Speaking of holidays and being thankful, I want to say thank you for sticking with me this week while things have been a little quiet on the blogging front. The reason I've been so unplugged is because my sister and her fiance are in town for a week. Who has two thumbs and is soooooo excited? This gal!
Three months ago, Jenny and Zach moved to Sacramento, CA, because he got an incredible job offer. While our family is so proud of them (and loving the pictures of their weekend trips to national parks!), we've missed them terribly.
Rather than make two very short visits (with lots of travel time) for back-to-back holidays, they made the smart decision to return home for a full week between the two. We hopped around the city earlier this week and have been relaxing at our parents' house since Thursday. Cozying up in front of the fireplace, playing Scattegories, and enjoying the
Family, friends, and food -- isn't that what the holidays are all about? Bypass the crowded malls, give the postman an Amazon break, and save your fingers from becoming wrapping paper casualties. (My Band-Aid count is up to 2. Please tell me I'm not the only one who sustains such "injuries".) Rather than stress about what to buy, why not channel your energies to dreaming up what indulgent dishes to make? You know, the ones you've bookmarked, Pinned, or dreamt up and saved for a special occasion? Here are five of my favorite food-centric ways to get together with the ones you love.
Happy weekend and, for us, happy early Christmas! :)
2. Cookie exchange - You know the drill with this one. We hosted a cookie exchange two years ago, and it was such a blast, not to mention the easiest party I've ever thrown. Each guest brings at least a dozen of a cookie along with the recipe if they are homemade, which they needn't be as by evidenced by the package of fudge-covered Oreos. As the hosts, we simply provided plates, napkins, to-go boxes, and lots of ice cold milk.
3. Surprise potluck - Two weeks ago, I got the idea to put a twist on a potluck and assign everyone a course but keep the specifics a mystery. Each of the four of us made one course: appetizer, salad, main, and dessert. Other than that initial assignment, we added only one guideline (vegetarian). It took all of my willpower not to pester Matt about what he was making, but it was such fun seeing what everyone made. We had fancy nachos, an Asian chopped salad with sesame dressing and almonds, wild rice & bean casserole, and dirt dessert. We had so much fun, and it was really great to learn in what cuisines our friends shine!
4. Host a cine-brunch - A local theater has a tradition of serving a brunch buffet and showing a classic Christmas movie on a Saturday in December. We've gone the past two years and, while it was fabulous, it tends to get a little crazy since it's a very well-attended event. This year, we convinced my mom to do our own version of Cinebrunch since we can't attend the official one in the city. Invite your best gals over in their comfy clothes for a spread of fruit, yogurt, muffins, bacon, whatever breakfast food moves ya! Mom's making quiche and cinnamon rolls, and we've got the White Christmas DVD ready to go. Sing it with me: Snowwwwwwwwwww!
5. Gingerbread house decorating party - Buy a kit, make your own pieces (impressive!), or go the graham cracker sheet route. Add "BYOC" to the party invitation -- Bring Your Own Candy -- and you'll be amazed at the variety of sweets available to decorate your edible abode. Tip: advise guests to assemble the houses the night before the party so folks aren't waiting around for the "glue" (icing) to dry. While the houses made of gingerbread might be more tradtional, the graham cracker versions are more, um, easily disposed of ;)