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Archive for the ‘Winter Holidays’ Category

Menu: Holiday Party 2010

Posted by booksncooks on December 13, 2010

Christmas time is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year. The tree goes up as early as the hubby will let me. In fact, because of a crazy couple weeks, we put up the tree just before Thanksgiving this year. I think I drove the hubby crazy because we returned from Thanksgiving with Christmas presents from my parents – I immediately arranged them under the tree and then asked, every day, if we could open presents. The pile has been growing as I’ve finished Christmas shopping – wrapping the presents and adding them to the pile (I even had a wedding gift and birthday present under the tree!)

I also love to celebrate with our friends and family at our annual holiday party. Its our one huge party of the year where everyone is invited. I’m probably pretty annoying, asking friends whether it’s on their calendar well before the party. I start planning the menu in October and start cooking and baking in November…. but its well worth it. The party is always a ton of fun!

So, without further ado, here’s this year’s menu.

I’ll be posting links to more of the recipes this week, but for those of you still searching for ideas for your own holiday parties, I wanted to get this out sooner. If you’d like a recipe before it gets posted, please just let me know and I’d be happy to send it to you.

2010 Holiday Party


  • Create Your Own Ham Slider: roast ham, swiss cheese, mustard, and dinner rolls
  • Duo of Pesti: Artichoke-Parmesan Pesto & Sun Dried Tomato Pesto served with freshly baked french bread
  • Honey-Apple-Brie Bites (thanks to K for bringing these tasty bites and for sharing the recipe!)
  • Cheddar and Bacon Mini-Quiche


Nibbles around the House


  • Assorted white and red wine
  • Sam Adams Winter Lager
  • Assorted Soft Drinks
  • Assorted Liquors

Note: This menu served approximately 50 people.

If you’re looking for more ideas, check out the 2009 Holiday Party Menu.

Posted in Menus, Winter Holidays | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Christmas Eve & Christmas Menus

Posted by booksncooks on December 24, 2009

Christmas this year was pretty quite, just the six of us home for the holidays. Mom & I did our share of holiday baking and brought some goodies to the neighbors, but tried to keep things simple this year. And since there’s always so much food and snacking, most of our Christmas Eve and Christmas choices were great leftovers (mid-afternoon snack/appetizers instead of a meal) or freezable.

This year’s menu was a mix of old favorites (such as the seven-layer cookies, the stuffed shrimp, and the spinach lasagna) and new adventures (like the red velvet snowball cake that we made twice and ultimately deemed a failure). In the end, we had a very happy, well-fed family.

Dec. 31, 2009: Updated with links since I mistakenly published this before finishing.  🙂


Christmas Week Goodies:



Oreo Truffles

Seven-Layer Cookies

Almond Kringle


A meatless Christmas Eve:

Lunch: Potato Pancakes with sour cream & apple sauce

Snacks: Cheese-Stuffed Mushrooms

Dinner: Spinach Lasagna

Eggplant Parmesan

Crab-Stuffed Shrimp

Dessert: Red Velvet Snowball Cake


Christmas Day:

Bunch: Leftovers

Dinner: Rosemary & Fennel Crusted Beef Tenderloin served with Horseradish Cream and Creamy Mustard Sauce

Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Shallots

Green Beans with Vinaigrette & Asiago

Dessert: Red Velvet Snowball Cake

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Menu: Holiday Party 2009

Posted by booksncooks on December 15, 2009

2009 Holiday Party Menu

Every year we host a large holiday party,for about 50 people who will be wandering throughout the house. Most of the food is upstairs, but I’ll also have some snacks in the pool room and extended basement.

Thanks to all our friends who brought something to share!


  • Killian’s & Blue Moon in the keg
  • Lots and lots of Pinot Grigio  🙂
  • Hot apple cider, with Captain Morgan rum nearby
  • Assorted hard liquors, sodas & mixers

Our crowd isn’t big red wine drinkers, so we usually let tell them to bring their own.


And Sweet:

Food Downstairs & in the Pool Room:

  • Spiced Nuts
  • Cheese & Cracker Platter
  • Small Cookie Platter

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Cardamom White Hot Cocoa

Posted by booksncooks on November 19, 2009

I saw a recipe for a Cardamon-Clove White Cocoa in a new cookbook I was given, Williams Sonoma’s Cooking for Friends (p. 235).  I have only had cardamom once, in a cranberry pear tart, and really enjoyed the flavoring and wanted to try it out again.

This recipe was inspired by that in the WS cookbook, but has been simplified so that it could be a quick afternoon snack on a cold day. It’s got a great, light flavor of the cardamon and white chocolate. Enjoy!

Cardamom White Hot Cocoa

Serves 1


  • 2 oz. good quality white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • a heaping 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom, plus some for sprinkling

In a small saucepan, heat milk and cardamon until hot and almost simmering. Remove from heat. Add white chocolate  and whisk until chocolate has melted.

Pour into a mug.  Serve hot with a sprinkle of cardamon on top.

Posted in Drinks, Winter Holidays | 1 Comment »