Thanksgiving Feed

What happened to April?

April has flown by!  Sorry I have not posted in awhile!  I do have some pretty exciting updates for you.

Yesterday I attended a creative women's brunch.  It was for creatives like bloggers, artists, shop owners, photographers and many other female entrepreneurs. 

Dream Catchers Brunch

The venue was right up my alley.  Exposed brick and old chippy walls!  It was held at The Nest in Birmingham.  The perfect spot for a gathering like this.  The wood table tops with the white metal chairs made my heart skip a beat.

Dream Catchers Brunch

The brunch was hosted by Natalie from 11th Thread and the name of the group is Dream Catchers South.  So cool that dream catchers are so popular in décor right now too!  She put this whole thing together to help and inspire creative women to chase their dreams!

She did a beautiful job on the table settings!  The greenery just popped against the natural wood and white with a little sparkle from the mercury glass candle holders.

Table Setting

We each received our own mason jar of delicious Piper and Leaf tea that we got to take home with us.  I love mason jars and they fit right in with the décor.  Even better we got to sample from a local company.

Dream Catchers Brunch

There were so many incredible sponsors and creative women all pursuing their own small business goals (I'll have a list at the bottom of this post for you to check them out)!  They filled our goody bags with awesome samples and coupons.  We also had a great speaker named Bill Todd, President of o2 Ideas.  He really taught us a lot about marketing and stepping out with our ideas.  Which leads me to a few updates for Hostessjo.com!

Dream Catchers Brunch

I've been wanting an updated design for the blog and I think its time to move over to Wordpress.  I keep hearing great things about it and I think it will be great for both you and I.  So, I'm in the process of doing that.  Hopefully everything will be good to go in May.  I've also started my photography classes and really enjoying them.  Reese's room redo is complete so please check back for that! 

Also, my husband and I have purchased a lot and will be building a spec home this summer!  I'm so excited to pick out paint, flooring, lighting etc.!  I'll be blogging about all of our choices along the way and answering any questions you may have.

I'd love to hear from you about what you'd like to see more of on our new blog!  More diy?  Home décor?  Crafts?  Styling?  Please send me an email or leave me a comment here!

xoxo,

Jo

Check out these cool small businesses and sponsors from our brunch: 

Naughty but Nice Kettlecorn,

Wholesome Soda Co.,

Dixie Fresh,

See Jane Write

Harp of Birmingham,

Piper Vine,

Baby Cakes Birmingham,

House Peace,

Down in the Ham,

Nikki Blakes 

Elizabeth Jaimes Boutique and Salon

If I left anyone off, please leave me a message and I'll be happy to add you!


Holiday Punch

If you are entertaining anytime over the holidays here is a great punch to serve your guests.  I like serving punches or sangria versus having a bar because you can serve a crowd without spending a fortune on several different kinds of alcohol, mixes, etc.  With its frozen cranberries, oranges and champagne this one is sure to please everyone.

AJ's Christmas Punch

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Serves 10

Ice (in block form if possible, if not, large chunks)
4 oz. Cointreau
4 oz. brandy
2 oranges, cut into wedges
1 cup frozen cranberries (optional)
2 bottles chilled champagne

1. Add ice to a large punch bowl. If using chunks (as opposed to a large block of ice), fill the bowl just under half way.
2. Add Cointreau and brandy. Using a ladle or long spoon, stir briefly.
3. Add orange slices and cranberries (if using) and then pour in the champagne.
4. Stir 12 times and let sit for a minute, so the ingredients can get acquainted.

(photo and recipe from fineliving.com)
 


Thanksgiving Table Inspiration

I just love this natural Thanksgiving table scape from Real Simple!

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The bright greens just pop against the browns and white.  Not your traditional Thanksgiving palette but just as beautiful.

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With a few twigs, twine and greenery, you have a natural and lovely Thanksgiving table.  I think the twig bundles as place card holders are my favorite part!

This look would also work well for a fall dinner party or fall shower.

Go here for the how-to.
 


Thanksgiving Potluck

This Friday is our group of friends' Thanksgiving potluck.  The hosts are cooking the turkey and we are bringing side dishes.  After searching for a tasty side dish, I've decided on this one.  It's easy, I can make it the night before and it sounds delish!

Au Gratin Potato Casserole

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Yield: Makes 10 to 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1  (32-ounce) package frozen Southern-style hash browns
  • 1  (16-ounce) container sour cream
  • 2  cups  (8 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1  (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1  small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2  cups  crushed cornflakes cereal
  • 1/4  cup  melted butter

Make it

Stir together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.

Spoon potato mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with crushed cornflakes, and drizzle evenly with butter.

Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Ore-Ida Southern Style Hash Browns.

After reading the reviews, I'm going to add some garlic and swap the cornflakes for Ritz crackers.  I'm also going to swap the cream of mushroom for cream of chicken because some friends don't care for mushrooms.  What casseroles are you cooking up for Thanksgiving?  Send me a link!

(recipe and photo from myrecipes.com)
 


Pilgrim's Hat Pot

Here is an easy way to transform a regular terra cotta pot into a pilgrim's hat for a festive Thanksgiving centerpiece!  So cute.

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Materials:

Oak tag
8"-wide terra-cotta pot
Scissors or craft knife
Mini glue gun
Terra-cotta spray (we used American Accents)
28" x 2" brown velvet ribbon or fabric
Metallic gold paper

Instructions:

Cut approximately 15"-diam circle from oak tag using a compass or bowl for guide.

Turn terra-cotta pot upside down, center on oak tag circle and trace.

Cut out inner circle 1⁄2" smaller in diameter than pot opening.

Make small slits about every 1⁄2" around the inner circle.

Cut a line between inner and outer circles. Overlap and glue back together to form beveled hat brim.

Fold down inner circle slits and glue to inside of pot.

Paint pot and brim with terra-cotta spray. Let dry.

Glue ribbon or fabric band around pot.

Cut buckle shape from gold paper backed with oak tag and glue to hat band

 

(photo and how-to from womansday.com)
 


Festive Fruit Centerpiece

I love the look of this citrus fruit centerpiece with the addition of the shiny ornaments.  It's perfect for the holiday season!  BONUS-it's easy and inexpensive too.

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What you need:


• Metal tiered tray
• Florist foam, soaked
• Lemons
• Limes
• Clementines
• Blood oranges
• Sphagnum moss
• Florist pins 

Use one third of the florist foam on the top tier and the remaining on the bottom one.  Cover the florist foam with moss, secure with florist pins.  Pierce the fruit with the picks and then secure them to the foam.  The day of your gathering, slice a couple of pieces of fruit for the display.

This would also be pretty in a glass bowl or on a cake stand if you don't want to work with the florist foam.

(photo from myhomeideas.com)


Cranberry Craze

Well my previous post got me searching for cranberry recipes.  There are a ton of cranberry sauce and cranberry muffin recipes out there... but how many of you have ever used cranberries in your appetizers?  Here a couple of yummy ones I've found so far...and of course the cocktails to go with them!

(click titles for recipes)

Cranberry Salsa

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Cranberry Apple Spritzer

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Cranberry Turkey Crostinis

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Sparkling Cranberry Blush

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Cranberry Feta Pinwheels

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Crantini

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Festive Filler

I noticed our grocery store just started carrying fresh cranberries-that means its officially holiday season!  I love anything made with cranberries.  Their bright red color is even great in decorating for the holidays. 

How about using them in your Thanksgiving and holiday flower arrangements?  What a festive touch they add to a simple bouquet.

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Just rinse your cranberries before putting them in water.  Insert your flowers.  They will also help hold your arrangement in place.


(photo from marthastewart.com)