This post would better be titled how to clean, shop, and cook for Friendsgiving in a day. As a blogger, it’s easy to come up with hosting solutions and ideas that take a long time and are incredibly creative. This Friendsgiving my life required a bit more simplicity. I started with the size. While I love the farmhouse table in our townhome, it can feel a bit tight. With the focus of Friendsgiving being the food, I wanted plenty of tablespace, so I apted to invite 3 friends to join me. The morning of the dinner, I cleaned the lower level of our house and purchased groceries. As the turkey was cooking, I set the table.
It has become the norm that most everyone at my table eats incredibly healthy. With this in mind, this Thanksgiving I opted for fare that was gluten-free in nature. Using some smart substitutions, our meal was light and festive, honing in seasonal flavors and allowing them to take center stage.
For the table, I used some new favorite pieces from Target’s Hearth and Hand by Magnolia collection. Our centerpiece was simple, adding a few sprigs of cornflower, eucalyptus, and seasonal farm spray to an antique glass gallon jug in the house. With a table dressed in white washed linen, the wrinkles add an effortless look. To fill in the rest of the table, I used various white and green gourds and mini pumpkins. For balance and to offset the flowers, I placed two brass candlesticks with taper candles. Wanting additional elements of texture, I used a creamy gray stoneware plate and striped napkin. In lieu of traditional napkin rings, I used rawhide leather strips wrapped around the napkin multiple times and fixed with an informal knot. For the touch of the unexpected, I added black stoneware mugs, bread plates, and 8 oz clear glasses. The overall look is simple, unexpected, and smart juxtapositions lending itself to a casual and autumnal vibe.
Remember when I stated, that I wanted things to feel simple? This carried to the food as well. Rather than loads of options and a potluck, I started with a beautiful charcuterie tray. Peppered with meats, cheeses, olives, bread, and crackers. I placed it on a beautiful wooden circle tray from Hearth and Hand. Then, I followed the meal up with stuffed acorn squash, braised turkey breast with burnt citrus, and garlic mashed potatoes. For dessert, we had chai two ways: liquid and mini gluten-free bundt cakes.
A few Life hacks for hosting:
Look for the unexpected and affordable.
Strips of leather as napkin rings, foraged greenery, and repurposing gourds from Halloween, keep the table fresh and decor affordable. For cocktails, we used black stoneware mugs we had on hand, perfect for a bourbon cider chai.
Keep wooden cutting boards fresh and clean.
Place a piece of parchment paper underneath meats and cheese on the board. This will protect it, keeping the wood from absorbing the oil.
Taper candles always look a bit better when burnt down. Use masking tape on the bottom or a lighter to slightly melt the candle and keep it in place.
Dress in comfortable, light layers.
Throughout the day, you might feel like you’re tied to the stove. Wear light layers that are breathable and allow you to stay cool in the kitchen. Plan 30 minutes to get ready before your guests arrive. Put on a favorite playlist or record, light candles, and have drinks ready when guests arrive.
Foraging is your friend.
I can’t tell you how many moments and thoughtful gatherings have come together with a bit of foraging. Take a walk on your property, drive down a street, and discover the beauty that surrounds you. We will be reusing our dried eucalyptus from the fall months with evergreen for a stunning wreath for the front door. (Stay tuned for this simple DIY, coming soon!)
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Stay tuned as we share recipes tomorrow!
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