I host a Holiday Party each year. It’s known as the Ornament Exchange and along with the spirits, food and the company of cherished friends, we play a “Yankee Swap” game with Christmas ornaments. The more “interesting” ornaments are swapped more frequently making this a game of cunning strategy. We have a blast each year and everyone walks away with an ornament (some more coveted than others). Here is mine…a shark in a hula skirt, donning a purse, sunglasses and a beaded necklace!
This year’s party was an eco-friendly soiree. I borrowed some suggestions from “A Few Steps,” an organization with a mission to promote leaner, cleaner energy in the communities surrounding Swarthmore, PA. Virtually nothing at the party was disposable. I used cloth banquet napkins (a 12-pack from Target for $9.99) lovely holiday dinner plates that I collected over the years and 36 silver forks in varying patterns that I bought from a little shop in Swarthmore called The Shoppe on Park…another good thing – support your local businesses!
So, I stress about the food every year and this year I turned to my Wednesday evening dinner mates for guidance…they counseled me to serve limited choices of meat. Next, I wanted some direction on serving portions (being Italian, I am always fearful that there won’t be enough food). So I turned to Answers.Ask.com who explained that the rule of thumb is ½ lb. of uncooked meat per person, ¼ lb. of side dishes per person (2-3) dishes. Armed with this information, I planned the menu that included baked ziti, sausage and meatballs, pistachio chicken, fig glazed pork tenderloin and a family favorite, stuffing – from a recipe my dad clipped from a magazine many years ago. I also made the most adorable Santa hat cupcakes I saw on Pinterest.com.
I decided to make a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing. I used a mix – but it was very good mix from the Barefoot Contessa…it came complete with instructions to make the cream cheese icing. I sliced the stems off of small strawberries and placed them sliced-side down on top of the frosted cupcake. Next, I piped some “fur” around the brim of the hat and added a dollop of icing on top for a pom-pom. Santa would be so pleased!
We had a blast creating yet another memory!