Thanksgiving on the Coast

Recipes, Styling and Words by Jessi Hampton
Photos by Kelli Boyd Photography
Floral Design by August Floral Design
Planning and Design by Stephanie Hoey Interiors and Tara Skinner Events

Centuries ago, the American tradition to give thanks after a plentiful harvest in the form of a gathering on the fourth Thursday of November, was born. Many Thanksgiving traditions have transcended the times, while many have evolved from early English influence to the modern day family. Luckily, our food supply is not as dependent on a successful hunt or gathering at harvest since commercial farming and food availability is plentiful. For that alone, we should give thanks!

Keeping it simple is key, but simple doesn’t have to mean overly traditional. I’m thankful to share this beautiful coastal tablescape and menu ideas for Thanksgiving at the Coast. It was a collaborative creation by a few friends and we hope that you find it inspiring.

When planning the table decor, we loved the idea of dried or natural florals and foliage.  No Southern gathering would be complete without a monogrammed feature—the touch of personalization on the dinner napkins, as well as the mini gourd and driftwood place cards were perfect. We paired coastal finds like oysters, magnolia leaves, and even Spanish moss with natural elements. Note: use the tutorial on our website for preparing the moss for a table—sans the red bugs that might be living in it.

Focusing on seasonal items makes it easy to have a menu of pretty and tasty produce. The selection here allowed for a pairing with Cornish game hens. These birds were the showstoppers of the table and even replaced the traditional turkey. We paired them with scalloped sweet potatoes and a fresh kale, pomegranate, and goat cheese salad. For dessert, we topped it off with a light, beautiful baked pear that offered sweetness and warmth, perfect for Fall.

For you we give our thanks! Enjoy and have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Parmesan Garlic Scalloped Sweet Potatoes


  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes sliced into 1/8-inch–1/4-inch rounds (skin removed if preferred)
  • 4 tablespoons of salted butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Jar of pesto (optional garnish)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a medium sauce pan, melt butter on medium to low heat. Add garlic and sauté approximately one minute. Add flour and stir until well combined with butter and becomes tan in color (1-2 minutes). Reduce heat. Slowly whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil and stir as needed. Remove from heat as it begins to thicken.

In a greased 9×13 inch baking dish, layer half of the sweet potatoes along the base. Pour half of the sauce over the potatoes. Next, sprinkle half of the mozzarella and half of the parmesan on top. Repeat by adding the remaining sweet potatoes, mozzarella, and parmesan.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, until potatoes are fork tender. Remove foil and bake for an additional 25 minutes or until top is golden brown and sauce begins to bubble.

Optional garnish a topper of pesto for each serving.

Additional Ideas

  • Potatoes may be arranged in a pretty pattern of your choice.
  • Make individual servings using oven-safe ramekins instead of using one large pan.

Baked Cornish Game Hens


  • 2 ea 1 1/2-2 lb Cornish game hens
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder


Preheat oven to 400 F. Pat the hens dry with paper towels. Mix olive oil and all remaining ingredients together. Generously brush hens with the oil

and seasoning mixture. Place hens in a roasting pan with wings tucked under allowing space between them if possible.

Bake for approximately 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 165 F. Remove hens from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Using a large knife or kitchen shears you may cut each hen in half making 4 servings or 1 whole hen for 2 servings.

Salt Roasted Pears


  • 4 Bosc pears
  • 3-4 cups salt
  • Jar of caramel sauce (or homemade)
  • 8 oz mascarpone


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cover bottom of an 8×8 inch baking pan with a thin layer of salt. Stand whole pears in the baking dish while adding remaining salt to keep them upright. Leave space between each pear. Bake until the pear is tender. Approximately 1 hour.

To serve Add a scoop of mascarpone to each plate, add 1 whole pear allowing some salt to cling to them then top with a drizzle of caramel sauce.



  • 5 cups kale (approx. 2 bunches, stems,
  • ribs removed, chopped
  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1 cup crumbled goat cheese


Add the kale to a large serving bowl,

add pomegranate dressing, toss until

kale is covered. Top with pomegranate seeds and goat cheese.

Pomegranate Dressing


  • ¾ cup pomegranate juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • Salt to taste


In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Stir well with a small whisk until all ingredients are completely mixed together. Set aside.