Ali from Gimme Some Oven is one of our favorite bloggers. We love her positivity, her adventurous spirit, and (of course) her food. She’s guest-posted for us before, and we’re very happy she’s back to grace our Friendsgiving with her stand-out sides and swoon-worthy sangria!
‘Tis the season for all things “giving”!
And even though Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, November has already been full of celebrating. And full of good friends. And full of food. (I still feel full of food!!)
Just this week, a few dozen friends from downtown gathered at my loft for our annual Neighborsgiving, which is ultra-casual and ultra-fun. Next week, I have a Friendsgiving on the calendar, hosted annually by a dear friend who coordinates a beautiful candlelit meal full of friends, and then sends everyone home with a blank thank-you card to pass along. And then, of course, I’ll be traveling home to be with family on Thanksgiving, where we go all out each year with a traditional turkey meal with all the fixins.
But one of the highlights of November was getting to begin the month with another lovely Friendsgiving with a bunch of new and old friends from Hallmark! Once upon a time, I used to help with some food styling in the photo studio at Hallmark, and still am so inspired by all of the creative people who work there. So when Tobe mentioned that a bunch of people were getting together for a Friendsgiving at her place (in her gorgeous new dining room, no less!), I was all in.
Since I’m always testing and re-testing holiday recipes around Thanksgiving, I volunteered to be in charge of the food and brought along a little feast to share. But instead of messing with a turkey, we decided to keep things easy and fun (and as it turns out, vegetarian) and go with a theme I’ve always wanted to try: a “sides-only” Thanksgiving!!
And it was DELICIOUS!
If you ask me, the sides are the best part of Thanksgiving anyway. And with dishes like my Butternut Squash Quinoa “Stuffing”, Hummus Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potato Casserole, Slow Cooker Creamed Corn, Slow Cooker Cranberry Sauce, and Bourbon Pumpkin Pie, I think it’s safe to say that no one left hungry.
Of course, we also needed something sparkly to toast to the occasion. So for something festive, I decided to mix up a simple Sparkling Cranberry Orange Sangria recipe.
Sangria is often my go-to drink for entertaining because it’s quick and easy to make, lends well towards mixing up in large batches, it can be made in advance, and —with the addition of a few fruity garnishes—always looks and tastes extra lovely! And because cranberry+orange happens to be a favorite holiday combo of mine (like in this baked brie and this cheesecake, for instance), I figured it would be a winner in sangria.
Turns out, it was delightful.
To make it, simply stir together some cranberry juice (I recommend finding a brand with 100% juice), some sort of orange liqueur (I used Cointreau), a fresh orange and lime (or lemon), and a few cinnamon sticks for spice. Let the flavors chill and meld together in the fridge for a half hour, or even up to eight hours if you’d like to make it in advance.
Then when it’s time to serve, pour in some sparkling wine…
…and serve it up!
Sangria is always more fun when served with some extra garnishes. So I added some extra orange slices, fresh cranberries and cinnamon sticks to the glasses for serving, and they were so lovely.
Even more lovely, of course, when raised in the air for a toast!
Definitely a wonderful meal, made all the more wonderful when shared with good friends. So cheers to simple cocktail recipes and to many more delicious “givings” to come!
Sparkling Cranberry Orange Sangria
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 0 mins
- 2 cups cranberry juice
- ½ cup Cointreau (or any orange liqueur)
- 1 orange, thinly sliced
- 1 lemon or lime, thinly sliced
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 bottle sparkling wine (Cava, Champagne, etc.)
- optional garnishes for serving: fresh cranberries, extra cinnamon sticks, extra sliced oranges
Stir together cranberry juice, Cointreau, orange slices, lemon (or lime) slices and cinnamon sticks in a large pitcher. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes (or up to eight hours).
When you are ready to serve the sangria, add the sparkling wine to the cranberry juice mixture and stir briefly to combine. Serve immediately in glasses, topped with optional garnishes if desired.
What’s your favorite Friendsgiving (or Thanksgiving) food? Let us know in the comments below!
Photography by Jane Kortright and Ali Ebright.