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I love entertaining (if you haven’t noticed yet), but I am becoming more keenly aware of my limitations with baby number 5 and a maxed out schedule. I recently hosted a Comfort Food themed Dinner Party in honor of the Christmas season. Because comfort food brings me tidings of comfort and joy! I wanted it to feel special but relaxed and cozy. I wanted food along the lines of what we ate at the comfort food gourmet dinner I attended and blogged about years ago. But knowing I couldn’t do it all, I decided to do what I do best (styling) and outsource the rest.
The rest being cooking, and I outsourced it to Marie Callender’s pot pies thanks to a blogging opportunity I was selected for through #collectivebias. I hope this post may inspire ideas for your Christmas dinner or any occasion when you are looking for a little comfort food and joy.
First stop in creating my magical comfort food dinner was Walmart, where I located and purchased the Marie Callender’s pot pies in the frozen food Meals for you section. In the family-sized meal section on another aisle, I found a bunch of delicious sounding comfort food dinners all by Marie Callender’s. I decided to stick with the individual pot pies, because I knew they would be the most fun to style, with everyone getting their own pie.
The pies can be microwaved in their containers, but I opted for the oven and while waiting for them to cook, we set up and styled our dinner.
I know, not everyone can plan an outdoor dinner party in December, but I live in Phoenix, and with the help of a fire pit and a patio heater, it was a very pleasant evening. I have the best little crew to help me out.
The table topper is a warm plaid blanket. It looks Christmasy and cozy!
The centerpiece is a simple, inexpensive and quick to throw together. I just bought a couple of bunches of pine boughs while I was at Walmart. You could cut your own if you live in an area with a lot of evergreens. I spread them out across the table, nestled 3 mason jars with candles in them in the center of the pine and scattered cinnamon scented pine cones around so that the table would smell like home, too.
You can’t have a party with out a few unexpected details, right?
For a high impact decoration/favor, I purchased a few yards of this green fleece at Walmart and made a no-sew scarf for each party guest. I love it when design can have function, too. The scarves added color and coziness to the table decor, and could be used that evening if guests were chilly, to help keep them comfortable. To make the scarves, simply measure desired width (we did about 12″) and cut straight lines. Cut a couple of inches deep along each edge of the scarf to create the frayed edge.
Wood slices are hot right now! If you have a saw, here is another simple multi-purpose detail. I had BSB cut slices of this mesquite branch which has a lovely two-toned effect! We drilled holes and threaded them with twine. I did my best Sharpie calligraphy to write the guest’s name and the year. If you are feeling ambitious, you could try wood burning the names. After the party they can take these home as Christmas ornaments.
But no matter how pretty the table looks, what is a dinner party with out delicious food?
We had chicken, turkey and beef pot pies. I ended up with the beef and it was so delicious. It has big chunks of perfectly tender meat inside.
We joked with our friends that we should have been filming a commercial because they kept saying how good their pot pies were and that they were going to start buying these for easy dinners at their house.
While the pot pies were definitely the main event of the meal, we had a few other comforting side dishes and dessert.
A mini hot cocoa bar was just the thing to keep us warm and comfortable as the sun went down.
And since we were doing Marie Callender’s pies, we had to sample one of the sweet variety. This chocolate silk pie was ridiculously yummy and didn’t last long at all. We also had cookies and mini cinnamon rolls to enjoy with the hot chocolate.
It was kind of a magical night out under the lights! And despite the chill, we felt warm and cozy.
Thanks Marie for doing the heavy lifting so I could enjoy this night with my friends. To learn more about Marie Callender’s Pot pies and other offerings, please visit: http://www.mariecallendersmeals.com. Also visit http://potpieplease.com for recipes and ideas. On Facebook check out https://www.facebook.com/MarieCallendersMeals.
One more thing that will warm your heart this holiday season. When you purchase Marie Callender’s products you can help bring some of the Comforts of Home to our troops. More information can be found here: http://www.mariecallendersmeals.com/comforts-from-home
I hope your holidays will be full of all of the comforts (and comfort foods) of home!