Posts Tagged ‘Make Ahead Thanksgiving’

Host a Friendsgiving Feast

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

I love the concept of Friendsgiving and plan to continue this special tradition – the giving to both our friends AND our added component of giving to our community at the same time makes this a perfect post to share again with our November M Challenge Focus on Giving. I hope you all are inspired – it really is a wonderful time!

Host a Friendsgiving Feast

This post is sponsored by Walmart AND ALL PROCEEDS WERE DONATED.

I feel like such a lucky mom to have so many incredible women in my life. Most of these friendships started when I was a new mom still trying to figure out the ropes of motherhood.  Now my kids are growing up, but I need them as much as I did in the early days. Unfortunately, our schedules have all become so crazy that it becomes nearly impossible to get our group together anymore. I decided a few weeks ago that I really wanted to see them all before the holidays took over and we all began to hibernate for the Indiana winter. I invited them to my home for my first annual Friendsgiving feast to share in a meal together before the holidays and I couldn’t wait to share about it with you.

Let me disclose by saying that I wanted to make this as easy on myself as possible and, if you are considering hosting a feast of your own, I would advise you do the same. I wanted to do it on budget, make it as effortless as possible, and I wanted the cooking to be easy too.

Here is how I executed the world’s easiest Friendsgiving Feast and helped give to our community in the process.

Host a Friendsgiving Feast

Create a Facebook Event (And Get Positive Responses)

Like I said, my friends are crazy busy and getting our group together is nearly impossible. Instead of setting up an event and shooting blindly in the dark for a date or receiving a million responses and being responsible for sorting people/dates, I utilize Doodle to schedule get togethers. Simply plug in the dates and times that will work for you and send out the link to the scheduling tool for each person to vote for the days that work best for them. Once you receive the responses you can set the date for the one that received the most positive response.

Once you have the date, it couldn’t be easier to invite your friends especially since everyone (at least in my group) is on Facebook. I just put up an event and asked that everyone respond there. It was easy to create, to monitor, and gave me an accurate headcount for making food purchases. Make sure that you set the privacy to, “Invite Only” for viewing otherwise everyone who is a friend can see a response (and might not be included- ouch!) I admit, the only time I wish I had a bigger house is when I host events like this. Believe me, Invite Only for viewers is the way to go.

Herb Roasted Turkey

You Supply the Turkey, They Supply the Fixins’

Last year I hosted my family for Thanksgiving all while photographing each and every dish for the site. This year I wanted to take an easier approach so I offered to supply the turkey, gravy, and stuffing, but requested that each person bring their own dish and a bottle of wine to share. To make sure all the categories were filled, I utilized Jooners to create a sign-up sheet for dishes. Be sure to specify what you need under the, “Needed,” box. That is where I asked for side dishes, desserts, bread, and appetizers. This will help you have a well-rounded feast and since everyone can fill in the dish they are bringing, it  helps cut down on anyone bringing the same dish.

Not only did I do store-bought stuffing and gravy, I purchased turkey breasts (here is my favorite method of preparation) instead of dealing with the bones and carving. It killed me a little bit to do this when I know I could do so much more, but this also helped me to truly enjoy the evening with my friends and allowed me to not worry about laboring over dishes and missing out on all the fun together. Not to mention the cost factor that I saved on by having everyone help me with dishes and drinks.

Decorate Store Bought Pies

Of course, there is always our make-ahead feast that gets you out of the kitchen that day altogether!  Here are my make-ahead mashed potatoes, make-ahead fresh green bean casserole, make-ahead gravy, make-ahead stuffing, make-ahead cranberry sauce, make-ahead appetizers, make-ahead rolls, make-ahead pie crust, and even some great make-ahead ways to dress up a store-bought pie… just to name a few!

Knitted Leaves Centerpiece

Invest in Smart Party Supplies That You Use Over & Over Again

Over the years we have hosted so many gatherings that I have accumulated an arsenal of tools so that I can pull a get together at a moment’s notice.  I honestly didn’t buy a thing other than disposable cups for our get together, but that is because I have invested over the years and I try to create handmade items that can double as centerpieces if I don’t have time to run out and purchase fresh flowers.

The things that I have used the most over the years:

Centerfold Table- I bought this three years ago and I use it at least three times a year. It has a handle on it and folds down the center making it easy to pack up and take it if you need to and also making it easy to store when you don’t.  I purchased this tablecloth (you can see it here in a game day party I did awhile back) because it was stain-resistant.  To save on time ironing, I just wash it and then spread it on the table the night before since it is so lightweight and dries quickly without even going through the dryer. It helps cut down on wasting time ironing and is wrinkle-free in the morning.


Elegant Plastic Dishes- Elegance and plastic might not seem like they go together, but plastic dishes have come a long way. I hosted a shed-warming party (totally a thing!) this summer and since we had so many guests coming, I decided to buy twenty of these dishes. If you go to Walmart, you can purchase the plates individually, which is exactly what I did.  Unfortunately (but then fortunately), they didn’t have enough in a single style so I ended up getting three different styles which adds a bit of fun to the dinner table. I love that these are lightweight and can be reused over and over again.

DIY Bar Cart

Bar Cart- This summer I transformed a tool cart into a bar cart and it is truly one of my favorite entertaining tools. Since we live in a small home (which we are very committed to) we don’t have a lot of counters or surfaces to use for putting out drinks and food. My bar cart resides in my shed, but I wheel it in when I am entertaining and it offers a fun place to tuck bottles of wine and glasses.

Inexpensive Silverware- I actually hit our local restaurant supply store for inexpensive silverware that reminds me of some of my favorite diners. There is never a shortage of forks, spoons, or knives at our home.

Decor That Can Be Used Over & Over Again- I love to craft and in the back of my mind, I am always thinking how I can weave these items into our seasonal decorating especially when it comes to the holidays. For our Friendsgiving feast my Knitted Leaf Centerpiece was perfect for my table (and is on display year-round in my craft room). This winter the table will be adorned with these Yarn Pom Pom Trees that I made. Think of creating something that you can get out every year and that can save you money when entertaining.


REALLY Make it a FriendsGIVING

I have some truly generous friends so I called upon them to assist me with giving back to our community.  First, I asked each of them to take a moment to clear out their pantries so that we could make a donation to my church’s food pantry. Right before the holidays is a great time to clear some space and make room for all of those items you will need to tackle your holiday baking and dishes.

The shelter that I have helped in the past where we achieved our MomAdvice Big Give, the Elkhart Faith Mission, is a charity that I love to support. Longtime readers may recall the MomAdvice Big Give we executed with them. Here is a little throwback footage for you.

It costs a mere $.1.79 to give a Thanksgiving meal to one person at the shelter. I left an envelope out and asked if anyone felt like giving that they could donate as little as two bucks to give someone something to look forward to for the holidays.

Consider making a true FriendsGIVING experience and find a scraps of life way to give back or gather together to make care packages for the homeless.

Faith Mission of Elkhart

Each year I like to dedicate one post from Walmart to those in need and today’s post is for the families heading to Faith Mission that need a holiday dinner to look forward to.  

I understand that sponsored posts aren’t always the favorite posts here, but the proceeds from this post today and the donations I collected fed 187 PEOPLE a Thanksgiving meal and many of our posts this year gave a community of  people clean water this year.  How cool is that? Please support our sponsors because they do help many- perhaps, more than you realize! 

I hope my Friendsgiving inspires you to give back to your community and to throw a get together with your own amazing friends!

Have you ever hosted a Friendsgiving? Any tips or tricks you would like to share!


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Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal

Saturday, November 7th, 2015

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal from

It’s that time of year again where I show you how incredibly awesome it is to prepare your Thanksgiving meal ahead and pack it away in your freezer for the big upcoming feast. Over the years I have tried so many recipes to share with you and today I want to show you my foolproof technique meal for creating a delicious meal right from your freezer and to your table that will taste like you cooked it that very day.

Before we dive into all the recipes, here are a few items I recommend having in your arsenal to make your meal preparation day easier and to actually create room for all of these delicious dishes.

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal from

Ninja Cooker For Preparation & Buffet

This item is definitely a splurge item, but has paid for itself over and over again for me. The Ninja Cooker has two functions on it (Stovetop & Slow Cooker) that allow you to brown meat inside of it and then switch to slow cooking. It also has a Buffet setting that is perfect for using on Thanksgiving Day to keep your dishes warm. I can’t recommend this gadget enough and consider it to be a smart holiday investment. Did I mention it is nonstick? DREAMY!

Ziploc Freezer Bags For Food Storage for the Big Day

I love, love, love Ziploc Freezer Bags for their stackability for storing our food for the big day. I use these to package up my stuffing and casseroles to help me pack more in my freezer without taking up so much space like a disposable pan would. Make sure you reach for the freezer bags and not the regular ones though to prevent freezer burn. When in doubt if something will hold, always double bag!

Chinet Bakeware For An Elegant Freezer Meal Spread

Since I freeze my feast for Thanksgiving Day, I love the ease of stacking (and clean-up) when it comes to disposable pans. Chinet makes ones that are nonstick and I have found them to be a bit more durable for transporting from oven to table. Since they are made of paper, the first time I used them I was a little scared how my food would turn out, but I have had great success with these and find them to be an affordable alternative to foil pans for Thanksgiving Day. If you want to keep things looking nice, these casserole baskets (less than $10 each) are a clever trick I use to disguise a disposable pan.

Make-Ahead & Freeze Your Thanksgiving Meal from

Pie Cutters For Glamming Up Store-Bought Pies

If baking pies isn’t your thing, consider buying a little pie dough and adding a personalized touch with an inexpensive set of decorative pie cutters. You simply roll out the pre-packaged dough, cut out a piece with the pie cutter and press to make a detailed impression on the top. Transfer these delicate details to a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake as directed. Add a glossy shine with a little egg or sprinkle sugar & cinnamon on top to add a little flavor. Between this and a glammed up whip cream or quick topping, your store-bought pies will be a fabulous addition to the dinner table.

Carry-Out Dishes For Packing Leftovers

Sharing the leftovers is not only a nice gesture for your guests, but it makes sure that all the dishes get eaten. I use my takeout pho containers when packaging food up for myself, but these Fitpacker containers would be lovely to share and let your guests take home food or to prepare a few lunches/dinners for your own family for the week so you can really put your feet up!

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dishes To Try

Cheddar Apple Pie Dip from


Bacon Ranch Cheeseball- Need I say more?

Spunky Spinach Dip- A delicious combination of spinach, salsa, & cream cheese. Serve with carrots and tortilla chips for dipping

Cheddar Apple Pie Dip- Prepare until the point of baking. Freeze for the big day.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip- AKA Crack Dip, as it is so lovingly referred to in our house.

Slow Cooker Chex Mix

Gluten-Free Meatball Sub Appetizer

Gluten-Free Meatballs- Bake & prepare sauce. Freeze separately for the big day. Warm up on the stove top and then skewer with baby mozzarella balls.

Sugar & Spice Nut Mix- Would also make a great hostess gift if you aren’t making the meal!

Cranberry Spread- Tangy and a delicious dip to pair with crackers.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole


Green Bean Casserole- Panko with homemade mushroom cream sauce- it’s divine!

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes- I always double batch this recipe because these are the best mashed potatoes you will ever eat.

Brandied Orange & Cranberry Sauce- This is the best cranberry sauce I have ever eaten- truly!

Buttery Bread Machine Rolls- This foolproof recipe makes storing a bread machine worth it! Be sure to read this article for lots of bread machine tips!

Make-Ahead Gravy

Make-Ahead Gravy Recipe- Finding out I could make this early last year saved me so much time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin Cranberry Cornbread- Bake & freeze for the big day!

Make-Ahead Apple, Sausage, & Sage Sourdough Stuffing

Fancy Up Store-Bought Pies


Store-Bought Pie Tricks- Wow, your guests with a few easy details

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

All-Butter Pie Crust- Prepare and freeze discs of dough

Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping

Cranberry Crunch Pie Topping- Store wet and dry ingredients separately for the big day

Spiced Whipped Cream- Make-ahead and store in the fridge for the big day

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecakes

No-Bake Peppermint Cheesecakes- A promise of all the good treats to come this holiday season

Not cooking? Here are a few of my favorite hostess gifts

DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Spice Candles

DIY Slow Cooker Pumpkin Candles

Mini Pie Hostess Favor


Mini Pie Gifts

Microwave Peanut Brittle

Easy Microwave Peanut Brittle

Sugar & Spice Nuts Mix

Sugar & Spice Nuts

Knitted Sweater Cozies

Knitted Sweater Coffee Cozies

Wine Hats & Scarves

Wine Hats & Scarves

Neon Paint Dipped Spoon Set

Paint-Dipped Spoon Sets

Free Thanksgiving Printable

Thanksgiving Decor, Crafts & Entertaining

Woodland Thanksgiving Table + Free Printables

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Friendsgiving Feast

Friendsgiving Feast

Host a Friendsgiving Feast

How to Entertain the Kids on Thanksgiving Day

How to Set the Perfect Thanksgiving Table

DIY Chalkboard Food Label Frames

I hope these ideas inspire you! If you are looking for a great turkey recipe, be sure to check out this Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast or just use this simple technique for a small crowd to prepare a boneless breast! Happy holidays, friends! xo

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though! 

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The Best of Fall, Halloween & Thanksgiving: 49 Ideas for Decor, Crafts, Recipes, Costumes & More!

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

The Best of Fall, Halloween & Thanksgiving-49 Ideas for Decor, Crafts, Recipes, Costumes & More

Fall is really one of my favorite seasons, from the first leaves that turn glorious colors through Halloween costumes to hanging out with family and friends for Thanksgiving, I love it all! Mom Advice has been around long enough that I’ve got a TON of great ideas, tutorials, and recipes that are perfect for this season, so I’m rounding it all up in one spot for you, since I know a lot of your are fall lovers like me.

No matter what you like, you’ll find something here for you, including lots of easy DIY decorating, some fun knitting projects, comforting food recipes (including my popular list of make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes!), costume ideas for the whole family, and more.


Fall Decor & Crafts

Mini Felted Pumpkin Tutorial

Warm Up Outdoor Spaces for Fall

Handmade Autumn Burlap Wreath Tutorial

7 Easy Upcycle Projects for Fall

Fall Decorating with Goodwill Items

DIY Decorative Thumbtack Pumpkins

Knitted Leaves Centerpiece
Knitted Leaf Centerpiece

Duct Tape Pumpkins

How to Decoupage Pumpkins

Painted Address Pumpkin Topiary

7 Scarves & Cowls to Knit for Fall


Fall Recipes

Pumpkin Hand Pies

Fall DIY Drinks

Pumpkin Nut Quinoa Breakfast

11 Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin Cranberry Cornbread

21 Easy Slow Cooker Meals

8 Ways to Use Canned Pumpkin

12 Great Tailgating Recipes

Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Maple Syrup Frosting

And while not a decor or recipe, let’s not forget these 5 Ways to Date Your Husband in the Fall!


Halloween Costumes, Decor & Recipes

7 New DIY Halloween Costumes

DIY Minecraft Costume Ideas

Easy DIY Halloween Costumes

Halloween Costume Ideas for the Whole Family

Doughnut Hole Ghost Cake

Festive Halloween Decorating Ideas

How to Make Chalkboard Pumpkins

Happy, Healthy Halloween Night Feast

How to Make Glow-in-the-Dark Jell-o


Thanksgiving Decor, Crafts & Entertaining

Woodland Thanksgiving Table + Free Printables

DIY Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Host a Friendsgiving Feast

How to Entertain the Kids on Thanksgiving Day

How to Set the Perfect Thanksgiving Table

DIY Chalkboard Food Label Frames


Thanksgiving Recipes

Make Ahead Apple, Sausage & Sage Sourdough Stuffing

Make Ahead Gravy

Make Ahead Green Bean Casserole

Make Ahead Buttery Bread Machine Rolls

Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes for a Crowd

Make Ahead Brandied Orange Cranberry Sauce

Herb Roasted Turkey Breast


5 Ways to Decorate Store-Bought Pies

Dress Up a Store-Bought Pie with Cranberry-Crunch Pie Topping

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

All-Butter Pie Crust Tutorial

7 Make Ahead Appetizers for Thanksgiving

Make Ahead Recipes for Thanksgiving Day

Are you a fall lover, too? What are some of your favorite recipes, crafts, or traditions?

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Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from

Continuing with my make-ahead Thanksgiving theme this week, I wanted to share with you a make-ahead green bean casserole made only with the freshest ingredients and that can be made ahead and tucked in you freezer for the big day.

Walmart challenged me to share my meal preparation strategies for getting my Thanksgiving dinner on the table and my strategy this year, and all the years in the past, is to get as much done early as possible so that I can truly enjoy the day with my family. I am taking you along on my make-ahead Thanksgiving meal preparation journey by providing some really great dishes that you can make early so you also can enjoy that special day with your family.

Have you been following along in our make-ahead series? If not, here are the recipes I have created so far!

Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Dish Ideas:

Brandied & Orange Cranberry Sauce

Mashed Potatoes

Fancied-Up Store-Bought Pies (make the whipped cream & fun pie additions a couple of days before your feast)

This week I will be sharing my final dishes:  a Make-Ahead Gravy & a Make-Ahead Apple, Sausage, & Sage Sourdough Stuffing, and Make-Ahead Buttery Bread Machine Rolls so please come back so you don’t miss those fun dishes!

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from

Green Bean Casserole is one of those dishes that our family absolutely loves, but this year I wanted to create a dish that didn’t rely on canned food ingredients and instead relied only upon fresh ingredients.

Fresh green beans and mushrooms are tossed in the the world’s most delicious cream sauce and then topped with a crunchy topping of fried onions, that we all know and love, along with a healthy dash of panko (found in the Asian foods section of Walmart) to create the ultimate crunchy topping.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from

To prep this dish ahead, I purchased some inexpensive foil pans and poured my casserole into it. On the lid, I jotted down the instructions for the big day. The panko & onion topping was poured into a baggie and placed in my pantry so it doesn’t get soggy in the freezer.

Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole from difference between the canned casserole versus the fresh casserole is amazingly different. The green beans are crispy, the cream sauce and mushrooms remind me of a rich and creamy mushroom soup, and the panko adds a crispy crunch to the dish that helps to round out the flavors. Although this dish is far more time consuming than a canned casserole, one bite will have you (and your guests) convinced that this is a dish worth repeating every year!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Make-Ahead Green Bean Casserole
Recipe type: Casserole
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10-12
A completely fresh green bean casserole that can be made-ahead for your Thanksgiving feast. Once you try this fresh take on this casserole, you'll never go back to the canned type again!
  • ½ cup panko
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups canned fried onions (about 6 oz.)
  • 2 lbs green beans, ends trimmed and halved
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 lb sliced white button mushrooms
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  1. In a small bowl, mix together panko and fried onions with two tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside.
  2. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. of water to boil. Add two tablespoons of salt and the green beans. Cook beans until bright green and crisp-tender, approximately 6 minutes.
  3. Drain beans in colander and plunge immediately into ice water to stop cooking. Set aside.
  4. Add butter to your now-empty pot and melt over medium-high heat until foaming subsides. Add mushrooms, garlic, ¾ teaspoons salt, and ⅛ teaspoons pepper; cook until mushrooms release moisture and liquid evaporates, about 6 minutes.
  5. Add flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and bring to simmer, stirring constantly. Add cream, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until sauce is thickened and reduced to 3½ cups, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add green beans to sauce and stir until evenly coated. Arrange in even layer in 3 quart (or 13 x 9") baking dish.
  7. Store your onion & panko topping in a baggie in your pantry. Freeze in a freezer-safe container or in a foil pan. Allow the casserole to thaw 1-3 days before your event.
  8. Heat the casserole in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes, then add the topping and bake for 1-20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling on the edges.

Do you have any Thanksgiving meal planning strategies to share? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!


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