Archives for December 2014

A Winter Engagement Party

My computer and I have been enjoying time apart over the holidays. Remember all that kitchen time I was missing earlier in the month? Well I’ve made up for lost time this past week.

I’ll be keeping this short because I still have a house full of family, kids and dogs, but I wanted to share a few photos from the engagement party Danny and I hosted for my sister and his brother recently.

It was the perfect excuse to throw a party and I had so much fun working with a rustic winter theme – right down to the vintage toboggan that I turned into a buffet table. Whether you are hosting a winter dinner party or a big New Year’s Eve celebration you’ll find some good ideas in this post.

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What to eat for the holidays

How did it get to be the week of Christmas? I have no clue, but here we are and it’s high time to make a plan of action.

My holiday cooking strategy has been a little helter-skelter this year. December threw us a few curveballs, but this is Life; you can’t expect things to always go according to plan.

I have a feeling I’m not the only one just sitting down now with pen and paper and wondering “What to eat for the holidays?”. If you’re asking the same thing this Monday morning, then today’s post will be right up your alley.

I’ve rounded up some of my top hits from the archives, from drinks to dessert, main event and aaaaall the sides. So pour a coffee, start a grocery list and let’s figure this out together.

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Sheet Pan Turkey Dinner

The other night I complained to Danny “I just want to get in my kitchen and cook for two days solid”. And I completely meant it.

This month is among the most exciting for whipping up tantalizing appetizers and show-stopping desserts, but I’m way behind. Yes, we’ve been back and forth from the hospital with Clara a lot, getting interrupted sleep and trying to prep for Christmas, too. It’s been okay, really; I know others are far worse off than we are, but man, I miss my kitchen.

So when I recently had an afternoon to throw something together for dinner, I put a spin on a familiar favourite. This new recipe is a direct result of craving holiday comfort food yet having limited time to prepare it (like last year’s Slow-Cooker Christmas Chicken in Milk).

I tend to stress eat and can’t subside on granola bars and wraps from the hospital cafeteria when times get tough. I need a meal. Well, enter the sheet pan turkey dinner.

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Simple Brie & Cranberry Stuffed Mushroom Bites

Entertaining over the winter holidays is what I was born to do.

As a small child, I can remember the thrill of being allowed to help my mother set the table for Christmas dinner. She always placed a perfectly ironed cloth napkin on each dinner plate and I would set a small mandarin orange in the center for a simple, natural decoration.

Now it’s a thrill to welcome young and old into my home on cold December days to catch up over winter sangria and hot spiced apple cider. From intimate dinners with friends to rowdy brunches with an army of family members, my kitchen is command central and I am the general.

These festive little stuffed mushrooms were inspired by one of my most popular recipes, a baked Brie with cranberry sauce and heaps of walnuts. I wanted to create something just as tasty that left out the bread and crackers altogether.

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My one sanity-saving kitchen tip for the holidays

Party planning is in full swing around here. I’m not cooking and styling a cookbook (like last December) or pregnant (three years ago), and so I’m feeling inspired to cook up a spread and entertain to the nines.

We’ve got a massive cocktail party in the works, as well as a few intimate dinners. Danny’s planning a beer tasting, and we’ll probably host a holiday brunch or two as well.

So far my love of lists is helping me stay organized with shopping items, guest lists and menus, but I’ve stumbled upon a little kitchen trick that is totally saving my sanity  — and we all know how important that is over the holidays.

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