Holiday Party

Posted on December 25, 2011

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I love throwing parties, especially themed ones.  Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year and we usually throw a holiday party at our house to celebrate.  This year was also special becuase it was James’ 30th Birthday Party.  James made me promise to keep the menu simple, which I did, but you can still add some personal touches!  For appetizers I made a gourmet chip/popcorn bar.  I found this really cute idea in a magazine where you use different colored card stock to make little paper cones.  These cones make the perfect carrier for the chips and popcorn.  To dress up regular Kettle Chips I added paprika to them.  We popped our own popcorn in the popcorn popper and added lots of olive oil, paremsan cheese, salt and pepper.  It was a great success! 

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Also I made some homemade salsa (recipe can be found by clicking on salsa).  For the light bites I made my famous Red Lentil Soup and some individual Baked Mac N Cheese tins.  For the Mac N Cheese I used Contessa’s recipe and just made it the night before.  I scooped the pasta into cupcake foil trays and put them in the oven over night.  I waited to top them with the bread crumbs and bake just before the party started the next day. My Lentil Soup is one of my specialty recipes that I made up after having the most amazing bowl of red lentil soup in Rome.  Here is the recipe, you can make it the night before and heat up the next day.

Red Lentil Soup:

Package of Dried Red Lentils

2 Garlic Cloves, crushed

1 Large Onion Diced

2 Celery Stalks Diced

5 Carrots Diced

1 Small can of Peeled Tomatoes

4-5 Cups of Chicken Broth

Lemon, half and Parsley for Garnish

In a large stock pot sautee the oil and add in the garlic and onions.  Then add the other chopped veggies and tomoatoes.  Salt and Pepper.  Let cook for about 5 minutes then add the chicken stock.  Let boil on medium heat until veggies are cooked- at least 25 minutes.  Add in 1 and 1/2 cups of the red lentils and let boil another 5-7 minutes.  Turn off heat.  Use an immersion blender to blend together all ingredients until a nice smooth consistencty is achieved.  Before service add the juice of 1/2 a lemon and the parsley and serve with crusty bread and a drizzle of olive oil. 

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For the party I served it in styrofoam cups with some croutons for easier eating.  I also made a spread of olive tapenade and eggplant humus to go along with a variety of flat breads and bread sticks. 

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For dessert I made something different.  I had a cookie and candy bar.  I tried to stick with a theme for the candy so it made sense- I purchsed all red and green candy and then had an array of cookies.  I also set up a hot chocolate bar with mini marshmallows and some whiskey or Kahlua for whomever wanted to spike it.  All in all it was a good party, lots of laughs and fun and full tummies!

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