Is everyone starting to plan their Thanksgiving menu yet? We just hosted our first Friendsgiving in the holiday house and it was awesome! This is our 8th Friendsgiving and we rotate between Springfield and Nashville for the event. We kept it small this year with just us three siblings (myself, Elsie, and our brother Doren), our significant others, and our kiddos. With Elsie living in Nashville and our brother moving to St. Louis by the end of the year, it was really special to keep things small this year and spend some time together.
This year, we are working with ALDI for our Friendsgiving. I bought basically all my groceries (including wine!) for our meal from ALDI and I love the great selection, high-quality options, (including a lot of organic items), and affordable prices. I have been a big fan of ALDI for years (always keep a quarter in my car that I call my “ALDI quarter” for the carts) and it was super easy to get our Friendsgiving meal groceries from them this year. You can find your local ALDI at this link!
In addition to just showing you how we decorated and what our meal looked like this year, I am also (as always!) sharing a few new recipes in case you are still planning your menu. Today, I’ll share the turkey brine we used and later next week we have a green bean and macaroni casserole (my favorite dish this year!) as well as a pumpkin swirl slab pie I’ll be posting.
For our turkey this year, I pretty much stuck to my foolproof turkey and gravy method, but I changed up the brine. I’m calling this one spiced wine turkey brine because that’s exactly what it is (see the recipe card at the end for the full recipe).
I used a 10-14 pound frozen Butterball turkey, and loved that they had thawing instructions on the side of the packaging. I don’t always use a frozen turkey, so this was helpful! ALDI has a lot of other sizes available too, all at affordable prices, just in case you need a different amount for your event. The brine is a mix of Simply Nature Organic Vegetable Broth, spices, fresh fruit and citrus rinds, and a whole bottle of Crystal Creek Cellars Riesling. I sampled some of the Riesling before adding to the brine and it was delicious! We ended up serving the William Wright Chardonnay with our meal and everyone kept commenting on how good it was (plus it was super affordable—my favorite kind of wine. Ha!).
Along with the turkey and side dishes I already mentioned, I also served Caesar salad, mashed sweet potatoes, and then I bought brioche rolls and a box of stuffing mix too. My secret to any big meal like this is I don’t make everything from scratch, just most of it. 🙂
Elsie and our niece, Penny, set the table and made everything extra pretty. We were excited to host our Friendsgiving at the holiday house this year as this is basically the first big meal that has been served in this dining room. So we kept the decor pretty minimal since it was already an extra special spot.
We had a kiddo table this year, using the picnic table from the playroom. I am normally a big fan of kids eating at the same table with adults, but we just didn’t have enough chairs/space. I think a kiddo table worked out though as the cousins had a lot of fun sitting together.
Oh, in case you’re curious, the turkey was the biggest hit with the kids. Go figure!
I am immensely grateful for my family this season and I’m so happy we all got to get together already this year and spend some time together. Wishing you all the best whatever you are celebrating this season! xo. Emma
Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Janae Hardy and Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
Spiced Wine Turkey Brine
- 32 ounces Simply Nature Organic Vegetable Broth
- 1 bottle Crystal Creek Cellars Riesling
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon Simply Nature Organic Ground Cayenne
- 1 teaspoon Simply Nature Organic Ground Cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons Simply Nature Organic Thyme Leaves
- 2 pears chopped
- 2 oranges rinds only
- 4-6 cups water
In a large pot over medium heat, stir together the broth, sugar, salt, and spices until the sugar and salt dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in the wine as well as the chopped fruit and citrus rinds.
In a brining bag or container that fits your turkey, add the brining liquid plus enough water to fully (or as close as possible) submerge the turkey. Brine overnight in the refrigerator. Remove liquid before roasting the turkey.
The turkey should already be thawed before brining. Also, make sure to remove any extra pieces, like if your turkey came with the innards or the neck left inside.