My aunt hosts a great holiday get-together each year that her husband refers to as the “hen party.” She’s a wonderful hostess and we are always so happy to kick off the holidays with a yummy lunch and a goodie swap.
Look at that pretty table! Christmas china and linens and freshly-polished silver…beautiful!
And since the hostess was taking the photos, she’s not in them! So I’ll just rave about her food instead. There was a green chili chicken stew that was so yum I could have just eaten that. Of course, I didn’t. There were too many other options: chips and guacamole and crackers and dips (including a wonderful pesto torte) and a huge green salad.
It was lovely.
We got to hear some great stories about how Laura, my aunt’s mother-in-law, used to bake for the holidays…and when I say “bake” I mean like you can’t imagine. Reportedly she produced hundreds of dozens of goodies every year for friends and neighbors. Did you hear that? HUNDREDS – plural. They were telling stories of how her dining room would be buried in containers of cookies and breads and endless treats. Amazing. Wish I could have seen that!
And, for the record, my husband’s favorite treat from this goodie swap was hers. I didn’t even get to try one. He ate them all.
Here’s the platter of holiday delights that I came home with. Let’s review:
I love this annual tradition for several reasons. Simple time with loved ones is up there. A fantastic lunch that is served to me is also high on the list. But it’s really nice to have this gorgeous tray of delicacies on my kitchen counter without having to do any of the work, too! (And my visitors the past few days have been pretty happy about that as well.)
Now, I didn’t include my contribution to the swap. That’s coming in another post. But I do have recipes for some of these sweets, so don’t despair.
And also, one last photo of my family…and our gorgeous hostess is IN this one! Let’s hear it for the party planners!!
CHOCOLATE CHIP TOFFEE GRAHAMS
REINDEER NUGGET CANDY (aka Reindeer Droppings)
from the newspaper, source: Teegie Collins
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate bark
12 oz dark chocolate chips
8 oz lightly salted dry roasted peanuts
5-6 oz small white marshmallows
Microwave the bark and chocolate chips for 30 seconds on high. Stir. Continue for 30 seconds longer (until melted.) Stir in peanuts and marshmallows. Drop on foil by the tablespoon. Let stand until hard.
Really. That’s it. So…any last minute need for a holiday treat? No excuses. You can whip these up in less than 5 minutes. OK, onto the Fat Ladies…
from “Flavor” the San Antonio Junior League cookbook – and a big THANK YOU to Marquel for my copy! I’m pretty much restricted from purchasing any more cookbooks…but no one said anything about getting them as gifts! Love that.
1 roll refrigerator chocolate chip cookies
1 6-oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips
32 Kraft light caramels
1/4 cup light cream
1 cup chopped pecans
Cut cookie dough 1/4 inch thick and press into a 9x12x2 pan. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes. While baking, melt caramels into cream. Cool cookie slightly and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Spread with caramel mixture. Top with chopped pecans and refrigerate. Cut into squares.
Next: Cranberry Pumpkin Bread, Chocolate Gingerbread Tea Cakes and Peppernuts.