Thanksgiving Potlucks & Free Thanksgiving Printables

Thanksgiving Potlucks & Free Thanksgiving Printables

I had the pleasure of participating in a pre-Thanksgiving potluck of sorts and share tips for the Ultimate Oregon Thanksgiving on The Simple Kitchen with Missy Maki this past weekend. Check out the two hour show for tips and LOTS of laughs. (I’m sharing tips in hour 1!) It would be a fun listen while you’re prepping your bird this Thanksgiving.

Ultimate Thanksgiving with Missy Maki The Simple Kitchen

We had a star line up for the Ultimate Oregon Thanksgiving show including Ryan from Aria Gin, Bee from The Spicy Bee, Marlynn from Urban Bliss Life, Melissa from MelissaKaylene.com, Lindsay from Rosemarried, myself, and Missy Maki from The Simple Kitchen and Missy Maki Cooks. We all brought in foods and beverages to sample while speaking about Thanksgiving for two hours! A wonderful time was had by all.

The whole show was full of fantastic tips and really interesting double entendres! We discovered that you really can’t speak about the Thanksgiving meal without some funny double meanings.

 

Ultimate Thanksgiving with Missy Maki The Simple Kitchen

Ultimate Thanksgiving with Missy Maki The Simple Kitchen

Thanksgiving Tips from our Simple Kitchen Show:

There are a TON of tips on the Thanksgiving show, but the ones below are some of my favorite for having a stress-free potluck Thanksgiving:

Organization

Erin from BakeryBingo and Meredith from Martha Chartreuse called in and shared their party planning tips for hosting a holiday Friendsgiving brunch. One of the tips that really hit home was the tip to stay organized with all who are participating online through Google Docs. I also love the many different online potluck planning sites (like Perfect Potluck) for organizing your holiday meal.

Ultimate Thanksgiving with Missy Maki The Simple Kitchen

Appetizers & Drinks

When people arrive and you are in the kitchen trying to get everything done and on the table hot you will want to have something to occupy your guests time. Absolutely put them to help if you have something to do, but more often or not you just need people out of the way! A batch cocktail and delicious appetizer will help keep guests busy.

Appetizer ideas:

  • – Lindsey shared details on her Brussels Sprouts and Shallot Dip that sounds (and looks) out of this world delish
  • – A beautiful charcuterie plate will WOW a crowed and keep everyone coming back for more. The above platter was created by the lovely Melissa of MelissaKaylene.com and it was a show stopper to say the least. Check out her tips on creating your own charcuterie platter.

Drink ideas: 

Main Meal:

  • – Flip your turkey. You don’t want to let the turkey breast get dry!
  • – MASH your potatoes with a potato masher so that there are still some yummy chunks in there.
  • – DO NOT stuff your bird with your stuffing. Make the stuffing a delicious side. (This Sourdough Stuffing with Andouille from The Spicy Bee would fit nicely at your Thanksgiving table!)

Desserts:

  • – Keep it simple with a yummy holiday bark. It is easy to eat and isn’t too filling.
  • – Go ahead and buy that store made pie crust to save time. It’ll be okay. (Though, if you really want to make your own here are my tips on making the perfect pie crust!)

 

Thanksgiving Potluck Tips

Free Printable Thanksgiving Potluck Cards

While I am a fan of all food, I am also a fan of hosting a dinner party where everyone can feel comfortable eating and enjoying themselves within their own dietary restrictions. In a potluck situation it can be difficult to know what is in each dish. I don’t know about you, but I do NOT want to pull out an epi pen during Thanksgiving! These free printable Thanksgiving Potluck cards are an easy way for guests to know exactly what they are eating without having to find out and question each person who brought in a dish. Simply had each person a card and pen when they arrive and ask that they label their wonderful contribution for the safety and enjoyment of all attendees!

Free Printable Thanksgiving Potluck Cards

Listen to the recording of The Simple Kitchen’s Ultimate Oregon Thanksgiving show for more tips on hosting Thanksgiving!

 

Have a happy, happy Thanksgiving!

Easy Fondue Dessert with Pourable Fruit

Easy Fondue Dessert with Pourable Fruit

I’m not gonna lie… sweet, romantic meals  and moments with my husband are a lot harder to come by now that we have both a toddler and an infant. We try to steal moments of romance where we can, including the small time after bedtime where we are still awake and the baby is still sleeping. Whipping up this sweet, utterly romantic and easy fondue is made super simple by pourable fruit.

Yes, you can make your own pourable fruit by macerating fruit and smashing it up… but, that takes TIME people! Time is absolutely of the essence right now. I’m taking advantage of this no fuss and super yummy product to steal back moments in the day that would have been spent in the kitchen working and now I’m able to spend them dipping things in deliciousness. It is a good trade off, especially since I still get to enjoy the Oregon berries that I love so much.

This dessert can be made for a crowd (as I have in the pictures above) or for two by just changing up the quantities of dippers and pouring just a tad less of the dips. I can’t even call this a recipe as you are simply assembling the platter!

Simple Fondue Dessert for Two or a Crowd

Ingredients/Supplies for this easy fondue dessert:

Please note that this dessert is entirely flexible and can change according to your tastes.

  • Pourable fruit of choice OR purred fruit of choice — We used both Strawberry and Raspberry Oregon Fruit Pourable Fruit Topping
  • 12 oz Chocolate of choice for melting— I chose dark chocolate chunks to melt, but a milk, white, or semi-sweet would be fine as well
  • 1 and 1/4 cups Heavy Cream— This will be used with the chocolate to make it nice and dippable
  • Dipping items— This is the fun part! Choose what you’d like to dip! I chose cream puffs, pears, and bananas. Other good options would be shortbreads, pound cakes, marshmallows, donuts, apple slices or other fruits.
  • Microwave, Double Broiler or heat proof bowl over pot of simmering water

Easy Fondue Dessert

Directions:

There really couldn’t be anything more simple than this dessert. The only thing you have to prepare at all is the chocolate dip and it is as simple as slowly heating your cream and adding your chocolate to melt.

1. Assemble everything but the chocolate

Assembling this desert is super simple. You only need to cut and put dippers on a platter and fill small bowls with the pourable fruit.

Fruit puree takes a fondue dessert from ordinary to awesome. Fruit Puree takes a fondue dessert from ordinary to awesome.

2. Melt chocolate

Microwave: Heat your cream in the microwave careful not to boil the liquid. I heat it in 15 second bursts for about 1 minute. Every fifteen seconds I give it a little stir. After the cream is heated add in your chocolate and let it sit for a bit. Stir to incorporate. If the chocolate didn’t all melt go ahead and put back in the microwave for short bursts of 15 seconds until melted. Chocolate burns easily, so the short bursts of heat is needed to not burn the chocolate.

Double Broiler or Heat Proof Bowl Over Simmering Pot of Water: Heat your cream in the top bowl, stirring occasionally. Once cream is at a slow simmer (do not boil!) take off the heat and add in the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for a moment. Once you see the chocolate starting to melt. Stir until incorporated. If chocolate doesn’t completely melt, put on heat for just a moment more, stirring the whole time.

 3. Pour chocolate in bowl and serve!

Finally, pour your fondue chocolate mixture into a bowl and serve. The fondue mixture will harden without heat. You can always put the chocolate into a fondue pot, (this tealight warmer (aff link) is a great little fondue pot for a simple chocolate fondue) or extend the time for the dippers by pre-heating your bowl before adding the chocolate.

Simple fondue dessert

Dipping items into the fruit puree breaks up this fondue dessert and makes it feel a lot less heavy than a traditional fondue. It is an absolute pleasure to the tastebuds!

Pourable Fruit

Pick up pourable fruit with actual Oregon grown berries in your freezer section at the grocery store. Visit the Oregon Fruit website to use the product search feature to see where you can pick some up locally. I found mine at the local Fred Meyer, but Portland area has several different grocery stores carrying the Pourable Fruit product.  Or, you can also order pourable fruit in cases  (aff link) from Amazon and pop into your own freezer to be used when you need it! Find out more about Oregon Fruit Products and their pourable fruit by visiting their website OregonFruit.Com.

Thank you to Oregon Fruit Products for sending me a complimentary sample of the pourable fruit — I’ve bought several more since!

Saturday Spirits: Lollipop Sparkling Cocktails

Saturday Spirits: Lollipop Sparkling Cocktails

Wow! It has been a couple weeks since I’ve last shared a Saturday Spirits. I didn’t quite mean to go on a hiatus… but, it happened. Anywho, I’m bringing you one awesome cocktail today, so the wait will have been worth it. A few weeks ago I created these Lollipop Sparkling Cocktails for my “Hey Girl-Ryan Gosling Themed Birthday Party.

Sparkling Lollipop Cocktail // A Well Crafted Party

First I made lollipops using Raft Botanical Cocktail and Soda Syrups for the flavoring. This was my first successful time making candy… and, boy it is fun, easy and TASTY. I discovered that patience really was the key to making candy right. Well, that and a candy thermometer.

Once your lollipops are done the hard part of this cocktail is completed. All that is left is creating a tasty rimming sugar and pouring your favorite sparkling wine! These make for a really festive cocktail. There are quite a few recipes and how to’s below. Don’t let them intimidate you. The whole process is much easier than it sounds when you look at a huge blog post.

Sparkling Lollipop Cocktails // A Well Crafted Party

How to Make Lollipops

To make lollipops you just need a few essential tools. I made my lollipops with molds because I wanted to have a very precise look to them. However, you could use this powdered sugar method as well! For flavoring I really wanted to avoid using artificial or concentrated flavoring. I opted to test out creating the pops out of my Raft cocktail syrups and was thrilled with the way they turned out. (Affiliate Links Below)

Tools: 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Corn Syrup
  • 1 3/4 Cup Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Raft Botanical Cocktail Syrup (I used Lemon Ginger for one set & Hibiscus Lavender for another)
  • Extra sugar and syrup to create rimming sugar

Directions: 

  1. Prep your candy molds by spraying with vegetable oil (non flavored!) and placing the lollipop sticks.
  2. In a saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup and water over medium to medium-high heat. Stir to keep it from overheating or sticking. Burnt sugar will quickly make happy candy-making time into throwing out a pan and dealing with a stench time.
  3. Heat the sugar, stirring, until the candy thermometer reads just about 305 degrees. You don’t need to keep the candy thermometer in there the entire time, but once it starts to boil a bit it is a good idea to get that in there. You don’t want it to get past the hard-candy stage. Once the thermometer reads 305 go ahead and add in the Raft syrup. Stir into the mixture and watch the thermometer closely.
  4. Once the thermometer reads between 310-320 degrees remove the mixture from the heat. using a spoon pour the mixture into the molds. Be very careful… liquid candy burns are not a pretty thing. You’ll want to do this part while the mixture is hot, I recommend buying several lollipop molds. I ended up making about 24 lollipops per batch.
  5. Once the candy has cooled the lollipops are ready to eat! We stored ours on wax paper in a sealed container for about 2 weeks and they still tasted awesome. Though, try to keep them separated as they will stick together. You can also just buy some candy wraps and wrap them up nicely!

Sparkling Lollipop Cocktail // A Well Crafted Party

How to Make Rimming Sugar

A good sparkling cocktail needs some sugar to it. The lollipop will give the cocktail sugar and flavor… but, it won’t be immediate. The rimming sugar helps drive the flavor until the lollipop can do its magic. It also looks pretty too!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1- 2 teaspoons Raft Syrup
  • Lemon zest (use a microplane and it takes no time at all!)

Directions:

  1. Mix ingredients well… breaking up any clumps that might have formed from the liquid
  2. Lay out flat on a plate or baking sheet until mixture has totally dried. It can then be stored in an airtight container for about a week or so.

Sparkling Lollipop Cocktail // A Well Crafted Party

Lollipop Sparkling Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Use the lemon wedge to ring around the glass and dip onto a plate with rimming sugar.
  2. Drop a lollipop into the glass
  3. Pour in the sparkling wine!
  4. If you’d like a little more kick then add in 3/4 oz of Limoncello Liqueur
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