Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gluten Free Thanksgiving: Table and Appetizers

When you're crazy busy running around grocery shopping and planning your big holiday menu, table settings can seem like just a pesky thing on the to-do list.  But having a nice setting to eat the holiday meal doesn't have to be complicated.  In fact, I like my table settings simple and casual.  And here's one of my biggest tips for stress-free entertaining: Always set the table the night before.  It gets me excited for the party and it is one less thing I have to do on the day of the party.  Here's how I like to set my table:

       *White plates- I love how the food really stands out on them!
       *Simple decorations- I like to keep the table decor simple, mostly edible, and low to the table.  No one wants to be looking over huge centerpieces to see who is sitting across from them.  At this dinner party, an antipasto platter doubles as a decoration and an appetizer.  Or try bowls of colorful fruits like apples, oranges, and lemons.  
       *Small flower arrangement-  These days you can get pretty flowers at your local grocery store.  I buy one bunch and separate it into a few small vases.  I usually put one right when you walk in the house, one in the bathroom, and at least one on the table.  
        *Place cards- For dinner parties, I like to have place cards.  That way there's no awkward discussion on who sits where and I get to place people next to others that they may have more in common with.  And since I like to keep things simple, pretty, and edible- look what I came up with!

How cute is this!?!  It's a fall apple place card.  I took an apple and stuck a toothpick on one side of it.  Then, I took a leaf with a wire stem from the craft store and wrapped the wire stem around the toothpick.  I wrote everyone's names on scrapbook paper and cut each card out with Zig Zag scissors and hole punched each left hand corner.  Then I took some colorful ribbon and tied the card to the toothpick.  Simple, easy, and perfect for Thanksgiving!

Appetizers are a good idea for Thanksgiving.  It gives your guests something to do while you finish the last-minute preps and it also buys you some time in case you are running a little behind schedule.  But the appetizers should be easy and light.  Here are some of my go-to gluten free appetizers for a big dinner party:

*Antipasto Platter- sliced meats (salami, ham, turkey), cheese, olives, dried fruit, and nuts.  (I usually chop the cheese the night before and then just assemble the platter right before the guests arrive)
*Creamy Ranch Dip with baby carrots
*Chips and Salsa- try Newman's Own Mango Salsa (gluten free and so good!)
*Mini Caprese Salad Sticks- these are always a big hit! (stick a toothpick through a grape tomato, a piece of basil, and then a piece of mozzarella cheese- arrange on a platter and drizzle with balsamic vinegar)

And just two more tips that I have learned along the way: pick out your outfit the night before and don't worry about the party being perfect!  At the end of the day, your guests don't want perfect they want tasty and fun :)  So, make sure you have fun too!  
Happy Thanksgiving! 

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