We’ve started a new tradition with another family to do Friendsgiving together. It’s a really special time to get together and celebrate our friendship, and all that we’ve been blessed with in the past year. There’s lots of fun for the kids, cocktails, prayers and thanks… and of course good food.
What’s fun about Friendsgiving, is you can stray from the traditional Thanksgiving menu. While we keep some of the staples in place, we like to put a fun spin on dishes. The year our turkey was deconstructed and stuffed with Taleggio cheese and sage… well, let’s just say the elastic-waist pants got a workout.
This year, RR4 is offering you some décor and menu ideas to throw a fabulous Friendsgiving.
Invites and Greetings
- Thankful ‘Notes’: Friendsgiving is about giving thanks, so make that a central theme of your party, starting with your invitation. When sending out an online invite, ask guests to submit a song that reminds them of a moment they’re thankful for, then create a playlist for the party with everyone’s songs. It’s a great way to recognize each guest and a good conversation starter.
- A Giving Tree: When guests arrive, greet them with a small paper leaf addressed for them and ask them to write down one thing they’re thankful for. Then, you can hang it on your “Giving Tree.” It creates a warm greeting and sets a nice tone for the party. To create your Giving Tree, simply gather a few branches from outside and place them in a vase or pot. Cut out small leaves from construction or design paper and place at entry way.
You don’t have to spend a ton of money to put together a beautiful tablescape. The great thing about fall is there are so many natural colors and textures in your own backyard. Look around your house, in your closet, and you’ll be surprised what you’ll find.
- No Table Runner? No problem. Find a fall throw, scarf or blanket to use as your table runner. Laid over a white tablecloth, it makes a warm backdrop for your buffet.
- Pumpkins… They’re Not Just for Halloween Anymore. I’m a sucker for a white pumpkin. They can be part of a stunning centerpiece for your buffet. Simply hollow out your pumpkin, place a jar or plastic cup inside and use foliage from your backyard to create a stunning centerpiece.
- Lite It Up. Candles always add warmth to a room. When using candles on a buffet, be sure not to use scented candles, so scents do not conflict with the food your serving. For a natural holder, hollow out apples and place tea lights inside. For votives, simply use glassware in your pantry – juice glasses, rocks glasses, mason jars. You can accent glassware using herbs and spices that compliment your menu, such as rosemary, sage, peppercorn or cinnamon. What’s great is when these herbs and spices are warmed up through the glass, they release their natural scents.
There are lots of ways to take the traditional Thanksgiving menu and make it fun, bite-size and delicious. Here are some ideas, with a few recipes listed below:
Brown Sage Derby: This is the prefect fall cocktail. It has the warmth and sweetness of bourbon, mixed with refreshing grapefruit and lime juice, and a fresh sage topper.
Turkey Sliders with Pumpkin & Siracha Aioli: Juicy and flavorful turkey sliders, topped with a zesty pumpkin and siracha aioli, and fresh spinach.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup Sliders: We’ve featured this soup before, and for good reason. It’s delicious. Serve in small cups and topped with a crouton for a delicious, fall sip and crunch.
Brussels Sprouts Bruschetta: A bite-size tribute to two Thanksgiving staples – brussels sprouts and cranberries. Crostini topped with creamy goat cheese and topped with sautéed brussels sprouts and dried cranberries.
Stuffing Mushrooms: The easiest way to create a small stuffing bite. Make your favorite stuffing recipe and scoop a small amount into baby Bella mushrooms. Top with a bit of parmesan cheese and olive oil, and pop them in the oven until baked through.
Pumpkin Pie Bites: You can’t do Friendsgiving without pumpkin pie, but making them bite-size sounds tedious, right? Problem solved. Simply purchase already made pies, cut out small rounds using a biscuit cutter and top with whipped cream.
And there you have it. The perfect Friendsgiving party.
Sage Brown Derby
2 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. fresh red or pink grapefruit juice
½ oz. fresh lime juice
¼ oz. agave syrup
1 fresh sage leaf
· Combine whiskey, grapefruit juice, lime juice and agave in a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice and shake until outside is frosty, about 30 seconds; strain into a coupe glass. Slap sage leaf between your palms to release oils then float on top of cocktail.
Turkey Sliders with Pumpkin & Siracha Aioli
3 lbs. Ground Turkey
¼ c. Seasoned Bread Crumbs
½ Yellow Onion, Diced
1 Celery Stalk, Diced
2 Cloves Garlic, Diced
1 Egg, Beaten
3 tablespoon Mayonaise
16 Whole Wheat Buns
Pumpkin & Siracha Aioli Ingredients:
¼ c. Pumpkin Puree
1 c. Mayonnaise
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
2 teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
3-4 tablespoon Siracha Chili Sauce (or to taste)
In a large bowl, mix ground turkey, seasoned bread crumbs, onion, egg whites, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper. Form into 1 small patties.
Place patties on baking sheet lined with foil. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix all ingredients for Pumpkin & Siracha Aioli in a bowl and set aside.
Place patties on whole wheat bun, add a dollop of Pumpkin Siracha Aioli and fresh spinach.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
6 tablespoon diced shallots
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
4 tablespoon Butter
6 C Peeled and Cubed Butternut Squash
4 C Low-Sodium Chicken Broth
1/2 teaspoon Dried Marjoram
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 8 oz. Package Cream Cheese (room temp). You can also substitute cream cheese with 4 oz. fresh goat cheese.
Roast cubed squash w/ salt, pepper and olive oil at 375 until tender w/ fork. Sauté diced in olive oil until translucent.
Bring to a boil; reduce to simmer for 10 minutes (or until squash is very tender).
Add room-temperature cream cheese in cubes and stir until it starts to mix in.
Best topped with croutons or roasted broccoli.