A Thanksgiving Gathering – Part 1

If you’ve been following along in my blog, you’ll know that I’ve been preparing for a Thanksgiving gathering! Well, it’s over now and I wanted to share with you all how it went! It went surprisingly well!! I only say that because this was my first time hosting a gathering. I did all the cooking, cleaning, styling, decorating, and planning. Let me tell you, it’s not easy but it’s rewarding and fun when you’re around people who care about you!

I did a lot of preparation in advance. The table decor was simple, so I had that out of the way early. I made my own linen napkins which saved me some money too. Flowers of the Good Earth was able to supply me with the florals. I used Italian Ruscus which looked great on a Thanksgiving table! Since my table was simple, I could focus more on other things.

I didn’t grow up in a cooking family, per say. My mom mainly cooked my grandma’s recipes that were handed down to her. When she does cook it is few and far between. I started learning how to cook surprisingly with my boyfriend, Andrew. When we started dating we began cooking a lot of meals together. And my love for cooking grew from there.

I’m not a food connoisseur by any means. That’s why I was mainly stressing over the food. I wanted everything to taste good, I wanted everything to get done on time, and I didn’t want to poison my guests with the turkey! Needless to say, everything got done ahead of schedule, the food tasted great, and we didn’t have to order pizza (a win in my book)!

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For dessert: Pear and Frangipane Tart

 

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The decor and food aside, it’s all about the company of people. That’s why we gather. We gather for the friendships and the conversations – it just happens to be around food! And honestly, all my stressing disappeared when my friends started arriving. It didn’t matter if things didn’t get done on time, or something wasn’t absolutely perfect, they supported this endeavor and that meant the world to me!

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My friend Jon made a sign for my blog!

Menu

Starter

Warm Quinoa Salad with Broccoli and Acorn Squash, Tossed in a Lemon Vinaigrette

Main Dish

Oven Roasted Turkey

Sides

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Wild Mushroom and Brioche Stuffing

Autumn Roasted Root Vegetables (Carrots and Beets)

Dessert

Pear and Frangipane Tart Topped with Brown Sugar and Pine Nuts

 

I hope I gave you some inspiration for your next gathering – whether that’s for Thanksgiving,

Christmas, or any other time of the year! Getting together with friends and people who care about you is what it’s all about. The biggest thing is not to stress too much and do lots of planning ahead of time! You will thank yourself and your guests will enjoy themselves more. Don’t worry if something isn’t absolutely perfect because if you’re with people who care about you, does it really matter anyway? Besides, perfection is not what we’re about.

Unfortunately, I was unable to get a lot of pictures because I was running around doing things. My dear friend Sarah took the majority of the pictures so be on the lookout for part 2! If you want to see all that led up to this, you can check out the archives. I have some tips, DIY tutorials, and general inspiration for you!

Until next time – happy gathering!

A Thanksgiving Gathering: Styling a Simple Table

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If you’ve been following along with my blog, you’ll know that I’ve been doing a series of Thanksgiving posts – tips and tricks to get you prepared for your dinner. It’s all leading up to a gathering I’m hosting which is… this Saturday (oh boy!). You can look through the archives or my latest posts to find the series! This will be the last post of the series until, of course, the gathering! And then I can show you all how it went! I don’t know when I will have time to get the post on the gathering up so I wanted to give you some inspiration on how to style your table before turkey day!

There are so many ways to style a table. Some are elaborate and some are simple. I am more drawn to the simple side. It is easy on your wallet, but looks really elegant and tasteful at the same time. When the decor is simple, we can focus more on the food (and I need to focus on the food!), the people we have over, and the conversations that are born. It also means a poor girl can pull off a fabulous table!

Entertaining is new to me. And I’ll be honest, it’s a little scary. Will the food turn out alright? Will people have a good time? Growing up my parents never really entertained – nothing this elaborate and certainly not for Thanksgiving. It was just the 4 of us, the table filled with food with every inch that could be spared. The house toasty warm from the fireplace and the smell of turkey permeating every room. We walk into the kitchen after what seems like an endless amount of waiting and feast our eyes on the food. So it was about the food and being together. And it is no different now.

Although the table at the gathering won’t look exactly like this, I wanted to give you some idea of what it will look like. I have been inspired by a simple style that a lot of other stylists and bloggers have taken to. I really love the simple greenery going down the center. I think it gives the decor an earthy feel. If you don’t want a swag, you can do flowers in vases if you’d like. Or no florals, it’s up to you! I am using Italian Ruscus for my centerpiece but it would be just as easy to forage some pine too! It also helps that I work at a flower shop so I get a discount!

The candles are elegant and yet simple. Nothing too fancy. The linen napkins I made myself. I folded them, wrapped them in twine, and stuck a piece of greenery in the center. Again, it’s a simple and rustic look and can be achieved at a low cost. Bonus: buy linen when it’s on sale or there’s a big sale going on in the store! At Joann’s I had a 60% off coupon and I got a third yard for half off! If you want to know how to make your own linen napkins too, you can view my post on it here.

Almost everything I either got at a discount, secondhand, or a thrift store. Entertaining simply and on a budget can be done! I can’t wait to show you the actual gathering, but this will have to do for now! I hope this gave you some inspiration for your Thanksgiving gathering! Especially if you want to go simple this year!

Next, I will show you the highlights of the gathering so be sure not to miss that!

How do you decorate for Thanksgiving on a budget? I would love to hear from you!

A Thanksgiving Gathering: DIY Linen Napkins with Foraged Pine

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Happy saturday everyone! In lieu of my gathering coming up, I thought it appropriate to show you how to make your own napkins! You can use any type of fabric you like, but linen napkins add a sophisticated yet simple look to your table. Add a little sprig of green to your napkins, tie a little bow of twine and you’re all set!

If you’re planning on a simple, cheap gathering it can soon get expensive. Linen particularly is on the pricier end of fabric, and if you buy linen napkins from a store it can start to stack up.

Now I don’t have a sewing machine and my mom’s sewing machine is currently broken SO I had to find an alternative. Though my mom was skeptical, it turns out fabric adhesive works just fine! I think it’s easier than having to worry about needles and thread (especially if you’re not an avid sewer), but if you have a sewing machine handy and you think it’s easier go ahead!

What you need:

– 2 yards of linen fabric
– ruler
– scissors (preferably fabric scissors)
– steam activated fabric adhesive tape
– an iron

Directions:

Cut your fabric into 20.5″ squares. This makes 6 napkins. Start by placing adhesive tape on each corner sticky side down, peel off the top strip, fold the corner over and iron for 10-20 seconds to activate the adhesive.

After you’re done with the corners, do the same thing to each side of the square. After you’re all finished, fold your napkin into a long rectangle (optional: wrap in twine and garnish with a sprig of green).

And that’s it! Pretty simple right?? Gatherings don’t need to be complicated or expensive. You just have to know what you want, and know how you’re going to get it at a reasonable price – even if it means making something yourself.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! What are some of your favorite DIY projects for dinners? I’d love to hear from you!

A Thanksgiving Gathering: The Menu

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Hello everyone! I hope you are getting geared up for Thanksgiving! I know I sure am! I am hosting a dinner on Nov. 22nd for invited guests and I would like to share with you some things I’m doing to create a memorable gathering around the table. I am starting a series of posts leading up to Thanksgiving that will hopefully help prepare you for your gathering event. My style, if you read my about section you will know, is very simplistic seeking the lowest cost option while maintaining high quality. If simple is your thing, great! You’re in for a treat. If not, that’s fine – take what you like and leave the rest. I am mostly sharing with you my journey to hosting my first gathering!

Aside from the guests, décor, etc., food is why you have a dinner in the first place. So it should be at the forefront of your mind. I know I can concentrate a little more heavily on the menu since my décor is going to be pretty simple.

I do not plan on doing a “traditional American” Thanksgiving dinner. A lot of us will be going to multiple Thanksgivings for family and I don’t know about you, but there’s only so much turkey I can handle this time of year! I plan on doing some different dishes while throwing in a few holiday favorites as well!

I also want to preface, some of these are not my own recipes but I have provided links where you can view them!

For Starters…

Autumn Harvest Barley Salad

For a starter, I wanted something lighter than soup but hearty enough so it wasn’t a summer salad. Adding any type of grain is a great way to get a hearty salad (without adding meat). I’m going to do a simple barley salad with dark greens, dried cranberries, pecans, and feta cheese served with an apple cider vinaigrette! You can also add butternut squash or acorn squash to this! But because I’m using butternut squash a little later, I’ll leave it out of the salad.

Main Dish

I think I’ll leave that one a secret 😉 I’ll tell you it won’t be turkey! Whether or not you prepare turkey is totally up to you! If you are only going to one Thanksgiving (yours!) it makes sense to make turkey. But if you are going to multiple Thanksgivings you might want to give yourself a break and fix some other type of meat.

Side Dishes

Homemade Cranberry Jelly

This one is super simple! Growing up my mom always bought the cranberry jelly in the can. It was the perfect bitterness to balance out the sweetness of (what seemed like) the entire meal. (Plus I have to admit I liked plopping it out of the can!) So I am sticking with the jellied version – just homemade this time. I’ll be trying Marisa McLellan’s easy cranberry jelly recipe!

Butternut Squash and Apple Stuffing

This one is not my own recipe. It is taken from Savvy Eats. I like stuffing but I always feel it tastes too bland (unless you pour gravy on top!). And then I thought, why don’t I take something savory like stuffing and combine it with something sweet like butternut squash (and because you have to fit in butternut squash somewhere in your menu, right?)?! And then I found a recipe, because I am much too chicken to develop my own.

Fall Roasted Root Vegetables

Roasted vegetables are an easy and healthy way to add some color and flavor to your Thanksgiving meal! Just gather your favorite fall vegetables (I’m doing carrots, parsnip, onions, and garlic), toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and herb of your choice, and voila! You have a simple but elegant side dish!

Dessert

Pear and Frangipane Tart

I’ve already made pumpkin and apple pie yet this season, so I wanted to try something different for dessert! I always forget about pears and yet they are a good fall fruit. This recipe comes from Sunday Suppers and is adapted from Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite by Sarah Copeland. You can find the entire recipe as well as view pictures of the tart here.

 

So there you have it! I know this isn’t one of my typical posts with pictures but I have provided the original links where you can view the pictures as well as the complete recipes! Once I am finished with the dinner, I will post my pictures and recipes up on the Recipes page.

Above all, I hope you gain some inspiration from this fall-themed Thanksgiving menu – whether you choose to go traditional or not. Be sure to click the links and check out these foodies and see what else they have to offer! They are truly talented individuals!

Do you have any must-try thanksgiving dinner favorites? I’d love to hear them!

Cheers for now!

Adele

A Steller Story – Apple Cider Baked Chicken

baked apple cider chicken

A couple days ago I made this wonderful dish by Gimme Some Oven. A fall dish of baked chicken with lemon and mushrooms marinated in apple cider. You can find the full recipe here. If you read my last Steller Story post, here’s another one for you to check out! Steller republished this in their Bon Appetit collection. If you still don’t have Steller, shame on you (just kidding)! But it is so fun you really should give it a try! It’s an app that lets you tell a story with your photos. View the full Steller Story here.

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cutting lemon

mushrooms

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If you want to see more from me on Steller, search for adele_hall! I’d love to see some of your stuff too!

– Adele