Every good house party, particularly on New Year's Eve, has at least one specialty cocktail. On this special night, those cocktails should definitely include champagne so I thought I would share a couple of my favorite champagne cocktails to help you start 2013 off right. Most are very basic...but the basic yet delicious cocktail is the best friend of a party hostess!
|Tuesday:||Rose Bowl & Parade in Pasadena!|
|Wednesday:||Take-Out on Drive Home from Pasadena|
|Thursday:||Christian’s Posole Soup|
|Friday:||Breakfast for Dinner (DIY)|
|Saturday:||Leftovers: Christian’s Posole|
That also means that we won't be cooking our traditional New Year's dishes this year. I usually make Osso Bucco with Cheesy Polenta on New Year's Eve. Then on New Year's Day I always make something with Black-Eyed Peas in the southern tradition of starting the year off with good luck. One of our favorites is this side dish of Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon and Ginger. Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have a wonderful time looking back on 2012 and celebrating the start of a New Year with your loved ones.
Once we return from Pasadena we'll keep it simple as we get back into the swing of our normal routine with one of our old standby favorites...Christian's Posole soup. Another night of easy breakfast for dinner followed by Posole leftovers finishes off the first week of the new year.
Have a happy and safe New Year's Eve everyone!
It's a perfect Christmas morning breakfast...you can partially prepare it the day before and refrigerate it and then just do one last-minute step and pop it in the oven first thing while the coffee is brewing and everyone is gathering around the tree. Makes the house smell delicious! Traditional monkey bread doesn't have any orange zest or pecans so feel free to omit but I think these additions really make it special...
|Sunday:||Taco Night (DIY)|
|Monday:||Christmas Eve Fondue!|
|Tuesday:||Christmas Dinner at Top of the Mark|
|Friday:||Christmas with family in Sacramento|
So what are we eating this week? Well I find that this time of year starts to get a bit heavy with all of the classic, American holiday comfort food so we're breaking things up a bit by starting the week off with a Mexican taco night. Nice and easy but delicious. Then it's time to jump right into one of our favorite holiday traditions...Christmas Eve Fondue Dinner!
We do all three courses...cheese, meat/veggies in broth and chocolate. It's a nice, long, luxurious meal that is perfectly conducive to good conversation with good friends. This year we're having 3 friends who are also in town for the holidays over to join us...but even when it's just the two of us it makes for a very festive and romantic Christmas Eve.
Over the past three years, these cookies have come to mean Christmas to me. Their soft, cake-like texture. Their not-to-sweet chocolate depth. Their perfectly peppermint-y bite. Tastes like Christmas...so much so that I've already made three batches this year!
I first discovered this recipe a few years ago when researching new cookie recipes for my annual cookie party. I'm not typically a big peppermint fan but come Christmas time I all of a sudden can't get enough peppermint bark candy or peppermint stick ice cream. So I was looking for a way to incorporate this strange seasonal craving into my cookie party and stumbled upon this recipe on a blog called 101 Cookbooks.
Since this recipe makes quite a few cookies, feel free to also freeze half of the dough (or even double the recipe and freeze a full batch) so you have it on hand for when guests stop by unexpectedly during the holiday season. Once you have the dough all lined up on the cookie sheets ready to go in the oven, simply pop the cookie sheet in the freezer instead and once the cookie dough balls are fully frozen you can then put them all in a freezer storage bag. Pop right from the freezer to the oven when you're ready to make them...they might need an extra 1-2 minutes in the oven, but no need to thaw first. Will make your house smell divine while they're cooking, which is nice when guests are visiting as well!
The recipe below is almost identical to the 101 Cookbooks original that I first made years ago, but I've adapted it slightly over the years:
|Monday:||Leftovers: Chili from the Freezer with cornbread|
|Tuesday:||Leftovers: Pumpkin Agnolotti|
|Wednesday:||Citrus Tofu with Onions & Peppers with Brown Rice|
|Thursday:||Christian's Youth Justice Institute Holiday Party|
|Friday:||Suz's Hopalong Holiday Party!|
|Saturday:||Leftovers: Citrus Tofu with Flour Tortillas & Black Beans|
The second new recipe we're trying out is Citrus Tofu with Onions & Peppers. Trying to keep it healthy when we're not indulging at all of these holiday parties! We'll turn the leftovers from this into burritos and serve alongside black beans to mix things up a bit later in the week. The rest of our week is filled with leftovers and holiday parties for Christian's work and for the non-profit where I am a board member. Should be a fun, busy week...hope yours is too!
|Sunday:||Homemade Turkey & Rice Soup (DIY)|
|Monday:||Buffalo Turkey Meatballs, Buttered Noodles & Roasted Broccoli Rabe for the Pat’s Game!|
|Tuesday:||Leftovers: Turkey Rice Soup|
|Wednesday:||Leftovers: Buffalo Turkey Meatballs|
|Thursday:||Easy Breakfast for Dinner...Christian out of town|
|Saturday:||Work Christmas Party!|
Monday night the Patriots are playing the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football...so we're having some friends over to watch the game. I'll make our favorite football food...these meatballs are amazingly reminiscent of buffalo wings but with a lot less guilt. I even use 2% fat Greek yogurt instead of sour cream to make the blue cheese dressing. To make it feel like more of a meal than an appetizer I'll make some buttered Parmesan noodles and roasted broccoli rabe to serve alongside the meatballs. Go Pats!
Christian is heading out of town on Wednesday until Saturday so the rest of the week will be easy, breezy leftovers and other simple dinner solutions. Saturday I'll pick Christian up from the airport and we'll whisk up to Santa Rosa for my boss' Holiday Party...gotta love this time of year!
The Henricksen Holiday Cookie Party is a long-standing, fabulous tradition. Christian's mom has been hosting her own holiday cookie party since the mid-90s and I was introduced to it back in 2002 when I started dating Christian. I thought it was such a fun idea and Christian loves cookies so much that we decided to continue with the tradition for our own little family of friends. It's a fantastic way to gather friends together, sample a dazzling array of cookies and imbibe in festive drinks while listening to the Carpenters croon Christmas carols. Be forewarned though, it's a party that almost guarantees a sugar hangover!
So, what's on the menu? You'll be happy to see it's super easy and low key!
- Cookies of course...some of your own and a batch from every group of guests!
- A savory table with decadent cheese & charcuterie platters along with all of the requisite accompaniments such as nuts, olives, figs, etc...
- A crudité platter
- Homemade Gløgg (mulled wine)
- Warm spiked apple cider with homemade whipped cream
But first, let's talk about the cookies. This is a cookie pot luck, if you will. So I usually bake 3 cookies and guests are required to bring 1 dish of cookies of their own as well. It's fun because you often get a peek into their family traditions or discover a fabulous new cookie for your own repertoire. Since we've been doing this for so many years and have many repeat guests, our party tends to get a bit competitive...those who show up with store-bought cookies are ridiculed a bit :)
|Sunday:||Thai Chicken Peanut Noodle Soup|
|Monday:||Leftovers: Chili from the Freezer|
|Tuesday:||Orecchiette with Braised Broccoli Rabe|
|Wednesday:||Leftovers: Chicken Noodle Soup|
|Saturday:||Henricksen Annual Cookie Party!|
The rest of the week we're relying on leftovers (one from the depths of our freezer - Emeril's 5 Bean Chili) and a night out before we get to our annual holiday Cookie Party. We've been throwing an annual holiday cookie party for a little over 7 years now...but we can't take all the credit. This is actually a tradition that Christian's mother started when they first moved to Massachusetts, when Christian was about 16. When I became a part of the family a few years later and went to my first one I immediately fell in love with the idea of it. Bringing friends, neighbors and family together to share their favorite home-baked cookies, enjoy holiday beverages (like our Glögg - warm mulled spiced red wine), cheesy Christmas music and a good time. What's not to love? So while technically we don't serve any dinner at this party the extensive cheese & charcuterie plate and other nibbles beyond the cookies will be enough to hold us over for the night without formal dinner plans.