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Eat With Your Eyes First

Matt Bites Inspiration Board
When planning the same holiday year after year, how do you keep your celebration fresh and interesting while maintaining a sense of tradition? We asked our favorite bloggers and food people to share what’s inspiring their Thanksgiving planning this year. From ancestor’s recipes and falling leaves, to beautiful piles of ingredients and thoughtful home decor, there was no shortage of imagination. See what motivates some of the most creative minds we know, and then start planning your annual feast.

Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday at our house, because it’s a time for us to give thanks for all the joys of the year. We are thankful for friends, family, our work, being alive, you name it. We love it so much that we usually host two Thanksgiving meals: a pre-run that we call Friendsgiving, as well as a giant meal on the big day. Yes, it’s double the work, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Even though we celebrate twice, my inspiration and goals for the meal are the same: to create a visual bounty that’s in line with amazingly delicious food. Since I’m a big believer in eating with your eyes first, my table is always thoughtfully planned out around a theme. Last year was a delightful mixing and matching of colors and textures, while this year will be about jewel tones with a focus on purple and orange. These colors have always been so regal and special to me, and they complement the browns and deep greens of the food itself.

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Braised Cabbage with Creamy Spicy Mustard Sauce

Looking back, I think cabbage got a bum deal in the vegetable world when I was growing up. It only showed up during summer picnics in the form of coleslaw, sometimes in my mother’s caldo, a Mexican soup, and during St. Patrick’s Day meals.I wanted to change this by creating a dish that’s worthy of cabbage as the star, something that can be enjoyed all year long.

This braised cabbage takes all the spices of traditional Corned Beef & Cabbage, but dresses them up with a Creamy Spicy Mustard Sauce; it’s a fantastic main dish, suitable for my vegetarian friends, and so completely satisfying. Braising isn’t only for meat – you’ll be surprised with the silky and savory results you can get from slow braising vegetables.

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