On our holiday dinner table, space can be at a premium — and we would always prioritize food and drink over tons of decorative details, which is where the idea for this simple, multi-use DIY came from. I washed out a rich green colored wine bottle with the intention of serving water in it on the Thanksgiving table, and decided to give it one more purpose: a passable menu detailing all of the great Thanksgiving dishes we’ll be feasting on. With a thick permanent marker, I hand-lettered the main dishes down the center of the bottle and finished it off with a large script ‘menu’ title where the base and neck meet. The best part? It costs nothing to make (well, minus the cost of the wine, but let’s be honest: I was going to drink that anyway!). IMG_5082-0.JPG

I spent Saturday at the Wayfair + Boston Bloggers‘ Home for the Holidays event and it got me majorly into the holiday spirit. I’m fine waiting a little longer until we start chatting about Christmas, but Thanksgiving is just 3 weeks away so you better believe I’m starting to scheme up holiday  tablescape decorations. I started to test  a few ideas for place cards using natural elements — first, a big fresh artichoke centered on a plate with a small hand-drawn paper banner that I lettered in gold. For the next  place card I tied a silk blush ribbon around the stem of a tiny pumpkin (I love the golden and green colors in this one!). I used a deep red pomegranate and a gold permanent marker to create some faux-calligraphy for another option. And my fourth and final test was a small wreath that I made out of fresh thyme sprigs. A small piece of peach ribbon covered up where I tied off the wreath and I personalized it with a gold glitter monogram sticker. This one was my favorite because it smelled so fresh and rich! So what do you think, any favorites?
Thanksgiving Tablestop B1Thanksgiving Tablestop B2 Thanksgiving Tablestop D2 Thanksgiving Tablestop D1 Thanksgiving Tablestop C1 Thanksgiving Tablestop C2Thanksgiving Tablestop A2 Thanksgiving Tablestop A1

The other day at work the topic of Thanksgiving foods came up, and while it’s not a traditional Thanksgiving food, I mentioned that we always have a mac and cheese at ours because my siblings aren’t big on turkey. One of the best mac and cheese dishes that I’ve ever eaten was on our honeymoon, and the dish came served with a side of homemade applesauce — delicious. My wheels started turning for how I could combine these flavors in a new way, and I came up with this cute little idea for a savory and sweet side dish: mac and cheese baked apples. I love the idea of offering these in small apples as an appetizer, or as a bigger portion for a side dish at dinner — either way, they’re a super tasty treat. Full recipe below!

Mac and cheese baked apple Mac and cheese baked apple1 mac and cheese baked apple2 mac and cheese baked apple3 mac and cheese baked apple4 mac and cheese baked apple5 mac and cheese baked apple6Ingredients:

  • 4-5 large apples (honey crisp apples worked great)
  • 5 cups of cooked pasta (elbows work great!)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (plus extra for garnish)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

Cook pasta as directed, removing from water when still al dente. Clean apples and slice their tops off; using a melon-baller, scoop out the insides of the apple leaving a half-inch rim around the edges. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and begin to whisk in flour until a roux forms, then slowly whisk in the cup of milk and heat until the sauce thickens. Next, mix in the cheeses and combine until the sauce is a consistent texture. Remove from heat fold in pasta until fully coated; salt and pepper to taste. Fill the hollowed-out apples with macaroni and cheese mixture, and top with additional sharp cheddar cheese. Bake in a baking dish in a 400 degree pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes.

 

I got a head start this weekend on holiday baking, who says pies are just for Thanksgiving day? I’m a big of fan of individual-sized desserts (as evidenced here and here), after a heavy meal and lots of snacking, I always still want dessert, but just need a little taste to tie me over. So I made the recipe for classic pumpkin pie (I use a top secret family recipe…the one printed on the Libby’s pumpkin puree can!) and used a mini-muffin tin to bake the ingredients off in bite-sized pies. Mini-pies just weren’t cute enough though, I had to up the adorable factor and  use my alphabet cookie cutters to spell out a little a seasonal message. I think I’m going to do the same thing for Thanksgiving later this week! What kind of recipes are you baking up for the holidays?

Pumpkin Pie Bites 1 Pumpkin Pie Bites 2 Pumpkin Pie Bites 3 Pumpkin Pie Bites 4 Pumpkin Pie Bites 5

I think is going to be my first post where I claim the ‘holiday season is upon us’ — because I officially saw them rolling out the roasting pan displays and racks of Christmas decorations at Target last night!  I did a little DIY project a few weeks back to create a custom chalkboard and I think this idea is perfect for adding a little rustic touch to your holiday decorating. It’s as simple as this: I found the tree stump slices at Michael’s and painted them freehand with black chalkboard paint, leaving a little border around the edge to show some of the wood. I think they would be just perfect for writing out your holiday dinner menu on, sharing your signature cocktail recipe (like I did below) or even a thoughtful note about what you’re thankful for at Thanksgiving.

Rustic Chalkboard1Autumn_Apples29

Photography (Image 2) by Bring to Light Photography and Florals by Little Flower Cottage

I’m over on Wayfair’s My Way Home blog this week sharing some favorite turkey-day memories and a few ideas I picked up from the fabulous ladies in my life who’ve hosted my family Thanksgiving since I was a kid. I can’t believe there’s just a few more days until we feast on stuffing and pie — head over and check it out!

My ever so stylish sister is taking over the blog today and sharing her ideas for getting dressed up on turkey day.

Let’s be honest – you want to make sure you look your best at family holidays; your crazy old aunt (you know you have one too) will be taking pictures every chance she gets. With Thanksgiving just days away, check out some inspiration I’ve pulled to help me put together a chic turkey day look. My goal: casual and cozy in neutrals (leggings are a must) with a touch of sparkle. Because after all, isn’t this holiday about eating?

Clockwise from top left: 1, 2, 3, 4, 56, 7, 8

I’m having quite a time readjusting to the real world after a very nice long Thanksgiving break of sleeping late, seeing family and friends, and doing a lot (I mean a lot) of eating. The turkey carb coma has lifted just enough that I can recap my adventures at home for you.

Starting with Holiday windows in New York… relish in the Kate Spade goodness at Lord and Taylor; doesn’t it make you want to throw glitter up in the air and place a bulk order for vintage christmas light bulbs? (Ok, maybe it’s just me.)

Speaking of Kate Spade, I wandered around the Broome Street store for the better part of an hour with my sister and girlfriend and finally got to try on some of their new scent Twirl. It smells as good as it looks and I got some to take home with me…  I can’t stop sniffing my wrists, which probably looks alarming to those around me — but it’s worth it.

Other city stops included TopShop, Madewell, M&J Trim, Mood Fabrics, and a delicious lunch at The Grey Dog. I admired their nautical decor outside — I think it might have been what drew us in for a bite. And I snapped some pictures of the bright red lights next door.

I dove head first into mashed potatoes and stuffing and did not come up for air for hours… but somehow forgot to take any pictures of our actual Thanksgiving dinner. The only proof it occurred is in the stack of clothing that no longer fits me from all of the eating.

I did manage to get one or two pictures from a get together with friends on Friday night, and have to share one of the bar set up. I’m quite jealous of the vintage ice bucket my mom scooped up at a tag sale — isn’t it tre-Mad Men? And I bought a bottle of Prairie vodka based entirely on the label design, quite the eye catcher:

So, there you have it. Shopping and vodka, just as the holidays should be. How did you celebrate?