Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Celebrating the 2010 Holidays

So I know that this post is a little bit overdue, but better late than never...right?  Do you like our beautiful Christmas tree in the above picture?  Anyway, Kevin and I spent last Christmas in Chicago with his family so this year we packed up and went to Kansas City for Christmas.  We of course drove the 8+ hour drive instead of flying so that we could bring our dog, Windy, with us :) 

I was excited because I love cooking and entertaining, and my mom let me take the lead on planning the Christmas Eve cocktail party with her side of the family.  I spent the day before prepping so that I didn't have to work too hard on Christmas Eve, and I have to say that everything turned out great, and we had a blast!  We served heavy appetizers, drinks, and dessert.  I'll post some of these recipes on the blog later on, but here's a look at what we had on the menu: 

First up - fruit salsa with cinnamon chips.....so good, and I will totally be making this again for future parties.

I also wanted a whole tray of bite sized appetizers that would be easy for people to just grab and eat.  Sorry about the bad picture quality below, but this tray featured the following appetizers:  The top plate had brie tartlets (half with a yummy grape mixture and half with apple butter), the middle plate was crabbies (love these, and they're so easy to make ahead of time), and the bottom plate was goat cheese tartlets (half with apple butter and half with marinara).

The next dish was my sister, Kristen's, appetizer:  Jalapeno Popper Dip.  I've made this one before but haven't blogged about it yet, but I will soon because it is so freaking good!  This one definitely went fast.

I wanted some kind of heavier appetizer so I decided to make some mini sandwich sliders.  I made a combination of ham and swiss sliders and roast beef and cheddar sliders.  This is another recipe that I will add to the blog soon because it is great for parties.  You might not think you need an actual recipe for these, but trust me....the sauce that they are brushed with totally make these sliders fantastic!  These are also great because you can prepare them ahead of time (which I did the night before) and just bake for about 10 minutes when you're ready to serve them.

What is a party without homemade chips and salsa?  I even took the time to fry up these tortilla chips myself because they are so much better than store bought!

Another yummy appetizer I made was loaded twice baked red potatoes.  Who can resist a mixture of potatoes, butter, sour cream, bacon, and cheese?

I think I make this spinach artichoke dip for almost every party I host because I'm obsessed with it.

Next up, hogs in a blanket!  Just like pigs in a blanket, but better :)

Of course, no cocktail party is complete without plenty of beer and wine :)

Plus some party punch for extra fun!

For dessert, I made mini eggnog cheesecakes.  I wish I had gotten a better picture of these, but oh well.  These were fantastic....I love doing individually portioned desserts like mini cheesecakes or cupcakes so that you don't have to cut out pieces for everyone.

I also made a few bite sized sweets, and my mom make some of my Grandma Jean's Italian cookies (which I somehow didn't get any pictures of).

Next up....Christmas Day!  We had a low key meal with my Grandma Nancy and Grandpa Frank.  We had our traditional Christmas Day meal, which is prime rib......yum!  Since I had done all the cooking for Christmas Eve, my mom and dad did all of the Christmas Day cooking.  We had au jus and a horseradish cream sauce to go with the prime rib.

One of our sides was twice baked potatoes (which is probably my favorite side dish of all times).

We also had Lana's Salad with the meal (which is my favorite holiday salad).

Of course you can't have a good meal without some buttery rolls to go on the side!

We also traditionally get a loaf of povitica, which is a sweet Croatian bread (really tasty, but I've never actually made one myself.....I hear it's quite a lot of work).

Afterwards, we spent a little time by the piano for a family sing-along :)  My dad's side of the family is very musically gifted (unfortunately, I didn't inherit the gift....).  My Grandpa can play just about every instrument I can think of (I even volunteered him to play the banjo in one of my elementary school musicals when I was a kid), and he is a fantastic guitar player.  He is well-known for playing the steel guitar, and he has even played at the Grand Ole Opry.....so neat!

My dad has always been able to play the piano by ear.  When we get him and my Grandpa to play together, it's always a lot of fun!  I have a short video clip of them playing a German song together that I wanted to share :)  PS....for the record, there is someone singing in the background of the video that doesn't quite know the words, but it is NOT me haha!

For New Year's Eve, we had king crab legs and twice baked potatoes.  If I had to pick a last meal, it would for sure be king crab legs!  When Kevin and I eat it for dinner, I always buy at least 2 pounds, but I usually buy 3 pounds to be safe because both of us love it so much.  SOOOOO GOOD!

We definitely had a great Christmas/New Years in 2010, and I'm looking forward to the next holiday season.  We will be in Chicago for Christmas Eve next year for a fun holiday celebration with Kevin's family, and then we're heading to Costa Rica from Christmas Day to New Years Day with my side of the family (thanks Mom and Dad)!  I'm super pumped about it :)

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