Our Festive Friendsgiving Feast

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. πŸ™ŒπŸΌ Thank the hosting Gods, otherwise some guests would have been standing. πŸ˜‚


Now let’s talk food. 

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. πŸ¦ƒ 


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! πŸ˜‹ 


Now for the very best part (in my opinion). Dessert!

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. πŸ˜‚ #bloggerproblems

With dinner we served  a signature cocktail. Cranberry Bourbon Smash. 

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. πŸ‚

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. 😍


Ingredients:

  • Cranberries
  • Rosemary
  • Sugar

You also need ice cube trays. I reused the trays I bought to make baby K’s baby food. I don’t make his food any longer, but I’m so glad I kept them! 

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.

Tip: I used my hands to mix the sugar and cranberries to prevent the cranberries from bursting. 

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.

Tip: Keep the remaining sugar coated cranberries as garnish for the drinks.

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


Bourbon Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 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! 

Caramel Apple Recipe 🍎

I love the holiday season. Spending time with family, friends, and of course all the baked goodies and treats. This year I wanted to attempt homemade caramel apples for Halloween and boy am I happy I did. To give them that Halloween touch I used twigs instead of wooden rods. Spooky huh? Ok maybe not that spooky, but that’s about as crazy I get around Halloween. I’m an easy scare. ☹️

Now let’s talk caramel.


Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

This recipe yields 5-7 servings


Caramel Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of Kayro syrup
  • 2 cups (packed) dark brown sugar

You’ll also need:

  • Apples (I used red, small to medium size)
  • Twigs (one for each apple)

Step 1: Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat.

Step 2: After the butter is melted add the Kyro syrup & brown sugar.

Step 3: Stir continuously until the sugar is dissolved. Roughly 15 -20 minutes.

Tip: Put a drop of the sauce in a cup with cold water to check if the sauce is ready. If you can pick it out of the cup and form a soft ball then it’s ready.

Step 4: Put wax paper down for the apples then turn the burner down to low so you don’t burn the Carmel.

Step 5: Stick a twig in the center of the apple & dip it into the Carmel sauce. Twirl the apple in the sauce to get even coating. Set the dipped apple on the wax paper for 20-30 minutes to allow the Carmel to dry.

Optional: While the Carmel sauce is still wet, you can dip the bottom of the apple in sprinkles or any other type of candy. I opted not to do this. However, doing this will make it easier to peel the apple off the wax paper.

Step 6: Serve and enjoy!

The recipe was quick and easy. I can’t promise the clean up will be as easy, but they were a big hit with the kids. πŸ˜‚

Well, that’s it for this post. I hope you enjoyed my spooktacular caramel apple recipe. I would love for you to share your caramel apples with me if you decide to use my recipe.

Have a safe & happy Halloween! πŸŽƒ Until next time friends. Xoxo