Holiday Open House 2011

Most years since 1999, I have held a Holiday Open House for my friends and neighbors. I started doing it because so many of my neighbors wanted to come and see the trees that I decorate in my home. Originally I would just have hot chocolate and some cookies. Over time, I expanded my repertoire to include appetizers and desserts as well. 

These photos are from last year's event. Last year's was the first one that I have held following a 4 year hiatus while I was a single mom, and living in small places.

It's great to be back in the groove!

I am preparing for this year's event as we speak. I try to do something new every year, but I have some crowd favorites that are requested year after year. Namely, my Cinnamon Creme Hot Drink and my Gingersnaps. Those two items are required holiday party fare! (However, those are two of about a dozen recipes that I hold close to the cuff, and I do not give them out...ever.  Believe me, I've had people on their knees begging for them!) 

There are a few in this batch of goodies that I don't mind giving out, so watch for them in future postings. Normally, I won't share photos on this blog without a recipe, but my parties will be the exception to the rule.

The Red and Green Tortilla Christmas Tree. Simply pinwheels with ham and turkey, spinach, shredded cheese and tomatoes. I also used a basil mayo. This was a big hit and has been flying around pinterest since I posted it a few weeks ago. I found the giant tortillas at my local Winco, but I've not had any luck finding them this year.

Peppermint Crunchers cookies. My local Harmons carries the CUTEST mini candy cane sprinkles in their bakery dept. I bought a container from them for about $3 and it has lasted me for 2 years. They really taste like candy canes! I mixed them right into the batter which I had tinted red and added peppermint extract to. 

This Salsa Christmas Cheesecake was a new addition to my spread. My daughter and I got creative with the topping, using chopped avocado and tomatoes to make a wreath design on top. 

YUMMY individual Bread Puddings. I find that this is a great way to serve Bread Pudding on a buffet. I used the Wilton Square pans to make it. I served 2 types of sauces on the side...caramel and chocolate. This was just a basic Vanilla Caramel flavor. Bread Pudding is super versatile and even people who think they won't like it because of the texture find that they fall in love with it.  Link here for a recipe for one of my favorite versions.

A view of one side of the buffet, showing the Bread Pudding station and some other cookies.

The other side of the buffet, showing my stacking tower. This is a PLANT stand if you can believe it! I found it at Big Lots. It has adjustable angles and holds a lot of the little portion cups that I like to use for single-service dips.
Go to this post to see another way that I have used them recently.

Eggnog cake. Topped with an eggnog glaze and drizzled with white chocolate and sugar crystals. I make this most every year because I don't serve eggnog otherwise.

These are my famous Gingersnaps. They are amazing. Sorry you can't try them! But some day when I sell them, you will understand why I never give out my recipe! 

Love serving dips and crackers this way. I buy the portion cups in bulk and use them year after year. It seems like there are always great new crackers coming out on the market, so I like to do these single serve dip cups to showcase their shapes and textures. The dip is a Gorgonzola and Pecan flavor. I also do other cups with Ranch and carrots/celery. People love the small servings.
There you have it....I will add pictures from this year's event in the coming week. Also watch for some of the individual recipes coming up soon.

No comments: