Archive | November, 2016

How to Create a Signature Thanksgiving Cocktail

A couple weeks ago I was “stranded” on an airplane for over five hours without wifi, ahhhhhhhhhh! Total definition of #firstworldproblems. I really don’t mean to complain, but I had planned to get a lot of work done and couldn’t, so when reality didn’t meet my expectations it was a bit of a let down.

Needless to say, since I couldn’t work, I started watching a free show on the in flight entertainment. I had heard of the show “Dinner at Tiffani’s” but had never watched it, so I indulged. The show takes place in Tiffani Thiessen’s house where she cooks for all of her celebrity friends. Who knew Kelly Kapowski was such a good cook and has so many interesting, cool friends. I really enjoyed the show, specifically her cocktail concoctions.

I was majorly impressed with her ability to just come up with cocktail combinations that not only sound delicious, but are beautiful and easy to do. I’ve always had to kind of follow a drink recipe for fun cocktails or only drink basic combinations, but not anymore.

Click here for a light, refreshing, and delicious cocktail perfect for Thanksgiving! Plus a FREE recipe card!Tiffani demonstrated a very easy way to mix up new cocktails with interesting flavors. In multiple episodes she infused simple syrups to create different cocktails. Genius! All you need is sugar, water, and herbs, fruit, or even candies like peppermints.   There are so many combinations.

Click here for a light, refreshing, and delicious cocktail perfect for Thanksgiving! Plus a FREE recipe card!Today, I created a special Thanksgiving cocktail using this genius method of infusing simple syrups. Try this cocktail to wash down turkey, cranberry sauce, or just to deal with your family on Thanksgiving.

Thyme Infused Cranberry Vodka Soda

Cocktail Ingredients:

1 oz. Thyme infused simple syrup
1 oz. Vodka
3-5 oz. Club Soda
Splash of Cranberry Juice
Garnish with a sprig of thyme and a few frozen cranberries. It will be so pretty and stay cold because of the frozen cranberries.

Steps:

  1. Make a simple syrup by combining 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of water in a pot and heating until clear, and the sugar is dissolved.  Be sure to stir periodically.
  2. Add a handful of chopped up thyme leaves to the simple syrup, and heat for a minute or two.
  3. Remove simple syrup from the stove and let it cool, while the thyme steeps for about 20 minutes.
  4. After 20 minutes, strain thyme leaves out of syrup.
  5. Combine cocktail ingredients over ice and stir.
  6. Garnish cocktail with a sprig of thyme and a few frozen cranberries

Click here for a light, refreshing, and delicious cocktail perfect for Thanksgiving! Plus a FREE recipe card!Click here for a light, refreshing, and delicious cocktail perfect for Thanksgiving! Plus a FREE recipe card!This cocktail is quite refreshing which is a change of pace with rich Thanksgiving food. Plus, it’s pretty light in calories (especially with sugar free cranberry juice) and flavors for all of those heavy dishes.

Click here for a light, refreshing, and delicious cocktail perfect for Thanksgiving! Plus a FREE recipe card!Click here for a light, refreshing, and delicious cocktail perfect for Thanksgiving! Plus a FREE recipe card!Click here for a light, refreshing, and delicious cocktail perfect for Thanksgiving! Plus a FREE recipe card!The options are endless. Try an orange and lemon infused simple syrup with bourbon for an updated take on an Old Fashioned. Or how about rosemary and lemon gin and tonic? Use the peppermint infused simple syrup for a festive Christmas cocktail.

Click the photo below to get your Thanksgiving cocktail recipe card. Print it off and keep it handy all season long. Or print it out on some nice paper and tie it to a jar of simple syrup for a homemade hostess gift or party favor. Perfect for the person that loves a delicious cocktail.

Click here for a light, refreshing, and delicious cocktail perfect for Thanksgiving! Plus a FREE recipe card!I’m in love with the idea of making a ton of different infused syrups putting them in canning jars with some cute labels and having them ready to go for gifts or every day use.

Did I convince you to join the infused simple syrup bandwagon?  If not, maybe Tiffani Thiessen can.  Her show airs on The Cooking Channel.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with good food, friends, and family.  Take some time to reflect on what you’re grateful for then enjoying celebrating the day.  I’ll be back next week to start the Christmas celebrating!  Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

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2016 Thanksgiving Hostess Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again, the gift giving time.  Why don’t we feel the need to give gifts all year long?  Either way, it’s a great idea to give a hostess gift to the person hosting you for Thanksgiving, even if it’s your mom.  Your Thanksgiving hostess goes through a lot of work and preparation to feed you.  Showing your appreciation is easy with this Thanksgiving hostess gift guide.

There is something for every kind of host here, and they all will make Thanksgiving so much easier for your hostess.

  1. Help with the Clean Up

Gifting your hostess with this very practical dish soap set on Thanksgiving will make clean up a breeze.  Bonus that the soap and cleaner smells divine.  An even better gift is doing the dishes for your hostess.  It’s the least you can do since they cooked everything!

2. Help Set Their Table

Bring your hostess this cute vintage turkey table runner and they will be set for this Thanksgiving and all Thanksgiving’s from now on.  Who knows they may even want to clear the table and lay Mr. Turkey down before you eat.

3. Help with Entertaining the Guests

Bringing a football to the Thanksgiving celebration will help your hostess more than you think.  You will help get all the guests outside for a quick game while leaving the kitchen available for the cook to finish up without people right under foot.  That’s kind of priceless with all of the cooking that goes on for Thanksgiving dinner.

4. Help with the Planning

Help your hostess plan for Thanksgiving, and weekly groceries by gifting this simple categorized shopping list.  Add a nice pen and tie it up with ribbon for an easy gift presentation.  I can’t talk enough about how amazing categorized grocery lists are.  #lifechanger

5. Help with the Drinks

Give these really practical wine glass markers to your host to help keep everyone’s glass from getting mixed up.  There’s nothing worse than pouring a drink, taking a sip, setting it down, then not remembering where it is or whose it is.  These would also be fun for kids to draw on their cups!

6. Help Display the Pie

This is a top notch hostess gift.  Although a little more expensive, this is great for the host that goes above and beyond, you know, like your mom.  This makes a great display for whatever pie you have on Thanksgiving.  Plus it will be used throughout the year with the simple, classic design.

7. Help Decorate for Fall

I’ve seen these velvet pumpkins on other blogs for several years and have never bought them, but love the texture they add to any Fall decor.  They aren’t super cheap, but they are just so cute.  Give your host these pumpkins and they’ll be able to decorate for fall for years to come and will always think of you when displaying them.

8. Help Decorate the Christmas Tree

Help jump start your hostess’ Christmas decorating with these letter ornaments for their Christmas tree. I always recommend buying ornaments in pairs.  It’s just something I always do, I think my mom told me this a long time ago.  Buy a bunch of different letters for people you know always host a holiday party and you’re set for every occasion.

There you go!  Eight great ideas for any hostess, especially whoever is cooking your Thanksgiving meal.  Which gift do you think works the best for your hostess?  Tell me in the comments.

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How to Create a Thanksgiving Kids Table

We’re less than a week away from the big day!  Thanksgiving that is!  What will you be doing this weekend to get ready?  Use my planning printables to help you get the turkey on the table in time.  I know I’ll be making my grocery and shopping lists!  Plus, I’m breaking tradition and probably going to be putting the tree up before Thanksgiving this weekend.  I’m just feeling in the spirit I guess.  Maybe because it snowed yesterday, so it feels like Christmas already.

If you need some more Thanksgiving inspiration, look no further.  Especially if you have kids that will be partaking in your feast.  Did anyone else grow up with a kids table on Thanksgiving day?  I didn’t really, but I’d love to sit at the kids table I put together for you today!

Click here for ideas on setting up a kids Thanksgiving Table so cute you'll want to sit there too!You’ll need a few key things to keep the kids entertained while hopefully eating turkey and not just dessert.  First, if you have a table that is just the right height for little guests, they’ll feel more comfortable in their space.  Plus you won’t have to worry about them falling off of tall chairs.

Next, I highly suggest putting some butcher paper or kraft paper down as a base.  It creates an easy clean-up and allows kids to color away while they wait to eat.

Click here for ideas on setting up a kids Thanksgiving Table so cute you'll want to sit there too!Then, be sure to use paper plates.  There is no need to have to risk your china or even casual plates getting broken, chipped, or drawn on.  I also recommend paper or plastic cups.  They are so much lighter for little hands to pick up.  Cocktail sized plastic cups are the perfect size for my two year old.

Plastic flatware is also a great choice since little hands barely use them anyway.  Why use a perfectly good fork when you have your hands?!

Click here for ideas on setting up a kids Thanksgiving Table so cute you'll want to sit there too!

Click here for ideas on setting up a kids Thanksgiving Table so cute you'll want to sit there too!Now, I’m pretty sure restaurants are on to something with the coloring sheets and crayons they have to keep kids occupied.  So incorporate that into your Thanksgiving kids table.  Add a jar, basket, or individual boxes of crayons to the table and let the kids go wild.  They’ve got a great spot to color on the butcher paper.

Click here for ideas on setting up a kids Thanksgiving Table so cute you'll want to sit there too!Or provide some themed coloring sheets for them to decorate.  It’s pretty easy to find a Thanksgiving coloring book that you can tear a few pages out of, or just print some off after a quick Pinterest search.  Better yet, Pier 1 has these great Thanksgiving activity placemats.

Click here for ideas on setting up a kids Thanksgiving Table so cute you'll want to sit there too!If your kids get tired of coloring, I mean their attention spans barely exist, try an activity.  I purchased these turkey headbands at Hobby Lobby.  They will let the kids at your Thanksgiving spend a few minutes sticking feathers and turkey faces onto squishy foam.  I’d recommend tying the elastic strap for them, but once they’re done, it will be so fun for them to wear while eating.

Click here for ideas on setting up a kids Thanksgiving Table so cute you'll want to sit there too!There you have it.  A few things to help keep the kids entertained so you can enjoy your wine, or second helping of turkey and gravy.  Do you plan on having a kids table on Thanksgiving?  Try to incorporate a few of these ideas to make your kids table so cute and even more functional!

There’s more Thanksgiving inspiration next week too!  Hostess gifts and cocktail recipes are coming at you.  Between the planning guide and everything next week, you’ll be set for a great Thanksgiving!

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The Ultimate Thanksgiving Planning Guide with FREE Printables

We’re 9 days away from Thanksgiving!!!  However, does hosting Thanksgiving stress you out? Well, no fear, I’m here to help you have a smooth, less stressful, and easy Thanksgiving. You can print out everything you need to plan your Thanksgiving festivities.

To get you started print out this great grocery and shopping list. It has categories for everything you will need to buy. I modeled my lists after the amazing paper creation that Emily from Jones Design Company does with her Paperworks subscription.  I use to be a subscriber and her grocery list lay out alone completely changed the way I grocery shop.

Need help planning your Thanksgiving feast? Use these printables to make it easy as pie!Categorizing your grocery list based on how the grocery store is designed totally reduces the amount of time you’ll be in the store. If you find yourself forgetting things or having to go back and forth between aisles, try categorizing your grocery list. You’ll be able to just hit one area of the store and get everything you need and won’t have to go back for something you forgot. Meat all in one area, baking stuff all in one area, dairy, produce, frozen items all categorized, yippee, in and out of the store quickly!

The shopping list creates a space for all of those other things that you’ll need for Thanksgiving. For a great Thanksgiving you’ll have to have serving ware, drinks, table décor, and for certain people I know they like to plan out outfits for these kinds of things. If you’re like that too, there’s a place specifically for clothing. Use it as a list of what to buy, or a list of what you plan to wear.

Need help planning your Thanksgiving feast? Use these printables to make it easy as pie!Next in this planning bundle is a set of place cards. What I love about these is that they can be used as name cards, place cards, or even as food labels. If Thanksgiving is more of a buffet style than a family dinner around the table, it’s a great way to label all of the food. Use them to include which dishes contain common allergy ingredients like nuts, dairy, or eggs.

To make the place cards, just print them out on a thicker paper like card stock, cut out the orange card, write names in the blank area and fold in half to create a little tent. Easy as 1, 2, 3, 4!

Now, something revolutionary I’ve started doing in the past few years is using an oven/cooking rotation timeline on Thanksgiving. Our new house is great, and has pretty much everything we could ever want. However, every year when Thanksgiving rolls around, I dream of having double ovens. The dream hasn’t come true yet, therefore I need this cooking timeline sheet.

Need help planning your Thanksgiving feast? Use these printables to make it easy as pie!This printable allows you to plan out when each of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes needs to go in the oven and when it needs to come out. Also include what temperature the dish needs to cook at so you can plan your oven temperatures accordingly. I always recommend starting with the dish that requires the highest temperature.  Therefore you won’t have to wait for your oven to heat up in between dishes. #gamechanger

Hopefully these fun, easy to use sheets help you make Thanksgiving a smashing success! All it takes is a little planning ahead of time to set you on the path to successful hosting.  Just click on the photos above of the printable to download, print, and start planning.

Happy Thanksgiving planning!!  Reminder…9 days people!

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How to Host a Chili Dog Night

Click here to learn how to host a Chili Dog night complete with hot apple cider and smores!Isn’t this the time of year for coziness, soups, and stews?  And also chili!  There are always so many chili cook-offs this time of year and there isn’t anything nicer on a chilly day than a warm bowl of chili.  Recently I hosted a little chili night at my house.

I made a big pot of chili with tons of toppings, fixings, and additions then invited the neighbors over and had a great evening.  I used this chili recipe, it’s my new go to.  The flavor is so deep and rich, plus while it’s simmering you have plenty of time to get everything else ready.

Click here to learn how to host a Chili Dog night complete with hot apple cider and smores!Be sure to have plenty of signs so people knew how to assemble and make the night their own.  I apologize for my dimly lit photos, but it happens when you’re too busy enjoying your chili night and not working on taking perfect blog photos.

Click here to learn how to host a Chili Dog night complete with hot apple cider and smores!I included plenty of options for a base to the chili like Fritos, cornbread, and hot dogs.  But so many other things could work too like pasta, rice, or even garlic bread.

Click here to learn how to host a Chili Dog night complete with hot apple cider and smores!Be sure to put chili or anything else that needs to stay warm in a crockpot or chaffing dish.  I’d also recommend putting hot dogs out for grabs last because it’s kind of difficult to keep them warm unless you don’t assemble them ahead of time.  In that case just keep the hot dogs in a chaffing dish and make the buns easily accessible.

Click here to learn how to host a Chili Dog night complete with hot apple cider and smores!Click here to learn how to host a Chili Dog night complete with hot apple cider and smores!Toppings for chili are a must!  I don’t care how much you stand behind your chili recipe, it’s always better with fresh ingredients on top.  I used a vegetable tray to display all of our topping options.  We had cheese, onions, crackers, tomato, and sour cream.  Other great ideas are avocado, olives, or salsa.

Click here to learn how to host a Chili Dog night complete with hot apple cider and smores!To scoop up all the delicious chili, chili dogs, and cornbread I rolled flatware in napkins and tied it off with red and white baker’s twine.  I think baker’s twine is a must when it comes to party planning.  There are so many ways to use it, and the red and white color of it coordinated with my black, white, and red themed chili night.

Click here to learn how to host a Chili Dog night complete with hot apple cider and smores!You have to have a great beverage station to wash down your chili, especially if it’s spicy!  At my chili night I offered a Moscow mule, hot apple cider and a spiked version of hot apple cider.  I always feel like Moscow mules are a fall drink, but mostly because of the copper mugs.

Click here to learn how to host a Chili Dog night complete with hot apple cider and smores!Click here to learn how to host a Chili Dog night complete with hot apple cider and smores!Our friends brought some pumpkin flavored rum that was so delicious in the spiked apple cider.  It really gave it an extra fall flavor.  I also added some cut up apples and oranges to our apple cider and threw in some cinnamon sticks.  All those flavors blended together in the crockpot and made the drink so delicious.

Click here to learn how to host a Chili Dog night complete with hot apple cider and smores!It was a great evening with friends casually hanging out eating delicious chili and drinking fall flavors.  It was so nice to have just a few people over and really get to enjoy our time and conversations with them.  I highly recommend hosting a chili night at your house.

It’s a great option for a neighborhood party, a Sunday evening dinner with family, or after your kids soccer game.  So much fun and so delicious!

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Celebrating everyday!