If you know me, then you know how much I love to host dinner parties. I plan them weeks in advance down to the smallest detail. I look at it as my guests take time out of their lives to come over, so I want to make my dinner parties memorable. It’s my way of saying thank you & letting them know how much I appreciate them.
I do have an advantage though. My husband is an executive chef and one of my closest friends is a catering manager, so they always let me borrow table clothes, napkins, votives, and sometimes even decor. 😊
Moving away from the place I grew up in was hard. It was exceptionally hard to leave my family and friends. Even though the drive back home is less than 2 hours, I rarely visit and when I do I’m usually visiting my husband’s parents or mine. With having 2 kids, a husband, and a full time job it’s hard to make time for yourself, let alone friends. So this year I decided to host Friendsgiving. Plus some of the friends we’ve made up here don’t have the luxury of spending the holiday with their family so I thought it would be nice to let them know we may not be family by blood, but we consider them family, by choice. Bonus, I get to host. Win, win!
Ok, now let’s talk tablescaping.
I always try to use greenery or foliage. It’s is a fairly inexpensive way to give the table a touch of elegance. This year I used seeded & regular eucalyptus. I bought the seeded kind through a local florist for $2.50 a stem and the regular eucalyptus from Trader Joe’s for $2.99! I spent a total of $20 on the foliage. Not bad for the beauty it brings to the table! I simply laid the stems down the table around the brass candle sticks and glass candle holder, then added a few green votives. It took no time at all to put it together once I figured out what I wanted to do.
I borrowed the napkins and tablecloth from my husband’s work. I really wanted white napkins, but he could only get me gold. I actually really like the gold against the white dinnerware. Plus, we didn’t have to pay for them so no complaints on my part.
I didn’t have enough matching napkin rings for all the place settings, so I got creative and mixed and matched. When I ran out of napkin rings I used twine. I wasn’t really ok with this at first, but I think the mismatched look gives it character. Add a sprig of fresh rosemary to the napkin ring and lay the napkin over an old book page and you’ve got yourself a lovey and simple table setting.
Oh, one more thing! Name cards, but instead of writing a name, I wrote down a question. Not all of my guests knew each other and we ALL know how awkward that can be, so I wrote conversation starter questions on the cards like, “what is the most spontaneous this you have ever done?” Or “what is you favorite holiday movie?” It was a fun way to get us all talking.
I also mixed and matched the chairs and even used our white bench from the hallway. Mainly because I didn’t have enough chairs in the first place. My good friend Julianne helped me out in my time of need and brought me 4 white folding chairs from her work. 🙌🏼 Thank the hosting Gods, otherwise some guests would have been standing. 😂
Our menu consisted of: chicken noodles, mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, green bean casserole (my all time favorite), bourbon cranberry sauce (the recipes for the bourbon cranberry sauce is at the bottom of this post), & turkey, of course! You can’t have a Thanksgiving style meal and not have turkey.
My wonderful hubby brined it the day before & made it look fancy. He did a great job! I definetly couldn’t have done all this without him. See look how yummy it looks. 🦃
We also served a cheese tray while my hubby & I finished up the cooking. The cheeses we used were: semi soft cheese, spiced cheddar (that was the guest favorite), and organic white cheddar with fig jam. It was a big hit! 😋
We served pumpkin pie & apple pie made by yours truly. ☺️ I glitzed them up from their traditional look. I mean, let’s be serious. Pumpkin pie usually looks bland. So I used mini letters to church it up. The guests really liked it. I also made one that said “GRATEFUL”, but it was eaten before I had a chance to photograph it. 😂 #bloggerproblems
I found this amazing drink on Crate & Barrels’s Blog I did a taste test before the day and it tastes exactly as described on their blog, like fall. 🍂
I took it one step further and made sugar coated cranberry & rosemary ice cubes. Again, all in the details.
Look how pretty they make the drink. 😍
Step 1: In a medium pot put 3 cups of fresh cranberries in water over low/medium heat. Make sure water is covering all the cranberries.
Step 2: Add 1 cup of sugar to the pot and stir until well blended.
Step 3: Bring the cranberries to a simmer. Do not boil. This will cause the cranberries to pop. You want to keep them whole.
Step 4: Drain the cranberries and put in a mixing bowl. Add 2 cups of sugar and use your hands to mix the sugar & cranberries.
Step 5: Cut the fresh Rosemary into 1/2 inch sections.
Step 6: Fill the ice cube trays a little over half full. You’ll need the extra room for the cranberries and Rosemary.
Step 7: Add 2-3 sugar coated cranberries to each of the ice cube compartments as well as 1 of the Rosemary clippings. The sugar will come off the cranberries, but when the ice melts in the drink, it gives it that extra sweet taste.
Step 8: Put the ice cube trays in the freezer.
Serve with the cranberry Bourbon smash drink and enjoy!
I am so pleased with how everything turned out. Everyone left with full bellies and smiles on their faces, so I chalk that up as a successful Friendsgiving feast!
Well friends that’s it for this post. I hope I inspired you for the upcoming holiday. My bourbon cranberry sauce recipe is listed below. Happy Holidays! Xoxo
- 1 package of cranberries
- 1 cup of water
- 1.5 cups of sugar
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup of Jim Beam Bourbon
- Fresh rosemary to garnish
Step 1: Put the package of cranberries in a medium pot with 1 cup of water. Bring to a simmer.
Step 2: Add the sugar, vanilla, and bourbon and stir.
Step 3: Turn the burner to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Make sure to stir frequently.
Step 4: Put the cranberry sauce in a bowl and garnish with rosemary.
Serve and enjoy! This is a super simple recipe and oh so yummy!