Friendsgiving 2013 was a success!
We had friends drive in town from all over Florida on Saturday to celebrate Thanksgiving, drink mulled wine and apple cider sangria and eat delicious food. It was a wonderful day and I loved spending time with some of our best friends, including several of my closest girlfriends from college, some of Ryan’s fraternity brothers and their families and my sister and her fiancé.
Leslie and Ross were the first to arrive.
They drove in town from Jacksonville in the late morning to help with some last-minute prep work before everyone else showed up in the early afternoon.
As always, Ryan and Ross were on turkey duty, so they immediately got to work and prepared our 20+ pound turkey for roasting.
They used the same off-the-cuff technique they used last year and the turkey received rave reviews again!
Sadie made sure to thank Ross for his hard work with lots of hugs.
She was in heaven throughout our Friendsgiving party since two of her favorite guys came in town to celebrate with us. Sadie is obsessed with Ross and our friend Dru.
She soaks up all the lovin’ she can when these two are around!
Right before everyone arrived, I prepped two festive drinks: Apple cider sangria and mulled wine. I made the apple cider sangria by loosely following Jess’ recipe. I combined a bottle of Riesling, a bottle of sparkling moscato, one cup of ginger brandy, five cups of apple cider, one cup of club soda, three chopped pears and two chopped Honeycrisp apples. It was delicious!
The mulled wine was my favorite drink and was really easy to make! I followed Gimme Some Oven’s recipe and then transferred the hot wine into our crockpot set on low so it remained hot throughout our party.
Once our friends arrived, we took a break from kitchen prep work and chatted with everyone for a while before it was time to put the finishing touches on our Friendsgiving feast.
It was so great to meet Dru and Carrie’s almost two-month-old baby, Aiden!
He was the sweetest! Within two minutes of holding any baby, I feel like I somehow make them cry, but Aiden was such a sweet and calm little guy. He let me hold him for a long time and just looked around without squirming or crying. What an adorable little boy!
We also got to see Aiden’s big brother Noah again!
Remember when he was just a baby!?
Once everyone arrived, it was time to eat!
On our menu:
- Mashed potatoes and gravy
- Glazed carrots
- Cranberry sauce
- Pineapple soufflé
- Quinoa salad with pecans and raspberries
- Rosemary and parmesan roasted Brussels sprouts
- Green bean casserole
- Fruit salad
- Sweet potato casserole
I filled my plate and went back for seconds of stuffing, sweet potato casserole and fruit salad.
After dinner it was time for a white elephant gift exchange!
Everyone brought a gift that they already had at home and wrapped it up to give away at the party. We drew numbers to see who would pick first and after the first person chose a gift, everyone after them had the option to open a new gift or steal one of the gifts that was already opened. Each gift could only be stolen a maximum of two times.
With so many newlyweds in the group, re-gifted ridiculous wedding presents were quite popular and gave all of us quite a bit of laughs.
I initially opened up a new set of Tupperware which was a great gift, but it immediately got stolen.
In the end, I ended up with a new pair of slipper socks from WalMart, The Princess Bride movie (Ryan was psyched about this one) and a box of Reese’s Pieces. I’d say I did quite well!
After our White Elephant gift exchange, it was time for dessert.
We had cookies, a peanut butter chocolate cheesecake, pumpkin pie and apple pie.
It was a wonderful Friendsgiving and I’m so grateful to our friends who made the drive to Ocala to celebrate with us!
I can’t wait to do it all again next year!