Cooking Buzz is produced in partnership with the Junior League of Houston, a women’s charitable and education organization founded in 1925.
Traditionally, Thanksgiving is that special day of the year when you and your family members gather around the table to catch up, reminisce about past holidays and somehow end up eating too much. Then Friendsgiving came along.
The premise of Friendsgiving is basically the same as Thanksgiving, except it is spent with your friends instead of family. Friendsgiving is a wonderful tradition that you can start with old or new friends.
I’ve been to numerous Friendsgivings and always bring the same item, Balsamic Glazed Carrots from Peace Meals. I love mixing up the meal with something a little lighter like a simple vegetable. Now don’t get me wrong, I still look forward to the dressing, mashed potatoes and those delicious dinner rolls, but it’s a good change of pace to eat something relatively healthy. They’re also super easy to make. My husband and I like our vegetables cooked thoroughly, so I wait a few more minutes before reducing the heat at the end of the instructions in the recipe.
As the host, the turkey and gravy are your responsibility. Proper delegation of what everyone else should bring is essential too. You don’t want three different green bean casseroles at your Friendsgiving. I also think it’s fun to have table tents by each dish, asking each cook to write the name and a quick description of the recipe.
If you’re in charge of one of the classic sides like sweet potatoes, you should try Smoked Gouda Mashed Sweet Potatoes from Peace Meals to add a twist on a traditional item. This new way to enjoy sweet potatoes can be a colorful alternative to regular mashed potatoes. I do like to add a little extra cayenne pepper in the recipe to make for a spicier flavor. Luckily my friends like spicy foods!
To round out the evening, Friendsgiving should close with a delectable dessert. A go-to of mine is the Soft Ginger Cookies from Peace Meals. They’ve always been a crowd pleaser with friends since they bring the flavor of gingersnaps in a soft, chewy cookie. The recipe makes enough (30 cookies) that people can easily grab more than just one. I like to send my friends home with a cookie or two wrapped in a simple craft bag with a note that I’m thankful for friends like them. I’m often too stuffed to eat dessert immediately after Friendsgiving, but the cookies make a perfect midnight snack or even breakfast the next morning.
If cooking is not your (or your friends’) expertise, The Pantry at the Junior League of Houston offers a holiday meal with everything included. It comes with a turkey, all the necessary sides and two pies (one pumpkin, one pecan), or order any item à la carte.
To buy a Houston Junior League cookbook or for more information on Thanksgiving orders, see jlh.org or call 713-871-6608.
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