Friendsgiving 2014

ABM Friendsgiving 2014We love sharing occasional parties and/or entertaining-type content with you here on the blog. Gives us an excuse to hang out with friends and loved ones. This is our third annual Friendsgiving event, which was basically a blogging idea we came up with years ago so that we could share Thanksgiving-style recipes in time for readers to have them to use for their own Thanksgiving feasts. So once again, thank you, blogging, for making my life awesome. I am thankful for the Internet and every single one of you! 

Okay, enough with the rabbit trails for now. You want to see how Friendsgiving went down at our house this year?

Paper flowersPaper flowers Table decor ideasLaura created these beautiful paper flowers for the center of the table. We had to remove a few of them once all the food was ready, which was heart-breaking because they are so pretty. But, good news, paper flowers don't die—so they're still around the office over a week later!

ABM Friendsgiving 2014 Friendsgiving 2014ABM Friendsgiving 2014  We also hung some faux autumn leaves from the ceiling. Our dining room has rather high ceilings, so it's fun to find some kind of decor element that can draw the eye up. Plus these were easy to throw together. If you have lower ceilings, or are looking for something to decorate a bare wall, check out what we did last year.

Emma setting the tableCocktails for large gatheringsEasy thanksgiving recipes   MocktailsEasy thanksgiving recipes On the menu this year: Elsie's cranberry mimosas and a mocktail version (for those who don't drink), turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, dinner rolls, jalapeño popper dip, compound butters (these doubled as party favors), peanut butter cup bars, and sweet potato crème brûlée.

Over the years I've developed a few tips that help me host a dinner party like this and not find myself stuck in the kitchen or feeling too stressed out during the event. I have three golden rules.

1. Make everything ahead of time that you can.

I deliberately plan at least two thirds of my dishes as items that I can make ahead and either bake or rewarm just before serving. This means I don't have to be up at 3 am to make everything the day of. 

2. Plan stovetop and oven dishes.

If you're like me, you probably have four stovetop burners and can have your oven set to one or two temperatures at a time max (our office has a double oven, and it's awesome for Friendsgiving!). No matter what you have, plan for it. Don't plan six stovetop recipes if you only have four burners. Seems pretty obvious, but I've mistakenly not planned for what I have available before. Also—remember the power of a slower cooker. 🙂

3. Make a game plan.

I literally have a handwritten checklist of everything I need to get done the day of, with times by each item. I also don't usually "get ready" (as in, do my hair and makeup) until about and hour or two before the meal. I just find a natural break to do that so I don't have to wake up any earlier. Can you tell I really don't like waking up early?

Easy thanksgiving recipesHost your own thanksgiving with ease Thanksgiving hosting tips Thanksgiving hosting tips  Thanksgiving hosting tipsMy favorite is always dessertWe've shared a few of the recipes from this year's Friendsgiving already, and we'll be sharing the rest all this week. Even if you aren't hosting a Thanksgiving any time soon, I hope this can help to inspire you that if you have an interest in hosting a dinner party but feel intimidated, you can totally do it! If I can do it, so can you. 🙂 Thanks for letting me share. xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Sarah Rhodes. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.