Monday, November 2, 2020

Countryside Thanksgiving

The countryside, a quiet and picturesque setting, is a perfect place to give thanks and revisit one's blessings during the Thanksgiving holiday.  This year it is more tranquil than usual since family, friends and neighbors are staying close to home.  However, the opportunity to share good wishes for Thanksgiving is still attainable.  There are ways in which one can contribute to the Thanksgiving spirit even during these turbulent times, such as preparing a scrumptious dish to leave at the door of a family member, friend or neighbor.  Although enjoyed separately, a homemade meal is prepared with love and is always welcomed.  It is an appreciated alternative to gathering together for the holiday dinner while there are pandemic restrictions and is a way of staying close, even if it is close at heart.  

Another way to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday is to join me and other tablescape designers who are participating in this week's Thanksgiving Tablescape Blog Hop starting the morning of Tuesday, November 3, 2020.  Ms. Chloe Crabtree has worked hard to organize this end of the year holiday hop which brings big smiles and joy to many readers, especially at a time we are more at home and separated from others during this virus.  So cozy up with a blanket, a cup of tea or coffee and visit each of the links below to take pleasure in the variety of holiday tablescapes.

I decided to entitle this holiday tablescape, Thanksgiving in the Countryside, since my challenge in its design was to use a neutral color palette to exemplify the simplicity and a peaceful calm that living in the country brings.  My choice of table covering led me to combine both an ecru lace tablecloth (a beautiful gift from my sister) and a lovely ecru, taupe and white square/paisley design shawl as a runner.  The gentle colors evokes a sense of tranquility and the decor needed to reflect that as well.  Therefore, a single tray filled with gourds, apples, sprigs of pine and pinecones made a simple and colorful centerpiece which helped to enhance the cream-colored, raised pinecone dinnerware set.

The ecru tablecloth underneath the shawl is pulled back in the photo below to show the lovely lace design.

With the chair pulled out, you can see the delicate lace pattern of the ecru tablecloth.  It is definitely my favorite lace tablecloth.  

Much of my inspiration for this tablescape came from the countryside itself.  Nature---in all of its glory.

Since a large roasted turkey is not on the menu this year for Thanksgiving, dinner is made up of some comfort food.  For this quiet holiday, I will serve up some Beef Roll Mops, just like my mother use to make. (See recipe below.)  Beef round steak slices pounded down for tenderness, lined with bacon slices, onion and spices and rolled up into flavorful rolls brings happiness to both appetite and mood.  The beef roll mops, which mom so lovingly use to make for the family, was always immersed in rich, creamy gravy.  A thick gravy which was poured over buttery mashed potatoes and served with some home canned pickled beets.  What could be more comforting than this along with the wonderful memories?  

Beef Roll Mops

1 1/2 pounds of beef round steak, thinly sliced and pounded 
1/2 pound, smoked, thick sliced bacon
1 or 2 sliced sweet onions
1 - 2 T powdered garlic
2 -3 T butter
2 C beef broth
1 T cornstarch and 1/2 C water to thicken gravy

4 or more dill pickles, lengthwise into quarters

Pound each beef slice to a thin slice and season with garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and turmeric.  Top with slices of back and onion and roll sides in as you roll the beef slice tightly into a roll.  Secure each roll with a wood toothpick and season with spices, if needed.   (You can add a long quartered piece of dill pickle in each roll mop, if you prefer, but I omitted it due to its high salt content.)

Braise the roll mops in the butter until golden brown and add the beef broth.  Cover and cook until tender, making sure the broth doesn't cook out.  Cook until tender and add more broth or water, if necessary.  Thicken the gravy with the cornstarch and water and mix until the appropriate consistency.  Adjust spices, if necessary.  Serve over creamy mashed potatoes and pickled beets.

A glass of Cabernet Sauvignon goes well with the savory beef roll mops and rich chocolate.  To embellish each wine glass, I added my own wood circle wine glass label charm.  Made with small slices of wood painted with chalkboard paint and decorated with gold paper designs (maple leaf, crabapple leaf, apple and evergreen tree) and covered with Mod Podge and fine glitter.  Each one is tied to the stem of the wine glass which adds a slight rustic detail to the table.  

And for dessert, it must include some chocolate.  Since the garden zucchini was shredded and frozen for the winter, a moist chocolate zucchini bread is a great way to finish the day.  

This recipe is a must to share.  So if you have an abundance of shredded zucchini from your garden, give this recipe a try.  You won't be disappointed.

Rich Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

1 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C unsweetened cocoa powdered or Dutch process cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 C soft unsalted butter
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/4 C vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 or 3/4 C brown sugar
1 1/2 C peeled, (deseeded, if too large) shredded zucchini
1 1/4 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

Spray bread loaf pan with cooking spray and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, blend eggs, butter, oil, vanilla and brown sugar.  In a separate bowl blend, flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda.  Slowly, blend mixed dry ingredients with the wet ingredients until blended thoroughly.  Add shredded zucchini and combine.  Add 1 cup of chocolate chips to batter and incorporate.  Pour batter into loaf pan and sprinkle with 1/4 C of additional chocolate chips.   Bake at 350 degrees for 50 - 60 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.  Let cool before removing it from pan.  

One last mention before we move on to viewing some of the finest Thanksgiving tablescapes in the Thanksgiving Blog Hop from Chloe.  I want to take a moment to thank everyone who sent their endearing and heartfelt wishes for the arrival of my grandson, Owen.  I am so glad I had the opportunity to share such good news with you.  I certainly do look forward to being in the "grandma club!"  Thank you so much.

Now saving the best for last......Enjoy these amazing Thanksgiving holiday tablescapes with the thought that we are all together even though we are physically apart.  May you feel thankful and have gratefulness in your heart even during these trying moments.  May God bless all of you and keep you all in his love and protection.


  1. Beautiful table and I will be sure to make your beef roll ups recipe. Your tranquil table scape is definitely an oasis in these uncertain days of 2020. It is always a pleasure to join you in blog hops and see your originality. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  2. Such a sweet intro as a reminder what we all can do to make Thanksgiving a blessing to those around us:)
    Love your paisley shawl as a runner. The quiet colors work so well with the pretty pine cone plates.
    Wonderful to be hopping with you.

  3. Your table and your words are just beautiful and really capture the essence of the holiday. I love how you decorated a neutral table yet infused color with the centerpiece. Wishing you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

  4. Marsha, I always enjoy coming to your tables! Not only do you set the seasonal mood perfectly, you most always seem to share really good recipes. Those each look and sound absolutely delicious!
    Your table really evokes the feeling that nature provides after the trees are defoliated.....a neutral backdrop of branches and dormant grasses, with just a hint of color remaining in the last leaves fallen and fruits remaining. You've done that with very nice texture and tone with the ecru tablecloth and scarf as runner. The centerpiece is your hint of color and the wine and charms are the pops that bring together your countryside theme. As always, a pleasure to take in. May your season of thanksgiving continue to be blessed!

  5. What a lovely tablescape, I love how you named/themed it! Your dinner is so unique too! Looks delicious.

  6. Hi Marsha, your table is beautiful and this year more than ever it is important to be grateful, and celebrate Thanksgiving in anyway we can, not lamenting that we can't have a big gathering, but embracing our blessings. Your pine cone plates and lace tablecloth are beautiful, and your centerpiece of pumpkins and gourds is lovely. Your recipes sound delightful, thank you for including them! Congratulations on your grandson Owen, you truly have a special reason to be thankful this year!

  7. Lovely table with so much meaning. A time to count our blessings. The neutral palette is wonderful. I love the shawl as a table runner. The pine cone plates fit in nicely with the serene styling. The Beef roll ups look so tasty. A pleasure hopping with you. Blessings to you and your family.

  8. The leaf on the serviette is a lovely touch!

  9. SO pretty! I love the tablecloth! I used to have those pinecone dishes and sure wish I still did! I love them! Love your recipes and drink tags too!

  10. Marsha, your table is warm, welcoming and serene. Especially love those pinecone relief plates. Bet they are versatile for fall and winter tables. And, your food has my mouth watering! If it only ends up hubby and I, we will do individual Cornish Game Hens with stuffing. I did that the year I graduated from college and it was only my sister and I. We missed the reset of the family, but it was festive and fun cooking together --- and we both remember that Thanksgiving fondly.

  11. Marsha, I love your well thought out and planned tablescapes. The lace tablecloth is truly beautiful as is the shawl. Your neutral color scheme is perfect with pine cone plates. Your photos of trees are stunning and the food looks delicious. Thanks for sharing your recipes. Wishing you a wonderful season of Thanksgiving!

  12. Marsha, congratulations on your new grandbaby! How exciting! Your home and the outdoor setting around it is just gorgeous! Your beautiful table along with your lovely countryside has all the sights and feels of Thanksgiving. It is getting close to dinner and all that delicious looking food is making me hungry! Thanks for sharing the recipes. I love zucchini bread, but have never had it with chocolate. That sounds yummy! I hope your November is filled with many blessings. Take care!

  13. Wow! I'm trying to get that vision of the chocolate zucchini bread out of my head, it looks amazing! Your tablescape is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for the inspiration.

  14. Oh, you have me with the chocolate zucchini bread!!!! YUM!! Actually, your table is lovely and the combination of the lace cloth and the shawl make a lovely stage where your place settings and centerpiece can perform. You know I have those same dishes! Everytime I use them for a tablescape I get emails from people wondering if I will sell them! Thank you for joining us once again!

  15. Marsha, I love the softer side of Thanksgiving you've shared from the pretty lace tablecloth to your wonderful pine cone dishes. As beautiful as it is, I can't tear my eyes away from your Chocolate Zucchini Bread!! Congratulations on your newest family member and grandson. Wishing you a continued blessings of the season, Happy November ♥

  16. Marsha, I am enchanted with your lovely homestead amid the gorgeous fall trees! So beautiful.
    I have always loved your table surrounded on two sides with windows with such a great view.
    Your lace tablecloth and neutral palette with abundant texture is striking. Very welcoming and perfect for Thanksgiving.
    Wishing you a lovely Thanksgiving and great month of November.

  17. Good Afternoon Marsha,
    I am sitting at my Kitchen table enjoying this lovely Countryside Thanksgiving post. What a lovely property you have and what beautiful views you have to inspire you to create a beautiful home and tablescape. I love the details of your lacey shawl and the character it brings to your beautiful harvest centerpiece. Wonderful recipes that you have shared as well and being late in the afternoon I'd love to dive right in to it all.
    Blessings to you!

  18. Marsha, I LOVE those pine cone dishes! Your countryside Thanksgiving table looks so inviting. The centerpiece with natural elements is just perfect for your outdoor inspired tablescape. The beef roll mops and chocolate zucchini bread looks so good! Thanks for including the recipes. It's always a pleasure to hop with you. Happy Thanksgiving!

  19. Marsha, seeing all your special tabletop touches reminded me of my late mother who so enjoyed setting a beautiful table. Your creativity really shines in autumn!

  20. So many pretty and yummy things here. For sure I am trying those Beef Roll Mops, they look and sound delicious. Your dinnerware is gorgeous and surely has a "countryside" feel to it. The little charms on you beautiful crystal would make a nice take home favor. Wishing you and your family a peaceful and Happy Thanksgiving!

  21. Everything looks so nice and YUM on that chocolate zucchini bread recipe!! Thanks so much for linking up with me at #AThemedLinkup 32 for All Things Thanksgiving. Shared.

  22. Such a pretty table. I love how cozy this feels and of course I love the dishes! Such a pretty tablecloth and look you made wine charms! We were thinking alike weren’t we! Those beef roll mops look delicious but that chocolate zucchini bread looks fabulous!

  23. Beautiful, cozy and inviting table for Thanksgiving. Nothing More beautiful than this time of year for decorating.
    The food looks so yummy. Thanks for the recipe.
    Great place too !

  24. Congratulations, your post has been featured on Full Plate Thursday,510 this week, and we have pinned your post to our Full Plate Thursday Features Board. Thanks so much for sharing with us and you have a great week!
    Miz Helen