Sunday, December 6, 2009

How I throw a Christmas party

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I LOVE to entertain – it is my joy sharing our home and having friends and family here, eating great food, drinking good drinks and laughing. Lots of laughter. :) This year, we will host three parties this month, and the first was this past weekend.

A few of my girlfriends and I get together every year for our annual ornament exchange. It’s been six or seven years now – none of can remember how many. (We’re getting old.) Since almost all of the Christmas decor is done, (except the main tree -- it just had lights, which was still beautiful), I was able to focus on my regular freak out preparation for the party.

Every time, I say to myself…”I’m not going to clean like crazy. No one will notice the dust on the table. No one will see the toys stuffed under the bed. No one will even go into most of the rooms of your home Sarah, sogetagripwoman!” Yeah. No one will know I’m super psycho and have to clean every inch. Crazy woman.

I don’t clean before the day of the party though – it’s just asking for a special dose of crazy. The little tornado in this house makes that impossible. :) So I’ve learned a trick so I can pace myself to get the house picked up impeccably clean in time for the party.

First step, send the Bub off to the ‘rents. Hubs was out of town, so it was just me. I turned up the ipod and set my timer – 20 minutes per room. I start with picking up, then vacuuming, then dusting. Once the timer goes off, I have to stop and move on.

This works for me because I’ll get lost in cleaning and keep going and going in a room if I don’t have that timer reminding me to move the heck on.

Once the cleaning is mostly done, it’s time to cook. Contrary to popular belief, I can cook. I do cook. I just don’t do it often. :) When it comes to parties, I have a few standbys that are cheap, easy and quick. You can totally make them in between dusting the family room and curling your hair:

Pinwheels

dash of pepper

2 tbsp onion

1/4 c bacon pieces

1/4 c black olives (chopped)

8 oz. cream cheese (softened)

package crescent rolls

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Take the crescent rolls and lay them out on a cookie sheet, smushing the edges together so it makes one large sheet of dough. Then just spread the mixture evenly all over:

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(This picture was pre-spread.)

Then, just roll it up long ways, so it looks like this:

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At this point, I like to put it in the fridge for a while so it firms up just a bit. Then, just cut it into sections, and bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.

YUM-O:

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They are such a perfect mix of buttery roll, a teeny bit of onion and bacon flavor. Who doesn’t love bacon? Serious. Obviously you can take out or add whatever you want for your taste.

The next one is to. die. for. Do you love those cheddar biscuits from Red Lobster? Those buttery, flaky, uuuhmazing biscuits? These are from Southern Living and are so similar. And only three ingredients!

Tiny Cream Cheese Biscuits

one 8 oz. package cream cheese (softened)

1/2 c butter (softened)

1 c self-rising flour

Easiest recipe eva. Mix all ingredients with a mixer, (it will be very thick) then spoon the dough directly into mini muffin pans. Bake for 15-17 minutes at 400 degrees.

I didn’t take a picture of these because I was too busy eating them entertaining. But this is close to what they look like:

biscuits

(Source)

A friend said you can make your own self-rising flour, which I didn’t know! If you want that real Red Lobster taste, just mix in some cheese, or sprinkle some on the top after they are done. They are incredible without though. Seriously, you’ll thank me. :) Heaven in a teeny little biscuit.

I found the easiest cookie recipe, and the easy is mostly because it’s the cookies you get in the package, already cut. But with a few more minutes of work, they become especially scrumptious and adorable.

Three ingredient Christmas cookies

package Pillsbury Christmas tree cookies

one tub icing (you need very little)

sprinkles

Make the cookies as directed, then let cool. Take the bottom of one cookie and ice it (I always use whipped icing and it was especially good on these!). Then place another cookie on top, making a sandwich. Push them together so the icing smushes out, then roll in the sprinkles.

We were ALL surprised at how good these were. I added red hots to the trees just for some spice, but they are not needed:

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I’m not even kidding, these were SO GOOD. Makes me what to make more right this very minute. Yums.

There were only ten of us and we ended up having a TON of food (this wasn’t all of it!):

013But we ate most of it. ;) The beverage of the evening was Sangria, and it is absolutely my new favorite drink. So sweet and fresh and fruity. I’ll show you how I make that after the upcoming Mexican Fiesta!

Are you hosting family and friends this month? Do you go with the flow to prepare or there others like me out there? (Please say yes.) This was the smallest of our three parties, which was a good way to start off the season. Can’t wait for the next two – I just wish they were this week, cause my house is still clean.

I’m off to eat some biscuits peeps.

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