Model, actor Molly Sims celebrates Friendsgiving

Thanksgiving is getting a little twist in some homes this year as Thanksgivukah. But in Molly Sims’ house, there’s been a mashup for years now. The actor and model celebrates Thanksgiving; but she also puts on a second feast — for Friendsgiving.

“I’m a transplant,” Sims said one late afternoon in her Beverly Hills living room, surrounded by her three dogs. As such, Sims said she wanted to create the atmosphere that often comes naturally if you’re surrounded by family.

“My friends, I consider them my family,” Sims says. “As much as I love my family, I sometimes see my friends more.”

Anywhere from 20 to 50 people take part in her Friendsgiving celebrations, and everyone pitches in to help. “I’m not Martha or the Barefoot Contessa,” Sims jokes.

Sims, who has a toddler son with her husband, is from Murray, Ky., and that has a big influence on what goes onto the Friendsgiving table.

One dish she says she’d never do without is hot cranberry salad.

OK, so this bears no resemblance to the Los Angeles idea of salad — no micro greens or shaved fennel. No asparagus or nasturtiums. This salad, which has been on three generations of Sims’ family holiday tables, has cranberries, apples, brown sugar and cornstarch. Cook them till the berries pop. Then add walnuts if you like them and pour the mixture into a baking dish. Top with marshmallows and broil.

There will be roast turkey, of course, and a hot spiced wine. And brownies with a swirl of pumpkin spice. There are always vegetarian choices too, this year a quinoa salad and a casserole with sweet potatoes, coconut and pecans.

Sims and her son gather pine cones from the park and paint them gold and silver. Young guests often have a scavenger hunt, and often there’s a theme (“There’s a disco ball floating around somewhere,”  Sims says with a laugh.) And she prepares boxes marked “leftovers” for her guests to take home.

She has a book coming out next year, full of her suggestions, tips and tricks for makeup, health and life.

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