Last night I had a chance to teach a really fun class at West Elm, all about how to host a stress-free Thanksgiving. (Ironically, the days leading up to the class were quite stressful, as I imagined the class being a disaster! Ha.) But it honestly could not have gone any better.

I had a total dream team helping to make the night a success: my good friend Allison Troup-Jensen, Chelsea West Elm's Special Events Coordinator, my amazing intern Elise who assisted during class, my superstar husband Brandon who saved the day when our printer broke right before class, AND my awesome students - many of whom were good friends. Also, my parents-in-law, Jim and Jan Carl are in town from Michigan and got a chance to come. Jan's a turkey expert, so she helped me field questions on turkey brining. So a big thank you to everyone who came out to the class, and who made the night so much fun. I can't wait to teach again in December! I will share more class details - and Brandon's fantastic photos - tomorrow, but today I wanted to share with you all the three recipes that I made during class.


I think every cook needs a few easy, delicious hors d'oeuvres recipes at his or her disposal. When guests come over - be it for a casual dinner party or a Thanskgiving Day feast - having something to snack on when they arrive is a MUST. First of all, nobody is on time (at least not in NYC), so it's nice to have a cocktail hour before sitting at the table. Everyone can relax, have a drink, have a snack, and break the ice a bit. But most importantly, this buys you some extra time to finish up any last-minute cookingwithout hungry guests breathing down your neck!

Signe and I shot these pictures last week for the cookbook, knowing that I was going to teach these recipes in class this week. I hope you'll be able to try some of these items out for your next cocktail party – or as tasty bites before Thanksgiving!

Thanks again for all of the Cookbook Diaries love yesterday and today - I've felt it!! Check back in tomorrow for some photos from last night's class and some tips on how to host your own Stress-Free Thankgiving. Also - Newsletter #4 goes out tomorrow, so if you haven't signed up, enter in your email address on the side of the blog and you'll be added to the list!

xo, Anna


Photos by Signe Birck; Props provided by ABC Home.