Friendsmas + A Dining Room Table Makeover

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year! The only thing that can make Christmas even better is hosting a Friendsmas! If it’s even possible, hosting would be one of my love languages. I love the prep, the rush, the cleaning, the cooking, the organizing and of course the staging and designing. Everything about hosting close friends makes me so, so happy!

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Christmas this year will be a little different for us so we are making the most of the season while we can! Kirby will be going home to Houston and I’ll be in Phoenix still for work so we decided we needed to have our nice Christmas dinner before Kirby left, and the only way we could make that any better would be by inviting two of our very best friends over to enjoy it with us.

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On the menu for Friendsmas I tried a lot of new recipes, and a few that I’ve really come to love around the Holidays. First up, the appetizer! Now, I have to give my friends Brie & Tyler the props here because they found this recipe and made the appetizer for us. Man oh man was it delicious! This is going to become one of my new go-to appetizers for dinner parties. This appetizer is a Roasted Brussel Sprout and 3 Cheese Crostini (click on any photo below to see where I got the recipe).

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For the main course we did a Garlic Rosemary Pork Loin, Slow Cooker Buttery Herbed Mashed Potatoes (this actually was a mashup of two recipes, find one here and the other here), Oven Roasted Vegetables with a Maple Glaze and of course my family’s favorite, some good old fashioned Sister Schubert Rolls.

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Lastly, the most important part of a Friendsmas, the dessert!! A pretty well known fact about me is my love for Hallmark Chanel, but what people don’t typically know is that even more than the Christmas movies, I LOVE their program Home & Family. If you’re not familiar, it’s similar to a talk show but it’s everything Christmas! They have crafts, decor, recipes and tips and tricks for the season. Well, I got this amazing recipe for a Red Velvet Hot Chocolate Cake while watching Home & Family.

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Now, the funny thing is that we almost didn’t have a table to eat our dinner on at all… Kirby and I got this kitchen table (for free!) about 6 months ago with the intent to redo it. Well, life got in the way and we kept putting it off until I randomly got the urge to get started about a week ago. I moved it into the garage and got to sanding. It was a slow project that we would work on for a day and then not touch for a few days, until it was two days before Friendsmas and we realized that we HAD to get it done or we would all be eating on the floor. I guess that was the nudge that we needed because we finally finished the table the morning of Friendsmas! Granted, we don’t have the seat cushions reupholstered yet but at least we had somewhere to eat!

Take a look at it now and keep scrolling down to see the before!

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Before Table

I am by no means a DIY expert, actually I’m very far from that. One of my favorite bloggers, Nesting with Grace, always says that the goal isn’t to be perfect but to be better than before and that is exactly what I wanted to do here!

I hope this inspired you to get out there and host your friends or remake something in your home, but more importantly not to strive for perfection but to make your home better than before for YOU!

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My Favorite Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

One of my absolute favorite things about Fall is the food… pumpkin everything! Since I’m so passionate about pumpkin, I have definitely had my fair share of pumpkin cookies. I’ve tried them all and these are by far my favorite! They are soft, chewy and not overly sweet.

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To start out, make sure you round up all your ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Oil
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Milk
  • 1 1/4 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheet.

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In a large bowl add pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, vanilla extract and the egg. Using a hand (or stand) mixer beat all ingredients until well combined.

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In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another smaller bowl mix the baking soda and milk until they form a slurry.

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Add both the dry flour mixture and slurry to the pumpkin mixture and combine all.

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Stir in the chocolate chips.

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Using a tablespoon scoop heaping spoonfuls onto the greased cookie sheet.

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Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool slightly before removing.

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Now it’s time for some hot chocolate and a cookie! If you try out this recipe, let me know what you think!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Friday Favorites – Cookbooks

This Friday we’re kicking of  a new series of blogs… Friday Favorites! A weekly roundup of my current favorites from the past week. This Friday we’re talking about cookbooks!

I have always been a lover of cooking but I am by no means a chef… I always gravitate towards those beautifully curated cookbooks, but the problem with a lot of them is that they have 5 million ingredients that you can never find at the grocery store and it takes about 10 hours to cook one meal.

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I finally found a cookbook that is practical, beautiful and DELICIOUS – Healthyish! Not only does it have a lot of really yummy recipes, but it’s also packed full of sauce, butter and pickling ideas that are so fun and great staples to have around in your kitchen.

ACS_0006Here are a few of my favorite recipes that I tried from the cookbook this past week:

  1. Spiced Chicken and Chickpea Flatbreads with Cucumber-Dill Tzatziki
  2. Prosciutto and Cucumber Tartine
  3. Lemon-Herb Butter
  4. Pork and Mushroom Stroganoff

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Get your own copy of Healthyish here! I got mine at my very own Anthropologie, but hurry! We sold out of it so fast at our store and haven’t received replenishment yet!

Thanksgiving 2015

This year my Thanksgiving was a little different than normal. Instead of spending Thanksgiving with my family in Dallas, this year I spent my Thanksgiving break in Mesa, Arizona with my boyfriend. Not only was this a change geographically for me, but this it was all up to me to plan out and execute Thanksgiving dinner. In this Thanksgiving post I’m going to go over just where to buy my decor/design pieces and what recipes I was using for dinner. Enjoy!


 


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For my simple and sweet Thanksgiving dinner table I shopped at just two stores – Target and Ross. Here’s the breakdown of where I got everything:

 

FOOD

And for the stuffing… it’s a family secret. Sorry 🙂

 

I hope this tablescape inspires you to get creative with all of your holiday get-together’s this season! I’d love to see what y’all come up with.

 

Happy Holidays!