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Celebrating Traditional Holidays in Non-Traditional Ways

Friendsgiving is a blend of friend and Thanksgiving, and it refers to a large meal eaten with friends either on or near Thanksgiving. In recent years, geography and/or mounting travel prices, have made many people choose to celebrate traditional holidays in non-traditional ways, hence the growing popularity of Friendsgiving. There are no strict guidelines for this holiday which makes it a laid back, often less stressful version of the more formal Thanksgiving. Friendsgiving can be celebrated any day, any time of year, but most gatherings take place in November, particularly the weekend before Thanksgiving. Many hosts choose potluck for their Friendsgiving celebrations so everyone can simply relax and enjoy. We share with you a few recipes that would be the perfect addition to your Friendsgiving meal. Whether you spend this holiday with friends, family, or friends who are family, we wish you a blessed one. 

Slow-Cooker Loaded Mashed Potatoes  

  • 3 pounds cubed peeled potatoes (about 9 medium) 
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 pound bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 1. Place potatoes in a Dutch oven, adding water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain; return to pan. Mash with cream cheese, sour cream, butter and milk. Stir in bacon, cheeses, onions and seasonings. Cover; refrigerate overnight.

2. Transfer to a greased 3- or 4-quart slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low 3 to 3-1/2 hours.

Apple Blondie

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, (142 g) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled (1 stick or 113 g) 
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed (200 g) 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch square

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line an 8-inch by 8-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.

2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter and brown sugar until well combined, about 2 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add the flour mixture and stir just until combined (careful not to overmix). Fold in chopped apples.

  • Transfer batter to prepared baking pan (the batter will be a little thick). Bake for 25 to 28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool and cut into squares and serve.

Pumpkin Martini

  • 1 cup ice cubes 
  • 1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger vanilla flavored vodka
  • 1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger Irish cream liqueur 
  • 1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger pumpkin flavored liqueur 
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon 
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg


1. Fill a shaker with ice.

2. Pour vanilla-flavored vodka, Irish cream liqueur, and pumpkin-flavored liqueur over ice. Cover and shake until the outside of the shaker has frosted.

3. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg.


(3rd page pull quote) "Friendsgiving can be celebrated any day, any time of year, but most gatherings take place in November, particularly the weekend before Thanksgiving."