The holidays are such a special time, they’re filled with family + friends and traditions both new + old. One of my favorite traditions is celebrating Friendsgiving. It’s a perfect celebration to recognize the amazing friendships that I have developed in the wonderful community I am part of.

Speaking of a wonderful community… this Friendsgiving was even more special because it was put together to raise money for my son’s school. Me and a few of my mom friends thought it would be fun to host a Trader Joe’s holiday tasting party.

Friends-giving hostesses

As a mom, it can be hard to have a life aside from your kids. Too many times we don’t take the time out to do what makes us happy. This holiday season, be thankful for your family and the friends you meet that become family. Take time out for yourself and celebrate as we did!

We all got together this past Sunday and had an amazing time. We gathered some of Trader Joe’s tastiest items and paired them for an effortless holiday get together.

Friends-giving

Entertaining Made Easy

Trader Joe’s helps take the stress out of the holidays with delectable dishes that are easy to prep. The last thing you want to worry about during the holidays is making recipes with 342 steps. It is possible to serve mouth-watering food without the stress of making every single thing from scratch. Here’s how we did it…    

We started off with a few appetizers and snacks because a party isn’t a party without them.

  • Turkey and Stuffing Seasoned Kettle Chips–  All the flavors of Thanksgiving mixed into a potato chip. It sounds strange, but they’re actually pretty good.
  • Cranberry Goat’s Milk Cheese with Scalloped Cracker Trio– An unexpected combination of fruit and cheese, but it was reminiscent of classic holiday flavors. We spread the cheese onto the Scalloped Crackers and it was so delicious.
  • Carrot Cake Spread All I have to say is you’ve got to try this out. It’s like carrot cake in a jar. I was skeptical at first, but boy was I wrong. We poured it on top of cream cheese and spread it on crackers and it was the perfect pairing of savory and sweet.
  • Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips with Fall Harvest Salsa–  We said so long to the classic chips + dip appetizer and said hello to these. The sweet potato tortilla chip was slightly sweet, but it was balanced with the spicy kick of the salsa.

Appetizers

Next, we brought out the main and side dishes.

  • Turkey & Stuffing EN CROUTE– What’s a Friendsgiving without Turkey. Trader Joe’s took a classic and made it casual with this ready to cook item. It’s actually a turkey tenderloin wrapped in cornbread stuffing and puff pastry. We can’t forget the gravy and cranberry sauce, both iconic holiday sides.  This was AMAZING!  

Turkey & Stuffing EN CROUTE

  • Harvest Blend Salad– This salad screams fall, it comes with kale, pumpkin seeds, cornbread croutons, and pumpkin vinaigrette… even pomegranate seeds, goat cheese, or dried cranberries would be a tasty addition to this. I’m a huge fan of jazzing up a bagged salad because it’s super simple. You could even make it a meal by adding in a protein like grilled chicken.

Harvest Blend Salad

  • Holiday Herb RollsThe smell of the herbs brought me back to when I was a little girl watching my family cook holiday dinners. These taste great by themselves but are even better when paired with a roasted garlic and herb butter spread.  

Holiday Herb Rolls

  • Green Bean Casserole– It can’t be the holidays without a green bean casserole. This is another ready to cook item that comes as a saute kit with all of the ingredients included. It comes with almonds, fried onion pieces, and a mushroom sauce.  

Green bean saute

  • Sweet Potatoes with PecansWho doesn’t think of sweet potatoes when they think of Thanksgiving? This was super yummy and tasted like it was a dessert. Nicole whipped this up from The Spruce Eats and it was a crowd fav!!  

Sweet potatoes

  • Cranberry Orange SauceStill eating cranberry sauce from a can? If so you need to give this sauce a try. It’s got that classic cranberry tart flavor paired perfectly with oranges.

And we can’t forget about dessert.

  • Chocolate Pecan Pie Bar– I didn’t know that Pecan pie could get any better. These bars are layered with rich chocolate and pecans atop a buttery tart shell.  YUMMMM!!!
  • Chocolate Mousse Pumpkins– These adorable chocolate mini cakes were shaped like pumpkins and layered with silky decadent mousse. They were a hit!   

Dessert

Throughout the evening we paired our food with hard cider, wine, and water.

  • Newton’s Folly Barrel Select Semi-Dry Cider- Made using bittersweet apples to deliver a cider that is not too sweet, this cider pairs well with savory meals
  • Shaw Pinot Noir– The perfect dinner party red wine made with organic grapes
  • Shaw Chardonnay– With notes of fruit and oak this white wine pairs well with the goat cheese appetizer we had as well as lighter dishes.
  • Apple Cinnamon Infused Water– I sliced apples and added cinnamon sticks to a vat of water to sit overnight for a festive fall flavor.   

Hard Apple Cider

Friendsgiving Decor

I was able to get all of the decor from Traders Joe’s… it’s the perfect one-stop shop for your party needs. I love getting their fresh flowers, boxed arrangements, and pumpkins and layering different textures on the table for a natural look. They also have beautiful pre-made arrangements that give the same festive feel that you can grab if you don’t have the time to put together your own or if you are bringing flowers to a party.

Table settings

Flowers

Reflecting on What We are Thankful For

I surprised the girls with one of my family’s favorite Thanksgiving traditions. I ordered white paper lanterns and had everyone write what they were thankful for on them then we sent them off into the starry night. It’s always so magical to see the lanterns floating through the sky and such a fun way to reflect on what’s important to us.

paper lanterns

Lanterns

Speaking of being thankful… at the end of the night, each guest walked away with a Friendsgiving Goodie Bag. I am truly thankful for the local businesses who donated items. I wanted to give a huge shout out to:

 

Goodie bags

So Much More Than Food

Friendsgiving is so much more than food. It’s a time to truly reflect on what we have and celebrate the friends and family that make the holidays so special. And Trader Joe’s has what you need no matter if you’re hosting a traditional get-together or a more casual one. Our Friendsgiving was super easy to host and I spent all of the time I saved, not prepping the food, chatting it up with my guests and making memories!   

For more entertaining ideas check out:  Brunch, Swag Bag Party, Scavenger Hunt

 

What are you taking to your family Thanksgiving celebration?