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Have you ever thrown or attended a Friendsgiving? This will be our first one, and our Friendsgiving will be doubling as a housewarming this year! I’m so excited to decorate our home and have the smells of Thanksgiving coming from every corner.
Having recently moved into my first post-grad home, I’ve been waiting for the holiday season to have a proper house warming. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to invite all my friends over for dinner and a fun, homey party!
First things first, the tablescape sets the mood for the entire evening. I’ve learned throughout the years that the art of tablescapes come from your color choices, layering, and height. First start with your base. Are you going to have a table runner? What about placemats? For our party we chose to stick with neutral wood and fall tones. From here we work our way out to the edges of the table.
Next, decide what will be going in the center of your table. We started by placing our floral arrangements, pinecones, and pumpkins to adorn the table. For the florals we mixed sunflowers, roses, and other beautiful stems that matched our fall scheme. Next we layered with candles — give me all of the candles! Make sure to leave room for your essentials, such as food and wine. Lastly, set your plates, silverware, name cards, etc.How beautiful did this table turn out?! We filled our glasses with a Woodbridge white or red (their choice) and laughed the night away. The Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Red Blend was a perfect choice for those wanting red wine. It offers a warm, toasty aroma and flavor, including jammy blackberry, vanilla, and baking spices. It’s full and rich with a long, flavorful finish. It pairs well with holiday favorites including turkey, creamy potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Woodbridge Chardonnay is a go-to in our house. It displays aromas of tropical fruit with a hint of cinnamon and maple, leading to a rich, toasty finish. This vibrant, medium-bodied Chardonnay is lovely to pair with appetizers, or side dishes during the holidays.
The Main Course:
I’m completely new to this whole entertaining thing, and cooking an entire turkey can be pretty darn scary. But, it’s not Thanksgiving without turkey. Tender and juicy, Butterball whole turkeys are all natural, giving you the highest quality turkey at the center of your Thanksgiving celebration. Isn’t it so cool that only Butterball has a team of turkey experts at the Turkey Talk-Line who are ready and waiting to answer all of your important cooking questions?! And they will do it however you want to ask them – text (844-877-3456), call (1-800-BUTTERBALL) or live chat. They were total lifesavers for this millennial, sorry y’all, but sometimes Google just doesn’t cut it.
For side dishes I stuck to the traditional stuffing, but with a little twist. This stuffing pairs perfectly with a Butterball turkey, and your guests will be begging for more! On the outside it looks just like mom’s stuffing, but there are a few special things mixed in for a savory, satisfying side dish. Start with 8 slices of homemade bread (Ok, I bought mine from the farmer’s market! I ain’t a professional baker!!). Spread out the bread on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Be sure to spread the bread again midway so it browns evenly. Melt half a stick of butter with a teaspoon of cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat. Then sauté half an onion and half a cup of celery in the butter mix until the onion is translucent. Remove and let it cool down. Once cooled, transfer that mixture into a large bowl and fold in one cubed gala apple, sage, rosemary, salt and pepper. Drizzle some turkey stock (even better if you make that from scratch!) over the whole mixture and gently combine. Add one egg and then toss until everything is combined, but not soggy. Coat a baking dish in butter and transfer the stuffing to that dish. Drizzle a tiny bit of maple syrup on top (grandma’s secret!) and bake for 25-30 minutes or until good n’ toasty. And voila! Serve that deliciousness nice and hot.
Our other side dish was roasted sweet potatoes with a cinnamon butter cream sauce. Can you say AHHH-mazing?! And it’s so easy. Cut up 4-5 large sweet potatoes and spread them evenly on a pan. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and bake for 25 minutes in a 400 degree oven. While they’re roasting, melt half a stick of butter with a tablespoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of sugar. Mix together and add a splash of heavy cream. Once the potatoes are finished, drizzle liberally with the sauce. Then, sit back and relax, sip your chardonnay and watch your friends go CRAZY over this recipe!
As for Marie Callender’s, I think we can all agree that dessert is always the star of the show! I set up a nice pie bar for my Friendsgiving guests this year, all while not having to set aside hours upon hours to create them from scratch. Marie Callender’s are like homemade, easy to make, and duh, my favorite part, quick to clean up! For this spread I included two Marie Callender’s Dessert Pies, Marie Callender’s Loaf Cake (made from scratch with real ingredients and no preservatives or artificial colors!), homemade caramel drizzle, homemade whipped cream, twice baked apples and ice cream for my guests to pick and choose from! My guests loved the variety of the Dutch Apple Pie, Southern Pecan, and Pound Cake. To make a homemade caramel sauce, tip the sugar into a heavy-based frying pan, stir in 4 tbsp water, then place over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and bubble for 4-5 mins until you have caramel. Take off the heat, then carefully stir in the cream and butter. Leave the sauce to cool before letting your guests indulge.
Wow, what a first Friendsgiving! I’ll sit strangers across from each other and friends far away so that everyone can be well acquainted by the end of the night. Oh – and the wine could help a little, too 😉 The pie bar will be set up on my side table in a similar fashion and no one will be able to take their eyes off it!
Check out these other great Thanksgiving posts to inspire your holiday entertaining and of course this special that shopkick is offering!