Yipee Yipee the holidays are here! We started our Thanksgiving celebrations the weekend before when we met up with Kara & Remington for a private Friendsgiving. You guys have all been well-acquainted with our mentions of these guys on our blog, and we always cherish the times spent noshing and nomming with our favorite foodie friends. Our food-centered gatherings typically end with us collapsing on the couch unable to move, moaning and questioning whyyy we just ate what we ate.
Then we'll recover and do it all again in the near future. It's just how we roll. And if our foodie friends weren't also our favorite health and fitness friends, that's how we would literally roll, because we'd all weigh 500lbs and that's the only way we'd be able to get around.
Kara whipped up a delish little cranberry cocktail to get things started - isn't it pretty?
Here's Matt preparing the bacon crumbles for the braised Brussels sprouts. Kara & Remington recently completed a massive remodel of their kitchen and it looks gorgeous!
Here's a few of the yummy dishes we had. We joked that every family seems to think that their own dressing/stuffing recipe is the best EVER, so we decided that we should each bring along our own batch for a dressing throwdown!
Okay not really, they were both delicious and so different from each other so it was pretty darn cool to have two varieties! My dressing is in the pan on the left, and Kara's is the top right. The other dish pictured is a delicious baked spinach!
Ohhh yes, holiday time is a time of bliss for food lovers. Plus, you have an airtight excuse to ignore the calories you are ingesting because calories don't count during the holidays, right?
Excuse me while I go pull my fat pants out of the closet...
Along with the cranberry juice cocktail we had Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir... the first wine I'd had since February 2014, before I found out I was pregnant! But don't worry, I didn't have much and I had a stash of pumped milk to last Jasper throughout the evening.
Yeah, I'm posting a lot of photos of plates of food... because food.
Isn't this a purty pie? It tasted as good as it looked - it's pumpkin pie with pecan streusel. It doesn't get much better than that!
Our other dessert was this dark chocolate chip peanut butter peppermint bread. I really need to come up with a shorter name for it.
It was most delicious when served heated up, topped with a scoop of ice cream, and drizzled with warm dark chocolate peppermint ganache. This is actually part of a future blog post coming in the next week or so - stay tuned!
Perfect Praline Sweet Potato Casserole
My Family's Amazing Sausage, Cornbread, and Biscuit Dressing - I'm so sorry you guys, but I have sworn an oath never to share that recipe. Seriously, my mother would kill me. I really really want to spread the love though, so trust me, as soon as I'm able to convince her to let me share it you guys will be the first to know!
Kara's Awesome Dressing - Kara's dressing is a version of Paula Deen's cornbread stuffing. She hasn't shared her specific recipe yet, but this'll be a close start!
The Best (and easiest) Cranberry Sauce Ever
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Peppermint Bread with Warm Ganache Drizzle
Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Streusel
On Thanksgiving Day, we loaded Jasper into the car and headed down to my parent's house for our usual feast. Starting with the top left photo, we have my family's dressing (of course), fried okra, creamed corn, sweet potato casserole, baked beans, ambrosia salad, turkey and ham. Not pictured: mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, green beans, and dinner rolls.
That's typically how it goes for us - we set out a massive buffet and people just go through the "line" and pick and choose what they want. Don't even get me started on the desserts. We totally failed to get photos, but there was strawberry cream cheese cake, pecan pie bars, camp cookies, homemade fudge, and fudge pecan pies.
Yes, there are leftovers - a metric ton of leftovers.
Since we did such a bad job of taking pictures at my family's Thanksgiving, we failed to get a "real" photo of Jasper in his cute outfit. Here's one from Instagram (follow me?) that I posted later that evening. I'll do better with photos at Christmas you guys, I promise.
Every year during Thanksgiving week, Knoxville has a cute little event called Fantasy of Trees with all proceeds benefiting East Tennessee Children's Hospital. The downtown convention center is filled with beautifully decorated trees, wreaths, and gingerbread houses donated by local businesses, organizations, schools, and individuals. All of the trees are available for purchase. In addition to the trees, there are lots of things for the kiddos to do like decorating ornaments and cookies, face-painting, pictures with Santa, and more!
There's even a full-size carousel - indoors!
Each horsey on the carousel is sponsored, and the sponsor's name is displayed on the horse itself.
There's always a massive line of kiddos waiting to ride - it's the centerpiece of the whole event, I say!
We had the new little man with us this year. We didn't stay long and he spent most of his time sleeping in a stroller that was totally covered with a blanket. The only time we brought him out, dressed in his "Santa suit", was to grab a few festive photos. This is the smallest holiday outfit I bought for him and we were scared he'd grow out of it before Christmas if we didn't get photos soon!
I think he's pretty darn gorgeous, but all moms say that about their own babies.
... but seriously, our baby is gorgeous.
That hat kills me. So cute. My husband is pretty cute, too.
Allllmost smiling in this one. He's just recently learned how to smile socially. Up until now he's kind of been like a puppy - a really high maintenance one - that just needs his basic (and constant) needs met. Watching him develop and start to focus on us and smile is so amazing! I can't wait until he starts being even more interactive.
Okay, now let's just look at some pretty trees!
The Gingerbread Village is one is my favorite parts of the event. There are so many creative designs and it's obvious a LOT of work went into them!
Some of the trees had a whole setup to go along with them! This one was donated by one of my favorite local vintage shops, Nostalgia
There was an area dedicated to trees created by local schools.
.. and mantle decor!
So now that Thanksgiving is behind us and there's no more poor holidays to get trampled by the freight train that is Christmas, I can, without guilt, wish you all a very...
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