Food & Fun & Drink | 29 November 2012

Everything but the turkey

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Last March Andy and I bought a fabulous house in *cough cough* Kensington. We like to joke that our area has officially been dubbed “artsy-fartsy-up-and-coming” or AFUAC in realty-speak. Regardless of our neighborhood’s reputation, we have a house now and one of the first things we thought of was hosting parties and even holiday celebrations! When our parents agreed to treck to Kenzo for Thanksgiving, a BlineGowan holiday was born!

As with any of our events, I am generally in charge of “ambience” and Andy is in charge of food. This Thanksgiving was no different. Both of us were excited to take on our holiday roles (although I got stuck with cleaning and that was no fun). Here are some photos of our prep, our table and our post-turkey-day cocktails.

Disclaimer: We forgot to take a picture of the damn turkey! Our bad. Trust me, it was delicious and pretty much looked like this.

For Thanksgiving decor inspiration I looked to the mistress of… no, not of the dark! The mistress of ambience – Martha Stewart! After browsing for some Thanksgiving inspiration I decided that I would use some gold spray-paint I had hanging around from Halloween to add some sparkle to my table. I pretty much love all of the place card options on but thought the combination of little gold pumpkins and blue linens was perfection! I bought a pack of little green apples from A.C.Moore for about $5 and went to work. I figure you can’t go wrong with metallic accents and it worked perfectly with my red, black and white dishes. I filled a trifle bowl with some potpourri we had around the house and peppered in some newly gold leaves.

The table came together with splashes of color – lime green tapers from IKEA and bright blue votives from our wedding. For the table itself, I bought some discounted light gold fabric and quickly sewed up a table runner. I prefer the look of runners but they’re typically super skinny. Sewing my own runner allowed me to decide how wide it would be and I chose to allow about 6″ of my black table to show through.

Actually, Andy usually contributes a key factor to the “ambience” (besides the cooking aromas), and that’s music! A couple days before turkey day, he whipped up his “Thanksmixing” for all to enjoy:

So apart from it being Thanksgiving, it was also Andy’s birthday on Thanksgiving! He was born on Thanksgiving and is quite fond of years when his birthday lands on the holiday. I thought I would try my hand at baking a traditional cake for his birthday. I have made cheesecakes, pies and muffins but never a “plain” birthday cake. Andy decided that he wanted me to make the Cool Whip frosted cake his Mom used to make for him when he was little. Cute, right? SO I emailed my mother-in-law and got the recipe: yellow box cake with a Jello chocolate pudding/Cool Whip frosting. I decided that I would make the cake from scratch and so I again relied on my ol’ pal Martha to help me out. Martha Stewart’s Yellow Butter Birthday Cake recipe – delicious (and you can’t really go wrong with loads of sugar and butter)!

Buckus the bulldog and Tulip Patch (our new bulldog/pit mix addition who makes her blog debut) were by our side as we baked and prepped the night before Thanksgiving. They were mostly waiting for some scraps to hit the floor. They did get some licks of cake batter!

So I mentioned above that we forgot to take photos of any of the completed food right? Whoops! Here are a few fun prep photos. Andy has been really obsessed with Closet Cooking lately and decided to use Kevin’s green bean casserole and spinach artichoke dip recipes for Thanksgiving. He also made his cranberry chutney with all kinds of yummy ingredients. He’s made the chutney before and it is absolutely scrumptious! I love how the ingredients look before they reduce and get all chutneyfied.

In other news, Andy and I drink Manhattans now! Our good friends who defected to the West Coast recently shared the magic wonderfulness that is the classic Manhattan cocktail. So in the spirit of being thankful, we decided to give ourselves Manhattans! We used Bulleit Rye (rye whiskey being considered by most purists as the ONLY Manhattan-worthy whiskey), sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters.

Also, Ella Fitzgerald is wondrous.

And Friday morning, I made muffins! I was in the mood to do some more cookin’ since I wasn’t “in charge” on Thursday. I whipped up some lemon poppyseed muffins from this delicious recipe from Weight Watchers (delicious, but not decadent). Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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