Tuesday, November 25, 2014

First Annual Friendsgiving!

Living in a more secluded small mountain town makes you realize how much was taken for granted while living in a bigger city.  The list of importance changes weekly, but these are the ones that stick out to me lately:  Accessibility to craft stores, accessibility to a BWW,  accessibility to a plethora of pho restaurants and accessibility to DIA.  My parents and I had much back and forth regarding holiday travel for this year.  It is about a 4+ hour drive from Steamboat to DIA in Denver which feels like a lifetime compared to the 20 minute drive I was used to for 6 years.  There is also the unknown factor of traveling during the winter months with questionable and rather unpredictable roads.  When it came down to it, we decided it was best I only go home for one holiday this year and that holiday would be Christmas.  Yes, I am 29 years old, yes this is my first Thanksgiving away from home and yes I am sad about it.  My parents are the ultimate hosts and I wasn't only disappointed in missing Thanksgiving { and the over the top ridiculously good food, and if I'm being honest the wineries }, but I've just been missing them fiercely so knowing I had to tack on an additional month until I got to see them was hard for me to come to terms with.

::some favorite memories from Thanksgiving spent in CA::

But!  There are some good things that are coming from me staying put for Thanksgiving.  I'll get to spend it up at Snowy with Hunter and his family { I'm tearing up right meow at the thought of seeing his niece and nephew again.  I miss those little wiggle worms like crazy. } and this will be my first ski season in the 4 ski seasons that I've known Hunter that I'll get to be at Snowy for opening weekend, which I'm so excited about!  There are also the pluses of forgoing crazy holiday traveling, fighting crowds, days spent at the airport + travel etcetcetc.  Once the decision was made that I wouldn't be going to CA, it made it our personal mission to start new traditions here in Steamboat.  We were out hiking one Sunday and I asked Hunter to start brainstorming ideas of ways we could make this Thanksgiving season special.  Without much thought, we both pretty much decided on hosting a Friendsgiving right off the bat.  It's easy to throw around "Yeah!  Yeah.  We'll host a Friendsgiving!" but when the weeks started magically ticking down and we had to make some decisions on the date + guest list + menu, it hits you square in the face just what we signed on for.  

Hunter has a handful of his high school best friends who have also moved back to the Steamboat area { yay! }.  They all have delightful wives/fiancés that I feel so lucky to have really hit it off with.  So!  We invited a few of the men + their spouses and a few other Steamboat friends I've gotten to know over the past few months. 90% of the guest list all went to High School together and Hunter actually works with { oh, this is going to be confusing: } his good friend Tony's wife Camilla's sister Hestia { did ya keep up with that?! }.  I've gotten to know Hestia, Camilla and our friend Emily { who also went to high school with everyone } well over the past few months because we all did a 10 week kickboxing class together!  Ok, this is getting confusing - let's keep movin' along with the story telling.  A normal person would have just said "We had some really great Steamboat friend's over for dinner!" but of course I have to take it a step further and talk to you about Hunter's coworkers.  NE WAY...

I'm so sad that I took no { literally, zero } photos of the finished food/table presentation.  I did get all the recipes online, so I'll share the menu that way!

For light appetizers, I served my go-to veggie dip again with carrots + celery + peppers + cubed homemade bread!  We also had some pickles + black olives + stuffed green olives of both jalapeño and garlic that went like hotcakes.  I really wanted to make this jalapeño dip, but didn't want people to fill up too much on the appetizers.  Next time!  For the meat, I doubled this recipe of stuffed turkey tenderloin w/cranberries + butternut squash + kale + pecans and we { aka Hunter } grilled up a marinated pork loin.  I also made these accordion potatoes which is a delicious and easy peasy potato recipe I've made, and will continue to make, time and time now.  { I omit the lemon because I think I'm one of the few people who really don't care for cooked lemon/lime in majority of my dishes. }  For stuffing, I used this bacon and bourbon stuffing recipe and while it was good, I'm not sure I would make it again.  If it did, I would cut the amount of liquid used and ask a professional { aka a carnivore } to fry up the bacon because I don't think I did a very good job.  Ha!  We also had brussels sprouts with melted shaved parmesan cheese and a creamy rice + broccoli dish that some of our guests brought!  It was all served with freshly homemade buns { yes, freshly made that morning } { toot toot! } { <----- horn = tooted } and plenty of wine + beer and holiday punch to keep us all warm and happy.  Emily brought a few pies and deeelicious carmel bars which ended the night on a sweet note.  I felt really good about the menu + amount of food as we weren't hit with a fridge full of leftovers.  All we have left is maybe 1 or 2 servings of stuffing and that's it!

The entire evening was a huge success.  We played a few quick rounds of Catch Phrase and spent too much time looking things up on Urban Dictionary.  While we had good intentions of playing Cards Against Humanity + a few other games but the conversation kept flowing and I got to hear dozens of stories and memories from Hunter's childhood.  I'll take that over an insulting card game any day!  { but I do love me some CAH }

The Thursday before we hosted Hunter text saying "A coworker needs help with a shift on Saturday.  I'm working 7am-3pm."  My first response was AHHHHH FREAKOUT! with the realization that I would then prepare an entire Thanksgiving meal for 8 people by myself.  I quickly snapped myself out of the freakout by reminding myself that, like it or not, I'm really bossy and territorial in the kitchen especially while preparing food for an event/gathering.  I started early and gave myself enough time to feel good about what food I was working on + time spent cleaning the house.  At the end of the night after everyone had left and we were laying in bed, I was looking out the window at the lightly lit backyard with the massive snowflakes falling and had this wave of appreciation fall over me.  I felt so thankful for the food on the table, the full house of friends old + new, the memories made and the ability to put it all together and take it all down.  I am also thrilled I can cross off both Host a Friendsgiving and Cook with Cranberries from my Fall To-Do List!

We leave on Wednesday for Snowy for actual Thanksgiving and is it bad to say I'm a little relieved the meal isn't falling on us this time?  I'm looking forward to being able to kick back with a warm beverage, zoning out to a football game and helping out in the kitchen when my help is necessary.

So very much to be #thankful for this year!

No comments:

Post a Comment