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Couples Game Night Ideas

February 13, 2017

Valentine’s Day is the biggest date night of the year, but that doesn’t mean you’re obligated to vie for a reservation at a fancy restaurant like everyone else in town. Hosting your own game night for two at home can bring out your playful sides. We’ve got four different game night suggestions to choose from based on when you met your partner. Pick from the options below and, in the end, everyone wins!

 

IN GRADE SCHOOL

Take yourself back in time with some of your favorite childhood pastimes. Play card games such as Go Fish or Uno, or whimsical board games such as Candyland, Chutes & Ladders or Twister.
On the menu: Continue the old-school theme by making mac ’n’ cheese, hot dogs or PBJs. Then, pick your favorite lunchroom drink and make re-imagine it as an adult beverage with the addition of your favorite spirit. Vodka and lemonade or rum and Hawaiian Punch are obvious choices, but you’re only limited by your own creativity (Ecto Cooler and Midori, anyone?). For dessert, popsicles, pudding cups or ice cream cones would be the perfect finishing touch.

 

IN HIGH SCHOOL

If you and your sweetie met in high school, take a trip down memory lane with a game that reminds you a sport you played, like Table Top Tennis, or tried-and-true a classic such as Monopoly. To really harken back to the kissing games of your youth, surprise your partner with a two-person game of Spin the Bottle or 7 Minutes in Heaven.
On the menu: Assemble a spread of snacks inspired by your favorite nostalgic treats of the time. Depending on when you met, that might be anything from pizza bagels to Doritos to s’mores. Make a toast with whichever soda you loved as a teenager–maybe it’s Dr. Pepper or Orange Crush–served in champagne flutes just for fun.

 

IN COLLEGE

Did you hit it off with your significant other at freshmen orientation, chemistry lab or a Greek party? Then a college-themed game night is just the ticket. See if you still have your drinking game prowess with the Bingo Shot Glass Game or Boozeball Shot Glass Game.
On the menu: This one’s a no brainer: Pizza and beer, of course! Order delivery from your favorite local pizzeria or buy all the fixing at the grocery store (dough, cheese, sauce and your favorite toppings) and roll one out together.

 

IN THE REAL WORLD

If you met as adults, it’s time to break out those board games that are just for grown-ups: Think Cards Against Humanity, Battle of the Sexes, Dirty Minds or Rotten Apples.
On the menu: Recreate a meal from one of your early dates, whether that was burgers and fries and a bar or a multi-course meal at a swanky restaurant. Or for less time in the kitchen and more time relaxing, throw a wine party for two with a cheese and charcuterie platter and a bottle of your favorite vino.

Décor Family Food Party & Event Ideas Shop

Homemade Raspberry Valentine Pop Tarts

February 10, 2017

Homemade Raspberry Valentine Pop Tarts

As a kid of the 80’s, Valentine’s Day meant making valentines boxes out of whatever you could find at home-most of us getting really creative with a cereal or shoe box, construction paper, tin foil, or any other materials we could find around the house.  It meant buying “valograms” for 25 cents through student council to send to your friends.  It meant exchanging valentine cards and all the excitement in seeing what candy you would get.  It meant a school party, where the afternoon was spent eating unhealthy food and playing games.  It was a day full of sugar and sweetness in so many ways!

These days, my favorite thing about Valentine’s Day is just showing the love to those in our lives! Whether homemade valentines sent in the mail, or fun messages wrote to classmates, just personalizing and actually putting love into whatever you give means a lot to some of us.  My favorite is baking fun and yummy treats to give to neighbors, friends, and even mail to our loved ones miles away!!! It’s just a good feeling to know you are thought of!  So this Valentine’s day, give your hand a try at these Raspberry Valentines Heart Shaped Pop Tarts.  Anyone receiving these is sure to feel the love this Valentine’s Day.

 

Raspberry Valentine Pop Tarts

Pastry Dough:

2 C flour

1 Tbsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 C butter room temp

2 egg yolks

¼ C milk

 

Filling:

Raspberry jam

 

Egg Wash:

1 egg white

1 Tbsp water

(use fork to beat together) and set aside

 

Icing:

1 C Powder Sugar

1 Tbsp Cream

½ tsp almond flavoring

1 Tbs raspberry jam

(can add some red food coloring if you want icing darker)

 

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl.   Cut in 1C unsalted butter with pastry blender.  In separate bowl combine 2 egg yolks and 1/4 C milk. Using pastry blender mix with dry ingredients. Refrigerate dough overnight.

Roll dough (on floured surface) 1/8 inch thick (do not roll thicker, they rise).  Cut out heart shapes and place on parchment lined baking sheets. (I use airbake sheets).  Makes about 15 hearts(top and bottoms) of medium sized cookie cutter.  I divided dough in half so I knew how many bottoms I had.

 

Use a small melon baller to place two small drops of raspberry jam as shown.  Use finger to run egg wash around edges of hearts, place another heart on top and gently press around edges being careful not to squeeze jam out.  Then take small chopstick end and press around edges to seal.  Lightly brush with egg white wash and then bake at 350 degrees for 15-18mins, move to cooling rack.  Once completely cooled drizzle with frosting mixture. Let dry before placing in wax paper bags or storage.

 

Family Food

Hot Fudge Lava Cakes

February 10, 2017
Hot Fudge Lava Ckes

When it comes to Valentine’s Day, I like to stay home and cook for my wife. It’s easier than fighting through the crowds and is a nice gesture for some brownie points. Usually after I plan the meal I want something simple to make for dessert. Hot fudge lava cakes are always a hit and we have made it a tradition in our house.

Ingredients

These hot fudge lava cakes are made with ingredients you probably already have in the pantry and only take about ten minutes to get in the oven. Easy peasy.  Brownie points, here I come.

ingredients for lava cakes

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a microwave safe dish.

butter and chocolate

Mix It

Mix together the melted butter and melted chocolate to create a chocolate-y goodness base. Then add in your powdered sugar and eggs.

lava cake mix

Mix everything till it is combined.

mix it lava cakes

Pour It

Pour the batter in to well greased individual sized cups. I use some ramekins that we already had on hand. They work great to make any individual sized treat.

lava cakes in dish

Bake It

Bake up these puppies and be ready for the chocolate-y goodness. The best part about these is that they don’t have to come out of the dish perfect. If they crack a little is just lets you show off your culinary skills and how good you are at making chocolate lava flow from a perfect little cake.

chocolate lava cakes

See, it doesn’t have to be perfect like your spouse. Just put a plate with chocolate on it and she will be just fine.

Chocolate lava

Finishing Touches

You could really add anything to these perfect little lava cakes to garnish them. Raspberries, a sprig of mint, ice cream, caramel or melted peanut butter. I mean it’s chocolate so ya, add anything. Today I’m adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream with a chocolate drizzle. I call this valentine fancy.

hot lava cakes

Grab a spoon and dig in.

Lava Cakes

Now you have a sweet treat sure to wow your significant other this Valentine’s Day!

Ingredients

4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate
½ cup butter
1 c of powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
6 tbsp flour

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
Butter custard cups or souffle dishes
Microwave the chocolate and butter for one minute on high or until butter is melted.
Stir with a wire whisk until chocolate is completely melted.
Stir in sugar until it is well blended.
Whisk in eggs and egg yolks.
Stir in flour.
Divide the batter between prepared custard cups.
Bake 12-14 minutes or until sides are firm, but centers are soft.
Let stand one minute.
Carefully run a knife around the cakes to loosen.
Plate and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

 

Written by guest Blogger, Ryan (Husband Extraordinare)

Food

Salad of the Week: 1-26-2017

January 26, 2017
finished honey mustard chicken salad

I’m Not in the Salad Mood!

Sometimes you’re just not in the mood for a salad. And that’s OK, you don’t have to starve yourself trying to eat a salad every day. It’s just a general rule that will help you get on the healthy track and also steer you away from the grab and go fast foods that are anything but nutritional. Don’t completely deprive yourself of the “fun” foods or there is no way you will stick to this salad plan. If you are prepared to eat a salad weekly, you will be successful! And if you aren’t, you won’t. It’s as simple as that.

Salad ingredients for prepping

Break the Healthy Rules

Not only do you have to be prepared but you also have to add a salad in there every now and then that may break the healthy rules. They can’t all taste like rabbit food or there is no way I would be able to keep this up for years straight. Maybe a little more fat, maybe a little more sugar than we’d like, you know one of those salads that are more calories than our favorite dessert! Everything in moderation, right? Life would be boring if I didn’t follow this motto, or so I’ve heard!

honey mustard salad dressing ingredients

Top Notch Excuses

This week, I’m the prime example of “lack of prepping”! And instead of salads I ate whatever leftovers I could find in the fridge which were nowhere near as healthy as a salad. No school on Monday thru me a curve, instead of salad prep, we laid around and watched movies all day under the blankets. We had pb & j’s for lunch and then made popcorn and other snacks in the afternoon. No gym for me either. Well, because I didn’t start the first of the week and more things just arose, I put myself last and tended to everything else. I kept making excuses, because when it comes to healthy eating and exercise, my excuses are top notch.

Back to Preping

I kept thinking if I had only taken the time to prep Sunday, I wouldn’t be in this “non-salad eating”, “gym skipping”, “grab what I want to snack on” mindset. Lesson learned, next week is a new week to be “prepared”. My prep usually goes something like this.

Saturday:Search through my salad board on Pinterest to select my “salad of the week”.

Sunday:Grocery store run for salad ingredients and then prep ingredients that may take more time
Examples:
– roasting veggies
– toasting nuts
– grilling meats
– chopping main ingredients
– hard boiling eggs
– making salad dressing

Monday-Friday
Put together salads each morning, I like my ingredients as fresh as possible, so that would mean things like hard boiled eggs, avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, I would cut the day I am eating them. I use a piece of paper towel in my bag/tupperware of lettuce, this absorbs the moisture and keeps my lettuce fresh longer. I also have some favorite Tupperware and I have enough to accommodate my salad intakes weekly. As you eat more and more salads, you will figure out your system, and what works for you. It will get easier and easier, and you will whip these things out in no time.
salad prep

The Salad

I decided this week I also needed a heartier salad, one with lots of yumminess! A Honey Mustard Chicken Salad it was. I fixed this chicken as one of my dinners and while I was at it, grilled extra chicken for my weekly salads. Love when my dinner can double as my weekly salad protein, thus meaning I have a little less to think about. Small thought, but every little thing in my weekly routine adds up, any shortcut in my life is gladly welcomed!
grilled chicken on sunday for salad prep

Salad Journey

Keep up this salad journey, you will be amazed at what life looks like when you are eating healthy and have more energy and motivation than you ever imagined! But don’t be discouraged if one week you fall off the wagon…just start fresh the next week! Cheers to a healthier YOU!

Finished honey mustard salad

Honey Mustard Chicken Salad:

Marinade:
• ⅓ cup honey
• 3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
• 2 tablespoons smooth and mild Dijon mustard
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 teaspoon minced garlic
• Salt and pepper to season
• 2 Chicken breasts

For Salad:
• 1 package of bacon baked at 375 degrees for 20mins and then chopped when cooled
• 1 head of romaine washed and chopped/ or ready to eat bagged romaine
• Grape tomatoes
• 2 Avocados
• Bag of frozen corn, cooked and cooled
• ½ Chopped red onion

Dressing:
• 1 ½ Tbsp Dijon Mustard, whole grain
• 3 Tbsp honey
• ¼ C Olive oil
• ¼ C White wine vinegar

Instructions
1. Place marinade ingredients in a gallon Ziplock bag and mix together by massaging the bag gently. Place chicken breasts in bag for two hours if time allows. After done marinating, grill chicken breasts for 30mins (15mins each side), once chicken is cooked, set aside and allow to cool.
2. Mix dressing ingredients in a jar and shake to combine.
3. Slice chicken into strips and prepare salad with greens, tomatoes, avocado slices, corn, onion and chicken. Sprinkle bacon on top, season with pepper to taste, and drizzle with dressing. Enjoy!

*Makes about 4 salads

This post was written by Gordmans cooking extraordinaire, Lindsey.

Family Food

Gear Up and Get Healthy for the New Year

January 24, 2017

When the calendar turns over to a new year, “get healthy” is the one of the most popular resolutions. But now it’s nearly the end of January and so many of us are left wondering how exactly to go about making healthier choices, whether that’s at home, at the gym or at work. Here are six ways to make healthy lifestyle choices in 2017, matched with the perfect gear to help get you there.

Prep Your Portions

Whether you’re counting calories for weight loss or just keeping an eye on nutrition, portion control is a helpful strategy to make sure all your food group are represented. Look for color-coded containers to measure protein, fat, carbs, fruits and veggies to piece together a perfectly balanced meal.

Try this: Portion Control Containers, at select Gordman’s locations

Food portion containers make it easy to portion out your food.

 

Start With a Smoothie

Kicking off your day with a smoothie is a great way to get in a serving of fruit or veggies right off the bat. Start with frozen fruit (try strawberries or pineapple), add a handful of spinach (you’ll hardly taste it, we promise) and your choice of protein (dairy milk, nut milk or protein powder). Then blend it until smooth, add a straw and you’re good to go.

Try this: Nutri Ninja Blender with Recipe Book ($69.99)

http://www.gordmans.com/for-the-home/kitchen/small-appliances/nutri-ninja-blender-with-recipe-book-112802737.html#q=blender&start=1

 

Pack Your Lunch

Did you resolve to eat less processed food this year? One easy way is to bring your own lunch to work instead of eating out. Pick up a new insulated lunchbox–like one that shows off your pride for your alma mater–to make the experience more fun. Make sure to pack some afternoon munchies (nuts, dried fruit and raw veggies are tasty and wholesome) to keep your appetite satisfied when you have the urge to slink past the vending machine.

Try this: Wisconsin Velcro Lunch Bag ($5.99)

http://www.gordmans.com/sports-fan/ncaa-college/wisconsin-badgers/tailgating/wisconsin-velcro-lunch-bag-110517443.html#q=lunch&start=3

A fun lunch box will help you get your lunch packed everyday

Try Yoga

Practicing yoga can do wonders for the brain and the body, but studio classes can be expensive. Create a DIY studio experience at home with the help of a yoga DVD (pick your level), or even easier, search YouTube for free instructional videos.

Try this: Fine Life Yoga Ball ($4.90)

http://www.gordmans.com/jewelry-and-accessories/accessories/fitness-accessories/yoga-ball-red-107116173.html#q=yoga&start=17

yoga ball will help you stretch your muscles

 

Flex Your Muscles

Strength training is a great way to not only build muscle tone, but also improve bone density (important to avoid osteoporosis later in life) and your mood, too. Grab some light hand weights (anything from 5 to 10 pounds, depending on your ability and comfort level) and add some bicep and tricep curls to your regimen.

Try this: RBD 8-pound Hand Weights ($7.99)

http://www.gordmans.com/jewelry-and-accessories/accessories/fitness-accessories/8-lbs.-hand-weights-111891916.html#start=1

Hand weights to help build muscle

Stay Hydrated

We all know that drinking enough water helps flush out toxins, prevent headaches and keep your digestive system in working order, but it’s still a struggle to drink those much-needed 8 to 10 glasses a day. With a pretty water bottle in hand, you’re that much more likely to meet the mark.

Try this: Metallic Swirl Water Bottle, $9.99

http://www.gordmans.com/for-the-home/dining-and-entertaining/water-bottles/metallic-swirl-water-bottle-17-oz-2016727.html?dwvar_2016727_color=Red#q=water+bottle&sz=60&start=3

Water bottle keeps water nice and refreshing

Food Series Uncategorized

Salad of the Week: 1-17-2017

January 17, 2017
Make this easy salad to meet your 2017 goals

The New Year is off to a good start for this mama.  Mostly because I have dedicated the next five weeks to ME!  It feels oh so good and then I feel oh so guilty at the same time.  I mean, salad prep and gym time cut into the hours of my day and leave me less time to spend sitting on the floor doing puzzles and playing Legos.  BUT, I have decided I need a jump start and it’s going to take full concentration on my health and fitness.  We work so hard year round and what do we get but a bunch of “ewww I don’t want that for dinner”, LOADS of laundry (some of which isn’t even really dirty, but our kids tried it on and were too lazy to put it back in their closets so it instead goes into the dirty basket-like we don’t know?), mess after mess to deal with whether it’s food being thrown on the floor by our littles, or this and that cluttering the counters each day and just piling up because mom hasn’t put it away. Then there is helping with homework, school projects, and being an after school taxi cab.

So when is it our time?

We can keep making excuses that are a mile long, believe me, my list is never-ending as are most moms.  But hey, let’s face it, we are never really going to catch up on that list in this lifetime.  So let’s start now, by eating healthier and focusing on ourselves just a little.  We will feel so much better about ourselves.  And our kids will also see this change and want to be part of it.  My 18 month old and 3 year old love digging into my salads, mostly because what kid doesn’t want to stab little things with a fork, but then once they try them, they can’t stop.  Full blown salad eaters in my house, spinach, carrots, artichokes, brussel sprouts…they eat them and don’t complain!  Crazy, huh?

Main ingredients for this yummy salad

all the chopped ingredients you need

Let’s—as moms—put us first, leave the guilt behind, and focus on eating healthier for the next 30 days!   After that we will have our jump start and be in the mindset to care more about ourselves.  We deserve this.  I mean, we have one body and if we neglect it to take care it, who knows what health issues will arise and if we will be around to experience years and years to come.

To make the dressing for the salad you will need these ingredients

 Cheers to another salad to kick-off 2017!

This one is actually easy to prep and makes a huge Tupperware full.  You may want to share this one and help another coworker or friend get on the salad wagon! The more you practice salad making the easier it gets. Trust me, after two years of salads weekly, I can whip these things out in no time!  And you will too!

A great salad that is easy to make and healthy

 

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Chickpeas, Kale, and Pearl Couscous

Prep time:  20 mins

Yield: 8 side dish servings, or 4 main course servings

Dressing:

4 Tbs apple cider vinegar

4 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

2 tsp honey

2 tsp Dijon mustard

½  tsp salt

¼  tsp black pepper

 

Salad:

1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded, and cubed into ½-inch pieces

2 Tbs olive oil

½ tsp salt, divided

⅛ tsp black pepper

1 C cooked whole wheat pearl couscous (according to package)

1 medium sweet onion, diced

5 oz kale, washed, de-stemmed, and finely chopped

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Combine salad ingredients, mix salad dressing and enjoy!

Share your salad

Do you have any easy salads to make? Share in the comments below!

This post was written by Gordmans cooking extraordinaire, Lindsey.

Food

Salad of the Week: 1-12-2017

January 12, 2017

A new year, a new you!  Isn’t that the most popular resolution we start a new year with?! Being a better person in our relationships, more forgiving, more accepting, more kindness. Spending more quality time with our kids. Surrounding ourselves with positive people. Exercising regularly.  Eating healthy, like a salad. Too broad, too many expectations, too many things to focus on…life is constantly changing and is crazy busy.  We must pick the things we REALLY want to focus on, or else drive ourselves crazy trying to do it all!

One thing I know is that if we keep our body eating healthy, other things will fall into place.  We will have more energy to spend that extra quality time with our kids, or stay up a little later to read that book we have been wanting to.  Making healthy food choices will lead us to feel better about ourselves and create the energy we need to feel motivated and keep us on track to meet our goals for the year.

It started when I was a working mom, and encountered catered lunches at the office daily.  I knew if I ate that stuff, I would gain 30 lbs and feel like crap.  So to stay away, I made sure I had prepped my salads on Sundays so that I had all the healthy food I needed to keep me satisfied and away from these temptations throughout the week.  Two years ago I became a stay at home mom, and although the temptations had changed, (to anything I could grab from the pantry), they were still there daily.  And in the beginning I would fall for them.  After a few months I decided I had to continue to prep for my daily salads as if I had a working mom’s schedule.  Because the truth was, I didn’t know from day to day if I would have 15 minutes to make me a healthy lunch.

So my “salad of the week” started.  I would decide what salad I would eat for the week.  It couldn’t be too complicated or I would lose motivation to make it.   I would prep the veggies by having them chopped and stored in individual Tupperware, or have nuts toasted and in baggies, or my dressings were all mixed by me (trying to avoid as much processed as possible).    If this was all done before my week started, it was easy for me to grab what I needed and throw it together.  If I didn’t have this done, I constantly found myself grabbing what was convenient which was usually processed and not a healthy option.

Tools and gadgets to create salad

I found as I ate healthy, I wanted to work out, I felt motivated, and I had the energy it took to be a mom, a wife, and run the household like a boss!  If I’d fail and grab something less healthy, I’d feel sluggish, unmotivated, and on track to just keep eating bad options for the rest of the day.  I knew that the salads had to stick as a daily routine for lunch.  And I had to keep on hand the most used ingredients so I never had an excuse to not eat a salad.  On the weekends I would allow myself to eat more freely and fun.  We can’t deprive ourselves of all fun food or life is just boring, right?

Ingredients for the salad.

So for 2017, add “eat more salads” to your New Year’s resolutions!  You will get your veggies in, you will feel healthier, and will have more motivation to achieve your other goals.  Maybe eating a salad a day will lead you to losing that 10 lbs you have been trying for, and then you will feel ready to hit the gym, give it 6 months of routine and who knows what else you will feel motivated to do!  We only have one body, and we must take care of it, but let’s still have fun while doing so!  Cheers to 2017 and more yummy salads in our futures!  Here is one of the easiest to kick off your new year! (salad recipe below)

Easy Chicken Salad. Healthy salad to get you to your goals this year.

Easy Chicken Salad

Ingredients:

Spring Mix

Chopped Red Peppers

Grape Tomatoes

Artichoke Hearts

Hard boiled egg

Shredded Carrots

Sliced Chicken breast

Pepitas

 

Balsamic Dressing:

½ C olive oil

¼ C balsamic vinegar

1 tsp honey

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 shallot minced

1 clove garlic, minced or crushed

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients salad. Mix together dressing and enjoy!

This post was written by Gordmans cooking extraordinaire, Lindsey.

Beauty Décor Fashion Food Shop

Holiday Wish List

December 9, 2016

Gift shopping season is upon us, and chances are, loved ones in your life are asking what you’d like to see under the tree this year. From your office Secret Snowman to your family gift exchange, here’s a list of tempting treats to consider for your very own wish list.

Finesse Multi-Row Beaded Necklace and Earrings, $9.99

This statement necklace and understated earrings are just the thing to top off a LBD for New Year’s Eve and beyond.

Keurig K55 Coffee Maker, $119.99

A pod coffeemaker in this snazzy Rhubarb color will spice up your kitchen, big time.

Matte Water Bottle, $14.99

The knock-out colors and sleek design makes this water bottle more a fashion accessory than a hydration necessity.

20-inch Hardside Carry-On Spinner Luggage, $39.99

Think how easy it will be to spot your luggage coming around the baggage claim carousel!

Open Knit Fringe Infinity Scarf, $9.99

The gauzy open knit on this infinity scarf gives it an edge, while the cranberry hue makes it holiday-appropriate.

Holiday Lip Regimen, $9.99

Treat your winter-whipped lips with this quartet of pampering products: sweet cherry lip exfoliator, moisturizing lipstick, long-lasting lip pencil and lip color remover.

Eat Sleep Shop Cosmetics Bag, $5

Here’s hoping your stocking will be stuffed with this cute glitter-covered makeup bag.

Edison Fringe Throw, $14.99

This turquoise throw blanket with elegant fringe is equal parts sophisticated and cozy.

Kitchenaid Artisan Stand Mixer, $329.99

If you’ve been very, very good this year, this top-of-the-line stand mixer is the perfect addition to any aspiring chef’s kitchen. Pick a fun color such as bordeaux or pistachio, or go for the timeless silver finish.

Family Food Party & Event Ideas Shop

How To Host A Friendsgiving Dinner

November 16, 2016

Thanksgiving is a time-honored tradition of food and gratitude shared among family. Hot on its heels, hosting Friendsgiving—a gathering for friends held before or after your family Thanksgiving—is becoming a tradition in itself.

In the spirit of “more is more,” why not double the fun and try a Friendsgiving celebration this year? Here’s how to make it happen, from invites to incorporating a charitable cause.

SEND INVITATIONS

Enlist the help of your kiddos to make invitations out of traced-hand turkeys and deliver them by snail mail or in person to guests, or go easy and electronic with a Friendsgiving-themed email invitation.

SET THE DRESS CODE

As for how fancy or laid-back your Friendsgiving is, that’s up to you. Feel free to declare an all-sweatpants dress code (perhaps you could call it “pajama chic”?) or even a cocktail party theme if you’re so inclined. It’s your party and you can dress up (or down) as much as you want to!

INCORPORATE SERVICE

Consider using your celebration to support a cause you care about. Ask guests to bring a canned good donation for a local food pantry or spend time together after dinner making care packages for an organization that serves people in need.

PLAN THE MENU

When it comes to the menu, the options are only limited to your creativity. For a day-after-Thanksgiving open house, invite your guests to bring their leftovers and set up a buffet. Make turkey sandwiches dressed with gravy and cranberry sauce, or use leftover mashed potatoes to make cheesy potato pancakes (just stir in shredded cheese and pan-fry on your stovetop over medium heat). If you’re all turkeyed out, plug in your crockpot and cook up a big batch of chili or your favorite heart-warming stew, or give everyone the day off from cooking and order pizza from your favorite local joint.

HAVE SOME FUN

After you’ve shared a meal and given thanks, plan some amusing entertainment to keep the Friendsgiving fun going. Maybe it’s watching your favorite football team or bringing out the board games. When in doubt, breaking out the blankets and snuggle up for a holiday movie marathon or a consecutive viewing of all of the “Friends” Thanksgiving episodes!

The Perfect Friendsgiving Tablescape!

Fashion Food Shop

DIY Fall Coffees

October 14, 2016

The season of Pumpkin Spice Everything is upon us, which includes your favorite fall drinks at your local coffee shop. If all those trips to see your local barista are adding up at $5 a pop, check out our tips and tricks to create your own fancy coffee drinks at home for less.

GET FROTHY

Besides the flavors, there’s one thing that makes seasonal lattes so rich and delicious: frothed milk. If you don’t have a fancy espresso machine with a milk steamer (and who does?), just put a half cup of milk in a mason jar and shake it hard for about 30 seconds. Then take off the lid, pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds and pour it into your cup of coffee. Ouila, instant latte!

SPICE IT UP

Look to your spice rack for autumnal inspiration! Add a sprinkle of cinnamon, or for a hit of heat, add a dash of chili powder. If you have a bottle of pumpkin pie spice—a blend of cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg and allspice—leftover from Thanksgiving, try stirring in a teaspoon to make your own pumpkin spice latte.

CANDY SHOP

Some of the sweetest seasonal coffees are inspired by candy store favorites. To make a salted caramel coffee, swirl in caramel syrup and sprinkle with sea salt. For a maple-toffee latte, add a tablespoon of maple syrup and a sprinkle of crushed toffee candy.

CHAI AGAIN

Ever heard of a dirty chai? It’s the best of the coffee and tea worlds: a chai tea latte with a shot of espresso. To make an easy copycat version at home, pick up a carton of chai tea concentrate at the grocery store (Tazo, Oregon Chai and Pacific are popular brands that make it) and mix to taste with coffee and frothed milk. The spicy flavors of the chai—cardamom, cinnamon and peppercorn—create the perfect cool-weather sipper.

coffee2 coffee1 coffee3