter, Megan

The evening was filled with great food, great conversation, many shenanigans, even more laughs, and much love. As always, we have much to be thankful for. Here is hoping you have just a great a day celebrating the ones you love! Happy Thanksgiving!

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1 Comment

  • Cindy deRosier

    I love everything about this, from your blender family to your Camerican Thanksgiving!

    January 2, 2017 at 7:25 pm Reply
  • Leave a Reply

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