“You can do it all. But you don’t have to.”

That’s the tagline from Whole Foods Market’s Holiday Menu 2014. Last night, hubby and I were guests at an early Thanksgiving Dinner sponsored by Whole Foods Market here in Danbury.

The table was set beautifully. Each plate had this dinner menu.

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On my left, there was a plate of this unbelievably moist Pumpkin Tea Bread made with pumpkin puree and spices.

Pumpkin Bread
Pumpkin Tea Bread

Across me sat the very friendly and entertaining kid foodie Sadie of KidsRFoodies2. Her mom April took Sadie’s videos while we were there. We also met Wendy of The Weight is Over, Meghan of Macaroni Kid and Randi of Cooking with Auntie Ina. It was a pretty small group, which made it seem like a cozy family dinner.

Sadie
Sadie of KidsRFoodies2

Anyway, the food was served family-style. They brought us the food on platters, which we passed to one another. They served us the appetizers and gave us enough time to take pictures. Here’s the Brie en Croute. They sliced it after we took pictures and we all got a piece.

Brie en Croute
Brie en Croute

The one on the left is the usual size of their crab cakes, but for last night’s tasting session, we ate the ones on the right side. It was a tiny morsel of crabby goodness, but enough to satisfy. Plus, we were more than welcome to go for seconds, possibly thirds.

Crab Cakes
Crab Cakes

The third appetizer was the Tornado Shrimp with Sweet Chili Sauce. They wrapped each shrimp in sweet potato string and then fried them until golden brown. I adore sweet chili sauce, so pairing it with the shrimp was just perfect.

Tornado Shrimp with Sweet Chili Sauce
Tornado Shrimp with Sweet Chili Sauce

Which is my favorite of the three appetizers? Tough call. They were all delicious. However, it’s my first time to eat tornado shrimp, so by virtue of novelty, it was my favorite from last night. After all, I’ve eaten brie en croute and crab cakes before.

Then they brought out the centerpiece of any Thanksgiving dinner table – the beautiful turkey!

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Chef Adam was there, ready to teach us how to carve a turkey.

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Last night I learned: carving a turkey begins with good quality knives. Serrated, preferably.

But the secret to carving the turkey well? Carve with a smile!

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Look at how nicely sliced the turkey was.

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For the vegans in the group, they had the Gardein Stuffed Turk’y with Vegan Wild Mushroom Gravy. I was surprised with the gravy because it tasted as good as regular gravy. You wouldn’t feel like you’re settling for something less just because the gravy’s vegan.

Gardein Stuffed Turk'y
Gardein Stuffed Turk’y with Vegan Wild Mushroom Gravy

Since Thanksgiving is a day steeped in tradition, there were the typical Thanksgiving sides such as mashed potatoes, green beans with almonds, cranberry orange relish, stuffing and mashed maple sweet potatoes. The mashed potatoes were nicely buttery, but the mashed maple sweet potatoes totally won me over!

Here’s the properly presented turkey platter. I ate two types of turkey – the first one was kosher turkey, while the other one had rosemary, sage and thyme. Both were extremely full-flavored and succulent. Hubby preferred the herbed turkey; I enjoyed the kosher one.

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Kosher turkey on the left. Herbed turkey on the right with rosemary, sage and thyme.

They introduced us to 12NtM® (anytime, noon to midnight) Sparkling Beverages. Our group almost finished the two bottles last night.

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12NtM® (anytime, noon to midnight) Sparkling Beverages

Three pies, one dinner. They gave us individual plates with a slice of apple, pumpkin and apple crumb pies with whipped cream on the side. Delightful decadence in a plate, really. At that point, I was too full to finish the pies, although I took a bite of each pie. Of the three, my favorite was the classic old-fashioned apple pie. There were enough apples in one slice. The crust was flaky while the apples were firm, and not mushy at all.

Three pies, one dinner. Apple, pumpkin and apple crumb pies.
Apple, pumpkin and apple crumb pies

Pretty pies!

Apple, pumpkin and apple crumb pies
A closer shot of the apple, pumpkin and apple crumb pies

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, it’s good to know that Whole Foods Market offers such great quality items in their catering menu.

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Since we usually go to my sister’s place for Thanksgiving (she’s the Thanksgiving Turkey Queen), I rarely get frazzled about Thanksgiving meals. But I’m considering Whole Foods’ 3-pie deal for $19.99 this year.

If you’d like to spend more time with family and friends on Thanksgiving, you can have a lavish meal and good things to eat from Whole Foods Market. You can buy their food to complete your Thanksgiving menu, or you can buy everything you want to serve your loved ones.

At the end of the night, I was possibly more stuffed than the turkey!

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