But I can’t let Thanksgiving Day go by without celebrating with friends who are close by. This year I am hosting my friends to a Friendsgiving Dinner! Since I have never prepared a turkey, I was a little nervous, but thanks to the Better Together partners I have created an easy dinner that includes wine, turkey, and dessert. So if you are hosting this year for the first time, here are some quick, easy, and fun tips and tricks to make your first holiday successful.
Start with a signature drink.
I love to serve a drink as my guests arrive. It allows them to ease into the party while everyone is still arriving. I love a mulled cider for the holidays and I found a great recipe for a spiced white wine. I also like to have options for my guests, so I served Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Red Blend with our meal. This wine offers warm, toasty aromas and flavors, including jammy blackberry, vanilla, and baking spices. It’s full and rich with a long, flavorful finish and pairs well with holiday favorites!
Spiced White Wine
2 bottles of Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi Chardonnay
1 Asian sliced pear
2 Star Anise pods
2 Cardamom pods
2 Cinnamon sticks
2 tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup vanilla vodka
1 inch knob of peeled fresh ginger
Add the wine, juice, liquor and aromatics to a pot and simmer until fragrant. The loner you simmer, the stronger the flavor or the spices will be. In general, 20 to 30 minutes of simmering is ideal. Strain, and serve. Garnish with sliced oranges and a star anise pod.
Set the Table
Pull out your china and set your table. Don’t feel like you need to go buy anything, just use what you have. I love to layer napkins under plates and set out my gold flatware. I served my signature drink in my copper mugs at each place setting. The copper mugs help keep the drink warm while sipping. Let your food be the centerpiece for your table. Add a few candles and you are ready for a warm gathering filled with friends.
For the menu, I prepared the turkey and a salad and let my friends bring sides to contribute to our meal. I have never roasted a turkey before and was a little intimidated but Butterball turkeys are all natural and pre-brined to ensure a tender and juicy turkey – making it easier for cooks. Every turkey comes with cooking instructions and an easy open bag (no scissors needed). And if you get in a pinch, only Butterball has a team of turkey experts at the Turkey Talk-Line who are ready and waiting to answer all of your important cooking questions. And they will do it however you want to ask them – text, call or live chat (1-800-BUTTERBALL or text 844-877-3456). Be sure to check out their Pinterest page for recipes and ideas for your turkey!
Have plenty of food containers ready for your friends to pack up their leftovers! You can use our free printable leftover box top to make them cute. You can purchase aluminum boxes with lids at your local grocery store. Just print out our lids on white cardstock and glue to the tops of the lids provided for fun leftover packaging for your guests.
Have a Pie Bar!
End your Friendsgiving Dinner on a sweet note with a Pie Bar! Desserts are the highlight of our family gathering and the best part is tasting all of them! Setting up a pie bar is simple thanks to Marie Callender’s just like homemade dessert pies and new loaf cakes. They are so easy to make and taste homemade because they are made from scratch with real ingredients and no preservatives or artificial colors. I chose to serve Marie Callender’s Dessert Pies Southern Pecan and Chocolate Satin flavors as well as Marie Callender’s Loaf Cake Double Chocolate.
I served my desserts on varying cake stands and plates. Be sure to use different heights for added visual interest. I created a hoop wreath out of succulents, greenery and fresh flowers to hang above my bar. I just love how it turned out. Be sure to see my DIY tutorial video below on how to make your own hoop wreath. I used artificial succulents and greenery so it would last and be beautiful year after year and just tucked a few fresh blooms into it the day of my party. To keep your blooms fresh, you can use corsage holders around each stem. To finish off my pie bar, I added a couple of homemade toppings for my pie bar, Pumpkin Spiced Pecans and Spiced Caramel Drizzle. So yummy! Add our free printable menu labels and you are all set!
Pumpkin Spiced Pecans
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg white
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugar, pumpkin pie spice and salt in small bowl. Beat egg white and vanilla in large bowl until foamy. Add pecans; toss to coat well. Add spice mixture; toss to coat pecans evenly. Spread pecans in single layer on parchment lined baking pan. Bake 20 minutes. Let cool slightly and break apart. Cool completely. Store in airtight container up to 2 weeks.
Spiced Caramel Drizzle
1 container of your favorite caramel sauce
Milk or cream
1/2 tsp ground cloves
Warm caramel sauce in small saucepan. Add milk or cream to thin it out to your desired consistency. Remove from heat and stir in ground cloves. Serve warm.
Will you be hosting this year? You can do it! If you want more easy tips and ideas on how to host Thanksgiving for the first time this year, be sure to check them out here. There is even a Shopkick offer to help you out. Can’t wait to hear how it all turns out! Happy Friendsgiving!