My friend Lindsey has made it an annual tradition to host Thanksgiving with friends. There are several of us who stay in town for the holiday, saving vacation time for Christmas or (in my case) weddings. She usually hosts the dinner at her house, but having moved to a smaller place with very little indoor seating, Steve and I offered up our home for the event. We had to clear out our living room to accommodate dining space for 12, but it worked out great!
Decorations: It wouldn't be a party at my house if there weren't decorations! I made (my favorite) Martha Stewart tissue paper pom-poms as centerpieces and hangings. (how to here) ** Personal tip- use more than 8 sheets for bigger pom-poms and make sure the length is longer than the width. 8 Sheets (cut in half to 10"x20") works great for smaller pom poms. Everything else was from Party City. I kept the budget under $50 for all decorating supplies and some left over!
Food: Everyone was responsible for bringing something different. We had two turkeys- one roasted and one fried. Steve bought us the Materbuilt Butterball Turkey Fryer on sale which might be the most dangerous appliance we own (we have since been plotting what other things we can deep fry in the convenience of our own home). After researching a bajillion recipes for Fried Turkey, we ended up using a cajun rub/marinade found here by an allrecipes.com user. It turned out AWESOME and only took about an hour to fry. No mess, super delicious, and EASY!!! The fryer was well worth the money and the options are ENDLESS.
I also made Macaroni and Cheese as well as Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes. I'll post the rest of the food pictures later (there are a lot!).
Friends: Thanksgiving just isn't the same if you aren't surrounded by family and friends. Great company is just as important as the turkey! Our Los Angeles family is very important to us and we were happy to have them all in our home for the holiday. There was SO much food AND booze- the night turned out great. We wrapped up dinner with some Jenga (also a new tradition), an Elf and Home Alone 2 screening, and lots of desert (YUM Pumpkin Cheesecake and Pecan Pie).
Now, time to work on Christmas...