Thanksgiving Wrap Up

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Since I am on a roll with cooking, my husband and I decided to host thanksgiving this year at our house.  With guests coming from out of town and staying with us, we had our work cut out for us.  Family is easy, especially my family so we kept the extended weekend simple and focused most of our time on creating a nice atmosphere for the Thanksgiving Dinner.   Here are a few highlights from setting, food, games to guests (family) from our holiday.  Though this was our Thanksgiving, you can use some of these tips for any party you are hosting.

The Setting 

We wanted to stay within a budget for the table setting so we mixed a lot of things we already had with some new.  We used our crochet placemats that we already had, from World Market.  We also used our white dinnerware, but to complete the setting for 10 we had to order a few more of each.  Luckily we received a full set of Pottery Barn silverware for a wedding gift that we were able to use.  I scored at the Dollar Store, YES THE DOLLAR STORE and found some really cute wine glasses with a gold rim around them.  I ended up using them for the water at dinner to tie in the other gold elements we used.  I also purchased my candles from the Dollar Store saving even more (they were 1/5 the price there compared to target and the EXACT same thing!).  For the wood block centerpiece I used 4"x4"x16' wood logs from Home Depot.  I had Home Depot cut the wood into several 4", 6" and 8" pieces and assembled them on the table in different heights.  The wood only cost me about $10.00 (and my time!) and I added a touch of gold ribbon to the top of a few of the blocks to tie in the gold from the wine glass rims.  I also took bulk feathers from Jo-Ann and added them throughout the wood on the bottom to give it a softer look.  I tossed on a few gold mini pom-poms to the tops of feathers (again just wanted to tie in a little more gold for a softer touch).  For the flowers I knew I wanted to use white and green and luckily scored on these at the grocery store across the street from my house.   I made little name cards with mini dowels, leather and feathers, it was pretty informal but I still wanted the guests to have a take-away.  Greg and I put ours in our XMAS tree as ornaments.  The whole table setting with candles (that still have burn time left) was only about $30.00 to do.  This doesn't include the extra place settings we bought and wine glasses, but these we can use for future dinner parties so I decided not to count them into the budget.  

Here are a few photos of the Setting, you could pull this setting off for any dinner party really!

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The Food

Breakfast

For breakfast, we did it continental style and put out toast, bagels, cinnamon rolls, fruit, Greek yogurt and granola.  I also made a Banana Nut Bread Muffin with Agave/Maple/Bacon crumble, which was seriously delicious!

Banana Nut Bread Muffins with Bacon Crumble

Banana Nut Bread Muffins with Bacon Crumble

Horderves as 

Since we were going to be having a gluttonous dinner we decided to just do horderves instead of a full on lunch.  Plus with football being on, everyone knows guys (and girls) love their snacks during a game especially once the drinks start rolling.  Some of the horderves I made; homemade roasted red pepper dip with feta and pesto, taco dip, stuffed mushrooms, bacon jam, apple walnut fennel bites, cheese, salami & crackers, pigs in a blanket (a childhood favorite and a must), and a few other things.  

Apple Fennel Walnut Bites

Apple Fennel Walnut Bites

Veggie Stuffed Mushrooms

Veggie Stuffed Mushrooms

Bacon Jam w/ Crusty Bread

Bacon Jam w/ Crusty Bread

The Feast

For Dinner, I prepared everything mostly a few days leading up to thanksgiving so I would be able to spend more time with my family.  I also had a little help, my mom made her homemade cranberry relish, a holiday tradition that has been in her family forever.  John made his cheesy hashbrowns that are unbelievably tasty but not so great in the healthy department.  My sister did some baking and made some desserts.  So I was responsible for the turkey and a bunch of sides.  Here are some images that I was able to capture, (which was difficult to do because,  A.) hosting 10 people being the caterer and B.) having my 2 glass wine limit already under the table!)

Turkey (precooked).. the herbs were inserted into the cavity before we put it in the oven.

Turkey (precooked).. the herbs were inserted into the cavity before we put it in the oven.

Baked to golden perfection

Baked to golden perfection

A Toast

A Toast

Pork Tenderloin, Turkey, Mashed Potato, Gravy, Asparagus, Roasted Potatoes, Candied Yams, Cheesy Hashbrowns, Rolls with Homemade Rosemary Lemon Butter!

Pork Tenderloin, Turkey, Mashed Potato, Gravy, Asparagus, Roasted Potatoes, Candied Yams, Cheesy Hashbrowns, Rolls with Homemade Rosemary Lemon Butter!

The Dessert 

This year for dessert I did double Apple Pies and Turtle Cheesecake.  The apple pie was served with your choice of vanilla or pumpkin pie ice cream and the cheesecake stood great alone.  My sister also did some desserts so there were plenty of options to choose from.  

Apple Pie 

Apple Pie 

Turtle Cheesecake (with a hint of lemon zest)

Turtle Cheesecake (with a hint of lemon zest)

The Games

We wanted to make dinner interactive so we decided to incorporate some games.  We did our own version of Apples to Apples, where everyone had to guess who said what.  Everyone wrote down 3 things on a piece of paper saying what they were thankful for.  You had to be creative so you could try to remain anonymous.  At dinner we each picked one out of a basket and read the answers from one person.  It was fun for everyone to try to guess who said what.  Of course, we kept score!  I won and Greg came in second.  It was a lot of fun and didn't cost anything, especially since we mixed it in with some seriously delicious cocktails!

Another thing we did was a surprise for all the guests including myself.  Greg decided to continue with his home town tradition and stick a pile of scratch of lottery tickets under everyone's place settings.  The excitement of winning added a fun element and it was great to see that people actually won!  

These are both games that you can change the theme for at any dinner party!

SURPRISE.. Finding the Scratch off Tickets

SURPRISE.. Finding the Scratch off Tickets

The Guests

Let's just say we have ourselfs a "Modern Family"!  

Just a small chunk of our "Modern Family" 

Just a small chunk of our "Modern Family" 

One thing I didn't touch on was the fabulous cocktails we had, I am going to get the recipe and post that as a separate blog later early next week. 

Though A ton of work, I would hope to host Thanksgiving for years to come.  I love to cook after-all, let's see who makes it back next year!  Until next year, whether its Thanksgiving or not, keep feasting everyone!

xoxo,

Katie May

NYE @ home

Kicked up Turkey Burgers