my little corner of the world

jackie miller : : graphic design + whatnot

Friendsgiving 2019

So we had to move. Pretty suddenly because they sold the place we were renting. Yikes. But all’s well that ends well because we found a beautiful single family only about a mile from our old place. It was definitely an upgrade, especially for entertaining, as the kitchen was huge, beautiful and has a DISHWASHER! Yes, all the other times I have hosted Friendsgiving, I did it without a dishwasher which meant it was a delicate dance to avoid a sink full of dishes both during prep and dinner. I was super curious to see if the dishwasher was a game changer. (Spoiler alert, it definitely was a huge help. My new hosting rule is make sure the dishwasher is empty before the first guest arrives to take full advantage!)

After having hosted at least 10 holiday meals at the last place, I had all the tricks down, but this is a whole new ballgame at the new house. I used to use the table in our dart room (off the kitchen) for all of the crockpot action to keep the counters less crowded, but we had no dart room here. What we did have is an office space off the dining room with a glass top desk. Hmm… less than ideal. I had the idea to bring up one of my outdoor folding tables which fit perfectly in the space without blocking anything and fit not only the crockpots, but also the turkey roaster! I added the matching bench just in case, which came in handy to store desserts until we were ready to serve them. Keeping these things out of the kitchen makes taking things in and out of the oven and plating them way easier for sure.

The only other thing lacking in the new house was a space for my appetizer spread. Our old dining room was quite a bit bigger and although the table fits in this one, there’s not enough room to move around it to have the app buffet in there. Enter my second outdoor table. The piece of furniture under the table used to serve as our buffet, but sadly, a leg snapped off during the move. Greg says it’s unfixable and promised to have a frame welded up for it to sit on, but there she sits. Considering it’s only like 2 feet high now, not practical to use as a buffet unless it was for Roxie, my shih tzu. (she would have loved it). Turns out, this magical table fits perfectly over the drawers by the stairs in our foyer and has become the perfect place to have the appetizer buffet. Out of the way of the kitchen AND the dining room to make preparing and serving way easier. Don’t worry, I have a tablecloth to hid the drawers, so you would never know they are there. I honestly think I was a bit overwhelmed hosting for the first time in this place, so I didn’t think to take many pictures after it was all set up. In fact, I think I just took these to text to Greg telling him I figured out a solution for everything!

Onto my favorite part… the place cards. I had some time on my hands and decided to upcycle some things I have used in the past. I gave the pumpkins and pine cones a quick splash of neon and then quickly realized that every holiday needs some glitter, so using more leftover paint, I added some sparkle. Using some leftover neon paper that I found, I cut out everyone’s names for the place cards. Of course, the guest list was far from final, so I definitely cut out the names of all possible attendees. Not a big deal when you’re using the almighty Silhouette Cameo. I also cut a bunch of different words associated with Thanksgiving to sprinkle all over the table. I thought it would be a nice contrast on the black tablecloth.

I kept the rest of the table pretty simple, but I did cut everyone’s names as a sticker to use as wine glass markers in an effort to save on dishes. Everyone loses their glass. They looked good, but kind of a pain to get off at the end of the night!

Now to Greg’s favorite part of the meal! Bring on the meats! It was still nice enough at the end of November that Greg could break out his smoker. (Added bonus, this place only has 5 steps to get into the yard as opposed to 2 full flights of steps like the last place, which is a lot of running up and down to smoke a turkey). If you have never had a smoked turkey, I highly recommend it. Not only is it delicious, it frees up A LOT of oven space for everything else. We also roasted a turkey in case someone didn’t care for the smoky flavor.

I honestly don’t think I took any more pictures of the food spread until it was in tupperware, which is sad, but it was quite the spread. If you’re interested in what we had, here’s the rundown and you can download the cookbook here!

  • Baked Kosher Salami
  • Asiago Dip
  • Rustic Pesto Tart
  • Fig + Goat Cheese Crostini
  • Pumpkin Spice Cashew Cheese
  • Beef Rollups
  • Spinach Salad with Homemade Dressing
  • Veg-All Casserole
  • Praline Sweet Potatoes
  • Crockpot Creamed Corn
  • Tomato Basil Sauce for Turkey
  • White Chocolate Pumpkin Mousse Cake
  • Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie

If you have read past Friendsgiving menus, you probably noticed that these are all the usual standards. I decided against experimenting with any new recipes this year as I was experimenting with hosting in the new house! Come back and see what I cook up next year, I promise there will be some new tasty dishes in the mix.