Thanksgiving decorations can easily work into a buffet set up. Place cutlery into a cornucopia basket or roll them into napkins circled with a decorative sprig of fall leaves and acorns and place near the plates, for example.

by Charlene Marcum; Photos by Frank Caramanica

Agonizing over the exhaustion of spending a week preparing a Thanksgiving dinner that is eaten in 30 minutes?
Join the movement away from the traditional Thanksgiving table this holiday season and serve a decadent brunch instead.
Take the opportunity to create a new tradition for the changes in time or alter annually between old and new traditions.
Most importantly, enjoy the bounties of the harvest with family and friends.
There are some good reasons to change the tradition this year:
• Eating a large meal earlier in the day is better for your digestion;
• Brunch could give you time to rest up for early Black Friday shopping or enjoying more time with family friends; and
• Spend more time relaxing and enjoying the holiday instead of being in the kitchen for hours preparing and cleaning up.
Arrange serving stations the night before Thanksgiving.
The main dishes can be served in the dining room on the table or buffet:
• Stack plates at one end;
• Place cutlery into a cornucopia basket or roll them into napkins circled with a decorative sprig of fall leaves and acorns and place near the plates; and
• Set out antique jelly glasses near a serving pitcher of apple cider or champagne punch.
The desserts can be displayed on the kitchen table/counter with the coffee maker/machine:
• Have an assortment of flavored teas and coffee with flavored creams;
• Use a seasonal wreath as a centerpiece with a candle in the center; and
• Play soft seasonal music in the background;
You can use the same ingredients from the traditional holiday fare in a more simplified manner:
• Pumpkin: Pancakes, muffins, scones and breads;
• Turkey: Tacos, sandwiches, casserole and Ala’ King;
• Stuffing: Croquettes, sandwiches, egg, turkey and cheese casserole;
• Cranberries: Whole berry sauce, muffins, cookies, drinks, sandwiches;
• Pecan pie in bit size tarts;
• Pumpkin pie (of course);
• Apples: drinks, cocktails, cider and sliced in sandwiches; and
• Sweet potato pie and casserole.
Cranberry Sauce
(Very simple, quick to make and totally delicious)
1 cup sugar
4 cups or 12-ounce package of fresh cranberries
1 cup water
1 quarter-teaspoon ground cardamom
1 quarter-teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 quarter-teaspoon ground allspice
Clean and drain cranberries.
Boil water and sugar on high heat until dissolved.
Add cranberries, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add cardamom, cinnamon and allspice.
Pour in container to cool and refrigerate for four hours or until thickened.
Stuffing, Turkey, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
(8 servings)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
10 whole large eggs
3 cups stuffing (bread or cornbread)
1 cup shredded turkey (can substitute bacon or sausage)
1 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
Whisk eggs until mixed-add salt. and pepper. In a separate dish mix stuffing, turkey and one cup of cheese.
In a well-greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish, pour in stuffing, turkey and cheese into baking dish.
Pour whisked eggs on top.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
Sweet Potato Pie
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust
2 whole eggs
1 cup of sugar
half-cup milk
1 pound sweet potatoes cooled and peeled (bake, boil or microwave potatoes)
1 half-cup of butter softened
1 half-teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 half-teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Put sweet potatoes into bowl and mix with butter.
Add sugar, milk, eggs, and spices and mix well.
Pour into unbaked piecrust.
Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Stuffing Croquettes
2 tablespoons of melted butter
2 cups of stuffing
2 large whole eggs
three-quarter-cup all purpose flour
1 cup breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease or line with parchment a baking sheet.
Mix flour, eggs, butter and stuffing.
Form into pyramids shapes.
Roll in breadcrumbs.
Arrange on baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
(Optional: Serve with turkey gravy)