Derek and I aren’t the only ones who decided to leave the country for Thanksgiving this year. While we’re freezing our booties off in Switzerland, our friends will be soaking up the sun in Cozumel (they’re racing Ironman Cozumel that weekend!). Since none of us will be in town for the holiday, we decided to celebrate a couple of weeks early with our first “Friendsgiving” celebration. Plus, it was a good excuse to have everyone over to see the new house for the first time.
I love a good party, especially one that gives me an excuse to breakout leftover lights from our wedding and transform the lanai.
See the table cloth in the middle? It’s a coloring table cloth! I’m sure it’s meant for a “kid’s table,” but adults like to color, too!
I found it at Target.
Right after the invitations for “Friendgiving” went out, I received an email from Jennie-O asking if I’d like to try one of their Oven Ready Whole Turkeys for the holiday. Perfect timing, right?
The Jennie-O Oven Ready Whole Turkey goes straight from freezer to oven (no thawing required!), is already pre-seasoned, and gluten free. All I had to do was remove the turkey from the outer packaging, cut some slits in the cooking bag, place it in a roasting pan, and let the 12.5 lb bird cook for 4.5 hours.
We took the turkey out as soon as we saw the popper had popped. It was ridiculously easy to cook and really not that bad of a price ($24 for our 12.5lb bird). I would purchase another one in a heartbeat.
I almost forgot the most important part – how did it taste?! Well, it was fabulous. Very moist and well seasoned. Everyone approved!
Derek and I made the turkey, ham, and mashed potatoes; while everyone else brought wine or a side dish. Everything was delicious. My only problem was I didn’t buy large enough plates to pile it all on!
For dessert I wanted to do something special. Last year I bought a pre-made gluten-free pie crust for Derek and it was horrible. I used the crust to make a pecan pie and we both ended up scraping the pie filling out of the rock hard gluten-free crust. Not cool. This year I looked to Pinterest for gluten free pie crust inspiration and found a recipe from Betty Crocker that used crushed Chocolate Chex as a pie crust substitute (similar to a graham cracker crust) – SOLD!
I can not recommend the recipe for Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Pudding Pie enough. Not only was the Chocolate Chex crust ingenious, but the rich chocolate and peanut butter filling was amazing as well. I kept searching for “Gluten Free Pie” on Pinterest and almost every recipe that I came across was vegan, dairy-free, or trying to be healthy in some way. Since when did “gluten free” become synonymous with “dairy free”? Luckily I eventually found the Betty Crocker recipe and was won over by the addition of half & half and heavy whipping cream (what? I never said this recipe was good for you – it’s Thanksgiving, people!). And whether you’re gluten free or not, it was still pretty darn good. In fact, I think this pie recipe is going to become a staple for me at all future gatherings.
I used the leftover heavy whipping cream to make fresh homemade whipped cream to go with the pie.
This pie was serious goodness. Derek and I were fighting over the last piece for breakfast this morning. Make it. Now.
The night ended with a final send off to Jess, Courtney, and Stephanie, who will all be competing at Ironman Cozumel in two weeks!
Those are their post-race margarita jugs.. I mean glasses.
These ladies have been training their booties off and are beyond ready for this race. I can’t wait to virtually cheer them all on as they celebrate their final victory lap on their journey to be Ironman finishers! Good luck, ladies!!! You can follow their journey at the hashtag #XPdoesIMCOZ
I think it’s safe to say our first Friendsgiving was a success. I can’t wait to do it all again next year!
Do you celebrate Friendsgiving?