Mandy Moore Friendsgiving

Sometimes the holidays straight-up suck. You have to endure awkward conversations with long-lost relatives, outrageous travel scenarios and menus that can only be described as not what you would have chosen

Which is why the Friendsgiving tradition has become ever more popular. You get to skip all of the more formal Thanksgiving stressors and lean in to the fun parts of the holiday—you know, like drinking and stuffing your face. Getting in on the action isn't just for regular people, either: Mandy Moore decided to host her first-ever Friendsgiving this year and she's letting all of her fans in on her hot tips. 

The This Is Us actress did a test run of the festivities during the Fall for Friendsgiving presented by the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express, a special lunch in Los Angeles—she's currently serving as an Am-Ex ambassador, which she told E! News she was taking extra advantage of during the holiday season—where she tried out recipes and regaled guests with exactly how they can host a Mandy-approved holiday. 

"I'm co-hosting Friendsgiving for the first time this year," she told E! News. "I'm not nervous yet, in fact I'm quite excited. We're on the move and our house isn't ready, so we're relegated to having it at my future in-laws house." 

In the Instagram age, it can seem like everyone we know (and certainly every celebrity) has transformed into Martha Stewart incarnate. There are gorgeous tablescapes here, a jaw-droppingly complicated meal there, and dozens of actresses and models who inspire both envy and a feeling of inadequacy when it comes to their ability in the kitchen (Chrissy Teigen we're looking at you). But Moore assures us that she is just like the rest of us when it comes to entertaining. 

"I wish there was a Martha Stewart inside of me, but I'm not hands-on in the kitchen," she said. "I'm not someone where things in the kitchen come naturally to me, I'm not someone who can look in the fridge and deduce the ten ingredients I have and throw a meal together. But, I can follow a recipe pretty well." 

Which means that if she can do it, so can we. Moore explained that she relies on a little thing called hacks when she puts together her Friendsgiving spread. It starts with the decoration and simple tricks like carving out the top of an apple with a melon baller and setting a tea light in the empty space to create adorably festive candles. Or painting mini pumpkins (pro tip: Trader Joe's has these in spades) in shades of silver and gold to put next to each place setting. 

Hacks can also extend into the meal for simple-yet-festive additions. Like wrapping cranberries in cotton candy, placing in a martini glass, and pouring your chosen holiday cocktail on top (Mandy recommends a seltzer-cranberry-juice-ginger-ale mixture). Or melting red velvet chocolate, dipping in a corner of a fortune cookie and then dunking the whole thing in sprinkles. Bonus points if you set them out with a cutesy sign about being thankful. 

 

And if you're the kind of person who really needs to go the extra mile, then try out Mandy's favorite recipe for Paleo pumpkin pie. Just don't forget the most important part of any Friendsgiving (or holiday, period, for that matter): Gratitude. This year, thanks to a hit show and a pending wedding, Moore has that in spades. 

"There's a lot to be grateful for this year," she gushed. "I feel like I've always managed to be able to find it, even in the tougher moments, but there's certainly a lot more to be appreciative of this year. But even in the off years, we're alive, we're healthy, we're existing." 

Now that's what Friendsgiving is about. 

Mandy's Favorite Paleo Pumpkin Pie

Crust:
2 cups almond or hazelnut flour
1/2 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, stir dry ingredients together in a bowl, then slowly stir in coconut oil and egg (if more moisture is needed, add a bit more oil). Press into the bottom of a pie or tart pan. 

Filling:
1 3/4 cups pumpkin purée
3 eggs
1/2 cup coconut or almond milk
1/3 cup 100% maple syrup
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Using a hand or stand mixer, blend the pumpkin purée and eggs. Slowly add in coconut or almond milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract and salt. Pour into prepared pie crust, shielding the edges of the pie crust with strips of foil.

Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil strips and continue to bake until the center of the pie is firm, about 15-20 more minutes. Allow to cool, then place in refrigerator to set overnight or enjoy warm. 

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