This is the first of a two post series on alternative holiday dinners, where I share two ways to celebrate without cooking a big, traditional dinner. For Part 2, click here.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!
Looking back on this holiday season, it is hard to believe that it was less busy than previous years. Our newest addition arrived before Thanksgiving, which means there are now three kiddos ages four and under in our household. So even though we have pared down holiday travel and other things that cause more stress than we care for, life is full.
I decided many months ago that I would not be cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Knowing that we would have a brand new baby at home, and not knowing what her temperament would be or how any of us would be feeling, I did not want to embark on the ambitious task of cooking a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Instead I took the ultimate shortcut – grocery store catering. A couple of years ago, we were in a similar situation of having a brand new baby during the holiday season; except back then, we also moved across the country with our brand new baby and ended up hosting a large family gathering two days after moving into our new place. The pressure of it all really set in the night before move-in, so I did some research and saw that Wegman’s would still let me place an order for Christmas Day. The food was so great that I have been tempted to cater every holiday meal since then.
That brings me back to this year… I looked into several options in our local area, but ultimately went with Earth Fare in Martinez, GA. They offered a good balance of healthier options, price, and portions (many other stores only offered meals for larger groups). Again, the food was delicious. It was a fairly basic dinner – turkey breast, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, green beans, and mashed potatoes – and if I did it over I would probably want to add sweet potatoes. But it was still a solid Thanksgiving dinner and the only thing I had to cook were some baby carrots for my little ones. I think my favorite components of the meal were the cranberry sauce and stuffing, which really says something as those are typically my least favorite part of Thanksgiving.
For dessert we went all in and ordered three pies from The Pie Hole in Augusta, GA. The Pie Hole is a local establishment here that I got hooked on after trying their peach pie last summer. They also sell deliciously fresh coffee roasted locally by Buona Caffe. If you are ever in the Augusta area, I highly recommend checking them out for some pie and coffee. All of their Thanksgiving offerings were so tempting, but we narrowed it down to pumpkin, apple crumble, and chocolate pecan, which I served with homemade whipped cream. My favorite was the apple crumble, and my husband’s was the chocolate pecan. Neither of us knew what to expect from the chocolate pecan, but it turned out to be like a chocolate chip cookie pie. The texture was phenomenal.
There were almost no dishes, and there was virtually no stress. With all of the extra time on Thanksgiving Day, we got to soak in extra time with our kids, go for a long walk, take some family photos, and do some coloring. Speaking of coloring, everyone enjoyed our restaurant-style coloring place mats. We put down an extra-large piece of paper at each place along with some crayons. It made the evening all the more special for our younger party goers.
If ordering a catered meal doesn’t feel festive enough for you, be sure to stay tuned for Part 2, where I will discuss another alternative holiday dinner option!