I am someone who really loves Thanksgiving. I love the coming together of loved ones, traditions, and of course food. And just how happy and excited people get to gather and enjoy each other’s company is really fantastic. This year in Chicago my girlfriends did a potluck style Friendsgiving dinner and it was a huge success, and I’m going to break down the steps for you all (as well as links to some fab recipes), so you can have a perfect Friendsgiving too.
Our lovely hostess with the mostess Abbey set up a Facebook event three to four weeks in advanced of our date, which I thought was very smart. It gave people enough time to clear their busy schedules and chat about who’s bringing what. As soon as people were brainstorming what to bring, the whole meal just kind of came together. The hostess was in charge of apple pie and the star of the show, the bird, which I highly recommend so there is no transporting of turkey involved (imagine getting into your Uber with a hot, fully cooked turkey). Everyone else was in charge of sides and drinks, and all coming from slightly different backgrounds, we all brought something different and delicious to the table.
With the turkey covered by our hostess, the group mainly took on sides with a couple desserts thrown in. I’ll break it down for you.
I was in charge of the stuffing, which is my grandma’s old recipe. To my surprise, it was a huge hit. This is the recipe my family has been using forever, and I’m so happy with the way it turned out. The taste and smell immediately brings me to my family’s Thanksgiving. Here is the recipe (shh, don’t tell grandma!).
We had a green bean casserole, which was the classic combo: green beans, mushroom soup, topped with crispy onions. It was delicious and all of the midwesterners said it wouldn’t be a Thanksgiving meal without it. Also in the vegetable realm was a fresh and crunchy fall salad. It had brie cheese, pears, and pomegranate seeds with balsamic dressing. The freshness and acidity was exactly what this rich meal needed.
Another delicious side was a butternut squash puree with ginger, orange, and honey. This was a perfect twist on any butternut squash/sweet potato dish, and was a fresh and delicious compliment to the turkey. Find the recipe here. On the same sweet note, we had a cranberry sauce made with fresh cranberries and sugar. A simple but vital side dish to go along with any true Thanksgiving meal.
For the desserts, our friend Claire, a fabulous chef and baker made her most famous pumpkin squares. I can’t really do them justice by writing about them. You’ll just have to make the recipe (here) and taste them for yourself. It’s like pumpkin pie and butter and sugar and everything good in the world all packed into a delicious little bar. I could’ve eaten 5 but I probably wouldn’t have woken up this morning. For a traditional pie, our hostess made an amazing apple pie. I really loved the crust, and it looked too pretty to eat. And of course we had some store-bought cookies and brownies, which are always appreciated for those who aren’t pumpkin or apple people.
With all the food that comes together, there’s also the gathering itself. Abbey has amazing taste, and her pretty little condo and party decorations reflected that. The table setting was full of fall colors and a warm ambiance. A relaxing playlist, no TV, and lots of wine and laughs made for a fabulous night.
What a cute way to use a tapestry right? I know a lot of the time they are used to adorn walls and ceilings, but I love the way this is used here, and the colors are perfect for Friendsgiving. The sunflowers really gave the table a pop of color and the “gather” banner was an adorable touch.
We drank wine, we ate, we said what we were thankful for, and played Cards Against Humanity. We laughed a lot and had overall just a beautiful evening. We’ll all go our separate ways across the country for Thanksgiving this coming Thursday, but this was a perfect way to show each other how thankful we are for one another.
What is your favorite dish to bring to Thanksgiving? Comment below with recipes and ideas for how to make a Friendsgiving celebration special.