November 15, 2017


Every year, I look forward to hosting the biggest event of year at our home -- Thanksgiving.  Growing up, my parents would host about 40-60 of our closest local relatives, newly immigrated family members, new additions to the family, and friends of family.  Nowadays, my parents are usually travelling during this time of year.  While some family members who choose to spend their Thanksgivings at other homes, we have new guests that join our festivities each year.

It's an honor to continue this longstanding tradition and I have a few tips to share on how to keep a large (or small) gathering simple & stress-free.

I LOVE plants, especially succulents, air plants and carnivorous plants.  But, I don't always love taking care of them.  Nor do I always want to splurge on fresh flowers.  If I'm not foraging real flowers from my yard for my floral arrangements, I use these luxurious beauties, now available at Flowers Fauxever.  Recently launched on Etsy, I've curated the most realistic looking collection of faux flowers that you'll find.

Faux succulents from Flowers Fauxever

  • My mom was always an amazing decorator & host, and is the inspiration for this post.  This year, I've created a few floral centerpieces using artificial flowers from my newly launched floral shop, Flowers Fauxever.  They are realistic looking, maintenance-free, and can be used over & over again.
  • On the day before the big event, I like to lay out out all of the serving platters that I will be using to make sure I have enough space.  I label each one to make sure I have enough trays and serving utensils.  I also make room on the counter if I know a guest is bringing food.  That way when they arrive with a heavy pot of hot food, you won't be rushing to find them a spot.
  • With a large crowd, we opt for a buffet style Thanksgiving dinner where guests serve themselves with all the fixings.  I set out the disposable plates, cutlery, and napkins at several locations for guests to easily reach for when dinner is ready (usually at each end of the buffet line and at the dining table).
  • Recruit your guests.  It's amazing how everyone is always willing to help.  With a few volunteers, our extra folding chairs and tables get set up within 10 minutes.    

  • Create a menu early on and stock up on non-perishable ingredients 2-3 weeks in advance.  This will save you time on the week of Thanksgiving so you can focus on only buying perishable items.  Also, you don't want to chance having the grocery store run out of your key ingredients.    
  • I have a few go-to favorite recipes that I use every year, but like to change up my appetizer and side dishes to keep things interesting.  Here are several simple, easy-to-make crowd favorite recipes:
    • Roasted Turkey - Asian Style:  Besides the recipe itself, Shelly In Real Life shares some great tips on how to select the right turkey and making the juiciest turkey you've ever tried.  She also shares a delicious recipe on what to do with turkey leftovers.  I like to freeze the turkey bones along with the mire poix (celery, carrots & onion) stuffing to create a nice stock for the turkey rice porridge.  Trust me, you'll want to make enough for seconds and thirds.     
    • Umami Mushroom Gravy:  Traditional gravy recipes call for adding the turkey pan dripping.  With lots of guests arriving, I rather be entertaining (and enjoying a nice glass of wine) than scrambling in the kitchen to make a last-minute dish.  I like to make this recipe 1 day ahead, stick it in the fridge to let the flavors develop overnight, warm it up in a pot or slow cooker on the day of, and stir in the turkey pan drippings right before serving.   
    • Creamy Mashed Potatoes:  Selecting a starchy potato is key to making creamy mashed potatoes.  This is my make-ahead go-to recipe.  For a healthy version, try mashed cauliflower instead.    

  • Cue up a Spotify playlist on your phone and have it sync up to your TV or wireless speaker.  When guests arrive, all you have to do is press play.
  • We often have very talented guests.  I can always count on someone to break out their musical instruments (usually a guitar or violin) for some live entertainment.  


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