A Thanksgiving at Le Papillon to Savor
Thursday November 24, 2022

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Handel’s harp concerto in B-flat gently nudges the house awake on this Thanksgiving morning, and I am peering out into a day that will be shared entirely in the company of my pups, and I am grateful.

Nelle has decided she would check in on Norman who lays deeply in sleep, placing her right paw on his shoulder, he laying stretched out on his right. She nuzzles his ear, sniffs his eye, all her ‘subtle’ inquiry of whether he is ready to get up as she and begin the day. Norman remains stoic . . . for a few more moments, but then is up remembering breakfast follows a long night’s slumber.

When I welcomed Nelle into our family this autumn, I gladly chose to anchor my Thanksgiving at Le Papillon, keeping it simple and cozy. Not having all of her shots just yet, and knowing an extended day of travel (and then back home) would be a bit much with a young pup, I began to quite look forward to sharing our first Thanksgiving together in Bend, just us three. And if I am being honest, both while legitimate reasons for staying home, it gave me even more reason for doing exactly what I longed to do.

Thanksgiving 2022, the first Thanksgiving at Le Papillon with no construction nor half-completed projects in vital rooms (i.e. bathrooms), and the freedom to choose, or should I say, now exercise the courage to choose how we truly want to spend the holiday.

I have learned that it is far healthier to determine a decision that differentiates itself from past choices when motivated by what we long to do rather than by what we dread. First, the former motivating factor shifts our energy into one of excitement even if with a drop of fear which is actually uplifting and creates even more energy to more deeply enjoy our choice rather than a decision grounded in pain or negativity which drains our well-being.

And so it is with great giddiness that I am spending my Thanksgiving at home accompanied by my two pups. The seasonally lavish menu is planned and with half of my day off (the This & That post will be created and ready to be posted for Friday on the blog full of sales not to miss), having reveled in the bustling at the grocery markets earlier this week picking up the many items that are not found year-round and selecting other ingredients less often purchased unless the winter holidays have arrived, I am eagerly awaiting time in my kitchen (with of course, the help of my two sous chefs ☺️??). Such an occasion as shopping for food, signals the beginning of the holiday season, and I was all too many smiles – grateful to be able to do as I was, for the first time, restriction-free, in my hometown, bringing the loot of the feast home to Le Papillon.

Gratitude abounded yesterday as unexpectedly one of my burners refused to ignite this past weekend, and with the technician able to arrive before the big cooking day, he informed me how to solve (and prevent) the problem, which was . . . I simply needed to clean my burners better (tough love I needed to hear ?), and thankfully suggested some scratch-free cleaners which I picked up tout de suite later in the afternoon and went to work. I am happy to inform those who are curious, each burner not only now works, but looks nearly new (and my fingers have now temporarily been scoured as well ☺️, but it was ohhhhh so worth it).

Occurring this Thanksgiving week, I connected deeply, honestly and lovingly with old friends and new, personal and business, taking me out on the town for aperitifs at two different locations, one new in Bend and one a trusted and beloved favorite locale while also serendipitously connecting with a kindred spirit whose calm presence and living of life as they do inspired and soothed.

After enjoying a breakfast with the special addition of bacon and a slice of toast from a favorite artisan loaf slather in French salted butter that will soon become stuffing, the pups and I will be heading up to the mountain to find some snow to either snowshoe in or just walk about if the snow is yet to come. The sky shares its brilliant blue magnificence in Bend today and I am grateful to be able to be myself, letting go of any false embodiments to go through the motions on a holiday I greatly love for its theme of gratitude and gathering around food.

It takes time to realize you have worn a mask of survival, whether not having the courage to say no, not having the knowledge of why you want to say no or not knowing exactly what brings you joy and contentment (find out how to unearth this for your unique self here on the blog and TSLL’s books), but when you begin to assemble the puzzle of knowing, the joy in the savoring of what you begin to welcome into your life becomes a magnet attracting similar and loving beings into your days and experiences. And while I have chosen to be in my own company this year, there are people I will no doubt savor this festive meal with in coming years including some I have with in the past. However, today, I am in this moment and I am oh so grateful to have a space of calm, a place full of love and play, delicious fare and celebration to simply be in good health.

Sometimes our holidays want to be atypical, and when we choose to let go and let them be as they desire, they usually have their magical way of offering us something more delicious than we could have imagined or even planned.

Maybe it is the introvert in me that is drawn to such a day to savor on a day when most are gathered with others, but I actually liken it to my life finally finding its true foundational footing having found the courage to be brave and honoring what arises and piques my curiosity.

To all TSLL readers, thank you for your interest and time shared when you stop by the blog. A special thank you to readers Anne and Jim and to David Jimenez (mark your calendars for December 7th when David will be a guest on the podcast discussing his new book) for their Thanksgiving wishes sent this week, and to everyone celebrating Thanksgiving today, wishing you an abundance for which to be grateful and a scrumptious day of savoring food, company, new traditions and old.

A glimpse at my day. First, Nelle, helping me with this post. ?


While aspects of my day will hint at tradition – a turkey will be involved ? , the rest will be a treat to experience as it unfolds (a peek at my menu below). Bonne journée and thank you for stopping by.

Le Menu à Le Papillon

  • Turkey Thigh with homemade stuffing with mushrooms
  • Chou Farci (a classic French dish, translated as whole roasted stuffed Savoy cabbage)
  • Sweet Potato Gratin (as I heard sweet potatoes were far less expensive than potatoes at the moment; although, I must confess, sweet potatoes are a treat, and I would have chosen them anyway☺️)
  • A platter of a couple of French cheeses
  • Pear Tart au Tain
  • and because it’s Thanksgiving, a Bourbon Pumpkin Tart (see below)
  • Sparkling wine and Beaujolais

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35 thoughts on “A Thanksgiving at Le Papillon to Savor

  1. What a lovely picture at the top of the post! My husband and I also enjoy spending the actual holiday(and all holidays..) with only each other’s company, and of course, the cats??. The past weekend we enjoyed Thanksgiving with relatives, complete with turkey, oyster stuffing, sweet potatoes, etc and a very special sweet treat, Cajun Kringle–similar to a King Cake, but filled with praline cream, and covered with brown sugar caramel sauce and pecans. ( It’s quite good with coffee with a splash of Bailey’s Irish Creme?.) Your menu sounds soooo delicious! We’re having lasagne,(I made the bolognese sauce yesterday), garlic bread, green salad, apple turnovers, english cheeses, a soft cabernet, and a sparkling white. (My husband loves to start decorating the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving. We picked it up Tuesday, stuck it in a bucket of water, and brought it in late yesterday afternoon, much to the delight of the cats…)
    Shannon, I want to thank you for all you do here at TSLL, I am so very grateful for your creativity, kindness, and the special place you have created here. Love and blessings of the Universe to you, Norman, and Nelle. Happy Thanksgiving!!xoxo?

    1. Rona,

      I am so grateful for all that you have shared (and especially your menu!). My mouth is watering. 🙂 Have a festive and joyous time both at your meal today and kicking off the Christmas decorating season. What fun! xoxo

    2. Happy Thanksgiving, Rona! 🙂 Your menu sound delicious – got me curious about Cajun Kringle (is there a recipe?). And glad, of course, that your cats are helping you (and your husband) with the Christmas tree. 😉

      1. Thank you, Isabel! We happily purchased the Cajun Kringle from a well-known New Orleans bakery, so, alas, I do not have the recipe ?.
        Yes, the cats are VERY helpful in both decorating the tree and then re-designing the decorations throughput the season. VERY helpful.?
        So happy you now have snow to enjoy! Have a wonderful weekend!❄️??

        1. Your menu sounds delightful. I have never heard of Cajun Kringle either but I suspect as a regional specialty, we are not likely to find it in the Northeast! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and the kitties as well.

    3. Happy thanksgiving chère Rona. Sounds delicious. Putting me in the mood now to start my Xmas preparations this weekend. Holidays can be tricky with family but I think choosing to celebrate your own way is more authentic but does take some courage to get the message across.
      Have fun Kameela ??xx

      1. (Thought I was replying to you specifically, but, oh dear, no. So forgive the re-post, just want to make sure you receive it. ??)
        Thank you, ma chère Kameela! I so love the decorations and festivities of the Yule season, and the shift in weather. Maintenant, il fait pleut avec un peu de vent, et le ciel est plein de nuages gris…c’est parfait!!
        Happy decorating! xoxo Rona

      2. I cannot imagine a holiday without family. I remember one Christmas, several years ago, my children were living some distance away, and elderly family was snowed in, I had lost my electricity. My husband and I, with dogs and cat had settled down to what was prepared ahead of time, the fireplace was boiling water for tea and I heard a plowing sound coming through the trees. Coming along the driveway, with a snowplow attached to his truck, my oldest son cleared the way, the elders had been hoisted up to the back seat, pies in hand and the second son was behind him, with 2 dogs, and friends. We had one of our best holidays ever. To this day my son tells me that he was coming, even if he had to walk. There are only 3 of us left now and we have since installed a large generator so that will never happen again, but I have no control over the snow. We all have our customs and traditions, and that is what makes our world so special. Being able to be who you are, what you want from life, and how you choose to spread your brand of joy.

          1. Thank You dear Rona, our memories are so special and I review them often, now again, another holiday is soon upon us! Enjoy the preparation, that is half the fun!

        1. Lucy, that is such a special memory , what an amazing day you must all have had ❤️
          I know that all your loved ones will be remembered in your Thanksgiving celebrations , and that even though there are just three of you left now, those happy memories of other thanksgivings, especially that one , will warm your hearts and bring happy smiles .
          With love
          x Anne x

          1. Thank you Anne for your kind words. It was a great day and wonderful memories all around. We still laugh about it because after our interesting dinner, we had to make sure everyone got home safely! Holiday adventures. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving too.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving, Shannon. I hope you have a lovely day. I am eternally grateful for your blog, your books and your wisdom. Thank you. Ellen

  3. Happy thanksgiving Sharon! I love that you’re following your heart and spending the day exactly the way you want. I’m enjoying your post on a local park bench as I take an hour alone to walk and be on my own before an afternoon surrounded by family. Much needed peaceful moment!

    1. Peggy,

      I thoroughly enjoyed reading your comment, seeing how you are honoring what your well-being needs. What a rejuvenating idea. Wishing you a wonderful dinner and a delightful excursion outdoors. Thank you for stopping by and a most happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. xo

  4. Happy Thanksgiving Shannon. Your plans for the day sound lovely, and I too have learned how important it is to stop and enjoy the simpler things in life rather than rushing around. For me today is about a traditional but scaled down Thanksgiving dinner, yoga, a house filled with music, and a quiet moment in my favorite chair reading a book. Warm Regards, Susan

    1. Susan,

      Thank you for sharing your day with us for a lovely Thanksgiving. Such balance and appreciation (and no doubt deliciousness). Grateful for your readership and for stopping by today. Happy Thanksgiving. xo

  5. Happiest of Thanksgiving wishes to you, Shannon and a special thank you for all you do to make our lives a little more luxurious.
    Your menu sounds scrumptious, and I found myself quickly looking up recipes for those that were unfamiliar. I am most intrigued by the Sweet Potato Gratin as are traditional casserole either includes marshmallows or a praline topping (my preference). I have never even considered Gruyere. The Chou Farci sounds wonderful as well.
    Enjoy your day and your sweet pups.


  6. Happy Thanksgiving, Shannon! Great menu…. yummy. All the best, have a splendid day in the company of your two little ones!

    And of course, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the TSLL community celebrating today, solo or in company! 🙂

  7. Happy thanksgiving Shannon. It’s only fitting that you get to savour this special time in your lovely home with Norman and Nelle. Your menu is more than a feast for one. It takes courage to go against the norm when it comes to the holidays but we must stay true to ourselves and do what is right for us not slavishly following what has gone on before.
    I start my Xmas preparations this Sunday with preparing the mince meat for the mince pies and the maceration of the dried fruits for the Xmas cake and the Xmas pudding .
    Wishing you and the furry babies a lovely cosy day. Bonnes fêtes. Kameela ?xx

  8. Thank you, ma chère Kameela! I so love the decorations and festivities of the Yule season, and the shift in weather. Maintenant, il fait pleut avec un peu de vent, et le ciel est plein de nuages gris…c’est parfait!!
    Happy decorating! xoxo Rona

  9. Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for the beautiful harp concerto. I have been longing to listen to some harp music. Your quiet Thanksgiving sounds peaceful and cozy with the pups. Yes, there will be future times to spend the holiday with others, when little one is ready to be out there.

  10. Shannon, I hope you enjoyed your day and the amazing feast. Sounds like there will be plenty of leftovers. Preparations for Christmas have already begun here with the Christmas cake and pud maturing and mincemeat made and waiting for the first mince pies to be made. I know that thanksgiving is about being thankful so I will add my thanks for all you do and share. X

  11. Your Thanksgiving sounded delightful! I must share with you that I made David Lebovitz’s Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Sauce and it was a very grand finale. I thank-you for sharing that recipe!!!!!! Also made the Apple Galette a few weeks ago with a recipe you shared awhile back. Great reviews here. You must do a cookbook at some point.
    May your holidays be special to you to savor, love, and bask in their delights.
    Best, Robin

    1. Robin,

      Thank you so much for sharing and so happy the Pumpkin cheesecake was a hit last night! 🙂 Wishing you a wonderful holiday season as well and what a delicious way to begin it all! 🙂

  12. Dear Shannon,
    Your Thanksgiving sounds heavenly, and I so hope that the work of the day, the cooking of the afternoon (with tea pause?), and the delight of the meal all flowed along as a long and beautiful day to remember.
    Curt and I had the last lingerings of a cold, so our gathering was cancelled very late in the game. I felt badly about the timing, yet what emerged was a sweet celebration with just us three, and with our daughter back from college for such a short time on her first holiday, I’m tearfully grateful to spend this time together with her, and able to focus so much more completely. We cooked together…Roasted Provençal mushrooms with champagne to start, then a very small turkey, my mother’s simplest dressing, braised garlic green beans, and cranberries in red wine. Apple blackberry crisp with soft cream.
    I can’t think of any other experience in my life such as this one you have created Shannon. You bring people together in ways which lift the connection up out of regular digital experience, and into something real and meaningful. Thank you ?
    And wishes to all for joy over the long weekend! So appreciate your lovely voices here.

    1. Liz,

      Thank you for sharing the menu and the day that was a very special Thanksgiving for your family. It sounds divinely delicious, and grateful your daughter came home to celebrate with you. I do hope you and your husband are feeling better and thank you very much for your incredibly kind words. I am more grateful to receive them than you might know. xoxo

  13. I am thankful for The Simply Luxurious Life Community and Shannon, I hope you had a lovely day with your pups. My goodness, my mouth is watering from the descriptions of all this incredible food, and the stories are so heart warming. Many blessings to all!

  14. Shannon, Sounds like a great way to spend the holiday with your precious pups. Your menu sounded wonderful. I, too, use turkey thighs when preparing a mini Thanksgiving meal for one or two people as is usually the case. They work out perfectly. ??

  15. Shannon, this was a lovely post to read and your Thanksgiving celebration sounds quite lovely!
    Thank you for reminding us all that you are worth the time it takes to prepare and enjoy a delicious and decadent meal even when alone. I can’t imagine how relaxing and enjoyable it was with the pups.
    Cuddles to Nelle and Norman

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