Hosting Friendsgiving 2016

A Beautiful Mess Friendsgiving 2016 Cooking with my sister Salad peek Elsie Larson's kitchen Thanksgiving table setting decor Emma Chapman Elsie preps for FriendsgivingLast week Elsie and I hosted our 5th Friendsgiving together. Can you believe it’s been five years since we shared our first one together right here on ABM?! I was looking back in our archives as I started to prep this post, and now all of a sudden I am feeling super sentimental and full of all the feels. Ha! You can see our entire Thanksgiving (aka Friendsgiving) archive here, but also here are our posts from: 2015 / 2014 / 2013 / 2012. (Check out Trey’s beard from 2012!)

I love that many of our friends have brought their kiddos to our meals. It’s amazing to see how much they have grown in just a few short years. We’ve also had so many wonderful friends join us in this time—it’s just really fun to look back. Makes me feel even more thankful for all the good people in  my life. Which is really one of the main points to this time of year anyway; to give and to be thankful for what you have. Hashtag blessed, am I right? 🙂

As you can imagine, with this being our fifth year hosting a Friendsgiving together, Elsie and I were itching to do something a little different. We both crave change and love trying new things, as you can probably tell from this site. So we decided to make this year’s meal more focused on being plant-based. It also turned out that everything we made (not including a loaf of bread we bought for the table) was also vegan. If you’ve been reading this site for a while, you probably know that I eat a mostly vegetarian diet and love trying new recipes focused on veggies, but I also am a big believer in treats. Ha! So my goal this year was to keep things plant-based but still super tasty and comforting! If you are wanting to find some non-dairy or vegan-friendly recipes for your Thanksgiving this year, you are in luck! If you don’t care about this at all, don’t worry. I’m gonna link some of our best recipes from over the years in this post as well, including four years of turkey roasting. 🙂

Best thanksgviging recipes for vegans Best vegan thanksgiving recipe ABM Friendsgiving 2016 Vegetarian thanksgiving recipes Plant based thanksgiving recipesWe will be sharing many of the recipes from this year’s Friendsgiving in the next few weeks. But in case you are already planning your menu and looking for some delicious side dish ideas, here are some of our best from over the years:

Pepper Jack Green Bean Casserole (the pictures are old, but I LOVE this recipe)
Cranberry Apple Stuffing
Jalapeño Popper Dip (this one is especially great as an appetizer to munch on before the meal begins)
Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Kale, Brussels, and Cranberry Salad
Duchess Sweet Potato Casserole
Accordion Potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic
Twice Baked Potatoes
Mustard Brussels Sprouts
Bacon and Bourbon Stuffing

We’ve eaten a lot of good stuff together over the years. 🙂

Friendsgiving decor Friendsgiving menu ideas How to make a flower crown Thanksgiving table decor ideasI’ll share what we served instead of turkey soon, but in the meantime, here are some turkey recipes we’ve shared over the years.

Oranges and Herbs Roast Turkey—Probably the prettiest turkey I’ve ever made. The turkey gets soaked in a Blue Mood Brine and roasted to perfection! I am a big fan of brining as I think it’s one of the best ways to keep your turkey moist (my favorite cooking term… uh….), so many of these recipes include brines.

Foolproof Turkey and Gravy tips—In 2014 I not only shared a recipe that included a brine made with cranberries and peppercorns, but I also shared a bunch of tips for making the turkey roasting and gravy making process super smooth. I had learned quite a few tips and tricks from the previous years, so I included them all in one post. If you are making turkey this year, this is a must read. But if you are vegan or vegetarian, I’d stay away from this post as it features a few images that I doubt your faint heart can handle. 🙂

My First Thanksgiving Turkey—This one is probably a little more narrative than recipe, although it includes both. I shared how I was SOOO nervous the first year and had even started having nightmares about the turkey before the big day. Spoiler—the story has a happy ending. So if it’s your first year and you need some rookie inspo, feel free to see my ramble post and take heart—you got this!

Turkey with Stuffing and Gravy—Last year I decide to skip brining and also add stuffing to the turkey. Read on to see how it turned out.

Suki Larson ABM_Friendsgiving_2016-095Friendsgiving 2016 How to host Thanksgiving Tips for hosting Friendsgiving Vegan thanksgiving recipesIt was an amazing year filled with delicious (and healthy!) food plus good friends. We can’t wait to share more with you soon! xo. Emma (+Elsie)

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Emma and Elsie’s aprons are from Hedley & Bennett, Elsie’s skirt is from Shop Mallory, Emma’s dress is from Oui Fresh, the beautiful copper pots are c/o Martha Stewart. Thank you to all our friends who came to eat with us!

  • Can’t wait to see the recipes! My favorite from your archives is the twice baked potato — it’s my go-to fancy potato recipe!

  • Your Table Setting looks great! I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but the food items you listed look good enough to convert me!

  • I am hosting a friends giving with my closest friends next week! I am going to set up my long dining room table with picnic table benches outside. Then I will string lights up and I will be painting my table runner with a blacklight paint and then placing a blacklight on the table to light it up! It will be a very Florida theme! I can’t wait.

  • A bunch of friends of mine are having a friendsgiving this week! I am going to show them this!

  • This looks so lovely! I hosted a Friendsgiving last year and it was so much fun! Not planning on it this year, but maybe next! Thanks for sharing!

  • Friendsgiving is such a great idea! I want to host one next year.

  • Oh heyyy I recognize some of those fine people. This kitchen is to die for! I need that oven in my life. <3 I haven’t hosted a Friendsgiving, but I want to! Last year we had a Frieaster. Hm, is that an acceptable word?? 😉

  • No disrespect, but that’s not just a “loaf of bread”! It’s a challah which is a ceremonial bread that Jews eat during the Sabbath. It’s not appropriate in this context. It’s also not supposed to be sliced that way.

  • Looks fantastic! I especially like those salad servers. So unique!

  • I am loving the white letterboard (how did you make it white!) and all the pretty furnishings like the dining table and chairs.. oh my! please let me know how i can find out where to get them 🙂

  • Looks like you had loads of fun! The food looks very delicious!

  • Looks great as usual. Personally I’m all about the meat so I can’t imagine how I would fair in an all vegan thanksgiving meal/party (I’m surprised the guys in your group went for it ;). However I do like the idea of doing something different and I’m sure the food was very delicious. Glad to see you had a good time.

  • shut up with the pumpkin nameplates!!!!! how amazing is that idea!!!!?
    i love this!

  • This such a nice tradition! I love the pictures of this post x

    Jessica — WS Community

  • OMG! VEGAN PLANT BASED MENU! You guys are amazing 🙂 hubby and I are plant based vegan and end up bringing a whole Thanksgiving (vegan) feast to our in laws so we can enjoy the holiday as does everyone else! Can’t wait to see your recipes!

  • It seems like it was an amazing time! The decorations were really pretty and the food looked really good!

  • This is lovely. I would love to start a tradition like this. 🙂

    I’ve been looking at your table and wondering if it’s the same one you diy-ed a while back. If so, how did you paint it white?

  • I love seeing more plant based recipes in your site – can’t wait to see what you made! For the past 3 years I’ve made a vegan Shepard’s pie for our main dish…but I’m open to changing it up!

  • Love the photos! I wanted to host a Friendsgiving this year but there wasn’t a weekend that worked for me and my friends. Instead, my fiancee and I are hosting an Italian Christmas Feast.

    Thank you for sharing!


  • Can’t wait to see the recipes! I am a newly vegan (ish, still transitioning) And I’d love to see some vegan holiday recipes.

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