Tag: Parties

Thanksgiving Planning

Thanksgiving Planning

Image courtesy of bonappetit.com.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  I love the simplicity of the holiday – it is about food and thankfulness (and, football).  Friends and family come together for a meal and that is all; there are no presents and no other expectations.

In my opinion, the great thing about the Thanksgiving meal is that it does not change very much from year to year.  The predictability of the menu makes planning easy.  I generally figure out what time I want to serve dinner and work backwards.  I am a little bit old school (and a lot type-A) because I prefer to write my schedule down on a piece of paper and I stick to it.  I usually map out the week starting on Tuesday (doing any prep that I can ahead of time, buying flowers, etc.).  When it comes to Thursday’s schedule, I plan out the day in 15 minute increments (yikes!).  I schedule the time I need for the final preparation of each dish as well as the time each dish needs to go into the oven. I want to make sure that everything is piping hot by the time the turkey is ready to be served.  My goal is to have everything prepped and ready to go into the oven by the time the guests arrive so that I can actually enjoy the party!

Each year I stick to basically the same menu (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans), but I try to change things up a bit in terms of the individual dishes to keep everyone’s interest.  I usually look to my favorite magazines and blogs for ideas, so I thought I would share my tried and true favorites, as well as a few new additions I am considering for this year’s meal. We would love to hear from you – what is on your Thanksgiving menu?

 Thanksgiving, parties1.  Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Turkey 
     Image courtesy of FoodNetwork.com
2.  Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta
     Image courtesy of FoodandWine.com
3.  Mashed Potatoes
     Image courtesy of FoodNetwork.com
4.  Spiced Dried Fruit Chutney
     Image courtesy of BonAppetit.com
5.  Cornbread Dressing with Sausage and Fennel 
     Image courtesy of bonappetit.com
6.  Green Beans with Chanterelles and Cipollini
     Image courtesy of Sunset.com
7.  Sweet Potato Pecan Pie
     Picture courtesy of Sunset.com
8.  Pumpkin Brulee Tart
     Image courtesy of Sunset.com

Weekend Inspiration: Party Time!

This weekend I am hosting a cocktail party on somewhat short notice.  With two small children, and now essentially two jobs, I have not had very much time to devote to planning. Thankfully, over the years I have put together a cache of party staples that help me pull together small parties without too much hassle. So, I got to thinking about what my go-to items are for these “affairs,” and thought I would share the list.

parties, supplies

1.  Nest candle, Blue Garden
2.  Six-packs of wine, champagne & water glasses
3.  Chafing dish
4.  John Robshaw Jats tablecloth 
5.  Appetizer plates
6.  MYDrap luncheon-size napkin rolls
7.  Galvanized beverage tub

In addition to having my supplies ready, I keep my sanity by making sure that the food and drinks are simple (it is only a cocktail party after all, not a sit-down dinner). I rely on really good cheese, crackers and bread paired which charcuterie and fruit. Sometimes I order fresh spring rolls from the local Thai restaurant and arrange them nicely on a platter. You can also never go wrong with caprese salad on bamboo skewers (i.e. fresh mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes and basil leaves with good olive oil drizzled over the top).  For a little something sweet, I pick up some Lindt truffles or one-bite cupcakes.  Then I open some bubbly and call it a day.

When I am feeling uninspired, I turn to several blogs that consistently provide inspiration for seasonal décor and recipes. Here are few I’ve seen recently that have great party inspiration.

A spooky menu for a Halloween party.
How to throw the ultimate dinner party.
DIY Taco Bar.
Bagel Bar Brunch.

So, don’t just sit there. Find an excuse to have a party tonight!  You’ll be glad that you did.