DIY Thanksgiving Place Setting Idea

Hosting gatherings during the holidays can be a scary thought – you’ve got food, drinks, décor and guests to think about. And if you scroll through Pinterest for fall table inspiration like I’ve been doing, it can seem impossible to pull ALL that off, even for a simple dinner party. Luckily, simplicity can be beautiful this time of year, and you can actually get creative with what you already have to make your Thanksgiving or other fall tables come alive.

DIY Thanksgiving Place Setting from Tamera Mowry

This DIY place setting looks elegant but is so easy to throw together right before an event – even while dinner’s in the oven.

DIY Thanksgiving Place Setting from Tamera Mowry

You just need a place mat, the dishware you’ll be using, and your supplies: ribbon, a metallic pen, kraft paper or card stock, and whatever twine or ribbons you already have stashed away. Navy and cream make a rustic fall combo if you ask me :)

DIY Thanksgiving Place Setting from Tamera Mowry

Punch a hole in the card stock (or use ready made tags) and write out your message. I like the idea of writing words like “thankful”, “blessed”, etc., but you can also write guests’ names down if you have a lot of friends and fam gathering around the table.

DIY Thanksgiving Place Setting from Tamera Mowry

Tie the tag to a piece of twine or string and then tie it and a few ribbons around your cutlery.

It’s such a simple design that really goes a long way in setting a gorgeous fall table.

Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? Tell me about your plans!


Homemade Hot Apple Cider Recipe

Are you ready for a season of hot drinks and comfort foods? Can’t wait to bring you as many recipes as I possibly can for you to share with friends and fam. That’s why I’m kicking things off with a classic hot apple cider recipe. This one is for all you that want to try your hand at homemade treats—it’s super easy! And for you more advanced hostesses, it’s easy to dress up gorgeously for serving to a crowd.

Homemade Apple Cider Recipe - Tamera Mowry

Homemade Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon

The title says it all, here’s what you need…

4 cups apple juice or cider
1 tablespoon honey (more or less depending on whether juice is already sweetened)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (can warm up with a cinnamon stick if you don’t like the powder)
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Add juice/cider to a small pot over medium heat. Stir in cinnamon, nutmeg and honey. Serve warm.

Serve garnished with a cinnamon stick and apple slice, if you’d like!

What’s your go-to fall drink?


Fall Wine Pairing Guide

Now that it’s *officially* November, I’m realizing just how much I’ve missed Napa in the fall. Everything about it is perfect, but obviously one of the best things about wine country is, well, the wine. Lately seasonal pairings have been on my mind, like how to make the most of not only the abundance of fall wines, but the incredible seasonal foods and all the opportunities for entertaining November and December bring. The world of wine is straight up enormous, so if you haven’t read my wine 101 post, you might want to before checking out these pairings!

Fall Wine Pairing Guide via Tamera Mowry

Red Wine

Reds generally scream fall because they are often richer and more robust than white wine, and pair well with hearty meals and comfort foods you see this time of year. Even so, there are a few types that really make the most of the complex, warm flavors that seasonal dinners often come with. A few choices:

Pinot Noir with pumpkin, squash, carrots, and other veggie-focused dishes, because it’s a mild red that’s well suited to bring out these flavors without over powering them.

Zinfandel with hearty and creamy pasta dishes, even those mushroom and fall vegetable dishes above. Again, not quite as rich as red meat, but full enough for a light red.

Cabernet, Merlot, or blend with roasts, steaks, meat-heavy dishes. This can vary quite a bit, but you essentially want to match up the richness of the meat with that of the wine so that one taste isn’t overpowering the other. A pork roast for example will pair well with a red blend, while steak might be better for merlot. Also, if you’re pairing with sweet sides like a cranberry on Thanksgiving, keep in mind that you may want something a little more mild like a Zinfandel to work with both.

Fall Whites

If you’re a white wine drinker, don’t fret! Don’t overlook the power of a good white this time of year! There’s actually a surprising amount of seasonal pairings to put on your shopping list, and you don’t have to wait until warmer weather rolls around again. My suggestions:

Chardonnay with mushroom dishes and classic chicken-based meals. The more robust the meal is, the more full-bodied you want your white to be, so an oaky or buttery Chardonnay can be amazing. If you prefer white to red, you might try this instead of Pinot Noir with the vegetable ideas above.

Sauvignon Blanc goes well with many spring dishes but for the fall it can be paired with poultry and fish as well as cheese and charcuterie boards if you are looking for a crisper, fruitier taste than Chardonnay.

Try a Gewürztraminer, a fruity Chardonnay OR a Pinot Noir or Zinfandel for meals that contain varying levels of sweet and savory – such as those big family spreads like the ones served on turkey day. Or, opt for sparkling.

Dessert Pairings

Pinot Gris with pumpkin pie

Sparkling wine with pear dishes like tarts and pies

Riesling with apple pie (or if you’d like a red, Pinot Noir, depending on the recipe!)

And as for sparkling – we all know there are plenty of things to celebrate this time of year. Don’t forget to break out the bubbly when a celebration calls for it!

Are you doing any entertaining this fall? And, what other fall topics should I cover here on my site? I’m all ears!


How to Create the Perfect Mini Bar

If you love entertaining as much as I do, having a home mini bar is a must. You have everything in one place, can keep better track of what’s on hand and have a ton of options for throwing great parties or even just movie nights in with your girls. A mini bar doesn’t have to be a fancy dedicated space – hence the term mini – but just a spot to gather up your collection and mix up a cocktail for guests. However, when you’re first getting into entertaining, it’s intimidating! For those who want to create your own home bar, I’ll try to stick to the basics.

At home wine bar

Think like a hostess.
Even if your mini bar is for the most part going to be for you + your hubby to enjoy, it helps to think like a hostess when it comes to the set up. First of all, think of what type of mini bar you want. Is it a wine bar or will you be whipping up cocktails? Or a combination of both? Make sure it’s equipped with everything you might need for a party or romantic night in. And then there’s the fun part: a good hostess always thinks about design and décor, so make sure the mini bar is representative of your celebration and home. Goodies like cocktail napkins and drink stirrers (love this DIY) are helpful for creating a whole experience around your choice libations.

How to create the perfect at home mini bar

Get the tools you need.
A good mini bar has all the right tools, but my advice is to stick to the ones you use. A shaker, muddler and strainer are most likely going to get some use, so that’s a good start. And you can’t forget glassware. Having a few pairs of each type of glass – short glasses, tall glasses, and if you serve wine, red and white glasses and flutes – will ensure that you can whip up any cocktail like a pro. If you’re creating a mini wine bar, you’ll want a bottle opener, chillers and stoppers too, to start.

It really depends how far you want to go. If it’s just something you enjoy at home and only host during the holidays, there’s no need to spend extra money or take up space with a bunch of pretty tools you’ll never use. But if you love having people over and have regular parties, it’s worth investing in nice tools and even coming up with a few extras to impress your guests!

Stock it up.
The Kitchn has a great post on must-have bottles for your collection. It’s more fun and less expensive to form your collection over time instead of splurging on all sorts of alcohol at once. That way, you can play bartender with each before you decide on what you want to serve at get togethers. But over all, you’ll want classic bases (like vodka, rum, tequila, etc.), and the mixers you plan to pair them with. Even just a few different liquors can mean plenty of different drinks so just choose a few you actually enjoy and experiment to your hearts’ content!

Are you planning any fall parties? Let me know what drinks you’ll serve!