I just had a lovely weekend of Family Christmas #1 with the C family. Even though we hosted here, I have nothing to blog since a) Mr. J did all the work and b) I’m trying not to do too much while toting around this 37-week old babe in my belly and c) I didn’t want to over complicate things. We had great and plenty of food and it was all a manageable menu. Also big kudos to Mr. J for shopping and prepping everything.
One fun moment was making the chocolate fondue which I choose since I’m not a big baker. The chocolate seized and then there were 3 of us googling how to fix it. It was a reminder that “you can’t win ’em all”, “it takes an army”, and sometimes the fix-risk is worth it when “it can’t get any worse”. Fun fact: the steam from the double boiler is what made it seize, yet boiling water was actually the fix. It was delicious and we ended up laughing about it and to all a good night.
Anywho, now that the holidays are close, here are my round-up of recommendations:
If you need an app:
This Greek Dip is suuuuper easy, very portable to just assemble on-site, and doesn’t require any cooking. Plus it is sort of healthy. Spread hummus onto the plate, top with cucumbers/tomatoes/feta/Greek Dressing. Dip with pita chips. Ho ho ho.
If you need a drink:
Have one for me! Make some Apple Cider Sangria to appeal to cocktail-lovers and wine drinkers alike.
If you need a side dish:
This Sausage Stuffing is the best. It also can be prepped and just bake alongside the rest of your meal. The secret is golden mushroom soup mixed into it.
If you need a brunch item:
These Apple Cinnamon Rolls will go with anything, and won’t take up your whole morning. Store-bought cinnamon rolls with icing topped some apples cooked with brown sugar and voila! The best part of waking up…
If you need a dessert:
Black Forest Bread Pudding seems like such a decadent and special dessert. The best part is that it is foolproof, and that the intense chocolate is nicely paired with dark cherries.
If you need a use for leftovers:
Puff pastry turnovers work well for leftover ham.
(or a panini is a great use for any ingredients like turkey or meatballs, etc).
If you need a warm beverage to serve:
Caramel Apple Cider was soooo good. Make it now. Apple cider, heavy cream, and brown sugar amp up and personalize this drink.
If you need a hostess foodie gift:
Bacon jam is perfect for literally everyone except a vegetarian. It is nicely gifted in a jar and is easy to tote wherever you’re going.
If you need an easy menu:
This weekend was a prime example of centering an easy/do-able menu around a spiral glazed ham. We made some mashed potatoes & green bean casserole. It was simple enough and nothing crazy.
You could do ham/turkey/pork roast/etc then make your sides something easy like a top your own potato/mashed potato bar. Or host apps & zerts that either you make or that everyone else makes. You can add a wine-off too and your guests will surely focus less on your food once they’ve sampled enough $15 and under priced bottles of wine.
Whatever you serve, follow these basic hosting tips:
1) know what you can do/make/what you have time for & ask others to provide a category you can’t or don’t have time for. Giving a category to those who are picky or have restrictions will be great help for you and make them comfortable.
2) don’t apologize for what you made (same for the condition or cleanliness of your house).
3) plan in advance: map out your serving, set up, cooking, prep, & shopping backwards from when you want everything ready (with extra wiggle room).
See ya after Christmas
Mmm I want everything in this post, but especially that caramel apple cider!