second annual “friendsgivemas”


Last year Krista and I hosted our first annual Friendsgiving, which was incredibly fun and delicious. We invited a group of friends, cooked a turkey (which was done four hours early…) and enjoyed a hilarious evening!

We knew that we needed to host another fun-filled friend evening but we couldn’t find a time in November to hold our second annual Friendsgiving, thus “Friendsgivemas” was born. Friendsgivemas = friends + Thanksgiving + Christmas!

A look below at our second annual “Friendsgivemas”!


For the menu we strayed from the traditional Thanksgiving fare as we figured most everyone would be ready for a change from turkey. We provided the meat and vegetables, mashed and scalloped potatoes and dessert!

Guests were asked to bring a side, appetizer or drinks to share.


  • Ginger ale, gin & lime cocktails topped with cranberries and a cute red stripped straw for drinking (with us both being a bit under the weather this cocktail hit the spot!)
  • Assorted wine, beer & Fireball (a party isn’t a party without a little Fireball)
ginger ale, gin & lime cocktail

ginger ale, gin & lime cocktail


  • Amazing cheese plate provided by Anna (anyone who can throw together a cheese plate like Anna can is a keeper)
  • Parmesan pull aparts by Anna (Krista’s recipe)
  • Mini tarts with cream cheese, asparagus and salmon by Abbey
  • Homemade meatballs by Sagen
  • Homemade Empanadas with pheasant, potatoes, and morel mushrooms glazed prior to baking to add the perfect browned color and texture by Ryan
appetizer spread

appetizer spread

incredible cheese plate by anna

incredible cheese plate by anna

homemade empanadas by ryan

homemade empanadas by ryan


All of the food was incredible. It was so incredible in fact that we were didn’t capture a picture of the amazing spread…

  • Fourteens pounds of beef chuck roast from Wood River Ranch (post coming soon as the ranch, recipe and resulting meat were amazing!) by me and Krista
  • Vegetarian and regular scalloped potatoes by Krista
  • Mashed potatoes by Krista (mashing provided by Chase)
  • Wild mushroom and butternut squash bread-pudding by Rachel (literally to die for! recipe here)
  • Butternut squash risotto by Abbey (another incredible side!)
  • Asparagus by Tory
  • Side salad by Sara (with locally grown lettuce)
wood river ranch chuck roast (post featuring the ranch and recipe coming soon!)

wood river ranch chuck roast (post featuring the ranch and recipe coming soon!)

carving the chuck roasts

carving the chuck roasts

scalloped potato ingredients

scalloped potato ingredients


  • Individual pumpkin cheesecakes with a gingersnap crust topped with a frozen whipped cream winter shape (post coming soon by Taylor!)
individual pumpkin cheesecakes in mason jars topped with a festive cupcake liner

individual pumpkin cheesecakes in mason jars topped with a festive cupcake liner

frozen whipped cream toppers

frozen whipped cream toppers


Adding the holiday of Christmas to the mix really opened up the decorating opportunities. To keep things as simple or as “simple” as we ever make anything, we started with a color scheme of red, gold and neutrals.


For the table, we compiled a hodgepodge of place-mats, napkins and burlap table runners. Our seating was a bit tight so we swapped the table runners and place-mats. We placed the burlap runners down each side of the table and the plates directly on top of the runners with the place-mats in the center.

Doing this upped the “family style” of the meal and allowed us to squeeze in a few more settings!

the long table

friendsgivemas table

table setting

table setting

To accessorize our table we went with gold bells and ornaments, pomegranates, cranberries, pine-cones and candles, all keeping with our overall color scheme. We had most of these already and simply purchased the pomegranates and cranberries at our local market and the bells nearby!

bells, pinecones & cranberry candle votives

bells, pinecones & cranberry candle votives

cranberry candle votive

cranberry candle votive in a mason jar

To each setting we added a name tag. I bought the tin (maybe?) gift tags at Huck & Paddle and wrote on them with a chalkboard pen. They are perfect for name tags or gift tags!

rustic name tag to mark each setting

rustic name tag to mark each setting

cute little bag from huck & paddle that the tags were wrapped up in after purchase

cute little bag from huck & paddle that the tags were wrapped up in after purchase


Last year we added a card and note to each setting for each guest to write what they are thankful for. The answers were a mix of heartwarming, inspiring and hilarious. This was a tradition we knew that we had to continue and add upon.

With scattered sharpies across the table, each guest anonymously wrote what they were thankful for as well as a “holiday wish.” We then put all of the cards in a basket and read them aloud and guessed as to who was the author. Again, the answers were incredible and ranged from heartfelt to dirty!

individual cards for each guest to write on

individual cards for each guest to write on


At the last minute we created a “bar-cart” of sorts out of Krista’s largest “Nicole Miller Home” trays. We pulled in a few details from the table and added cute straws, toothpicks and napkins that we picked up at our local market.





We topped the night off with a hearty game of “Cards Against Humanity.” The game kept up the hilarity of the evening and was the perfect way to end a great night with friends!

cards against humanity

the aftermath of cards against humanity

the company

We originally planned on around 15 guests as we had somewhat limited table space. However, our guest list quickly grew, so we just kept sending out invites with the thoughts of “the more the merrier!” Having too many friends isn’t necessarily a bad problem and just a few extra chairs and pounds of beef were easy to come by!

We are so thankful to all our friends who joined us to celebrate!

so many friends!

so many friends with a few faces missing!

the brass blossom does friendsgivemas

the brass blossom does friendsgivemas (aka the hosts)

sara & ed (who recently adopted the cutest puppy!)

sara & ed (who recently adopted the cutest puppy!)

robert & anna

robert & anna (token responsible couple)

krista & chase

chase & krista (token picture taker & hostess)

the boy & me looking a bit better

taylor & casey (token shoulder ride carrier & hostess)


name tags

name tags

cranberries & cute straws

cranberries & cute straws

zoe enjoying the evening

zoe enjoying the evening

standard holiday posing

standard holiday posing

table spread

table spread

Cheers to our second annual “Friendsgivemas”!

krista and taylor

brass blossom

weekend love it — winter treats to cure a cold

Since Thanksgiving I have been battling quite possibly the worst cold I have ever had. I blame my brother who caught the bug right before I did. The past few weeks have been a roller coaster of getting slightly better to only get worse, which I didn’t think was possible. I literally tried everything to get better to no avail.

I finally caved in and went to see the doctor after two weeks and after a few days on antibiotics things are looking up. My only solace that I am not simply getting extremely weak in my old age is that I know several other people battling the same cold. Needless to say I haven’t been feeling super attractive (I could guide Santa’s sleigh my nose is so bright red….), so the last week I tried to focus on the little things that I knew would at least raise my spirits!

1. Jumpsuits. The first time that I wore a beloved jumpsuit was for our first annual Friendsgiving 2013 where the boy slightly questioned what I was wearing. Regardless, I have been in love with jumpsuits ever since.

They are literally the perfect outfit (except when you have to pee). There is no battling with tights when trying to wear a dress in the winter and you can simply slip on one piece and you are good to go! I obviously included a jumpsuit (or two) in my holiday shopping. Here are a few of my recent purchases!

pretty package from zara!

pretty package from zara!

zara "chain strap long jumpsuit" - this jumpsuit is the prettiest blue around

zara “chain strap long jumpsuit” – this jumpsuit is the prettiest blue around

asos "motel pia jumpsuit with plunge neck" - i think i purchased the last one in stock but cant wait for this to arrive in the mail! it was an incredible deal too!

asos “motel pia jumpsuit with plunge neck” – i think i purchased the last one in stock (at an incredible price) and i cant wait for this to arrive in the mail!

2. Gift Tags. While visiting Krista on her first day on the job at Huck & Paddle, I found these gift tags that I just couldn’t resist. I originally bought them as name tags for Friendsgivemas but have since used them for presents!

I believe they are made out of tin (maybe?) and you can write on them with chalk or a chalk marker. I love that they are reusable and that they add a little rustic touch!

reusable tags - perfect for name tags or gifts!

a pretty tag for a present for maude pod!

reusable tags - perfect for name tags or gifts!

reusable tags – perfect for name tags or gifts!

3. Holiday Lights Around Town. One of my favorite things about the holidays is the lights. I love the sparkle, the shine and the wonderful colors and patterns that pop up everywhere. They simply make me happy.

On Saturday night the boy and I ordered take out and then he nicely participated in one of my favorite winter activities of driving around and looking at holiday lights! We made a quick loop with these lights on the route. There are a ton of more spectacular lights but you can’t beat this view!

view from the town square

view from the ketchum town square

4. Quality time with Maude Pod. This last week little Miss Maude Pod got spayed, which was a semi-traumatic event. I cried (just a tiny bit!) after picking her up because she was just not herself. The poor pup had a really rough first day and night but has since bounced back to her crazy, snuggly self.

"relaxing" afternoon

“relaxing” afternoon making messes

maude loves lululemon

maude loves lululemon christmas shopping

5. Early Christmas Presents. Maude Pod had the first present under the tree and to be honest the only present for quite some time. I have no shame. Since pugger Lizzy only wants cookies for Christmas, she is easy to please.

With Maude Pod’s full recovery from her surgery she has been a maniac. She isn’t allowed to be too active or get into any water, which limits any hunting adventure, so we have had far too much indoor play time. She received an early Christmas present since she desperately needed a new toy to play with and distract her!


cutest bumper i bought at "huck & paddle" where krista works!

cutest bumper i bought at “huck & paddle” where krista works!

christmas came early!

christmas came early!

6. Pomegranate Seeds & Cute Bowls. Earlier this week the boy suggested a pomegranate might taste good to my never ending cold. We happened to have a few decorating our table from Friendsgivemas and it ended up being the perfect treat! Cold fighting tip: pomegranates contain a ton of antioxidants and approximately 50% of your daily recommended vitamin C. Win, win.

Each night last week the boy dutifully deseeded a pomegranate for me to enjoy (he’s a keeper). I ate the seeds like you would eat cereal out of cute little bowls that I recently bought at our local market, Atkinsons’ Market. They were delicious and about the only thing that tasted good to me. Although they are a delicious winter treat, pomegranates are ridiculously expensive here, so I may have to limit this new daily obsession…


so delicious!

perfect little bowl

perfect little bowl

7. Mat Kearney – “Coming Home.” To be honest, I’m probably one of the worst Oregon Football Fans. I try to keep up on what is going on (thank god for social media) but football just really isn’t my thing. But even I know that winning the Heisman is a super big deal, which Oregon Duck Marcus Mariota just won!

With this honor, “Coming Home” by Mat Kearney (who was born in Eugene!) kept popping up on my Facebook fed. I’ve heard the song several times now, but I still makes me reminiscent of my college days and leaves me happy every time I hear it!

taylor brass

brass blossom

superfood salad – kale & brussels sprout salad


superfood salad

Our friend Rachel originally made this salad for “Friendsgiving” Dinner. Even the pickiest of eaters who claim to not like brussels sprouts and kale cleaned their plates. I was immediately obsessed with this delicious salad, not only for the taste but also for it’s combination of superfoods that please the pickiest of palates.

Another fabulous part of this salad is it keeps so well, even after dressed, as the kale softens slightly and the flavors blend. This salad has become a weekly staple for me adapted from Bon Appétit to make it a part of an easy weeknight dinner.




  • 2 large pieces of kale
  • 8-10 brussels sprouts
  • handful of raw almonds with skin
  • handful of dried pomegranates (pomegranates arils or fresh raspberries work just as well!)
  • handful of shaved parmesan cheese
  • oil for toasting almonds
  • “Annie’s Green Goddess” salad dressing


  1. Add ~1 tbsp of your oil of choice to a small skillet on med-high heat. I use sesame oil, as I think it adds great flavor to the almonds. Toss in the almonds and coat with the oil. Stir constantly until golden brown.
  2. Wash and gently massage kale if desired. Finely chop kale, removing the stem. Place in large bowl.
  3. Wash, cut off ends and halve brussels sprouts. Place in food processor or chop as finely as possible. I have noticed that the shredded brussels sprouts almost add a creamy consistency. Place in large bowl with kale. 
  4. Transfer cooled nuts to a paper towel or kitchen towel and sprinkle with sea salt.
  5. Add dried pomegranates (the market was out of pomegranates arils which was my first choice so I opted for dried), parmesan cheese and almonds to bowl.
  6. Add dressing as desired. The original dressing is great but I have had a serious obsession with “Annie’s Green Goddess” dressing recently and it is perfect for the times when making a homemade dressing just sounds out of the question!
  7. Enjoy!


sesame oil for toasting


this is one of my favorite ways to add a crunch to any salad


raw, halved brussels sprouts


shaved to create a “creamy” consistency


eat to your heart’s desire!

The original dressing is a fabulous dressing for not only this salad but for all salads but can easily be substituted for whatever you may be craving. When I make the original dressing, I generally make a bigger batch and store it in a mason jar in the fridge for easy use!

taylor brass

brass blossom