December 18th ~ What’s On The Menu?

On the eighteenth day of December my true love gave to me,

a festive, little holiday soiree.

So last night I hosted a little Christmas party of my own. The guests were all members of the elementary school and the secondary school PTA’s. This celebration was due for all the hard work both groups (especially the secondary school PTA!) put into organizing and running our first annual Island-wide Community Fair back in October. What an event that was! Going to holiday parties is fun, and I’m definitely getting my fill this year, but I also love to host and entertain. It wasn’t a big party and it was pretty simple. In anticipation for about a dozen people, this was my menu of choice:

1. Hot Chicken Salad Always a winner. Last week I made a version of this for a quick dinner using leftover turkey. I also added some shredded cheese (I think it was the mexican blend, which was all I had) and broccoli. I also left off the topping and used Uncle Bens microwaveable wild rice instead of making my own. It was really good.

2. Caprese on a stick. These were cherry tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and cold cheese tortellinis skewered for a quick appetizer.

3. Crab Dip. I don’t make this. I actually paid a friend and local caterer to make this fabulous, amazing, dip for my party. I served this with croistini and tortilla chips. It’s just….WOW!

4. Veggie Platter. You can’t have a decent buffet without some veggies.

5. Roasted Brussel Sprouts. I never liked these growing up, but about 3 or 4 years ago my mom prepared them this way and now I love them. I also make asparagus, fresh green beans, and just about any other veggie you want, like squash and zucchini, this way. Simply toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, arrange in a single layer, and roast at 350* or even 400* until cooked to your liking. This should take anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes. Large sprouts should be halved.

6. Whole wheat rolls.

7. Assorted cheeses and crackers.

8. Gingersnap Lemon Tarts. The gingersnaps I made last week did not turn out well at all. While Number One didn’t seem to mind, I did. Apparently I misread the recipe and only put in 1/2 the butter. (So of course I had to make a whole new batch.) I took the older ones, crumbled them, added melted butter, and formed them into a mini-muffin pan to make crusts. Then I added lemon curd and a fresh berry on top. Viola!

9. Mini Eclairs, Cake Balls and Mini-Macaroons (courtesy of Sam’s Club)

10. A friend who lent me her punchbowl also gave me some of her homemade pepper jelly, which I put over a block of cream cheese. It was a hit!

11. In addition to offering sodas, sweet tea, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, I also made my first party punch ever, using pomegranate-cranberry juice, orange juice, fresh lemon juice, and champagne.

I put out  a tray of some of our family Christmas cookies (gingersnaps, snowballs, peanut clusters, and peanut butter balls: It’s Time to Bake! ) and offered goodie bags to anyone who wanted to take home a sweet by way of these cute little boxes. Only about 4 cookies fit into one of these, but it was just enough for a taste.

Now that’s what I call enjoying the season in good health, good spirits, good fun, and good company! I hope you are enjoying all your engagements, too. And as always, don’t forget to remember the real reason for the season.

““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

 ~ John 13:34-35  NIV

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