Cassiefairy's thrifty lifestyle blog

Cassiefairy's thrifty little lifestyle blog – DIY crafts, sewing, food & fashion – what more does a girl need??


Pretty table-settings for a festive meal ~ & happy thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving Day is the US and I’ve found that it’s quickly becoming a bit of a tradition to celebrate it here in the UK too. Traditionally it’s a special day of relaxation and reflection with all the family and involves a thanksgiving dinner with a roast turkey – similar to our Christmas day celebrations. I’m not sure that all of us in the UK are going the whole hog with a roast dinner etc but some of my pals are celebrating it with a meal with family or friends this weekend. Taking this into consideration, and seeing as some of my lovely blog readers are based in the USA, here are a few ideas for creating pretty place-settings for your thanksgiving table, which you can also use for your festive table settings over Christmas too!

thanksgiving meal place settings for personalised table plan

Get out all your best crockery and cutlery – what’s the point of saving something for ‘best’ if you can’t use it during the holidays! Lay each place setting with care, so that everyone has all the utensils they will need to enjoy their thanksgiving meal – this will stop you having to get up from the table during the meal to fetch an extra spoon for someone!

Use placemats and stack up plates with pretty patterns to create a gorgeous place setting. This will delight your guests and get them excited about the feast you have in store for them – if you’ve taking this much care over the table settings, just imagine how amazing your festive meal will be!

thanksgiving place settings for personalised table plan

Include a little treat or favour on the plate – I’ve added a cheeky rum toffee – and an activity sheet is good for both children and adults alike. Here I have used brown paper torn out of a spiral-notebook and created a ‘gratitude’ sheet so that guests can take time to think about what they are thankful for and make a note of it on the paper. This can be especially handy to focus young minds if you’re planning to go round the table later to share your thanks – think of it as a thanksgiving cheat-sheet!

Personalise each place setting with a name-tag, which can be as simple as writing the names on luggage tags or Christmas gift tags. Here I have layered cardboard over textured ribbon and simply written on the family members’ names and pegged it to their note paper using an old-fashioned wooden clothes peg.

thanksgiving meal place settings

Use glasses and candles to create a table that sparkles and add any cute ornaments that you have around the home to make your festive place settings even more unique – I’ve used these little silver birds that I’ve previously used in my autumn floral display and they reflect the candle light perfectly! I’m also using gold wine glasses and orange tea-light holders to create a warm glow over the table.

I hope you try out a few of these ideas and give your family a thanksgiving or Christmas that they will never forget and check out my autumn floral display blog post for ideas for creating gorgeous thanksgiving displays all around your home.

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Pieday Friday ~ Creamy asparagus pasta

I know I’ve gone a little mad over asparagus this month (see my ham and asparagus pie recipe!), but it’s in season and it tastes great so this week I’ve added it into one of my favourite dishes – pasta.

This is such a simple carbonara-based dish that only takes me about 20 minutes to cook – pasta, cheesy white sauce, chunks of bacon and steamed asparagus – what could be easier?

cassiefairy pieday friday seasonal creamy asparagus pasta carbonara recipe

Put the pasta on to boil and add a steamer pan on top with the asparagus in it to cook along with the pasta. Crisp up some bacon under the grill. To make the carbonara sauce add 2 tablespoons of butter into a saucepan and melt before adding 2 tablespoons of flour. Mix into the melted butter and stir quickly to cook off the flour. Pour in a little milk and mix to create a creamy sauce. Keep adding  more milk as it thickens until you get the smooth, thick sauce texture you like. Add grated cheese to taste and a little salt and pepper. Drain the pasta and stir into the sauce, slice the asparagus and bacon and add into the pasta.

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Pieday Friday – how about a different kind of Saturday Night Takeaway? Homemade pizza dough recipe

I don’t know about you,everything time Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway is on the telly, I really fancy some naughty takeaway food for my dinner. I’ve had hotdogs and curry for the past couple of Saturdays so this week I’m making something different – homemade pizza.

homemade pizza dough and garlic bread recipe by cassiefairy

This is one of my favourite meals to make when I’ve got visitors because you can make the dough in advance (not as hard as you may think) and lay out masses of topping ingredients for your guests to help themselves and construct their own pizza with their favourite toppings. My favourite pizza is a ham and pineapple with lots of veggies and hubby’s is a meat feast but if we’d gone to our local takeaway it would have been too expensive to buy two different pizzas and we would probably end up with leftovers, and everyone knows that cold pizza is rank (unless you’re hungover, then it’s a perfectly acceptable breakfast). So by making our own dough, we were able to make the right quantity and add the toppings that wanted, and I bet it cost us a lot less, even after buying a few slices of salami from the deli at Tesco and a ball of mozzarella! Scroll down to see the easy dough recipe I used :)

Pieday Friday recipe blog - homemade pizza dough and garlic bread recipe

Ingredients (enough dough for 4 pizzas and a garlic bread): 800g plain flour, 200g semolina, 2 x 7g sachets of dried yeast, 1 tablespoon sea salt, 1 tablespoon caster sugar, 650ml lukewarm water

  1. Put yeast and sugar to the lukewarm water, mix up with a fork and leave for a few minutes.
  2. Put flour, semolina and salt into a bowl and mix before making a well in the centre and pouring in the yeast water and mix together until it comes together as a dough.
  3. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, until you have a smooth, springy, soft dough.
  4. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with a damp kitchen towel or cling film. Sit it somewhere warm to make it double in size (after about half an hour).
  5. Divide into 5 similar sized balls and stretch out to form pizza bases. I made rectangular pizzas because my oven trays are rectangular! Sprinkle some semolina onto the baking trays before laying down your pizza which will make them easier to remove when cooked and give you a crispy bottom!
  6. Add your tomato sauce and selection of toppings them cook for around 15 minutes (keep an eye on them!)

Pieday Friday homemade pizza dough recipe for saturday night takeaway meal

One more thing:  Have you got your FREE copy of my Pieday Friday E-Book yet?? No longer will you have to search through my archives to find your favourite recipe – it’s all there in the book, and it not only contains pie recipes, but all of my favourites including soups and snacks, sweet treats and main meals! I want to give something back to my lovely readers so I’ve published it as a free PDF e-book as a ‘thank you’ for sticking with me all this time soooo…  Preview the entire E-Book here and email me and I will send you the PDF e-book directly to your inbox, completely free for you to download!

Cassiefairys free pieday friday recipe book blurb ebook


Pieday Friday recipe – Sweet n Sour Chicken

Another takeaway recipe special today and this time it’s Sweet n Sour chicken. This is one of my favourite dishes because you can cram it full of healthy veg and help yourself to a massive portion! This is adapted from a Slimming World recipe so you can be sure that it is good for you and is one takeaway dish that won’t pile on the pounds!

sweet n sour chicken slimming world recipe cooking method

Ingredients: 500g chicken breast, Low calorie cooking spray, Salt and black pepper, 1 large onion, 1 red pepper, 1 yellow pepper and 1 green pepper, 2 large carrots, ¼ tsp Chinese 5 spice, 2 garlic cloves, 1 level tbsp cornflour, 4 tbsp tomato puree, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, 4 tbsp light soy sauce, 150ml chicken stock, 400g pineapple. 

  • Slice the chicken and spray with low calorie cooking spray and season well. Stir-fry your chicken for 5-6 minutes or until cooked through before setting aside.
  • Spray the pan with low calorie cooking spray and add sliced onion, chopped pepper, carrot matchsticks or rounds and stir-fry for 5-6 minutes. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until piping hot.
  • Mix 2 tbsp water with the chinese 5 spice in a bowl and add the minced garlic, cornflour, tomato puree, white wine vinegar, soy sauce and stock. Pour this mixture into the pan, stir and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the sauce has thickened, then add the pineapple chunks.

You can serve this yummy sweet n sour dish with boiled rice or egg noodles and you can always add any extra veg you have such a sugarsnap peas, mangetout, beans, even broccoli. Plus you can try using strips of pork or prawns instead of chicken or give the meat a miss altogether and have a veggie version!

sweet n sour chicken slimming world recipe cooking method takeaway

Let me know if you try this recipe for your Saturday night takeaway or get in touch if you have any tips to make the recipe even better! Leave me a comment below, thanks!

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Pieday Friday – Or a saturday night takeaway – butter chicken curry recipe

This curry dish is one of my favourite for a cheeky weekend treat and can be made at home for a fraction of the cost of ordering a takeaway! I know it’s probably not the most authentic curry, but I love it (it’s not too spicy!) and can’t get enough of it!

I’m making it (again) this weekend and I wanted to share the recipe that I follow to create this tasty meal so you can give it a go for your Saturday night takeaway too!

pieday friday blog butter chicken recipe

Ingredients: 2 chicken diced breasts, 2 tbsp vegetable oil, 2 tbsp butter, 1 chopped onion, ¼ tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp crushed garlic, 1 tsp ginger, ½ tsp ground turmeric, 1 tsp chilli powder, 2 tbsp ground almonds, 220 g can tomatoes, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tbsp natural yoghurt, 2 tbsp fresh coriander or spinach, salt, pepper.

Season and fry the chicken in the vegetable oil until browned, then remove from the pan and add the butter to fry off the onion and spices, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a few minutes before adding the chicken back into the pan to simmer for another few minutes. Add the coriander or spinach, mix into the sauce and add a little extra on top to garnish.

steaming shepherds cottage pie recipe pieday friday cooking method


Pieday Friday – Steaming Shepherds Pie

For this week’s Pieday Friday, I thought I’d share a simple, traditional shepherds pie recipe with you – perfect for a Friday evening meal or a Sunday lunch. This quantity serves 4, so me & hubby enjoyed it one night this week and froze the second half to pop in the oven one evening next week.

Ingedients: 500g lamb mince, 1 large chopped onion , 2-3 diced carrots, 1/2 swede diced, handful of peas, 2 tbsp tomato purée, large splash Worcestershire sauce, 500ml beef stock. For the mash topping: 900g peeled potatoes , 85g butter, 3 tbsp milk

Method: Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C. Boil potatoes for 15 mintues until tender. Meanwhile, add a little oil or Fry-Light in a medium saucepan and soften the onion, carrots and swede for a few mins. When soft, add the mince lamb and brown, tipping off any excess fat (I used extra lean steak mince, so there was hardly any fat). Add the tomato purée and Worcestershire sauce, then fry for a few mins. Pour over the beef stock, then simmer for 20 mins before throwing in a handful of frozen peas. Drain and mash the potatoes with the butter and milk. Put the mince into an ovenproof dish, top with the mash and ruffle with a fork. Bake for 20-25 mins until the top is starting to colour and the mince is bubbling through at the edges.

The pie can be frozen for up to a month and to cook from frozen, bake at 160C/fan 140C/gas 3 for 1 hour until piping hot in the centre. I hope you enjoy this recipe and please let me know if you give it a go :)


Thrifty recipe – Yummy sausage casserole

Such a simple recipe but a cheap yet filling meal for all the family. All you need is a pack of sausages, any root veg you like and an hour or so to cook it!

I began by browning the sausages under the grill and in the meantime I chopped up carrots, parsnips, swede, potatoes and onions and sautéed them in a big casserole pan before adding vegetable stock, a big spoonful of Bovril and a tin of tomatoes, along with the browned sausages. Stew in the oven for around half an hour until the veg is softened and the sausages are thoroughly cooked through. Simple but tasty!


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