Thanksgiving Feed

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)
 


'Tis the Season

of FOOD!  I don't know about you but this time of year always gets me excited about trying new recipes and sharing them with friends and family.  You will probably be seeing a few more recipes than normal around here for the next two months.  I promise, as always, they will be EASY. 

I have been wanting to make something with pumpkin.  I am not a baker so that narrows it down a lot!  I found this Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread I'm going to try first.  It's simple and has my favorite holiday ingredient: cream cheese.  Perfect for a holiday brunch or overnight guests.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread

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Ingredients

  • 1  8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2  cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4  cup sugar
  • 3/4  teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2  teaspoon vanilla

Directions

Beat all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Makes 1-1/2 cups (24, 1-tablespoon servings). Serve with warm bagels.

(photo from bhg.com)