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A Fuss-Free Thanksgiving: Celebrating the Fall Holiday, Simplified

A Fuss-Free Thanksgiving: Celebrating the Fall Holiday, Simplified

For most of us, Thanksgiving is going to look a little different this year. But whether that means a smaller gathering, a virtual celebration over Zoom, or a meal with immediate family only, the meaning behind the holiday hasn't changed.

In fact, taking the opportunity to take stock of what we have, express gratitude for our loved ones, and appreciate the things that bring value to our daily lives is something we could all use right now.

While it makes sense for many of us to scale back our usual Thanksgiving Day plans this year, it's still worth marking the occasion in our homes and at our tables. For your celebratory meal, maybe that means roasting a chicken for four instead of a turkey for twelve, and choosing three favourite side dishes rather than cooking up a whole harvest. But even with fewer guests, take the time to set the table with your prettiest dishes, and add some decorative touches to your space. In other words: Host yourself — you deserve it!

The simplest way to inject a dose of autumn joy into your space: buy yourself some flowers. Elaborate tablescapes have their time and place, but we love the look of a single-variety floral arrangement for a simple centrepiece on our dining table. (Bonus: by keeping it to one compact focal piece, you'll have more room for what you're really there for — the food!) Choose your flower variety wisely, and you'll end up with a gorgeous arrangement that can move to your coffee table, kitchen island, or even your front porch — one which you can enjoy long after the Thanksgiving dishes have been cleared away.

Read on for a round up of our favourite seasonal florals for long-lasting fall centrepieces. And as special bonus, we're also sharing a favourite recipe excerpted from one of our new books that's worth making no matter size of the celebration.


Late Season Hydrangeas

Are you surprised, really? It's no secret we love hydrangeas in all stages of bloom, particularly in the fall when they take on a dreamy mix of pink and sunset-coloured hues. They also dry beautifully, preserving their fluffy cotton ball shape for weeks to come.

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Potted Mums

The rows and rows of potted chrysanthemums lined up in front of garden centres and grocery stores are as sure a sign of fall as the changing leaves. A staple for outdoor porch decor, we'd bet money there's a pair flanking your front door as you read this now. They also make a big impact indoors. Place whole plant (with its plastic growers pot) into a basket or large ceramic cachepot before placing it on your table for a dramatic centrepiece.

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Foraged Wildflowers & Branches

More fleeting in nature but near endlessly abundant, wild stems have the extra advantage of being completely free. Take your snips into your back garden (or nearest park) and clip off some stems of black-eyed Susans, aster flowers or Queen Anne's lace, or reach upwards to nip a twig or two off an oak or maple tree for a unique arrangement that won't cost you a penny.

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Pecan Pumpkin Pie

You didn't think we'd leave you without dessert, did you? From Jillian Harris and Tori Wesszer's cookbook, Fraiche Food, Full Hearts, this twist on classic pumpkin pie just might be our new go-to Thanksgiving dessert. Made with a pecan and oat flour crust and luscious, traditionally spiced pumpkin filling. One bite, and you might actually be glad if there are fewer mouths to share it with this year.


Pecan Crust

  • 1 cup (250 mL) pecan halves, toasted
  • 1 cup (250mL) oat flour
  • 1/4 cup (60mL) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (75mL) butter or vegan butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2mL) cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

Pumpkin Pie Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups (375mL) pure pumpkin purée (from a 19oz/540mL can)
  • 1 1/4 cups (300mL) cashew cream
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs well beaten
  • 1 teaspoon (5mL) cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon (5mL) ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon (5mL) nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon (0.5mL) ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1mL) ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1mL) salt



  1. Preheat oven to 350F (180C)

  2. Make the pecan crust. In a food processor, combine the pecans, oat flour, brown sugar, melted butter, cinnamon, and salt. Pulse until the mixture is finely ground and sticks together well when pressed between your fingers.

  3. Tip the pecan mixture into a 10-inch (25 cm) ceramic fluted quiche pan and, using the flat bottom of a glass, press it evenly and firmly onto the bottom and up the sides to form the crust.

  4. Bake for 12 minutes, or until the crust looks slightly cooked but not brown. Set aside.

  5. Make the pumpkin pie filling. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin purée, cashew cream, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and salt. Whisk until smooth.

  6. Pour the filling into the crust and bake until the centre of the pie is set (a butter knife should come out clean), 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely. Store, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Recipe and photography excerpted from Fraiche Food, Full Hearts by Jillian Harris & Tori Wesszer.

Looking for more recipes made for casual (and socially-distanced) celebrations? Pick up the cookbook here:

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