The Purpose of the “No”

I am an open book.  Those that know me know that I wear my heart on my sleeve and I have a deep hope in the humanity of people.  In knowing that about myself, I am deeply hurt, and I have experienced rejection and failed expectations pretty regularly. A part of who I am at the core holds other people to the very high standard I hold myself too.  (Side note… this is not a healthy mentality and I know that – it’s a struggle guys!)  I don’t back out of plans; I don’t miscalculate hardly anything, and my word is almost as important to me as the air that I breathe. 

So, what happens when you want something so badly and plans change and people back out and you find yourself in a place of overwhelming rejection? What is the purpose of the no?

You can do a couple of things. You can turn from God and His sovereignty, you can accept rejection, or become apathetic and just go through the motions of faith, or you can lean into what God is preparing you for.

In these situations, I always go back to Romans 8.  Paul writes so much more eloquently than I could ever…

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:26-28 MSG

If you need to stop here and reread that I pray you imprint that on your heart. Drive this verse home where it hits you to your core.  Let this verse speak peace and comfort over your soul that might be aching in the wake of rejection.

What we can’t do is confuse good with having what’s good for you.  What we think is good might not actually be good for our spirit. 

I am not a mother, but I have been a child for 32 years now.  There have been times in my life where I wanted something so badly and my parents put their foot down with a very strong and resounding no.  Even as an aunt there have been times where things that Opal wants; Opal does not get… Why?  Is it because I want to punish her?  Absolutely not.  It’s because I see more of the outcome than she does.  We can’t have soda or candy before bed because I know it will upset her sweet little tummy and she won’t sleep well.  (and let’s be honest a tired baby is not a happy baby!)

Sometimes God withholds something we view as good because He sees the outcome that we can’t.  He sees that our momentary desires will add unnecessarily and provide unforeseen challenges and could quite possibly kill our spirit. Sometimes it helps to revisit His faithfulness.

Instead, we need to view God’s no as encouragement that He is strengthening us and preparing us for the future He has written.  Just like Romans says… just as we get tired in the waiting (I would also like to interject here… that includes rejection, unmet expectations, discouragement, sadness, etc..) God is right there helping us because He knows far better than we do and that’s why we can rest in the shade of His sovereignty because everything He does is for the good of those that love and serve Him.

Be encouraged my friend.  The purpose of the no is not to reject you but refine you for greater things.

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Coconut Chicken

Let’s be honest: Dinner can be difficult.

Family, kids, activities, work, working late, self-care, balance – mixing any or all of those things is a challenge! Sometimes at the end of the day, the last thing you want to think about is taking out a ton of ingredients and creating dishes for yourself later that evening!

It can be stressful and it can take a long time.

But the secret to a great dinner is to use store-bought ingredients, spice them up and then cook – but don’t let it take too long! You see, dinner is more about getting food on the table than what the food is. No, I don’t suggest just ordering take out every night and I hope my recipes help you focus on what’s important – good food with good people.

 

Coconut Chicken Dinner

 

I recently made this on IGTV as one of my #SundayFundaywithFriends dinner recipes!

You can always head over to my Instagram and check those out! Comments, engagement and shares all make my day.

And I would love for you to tag me when you make my recipes! #Atabletopaffair so I can share and get inspiration from you all!

I have been getting a ton of feedback that people are finding me through their friends and family – thank you for continuing to share my recipes with your friends!! It means the world and your referrals are the greatest compliment. Here’s something yummy to go with tonight’s dish!

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Coconut Chicken


  • Author: Abby
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 7 minutes
  • Total Time: 12 Minutes
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken tenderloins
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • oil for frying 
  • Salt for garnishing

Instructions

  1. First, get out three wide, shallow bowls. 
  2. In the first bowl put flour. 
  3. In a second bowl, whisk the eggs together.
  4. And fill a third bowl with coconut flakes and sugar.
  5. Toss chicken tenders first in the flour, then in the egg wash, followed by the coconut flakes.  (I like to dip mine in the egg first and then flour and then egg again and then the coconut, but either way works!)
  6. Be sure to coat each chicken tender thoroughly with each step.
  7. Salt both sides of chicken breast.
  8. For frying fill a large skillet with 1 inch of oil. Bring to temperature over medium heat.
  9. Use tongs to transfer chicken tenders into the oil (do not crowd the pan, fry in batches if you need to). 
  10. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then turn chicken tenders over and cook another 3-4 minutes until golden brown and chicken is cooked through.
  11. Repeat with remaining chicken tenders as needed. 
  12. Garnish with sea salt flakes if desired and serve warm with a sweet marmalade or honey. 

I would love for you to share your awesome dinner recipes with me on Instagram!  Just tag #atabletopaffair!

Now I want to hear from you: What do you find is the biggest challenge when it comes to making dinner? Let’s encourage each other in the comments to keep it simple and joyful!

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Valentine’s Day Rebrand

 

 

I posted about this on Instagram the other day, but wanted to expand my thoughts a little more. If you missed it, I posted a picture about loving others, rebranding Valentine’s Day and posed the question; 

What if we used the month of February to love others.  Truly serving them like we, as Christians, are called to do and going out of our way to make people feel included, seen and loved. 

We might look at this holiday a little differently.  Instead of focusing on the love between two people – we are focusing on loving our church – our people that make up our life. 

I’m not sure about you, but being single (which is a season all of us have been in or are currently in) this holiday breeds insecurity, doubt and an lack of confidence in who God is and what His plan if for our life. I wanted to encourage you by shedding some light on a very vulnerable part of my life. 

My singleness. 

No, I am not defined by my relationship status, yet it feels like our culture and society have taught us to believe it does. So several years ago I began working on altering my mindset.  The mindset that the enemy encourages tells us that we are nothing, we are unloved, and we are lonely when we are not married. 

How false is that?  Being unloved, being lonely and being worthless are not mutually exclusive to singleness.  There are plenty of marriages where the spouses feel unloved, alone and not valued.  If you are reading this and you are married and feel any of those things – please take heart – this blog post can help encourage you through this season, as well. 

If those characteristics are not exclusive to singleness – then why do I feel them and how can I overcome them? 

TBH, it’s easier to feel lonely when you are in a home alone.  And in 2020, and now 2021, living in isolation with stay at home orders, loneliness can be a hard feeling to shake especially when we can’t surround ourselves with others. However, using this time to focus on God and being obedient to Him can produce some real blessings.  I mean that is what scripture validates.

Think about it this way – God desires us to draw near to Him, focus on what He is calling us to do and be obedient… even in 2020-2021.  

1 Peter 4:10-11 says “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus.” Studies have shown that serving others is good for the mind and body and that it eases the symptoms of stress and depression.  

What if you looked at your gifts and asked God to help you FOCUS on Him and be obedient. I guarantee He will show you divine ways to serve others. 

 

Valentine’s Day

 

The first miracle that scripture tells us Jesus performed was at a wedding.  He turned water into wine. The story doesn’t talk about the guests wanting more wine it says that His mother came to Him and asked Him to help the servants. He told them to fill the jars with water and then serve the guests.  The guests weren’t aware that moments before it was water, it was the servants that got to witness Jesus’ miracle.  The same goes for us.  When I shift my mindset from worldly to heavenly – I am compelled to serve and love others.  When we serve and love others – we get to experience God’s blessing, His goodness and His glory. 

Valentine’s Day

                                   Valentine’s Day Beauty

If we become too focused on what the world wants us to focus on – our loneliness and insecurities, we won’t even be able to scratch the surface of that goodness. 

I began making this mindset shift several years ago, by repeating a simple phrase – be a good steward.  

You’ve probably heard that phrase when it comes to money – be a good steward of your money, time, talents, etc.. 

However, I began shifting my thought to what if I was a good steward of each and every day, thought, and person I came into contact with. It began to radically change the way I lived life and this “season of waiting” everyone says I’m in. 

I am not guaranteed marriage in life, God doesn’t promise us that we will get married – no matter how much we want it.  I know I desire to get married, but I also am confident in God’s plan.  And if you reset your thinking to focus on God’s plan, then all of the sudden Valentine’s Day becomes just a day, like any old-Tuesday, where you can love others.  

This season of waiting shouldn’t be a discouragement but a powerful encouragement of God’s design for your life.  He finds it more valuable for you to be single at this time serving His people and loving His children.  Wow. He has a job for you to do. Instead of sitting there sad you are celebrating the love holiday alone, celebrate God’s extraordinary call for you to love others at this time. 

Side-note:  I have an entire thought on the season of waiting and how the church really needs to rebrand that.  Because what if I wait my entire life to get married… and I never do!  I have wasted so much time focusing on something I can’t control and never could. Anyway, I digress and I hope that we can talk about this again someday – more in depth. 

It’s hard.  There will be sad days, moments of melancholy and, for me at least, a lot of tears.  But – that doesn’t keep me on the bench… God has put me in the game so I can make an impact right now, on this day, for His Kingdom. Valentine’s Day can serve me a reminder for that.

That is a really big job and if I am too distracted by the enemies lies, I won’t be effective in loving others.  So I have to daily arm myself with the phrase – be a good steward.  Because when I am, when I’m focused and determine to love well and serve others first… blessings seem to fall into place and my heart goes from empty to full. 

Be full friends. Be full of love, be full of friendship, but most importantly – be full of God.  

P.S. – Here’s a cozy recipe – let me know if you’ve tried this one!

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Açaí Sorbet

I’ve been on a kick lately of smoothie bowls for breakfast and this Acai sorbet is perfect for a smoothie bowl. I’ve been playing around with toppings in my smoothie bowl from chocolate chips and coconut, to peanut butter and oats. They make mornings fun and interesting. It’s amazing how using new and different ingredients for morning smoothie bowls can really impact the energy that you start the day with!

I couldn’t really find an Acai sorbet that I loved – so I decided when one can’t find something… just make it! And this took literally 2 minutes and then freezing time. It’s no churn, so the only equipment you need is a Kitchen Aid food processor. Easy, right?

I will say that a food blender works great, but does leave more of a gritty texture – so it will not be perfectly smooth. I think that is fine though and honestly like the texture because it makes it feel a lot fresher!

The Acai puree I found came in packets and I picked them up from the frozen section at my Target. They are actually super convenient and not super expensive. I will definitely be making this again!

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Acai Sorbet Breakfast Bowl

Açaí Sorbet


  • Author: Abby Turner
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 65 minutes
  • Yield: 12 ounces 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/3 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/3 cup of water 
  • 4 packets frozen açai puree, thawed in warm water
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Smoothie Bowl: 

  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • drizzle fresh honey
  • mini dark chocolate chips
  • granola
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flakes

Instructions

  1. Add the acai packets, blueberries, corn syrup, and lemon juice to the food processor or blender and mix, pressing together with a spatula as needed.  
  2. When the blueberries become crumble, add the 1/3 cup of water 1 tablespoon at a time.  Use all 1/3 cup if you’re having trouble blending. If the sorbet is blending smoothly – you can forego the water. 
  3. Continue until the sorbet is smooth and mixed well.
  4. Once you get the consistency good, taste for sweetness.  Frozen blueberries and Acai can come across as bitter depending on the time of year.  You can add additional corn syrup or honey if you need. 
  5. Pour mixture into rectangle loaf tray and freeze for about an hour until frozen. 

To make the smoothie bowl, scoop the sorbet into a bowl and top with peanut butter, granola, chocolate chips, coconut flakes and a drizzle of honey. 


Love this smoothie bowl and want more breakfast options? Check these out:

Like it? Love it?  Think it’s super yummy? Share this blog post with a friend, tag me on Instagram using @atabletopaffair, and have dinner with your friends and use #atabletopaffair!

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Cozy Wild Rice & Chicken Soup

This is the time of year that I absolutely love soup! I’m seeing this trend of Instant Pot Soups – but honestly, this soup is so easy you don’t even need an Instant Pot it comes together so quick and the flavors infuse almost immediately.

When it is cold outside the one thing, I crave every single time… is soup! I absolutely love making soup, enjoying soup, reheating soup, I love it. This soup is both creamy and hearty and perfect to make you feel super cozy this time of year.

The savory flavors of thyme and sage that come together in the creamy roux are legit the best thing ever. It might be my favorite soup I’ve made.

It’s definitely one of my staples during the winter months. Because not only is it tasty, but it’s so easy.

I also love to have soup stuff on hand because it’s really easy to whip together when I’m having friends over – and especially when I’m having friends over and only have a little bit of time to prepare it.

When you make instant pot soups – you usually need fresh ingredients.

But with this soup, you can use frozen because it adds a bit of moisture when they thaw, and it also means you can keep the ingredients on hand for the last-minute soup need.

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Cozy Wild Rice & Chicken Soup


  • Author: Abby Turner
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (reserve 2 tablespoons for the mushrooms)
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup carrot, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic 
  • 8 ounces mushroom
  • 2 cups chopped chicken ( I like rotisserie chicken meat the best)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dry wild rice, rinsed
  • 2 cups butternut squash, frozen
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, for garnish
  • 4 strips of bacon cooked and chopped roughly, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven.  Add the mushrooms, stirring well to coat them in butter, and cook for 3-5 minutes until slightly seared.
  2. Melt the remaining butter and add the onion, celery, carrot, and chicken as well as the spices and stir until well mixed.  Cook until the onions are translucent 
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the flour.  Use a wooden spoon to mix the flour into the vegetables, then cook the flour for 3 minutes.  This should form a roux, if you need more butter to help the roux form, add 2 tablespoons.
  4. Cook the minute rice half the amount of time the package says. Open and add to the mixture coating with the flavors.
  5. To prevent lumps, slowly stir in your chicken broth a little at a time.  Stir in the water and bring to a boil
  6. Cook butternut squash according to package and then dump into the soup.  (If you do not have butternut squash from the frozen section, add butternut squash at the beginning with the carrots.)
  7. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  8. If desired, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper and 1 1/2 teaspoons more of fresh thyme leaves. (At this point I usually add the salt, not the pepper, and add additional thyme, sage, and garlic powder.)
  9. After it’s cooked, take it off the heat, if necessary, skim off any fat that rises to the top.  Pour in the heavy cream.  Stir until it is well incorporated.  
  10. Serve hot and garnish with fresh thyme and bacon crumbles.

Need more soup Recipes?

Like it? Love it?  Think it’s super yummy? Share this blog post with a friend, tag me on Instagram using @atabletopaffair, and have dinner with your friends and use #atabletopaffair!

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Reset & Remember

I have been trying to write this blog post for a while as I have been remembering God’s faithfulness throughout 2020. Honestly, I wait until the final hour to share what is on my mind. By that point, there are so many thoughts swirling in my head; I do not know where to start. How about with a simple word? Read on for my Word of the Year for 2021. 

I have taken the last two weeks to reset and focus on what Jesus taught me in 2020 and where we are going in 2021.  

Reset. A definition that means to adjust to things differently.

How do we reset? Where is our focus? Is it in the past – the disappointments and regrets even? Are you focused on things we would have done differently? Or are we looking ahead and focusing on all of the possibilities that wait for us in a new year?

365 days, 52 weeks, 12 months. – Each wait for us, having divine purpose.

I was recently having a conversation with a friend about my purpose on Earth. I began thinking, do we know what our specific purpose is? We are wired to understand why we do things. Ultimately, our overarching purpose of life on Earth is to live every moment to pursue Christ’s love, proclaim His extraordinary kindness, and fall in love with Him so that we shine His glory so all may see.  

“Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:6–7)

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

In 2020, God called me into a deep conversation focusing on Him. He used the little book of Haggai to teach me about His undying desire for us to serve Him and bring Him glory.

If you have not spent time in Haggai, it is a great book that will take you only a few moments to read, but it took me an entire year to unpack. Yes, you read that right. I spent all year in Haggai.  

God was asking me to FOCUS on Him all year, which is a powerful theme throughout Haggai. I found so many convicting and encouraging perspectives in those two chapters. God continues to draw us into Him, no matter how unfocused we become.  

God calls us to not only put Him first in our lives but to focus on Him in every aspect of our day.  

So that is why I reset. Remembering God’s faithfulness is how I choose to reset.

I reset to remember His faithfulness, which brings me to 2021—my year of remembrance. For me, I was called to create a posture of daily recalling everything God has done, said, taught, revealed – you name it – I am learning to remember it.  

We are a forgetful people. I could go into this psychological theory called Trace Decay, in which we have to use a pathway in our brain or the memory decays.  (I’m not a neurologist… but that is the gist)

Guys! We must remember. We cannot forget what God has done. Because when we forget God’s goodness and mercy – we complain about our circumstances. We believe this lie that we deserve better; we deserve God to show up in specific ways. 

What a fallacy. We do not deserve a single drop of His kindness – yet over and over again, God desires a relationship with us, and He draws us back in.  

Remembering God’s faithfulness is not just done by recalling events in our own lives but also through the edification of scripture. You are edified by scripture when you know it and live it out. Moreover, when you know scripture and ‘hide it in your heart,’ your faith is strengthened.

My prayer for my year, and yours, is that we would remember the goodness of our God. That we would stand firm in His scripture that says He reigns over Heaven and Earth (Psalm 93), He desires to daily renew His mercy on us (Lamentations 3:22-23), and that God is a just God and longs to have compassion on us (Isaiah 30:18).  I pray we act on our word of the year for 2021, and remember it every season.

But, we have so much to praise God for in our lives. We are on this Earth with a divine purpose. Do not waste your purpose and forget to focus on His goodness, remember – we do not deserve any of it, yet he continues to draw us in with compassion, mercy, and love.

What is your word of the year for 2021? I look forward to seeing it in the comments.

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Advent: God’s Matchless Love

Wow.  The last week of Advent and here we are.  Each week during Advent we focus on one of four characteristics of Jesus.  Joy, Hope, Peace, and this final week – Love.  The Advent season culminates in love because it is His sovereign, all-encompassing love that provides hope, fulfills our longings, and draws us into peace. God’s love springs forth bountifully in this season. 

Has there ever been something that you love more than anything? Something that you love so much that you would do anything for it?  

A few weeks ago, one of my pups got sick and I was in a puddle on the floor.  I had no idea that I loved Mowgli as much as my heart was telling me I did as I handed him to the vet-tech through the car window.  A few minutes later, I got a call and the vet was on the phone breaking down the costs for the treatment. I told her to do anything and everything possible to get him healthy… whatever the cost.

Please know – I am in no way trying to trivialize the sacrifice God made when He sent Jesus to save us.  However, in some ways… this comparison helps me understand in a very tiny and microscopic way the love that God had for us.  All I wanted at that moment was to love on my sweet puppy, Mowgli, and bring him home with me – continue our relationship, if you will.

You see that is what God wanted. He wanted a relationship with us so bad, but because we live in sin there was no way He could.  We needed the ultimate sacrifice to bridge that deafening gap.  That bridge was Jesus. You see, Jesus had to come.  He was sent to save and redeem us so that we could have a relationship with God.

1 John 4:9 (NLT) God showed how much He loved us by sending His only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through Him. 

In order to understand how much God truly loves us, we must first understand why God sent Jesus to Earth.  He came to us to draw near to us.  His name, “Emmanuel” literally means God with us.

Jesus had friends and family, was tempted and beat up, He faced unspeakable opposition, and the best part – He didn’t have to.  He could have stayed in Heaven, but he desired a relationship with us.  He wanted us to know that no matter what life looks like, He has been there and done that and He is with us through all of it.

God sacrificed His Son… for us. He sent Jesus to die knowing that Jesus would conquer death 3 days later. Because of that sacrifice we are able to not only commune with God, but we are invited to receive His love constantly.

So What?

We needed the ultimate sacrifice to bridge that deafening gap. 

That means that we get to live life knowing that God has a bigger plan than our current circumstances and that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:37-39).

I mean come on, it’s super easy to go through some of our circumstances in life and feel like God could not be further from our situation. Like He has separated from us and we are slipping away. When we question where God is in our circumstances, I truly believe that we lose sight of how BIG our God is.

God’s love give us hope. God’s love gives us peace that’s unexplainable. Even if you don’t feel like it, or maybe you don’t think it’s true in a particular moment.

You see God is L-O-V-E and there is not a single thing that can separate us from His unending love. No matter how deep we probe into the motives of God, we will never arrive at a layer which is not Love.

Knowing that we can have confidence and proclaim the hope that Jesus revealed that night in Bethlehem.

Have confidence my friend. Jesus is coming. No one was expecting Him to come as a baby, and in a manger no less. Don’t be surprised when Jesus shows up in your life differently than you expected. That’s literally is M.O.

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Holiday Gifts Using Mike’s Hot Honey

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS, ya’ll!

I’m all about some fun Holiday food gifts, in fact, it’s probably my favorite thing to take to Christmas parties! What’s your favorite thing? Mike’s Hot Honey is awesome for gifting – just as a jar of honey or when using it in a recipe like my Honey Roasted Peanuts!

This blog post is sponsored by Mike’s Hot Honey, but all thoughts are my own. There is a link to purchase honey from Walmart. You can purchase the honey next to the jam and peanut butter!

I love both the large 10 ounce bottles and the 1.9 ounce bottles. And the best part? They are made with Chiles and not jalapenos or wasabi – so it actually adds a very flavorful spicy-ness to the honey. 

This recipe can be substituted with almonds, pecans or chex mix! It is super easy and is so delicious, everyone will want their own bag.

This little number is perfect for office holiday gifts to divvy up, something to bring to tailgating (it’ll be gone SO quick) or even just an appetizer at your own home holiday party. Get ready for compliments!

I used plain ole candy gift bags and I tied them together with some ribbon! The simpler, the better, right?

They stay good in the bag for about 3 weeks – so make these honey roasted spicy peanuts at the beginning of the season and they will last the entire month! Pretty awesome, right?

Here’s a little bonus drink recipe to go with your dish! Now I need to hear from you all in the comments – what is your favorite edible gift to bring to friends, family, coworkers and colleagues during the holiday season?

Hope you’re all staying safe and warm, so much goodness to come in 2021. I’ve already been thinking about my word for the year, and I can’t wait to share in an upcoming post.

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Christmas Gifts

Honey Roasted Spicy Peanuts using Mike’s Hot Honey


  • Author: Abby Turner
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup Mike’s Hot Honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound peanuts (preferably raw and unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350º.
  2. In a large sauce pan over medium heat, stir together the butter, honey, cinnamon and salt.  Heat until butter is melted and bubbly.  Add the peanuts and stir until they are well coated.
  3. On a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat, add peanuts in an even layer with room (don’t crowd).  
  4. Cook, rotating peanuts every 5 minutes to prevent burning. Remove peanuts whenever they’ve evenly browned, about 20 minutes.
  5. When peanuts are done, remove from oven and transfer to a metal mixing bowl.  Slowly add the sugar mixture, a little bit at a time, mixing well each time.  Continue to add sugar until the peanuts are coated to your liking.
  6. Lay peanuts on parchment paper to cool.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

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Brie and Pomegranate Naan Dippers

Appetizers might be my favorite thing about the holidays. I totally love the big meal from Thanksgiving, but I also love how food goes from the Big Meal at Thanksgiving to all of the fun handheld appetizers during Christmas. But what is better than tasty handheld appetizers? A quick and easy handheld Christmas appetizer! You know the ones that come together in minutes, are devoured quicker than you can put them out and are a fan favorite? Yah, those are the best types of Christmas appetizers, and the reason for the season (in my opinion).

You know I am obsessed with finding store bought hacks to make everything just a smidge easier and faster. Well, there are couple of very important hacks in this Easy Christmas Appetizer.

First off, don’t try and de-seed your own pomegranate! Buy the arils from the store – super easy and very inexpensive!


Secondly, you can absolutely buy one large piece of naan (or two or three), however, Stonefire makes these naan dippers that make a handheld appetizer even that easier!

Lastly, this recipe is really just about combining all of the different ingredients on the naan. No mixing, or combining, just stacking.

I hope you’ll make this recipe because it is a really easy and fun one to make and looks super festive too! Pomegranates are always such a nice and unexpected touch during the holidays!

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Holiday Appetizer | Brie & Pomegranate Naan Dipper

Brie and Pomegranate Naan Dippers


  • Author: Abby Turner
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 7 minutes
  • Yield: 1624 Naan Pieces 1x
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Ingredients

  • 1 wedge of brie
  • 1 container of naan bites or 3 slices of naan
  • 8 ounces of pomegranate arils
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme chopped 
  • ¼ cup brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
  2. Lay Naan Dippers on a cooking sheet about ½ inch apart. 
  3. Next slice Brie Cheese into thin 1/8 inch slices and lay each piece of cheese on the naan.
  4. Sprinkle brown sugar on top of Brie Cheese followed by the Pomegranate Arils. 
  5. Lastly sprinkle some Thyme on each Naan dipper.  I usually like fresh thyme, but dried works just as well. 
  6. Put in oven for 3-5 minutes until the brie cheese is nice a melted, you just want to avoid the Brie melting all of the way off the Naan.  

Want more Holiday Appetizer recipes:

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Mediterranean Meatballs with a Cinnamon-Pomegranate Glaze

You guys know, I have a thing for Mediterranean food. I mean, ever since I came back from Israel, I have had an obsession with the flavor profiles of the food. I’ve tried to integrate that into every recipe I can possibly create. This one is no different. I took the traditional Meatball that is sometimes served as an appetizer, added some Cinnamon and allspices to it, and here we have it! I created a festive winter glaze with pomegranate juice and balsamic vinegar. You will be going crazy for this easy holiday app, trust me!

Did you know? In Greece and in the Mediterranean – they used the prized spice, Cinnamon not only for desserts like Baklava, but also in savory dishes to help add flavor to low quality meat? That is why in a lot of traditional Greek dishes, you will notice the cinnamon flavor.

I added cinnamon in the meatballs and the glaze, and it came out perfectly. You can definitely smell the holiday aromas as you make this easy holiday app, and?… it’s delicious.

A couple of pro tips as you are making this easy holiday app:

Have you ever cooked a steak on the stove top and then put it in the oven? That is exactly what we are doing here, except we aren’t putting it in the oven, we are just slowly cooking it on the stove top after we sear all of the sides together.

So, start out with the meatballs on high-heat rotating frequently so they don’t burn, then lower the meat to medium-low heat and cook until meatballs are done (8-10 minutes).

You will love how easy these meatballs are, and friends, they’re surprisingly tasty. I just have one request! Don’t write me off! Don’t read this recipe and say nope… can’t do cinnamon in my meat. You will be shocked at how much you love it! You will be coming back for more easy Holiday apps with a Greek twist!

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Easy Holiday Appetizer | Mediterranean Meatballs

Mediterranean Meatballs with a Cinnamon-Pomegranate Glaze


  • Author: Abby Turner
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12-15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1216 meatballs 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 1 lb ground beef or bison
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, cinnamon, oregano, thyme and nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of salt, to taste
  • ½ cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • Dash of nutmeg, cinnamon, and thyme
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped for garnish
  • ½ cup Pomegranate arils, for garnish

Instructions

To Make Glaze:  (best case-make night before… but not imperative for a good glaze)

  1. Over medium-high heat cook 2 tablespoons of olive oil and finely diced shallots until fragrant. 
  2. Add pomegranate juice, honey, and balsamic vinegar and boil together. 
  3. Reduce to simmer and add the dash of nutmeg, cinnamon, and thyme.  
  4. Lastly, add salt and pepper to taste (I find usually I don’t need either). 
  5. Remove from heat and let sit until ready to serve.  The longer you let it sit, the thicker it will get and the better it will be. 

 

To Make Meatballs: 

  1. Mix meat, garlic powder, cinnamon, oregano, thyme and nutmeg (could also sub for garlic powder, cinnamon and allspice). 
  2. Add breadcrumbs and salt and form 12-16 meatballs.  I like to make my meatballs a bit larger as they are appetizer meatballs. 
  3. Over high-heat heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil and put meatballs in skillet. 
  4. Rotating frequently, fry all sides of meatballs and then reduce heat to medium-low. 
  5. Over the next 8-10 minutes, rotate to avoid burning.
  6. Remove from heat and plate. 
  7. Drizzle glaze on top and finish with parsley and pomegranate arils. 

 


Want more Easy Holiday appetizers:

Like it? Love it?  Think it’s super yummy? Share this blog post with a friend, tag me on Instagram using @atabletopaffair, and have dinner with your friends and use #atabletopaffair!

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Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

welcome to my table

I’m Abby, and I’m all about setting the table every day and making a simple dinner with easy recipes to enjoy with friends. The inspiration you’ll find here are simple and meant to encourage you to declutter your table and invite friends over! I spend my days working as a marketer for a retail company and dreaming of dinner time. I really hope that through A Table Top Affair you will find a newfound love for your kitchen and that relationships would be formed around your table.

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