How To Host The Perfect Friendsgiving!

how to throw friends giving hosting tips

There’s so much to be thankful for!✨ That’s why Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays — a time for friends and family to gather together and express love and gratitude. Brian and I have been hosting Thanksgiving at our house ever since we moved to California. Last year we also hosted a Friendsgiving! We have a lot of friends in California who can can’t travel to their families for the holiday, so I like to make sure they feel the same warmth and comfort here! This year Karena is hosting at her new house for the first time ~ we’ll make sure to take lots of pics to share with you! 🤗

Setting up a gathering that is warm and welcoming for your guests is so important! One of the best parts about hosting is decorating a tablescape with personal touches and cooking delicious, festive dishes and desserts that everyone will love. Below I’m sharing all my tips for creating the perfect Friendsgiving — from flower arrangements, to place settings, to our fave TIU approved dishes — so you can host a beautiful and special dinner!

Are you hosting this year? Let me know in the comments!



Choose your colors

I usually go with lighter tones like blush and rose gold and then add a pop of burnt orange. This makes it feel fall-ish and cozy yet elegant. Here I used copper chargers (you can get inexpensive ones from Target or Home Goods!). The copper flatware is from West Elm.

thanksgiving tablesescape decor katrina scott

Last year I decided to switch up the color palette a little and go with plums, whites, and golds. I loved the pop of plum! I’m obsessed with white pumpkins too and I get them for the table every year.

It’s all in the details

Creating a beautiful tablescape is my favorite part about hosting! This Macrame Table Runner is from Anthropologie and I’ve been using it for years! It washes easily and adds such a pretty touch.

Writing your guests’ names on their drinking glasses is a fun way to make them feel extra welcome and give them something they can take home after as a favor! I hand wrote the names with a rose gold metallic marker for a cute relaxed feel. Another personal touch: Last year I also got little pumpkin spice candles from Target and attached a note to everyone who came.

You can do so much with a can of spray paint! I miss fall foliage from New Hampshire so much I even bought an artificial plant and spray painted the leaves gold to use as decor ;)

Pop some bubbly to serve your guests🍾 Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate!

Beautiful blooms

You know how much I love making flower arrangements! I like going to the flower mart with a few girlfriends to pick out blooms. You can also special order through a florist, but that can be pricier. For Thanksgiving, go for a mix of greens and your favorite seasonal flowers. I love roses, dusty miller, and dinner plate dahlias. You can do one larger centerpiece arrangement and several small ones in mason jars or bud vases. It’s easier for guests to see each other over the smaller arrangements anyway! I also like to get greenery as an accent for the table runner.

 I always send each guest home with one of the smaller arrangements at the end of the night. It’s a beautiful reminder of the evening!

Our fave healthy sides

The ultimate holiday spread ~TIU approved mashed potatoes, green bean bake, sweet potato casserole, and of course cranberry sauce! These are always a hit with guests, and they are perfect to bring to any gathering if you aren’t hosting. We like to do our Friendsgiving potluck style ~ this makes it so much easier and everyone can bring their favorite dishes. We’ve been in a big group text talking about what everyone is bringing this year!

Mashed Potatoes

Makes 4 servings


2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes

1 head garlic

2 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. salt + extra for salting the water


1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Cut the top part of the entire head of garlic off so the cloves are exposed. Add tin foil to a cookie sheet and place the garlic on it. Drizzle 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, thyme, and a pinch of salt on top of the garlic. Wrap the garlic in the foil and bake for 25 minutes.

3.  Fill a pot halfway with water. Add a pinch of salt to the water and put on the stove over medium heat. Add potatoes and let boil for 15 minutes or until a fork can easily poke through.

4. Drain the liquid but save about 1/4 cup of the water with the potatoes. Drizzle 2 Tbsp. olive oil and 2 tsp. salt with the potatoes and mash with a fork until creamy. Squeeze out the baked garlic pieces and mash into the potatoes. Serve immediately.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Makes 8 servings


3 sweet potatoes 

1/4 cup maple syrup 

1/4 cup egg whites 

1 tsp. cinnamon 

1/4 tsp. nutmeg 

1/8 tsp. ground ginger 

1/2 tsp. salt 

1 Tbsp. brown sugar 

1/3 cup finely chopped pecans 

coconut oil spray 


1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Wrap each sweet potato in tin foil and poke a few holes with your fork. Bake 60 – 90 minutes, depending on the size of your sweet potato. Remove from oven and let cool. Keep the oven on to 375.

3. Scoop the inside of the sweet potatoes out into a large bowl. With a fork, mash until smooth. Add maple syrup, egg whites, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, and salt. Stir to combine.

4. In a casserole dish greased with coconut oil spray, add the sweet potato mixture.

5. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and finely chopped pecans. Toss to combine then sprinkle over the top of the sweet potato dish.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve warm.

Green Bean Bake

Makes 8 servings


4 cups green beans, washed and trimmed

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 yellow onion, diced

2 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2  cup diced mushrooms

1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs

2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

pinch of salt

coconut oil spray


1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a large pan over medium heat, add 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil, onions, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes.

3. Add green beans and sauté for 10 minutes.

4. In a small bowl, mix 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast with 2 Tbsp. olive oil. Add in bread crumbs and toss to combine.

5.  Pour green bean mixture into a casserole dish sprayed with coconut oil. Top with bread crumb mixture and bake for 10 minutes. Serve hot!

Cranberry Sauce

Makes 8 servings


12 oz. fresh cranberries 

1 cup pears (or apples) skinned, cored and diced 

1 cup water 

1/2 cup natural real maple syrup 

1 tsp. cinnamon 

1 orange, juiced 

1 tsp. orange zest


1. Rinse cranberries and place in a pot on the stove over high heat with the water. Add diced pears and bring water to a boil. Once boiling, add remaining ingredients except the orange zest.

2. The berries will begin to burst, thickening the mixture into a sauce. Stir frequently. Once all the berries have burst reduce to a simmer. Add in orange zest and continue stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.

3. Remove from heat and allow to cool for five minutes. Cover sauce and chill in the freezer for several hours before serving.

Sweets to be thankful for

I like to make the desserts in individual servings with cupake tins and ramekins so my guests can get a little taste of everything! Your friends will love these TIU approved sweets! These recipes are simple to make, easy as pie 😉

Upside Down Apple Cider Cupcake

Makes 12 servings


1 green apple, peeled and thinly sliced

3/4 cup oat flour

3/4 cup vanilla Tone It Up Protein

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 eggs

3 Tbsp. coconut oil

1/3 cup apple cider

coconut oil spray


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a bowl, combine oat flour, vanilla Tone It Up Protein, baking powder, and cinnamon. Whisk to combine.

3. Create a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add all remaining ingredients except for the apples in the center and whisk to combine.

4. Spray muffin tins with coconut oil spray. Add 1 slice of apple to the bottom of each one. Add batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Pie

Makes 8 servings 



1 1/2 cups graham crackers (gluten-free options are available too!), finely ground

6 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted

1/2 tsp. cinnamon


1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup coconut milk

3 eggs

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

pinch of salt

coconut oil spray


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine crust ingredients in a food processor and pulse until combined. You can also mix in a bowl.

3. Spray a muffin tin with coconut oil spray. Use 1-2 Tbsp. of the graham cracker mixture and add to each muffin tin. Press down firmly.

4. Combine all ingredients for the filling, except for the melted chocolate, in a bowl. Stir until smooth and combined.

5. Pour mixture into the muffin tins until 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from oven. Add 1 Tbsp. melted chocolate to each muffin tin. You can play around and make pretty designs by piping on the chocolate with a plastic bag! Bake for 5-10 more minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Apple Crisp

Makes 6 servings 



4 medium apples, peeled, thinly sliced, and chopped into 1-inch pieces

3 Tbsp. sugar or coconut sugar

2 tsp. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. cinnamon


2/3 cup gluten-free oats

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup oat flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

3 Tbsp. coconut oil

coconut oil spray

 dairy-free ice cream (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, add sliced apples, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Toss to combine.

2. Spray muffin tins with the coconut oil spray. Spoon the apple mixture so that each muffin tin is 3/4 of the way full.

3. In a bowl, combine topping ingredients until coconut oil is crumbly or melted. Top each muffin tin with the mixture. Bake for 20 minutes.

4. Allow to cool before serving. Use a spoon to dish out individual servings. Top with dairy-free ice cream if desired!

Gratitude & LOVE

Remember the true meaning of the holiday is about spending time with loved ones and expressing gratitude. Take a few moments with each of your guests to tell them how much they mean to you and how truly thankful you are to have them in your lives.

Karena and I are so thankful for YOU!!! 💛

What are your plans for the holiday babe? Tell me in the comments!





  1. Thank you Kat! These are my FAVORITE posts!! I’ve been hosting Thanksgiving for the past two years for 15 people and every year I think of a different way to arrange the table. This year I plan to have a navy blue/ pomegranate red/ pale green color scheme. I’m still looking for a few things but that’s half the fun! Have a wonderful first Thanksgiving with Bella!

  2. These Tone it Up Thanksgiving recipes have become a Thanksgiving staple of mine! Just love them! We’re hosting a small friendsgiving at our apartment after the holiday! I can’t wait! I love hosting and I love all of your ideas Kat!

    1. So glad you love them Elizabeth! Definitely share pics from your Friendsgiving ~ we’d love to see! xxo

  3. These recipes look delicious!! Can’t wait to try them out myself!! Thanks for sharing!! This will be my 1st Thanksgiving while following TIU meal plan.

  4. I am going to my in-laws this year and I decided I will decorate the table since they don’t. These are great ideas. And I’m going to bake the pumlnkn pie and apple cider muffins. I think they will be a wonderful addition to their table. They order food from Earth Fare so I want to add TIU approved recipes ! Thank you ! Your table is lovely as always !

  5. Love all the recipes and made them last year… the family loved it and they didn’t even know how healthy my husband and I made everything 😍 one question though is on the white chocolate pumpkin pies… is the coconut milk from a carton or a can?? I can’t remember what I used

  6. These are absolutely beautiful ideas!! I’m hosting this year and my colors are Gold, Navy, Cream and Pink! There is SO much to be grateful for this season and I hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving filled with everyone they love and cherish!!! xoxo & cheers babes!

  7. Love all these recipes and tips! Can’t wait to try them out! Is there anything I can substitute oat flour for the apple crisps with? Maybe almond flour?

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