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How did we find ourselves here already? It seems November arrived far too quickly this year – but the good news is that means it’s time to start setting the table…holiday style!
Regardless of being in the constant state of Holiday Spirit since early June (oh the confused seasonality of a stylist), I’m actually very excited to go all out with my own festivities this year. I mean, who needs one Thanksgiving when you can have two?! And I’m not talking about leftovers.
This year I’m putting together a low stress, high flavor Friendsgiving in addition to my traditional family get-together…and it won’t be your standard turkey dinner either. Spoiler alert! We’re making a deliciously rich lamb tagine packed with aromatic flavors and serving it up with one purdy texture layered table that I promise won’t break the bank. Did I mention we’re also going to do it in just three easy steps!? Let’s go!
1. CREATE A SEASONAL SETTING USING NATURAL MATERIALS
You are one visit to the craft store away from a fabulous looking gathering. Head straight to the wood and planting aisles for some unique items that will make your table stand out. This year I’m very into stacking style at the place setting, so I’ve layered wood chargers with round terra-cotta plant saucers to add warmth and depth to my table. I’ve also decided on a honeycomb theme which is reflected in the china pattern as well as the marble coasters for a little nature inspired whimsey.
The bargain / bulk fabric bin is also an excellent place to search for inexpensive table linens. I’ve plucked discounted linen and paired it with a fun alternative to denim with this woven indigo cotton blend. Don’t worry about sewing up a storm, leaving a raw edge gives the table a rustic touch which has a soft delicate texture and doesn’t make the layering of a macrame runner seem too precious.
2. WRANGLE FESTIVE FLORALS ON THE CHEAP
Skip the over priced decorative gourds in the floral section and head straight to the produce aisle. Cooking pumpkins, big and small, look just as festive and work wonders when hollowed out and turned into a vase or place setting stuffed with your selection of botanicals and blooms. Simply carve a hole from the top, hallow out and place a small glass vase or empty tea light votive inside, fill with water and arrange away!
The best kept secret when it comes to arranging your centerpiece is to save some money (but not skimp on style) by alsoo browsing the floral “fillers” section. Robust greens like eucalyptus and delicate blooms such as Queen Anne’s Lace will pair perfectly with other less expensive bouquets. Branches dripping with colorful berries make for a simple, yet architectural touch. And getting adventurous with odd couplings such as mums paired lilies can proved faste fashionable friends as long as you’re sticking to the same color palette. So have fun by mixing and matching a variety of unexpected florals for a one of a kind arrangement that will be on no one else’s table this year.
3. SERVE UP UNEXPECTED FLAVORS THAT WILL SURPRISE GUESTS
When entertaining, I love to mix things up with a tagine. It’s a snap to prep and it does all the work itself while simmering away for a couple hours – Giving you important things, like extra time to start decorating and chatting up your arriving guests rather than hovering over a complicated spread. Not to mention it makes the house smell AMAZING!
Don’t be afriad to skip the typical bird – these rich, spiced flavors of lamb satiate like a holiday roast and are an unexpected treat for you and your guests to enjoy. Make sure to sprinkle strips of flatout flatbread with olive oil and moroccan spices for the ultimate companion, who won’t let a drop of that sauce go to waste. Bonus: This meal is a one pot masterpiece that you can serve straight from the tagine family style, which will save you from a mountain of dirty dishes at the end of the night. Success!
The best part about Friendsgiving is that you can make your own rules and new traditions – so why not also make lie a little less complicated this year (especially if you’re celebrating the holiday twice).
And since we’re in the spirit of giving! Together, the American Lamb Board and Flatout Flatbread will donate $1 to No Kid Hungry for each new Facebook follower, recipe shared or Friendsgiving post that includes #FlatoutLamb and #Friendsgiving. They’re also giving away a number of fun prizes, including an ultimate Holiday Feast to one lucky winner. More information about the campaign, recipes and tips can be found at their CeLAMBrate Friendsgiving page.
Are there floral filled pumpkins and lamb tagine in your holiday future?! I hope so – and I want to hear all about it (so don’t forget to tag it so I can see it)!
Happy start to the holiday season to all you lovely friends – I hope that your homes are filled with love and the spiced smells of celebration. Cheers!
LAMB TAGINE RECIPE
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 1/2 Hours
Number of servings: 4
1 lb lamb shoulder
Moroccan or Marrakesh spice blend
1 white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup chopped cilantro stalks
15 oz can chickpeas
28 oz can whole plumb tomatoes
½ cup low sodium chicken stalk
¼ cup chopped Turkish apricots
1/3 cup Italian green olives with pits
Chopped almonds and cilantro for garnish
Flatout Foldit Artisan Flatbread
Rub lamb shoulder with spice blend and let at least one hour in refrigerator (over night best, if possible). Heat tagine over the stovetop on high, add olive oil and sear lamb until all sides are brown (about 5 minutes). Remove lamb and set aside. Add in onion, garlic and cilantro stalks into tagine and sauté for 5 minutes, or until golden. Add in chickpeas, plumb tomatoes into the tagine and place lamb on top. Top with chicken broth, Bring to a boil and then reduce heat cover tagine with lid simmering for 1 ½ hours.
Turn lamb over, add chopped apricots and olives (additional broth if needed). Cover tagine and simmer for an additional hour. If sauce hasn’t reduced down, leave uncovered for 10-15 minutes. Serve over couscous with a generous side of toasted Flatout Flatbread that has been brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with za’tar seasonings and broiled in the oven for a quick minute.