Thanksgiving is a holiday that usually takes a backseat. Sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas, most stores and homes pack on the garland and lights before the turkey is even cold. NOT in my house! I was determined to smell the pumpkin spice, pour the cocktails, and let Thanksgiving shine with a Friendsgiving.
With our group of eight friends, I wanted to keep the food light and focus on appetizers. I picked the Saturday before Thanksgiving and tasked everyone with bringing a small appetizer to share. Besides the champagne flutes and stemless wine glasses, I took advantage of easy cleanup with paper plates and plastic forks.
Our bar was stocked with the essentials and I prepared a few Fall cocktails that I discovered on Pinterest. I greeted guests with a sparkling cinnamon pear cocktail and followed up with a spiced pear gin cocktail.
Turns out the drinks were pretty strong, but started the night right! The third cocktail was a Fireball sangria with fresh apple cider and pears. I didn't intend to have a pear theme, but hey, the tasty fruit is in season. I had a blast testing my mixology skills and using our bar tools we received from our wedding a few years back.
The menu consisted of a variety of snack foods. The main attraction was the charcuterie board filled with Wisconsin cheddar, Gruyere, Parmigiana Reggiano, Gouda, and herb goat cheese. Prosciutto, spicy salami, and a variety of fruits paired well with the fresh bread and whole grain crackers.
I put the board together an hour before the event in order to bring the cheese to room temperature. Flavor profiles and textures are enhanced with this useful trick.
I prepared a batch of tzatziki to go with an assortment of fresh vegetables. Besides a bag of chips and a few pumpkin spice mini cupcakes, I made some peanut butter chocolate bark with a caramel drizzle. Making this the day of was a bit messy! For a warm appetizer, I assembled stuffed mushrooms ahead of time and placed them in the oven later in the evening once everyone arrived.
I kept decor light and picked up some fresh flowers to brighten up the apartment. I took advantage of the Fall decor on sale at Hobby Lobby and picked up some supplies for candles. An orange table runner and a few adorable scarecrows finished the look.
No party is complete without some competitive beer pong. Since we set up the table inside, water was the obvious choice to fill up the cups. No unwanted fuzz was going into my sangria! Brad created the bracket and teams were couples. Throwing the ball with 2000s party hits playing in the background brought us all back to our college days.
Hosting Friendsgiving was a great way to bring our friends together and show them how much they mean to us. Moving from Wisconsin to Texas has brought new experiences along with valuable friendships and memories. I am thankful for many things, but good company, flavorful food, and laughter is a combination hard to beat!