Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Merry Thanksgiving Party

I love the holidays.  Spending time with family and friends is so amazing which is why I love both Thanksgiving (my mom is a fabulous cook) and Christmas.  In 2008, my monthly dinner fell just after Thanksgiving at the very beginning of December. I decided to split the holidays, and host A Merry Thanksgiving dinner.  This would enable me to have the yummy food from both of these great holidays.
Decor:  I decorated my table to be half Thanksgiving and half Christmas.  On the Thanksgiving side, I used a gold tablecloth and a fall leaf designed runner that I folded in half to only cover half the table.  Each place setting had a fabric napkin made out of a similar fall fabric. I placed an orange candle as part of the centerpiece as well as a pumpkin I made out of a dryer hose.
Pumpkin Centerpiece
28-30" dryer hose that is 4" in diameter
Floral Wire
Orange paint (I used Delta paint from Michaels)
Cut wire with wire cutters.  Use floral wire in several places to hold cut edges together to form a complete circle (drawn close in middle).  Paint with orange craft paint. Once dry, glue a twisted piece of a brown paper bag to the top center as a stem (glue upright).  Add a piece of small silk ivy as the vine 4-6" or less, if desired.

The other half of the table I decorated with a red tablecloth and Christmas table runner and matching fabric napkins. I used a Santa head cookie jar as my centerpiece on this side along with a white and red Christmas candle.
The placecard was a turkey wearing a Santa hat which I made stand up using a Hershey kiss behind it.  This was before I owned a Cricut machine, so the turkeys were cut from a pattern I found online at the time.
On each plate, I also had a simple activity/task for guests to complete which we shared aloud during the meal.  The top half of the activity asked guest's to list two things they were thankful for, and the bottom half asked guests to list two things that they wanted for Christmas.  I used holiday theme scrapbook paper to back each.  This is my card for the night on which I announced my pregnancy for the first time!

Menu:  The menu was traditional meals that are normally served at these two holidays. As our main dishes, I served turkey and ham which I paired with mashed potatoes and stuffing.  I also served a small plate with two jellos -- one a mandarin orange to represent Thanksgiving and the other a cranberry red to represent Christmas.

Cranberry Marble Mold
 2 (3 ounce) packages of cherry jello
2 cups boiling water
1 (8¾ ounce) can crushed pineapple
1 (1 pound) can whole cranberry sauce
1 cup sour cream

Dissolve jello in water.  Stir in pineapple.  Chill until partially set.  Fold in cranberries and turn into an 8” square pan.  Spoon sour cream a top.  Stir to marble.

 Mandarin Orange Salad
 1 (3 ounce) package of orange gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 (6 ounce) can frozen orange juice
½ cup cold water
1 can Mandarin oranges, drained
2 bananas, sliced

Dissolve gelatin in hot water; add frozen orange juice and cold water.  Chill.  Add Mandarin oranges and bananas.  Chill until firm.  Serve on lettuce lined plates.  Serves 8.

For dessert, I made turkey cupcakes and mini cherry cheesecakes.  The turkeys are very simple to make - just use chocolate frosting to cover a cupcake adding extra to use as the head.  Chocolate sprinkles add feathers to give the turkey's body texture.  I used candycorns for the tail feathers and nose.  The eyes are piped on using white and red frosting.  For the cheesecakes, I used a holly cupcake liner to tie it with the Christmas theme.
 Petite Cherry Cheesecakes
 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
24 vanilla wafers
1 (21 ounce) can cherry pie filling

Beat cream cheese, sugar, eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla till light and fluffy. Line small muffin pans with paper baking cups and place a vanilla wafer in the bottom of each cup.  Fill the cups 2/3 full with cream cheese mixture.  Bake in 375 degree oven for 15-20minutes or till set.  Top each with about 1 tablespoon pie filling; chill.  Makes about 20.
 *Need 1½ times the recipe for 24 muffin cups.

As Thanksgiving approaches this year, I would like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. May you enjoy this time with family and friends.  If Thanksgiving passes and you find yourself needing to plan a dinner, why not try out this fun mix of both holidays.  Just love this season!!

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