It’s that time of year, when we pull out our most festive threads, put up & decorate the tree (which I think Frankie did a TERRIFIC job of doing this year), and deck our home in Christmas lights and ornaments in all the vases I almost never put any flowers into. Let’s just say, I am in the most festive of spirits and rightly so, given how much we’ve had to celebrate as of late! Not only was this the first part we’ve gotten to host together as newlyweds, but we were also celebrating our first major get together in our new home, toasting Frankie and his new job, as well as my own new job! Lots of new and wonderful things taking place in this new chapter of our lives, and of course, we were honoring and celebrating the friends and family who have helped us get to where we are today. We toasted my parents, we toasted my in-laws, we toasted to family and friends no longer with us, and to those near and dear in attendance or abroad.
All that being said, the spread this year was just as diverse as last year, with some new additions that will grace next year’s menu for sure (aka. crab bites and chicken fingers!). Normally we always had Cathy’s Baked Chicken from Spiro’s Deli, but it’s not the most finger friendly item to eat, so we switched it up and did chicken fingers instead, which were a HUGE hit! Only downside is they only came with ranch, so next year we will be adding BBQ and Honey Mustard to that request so that folks with different preferences get the best of all worlds!
I think what I love most about these parties is how easy and seamless it is to get such a great group of people together for one sole purpose: merriment. Discussions ranged from “bits on bits on bits” to world news to Holiday plans to retellings of stories past (and a late night Plank battle between Frankie, Ashley, & Wes, while Jim & I sat back and sipped on bourbon cream (me) and bourbon (Jim)). Laughter reverberated throughout every wall in our home, and there were shouts a plenty during all of the games we had to offer, though I will not repeat anything that was said during the impromptu tournament of Mario Kart 64 because it’s Mario Kart 64 and it brings out the best (and worst) in all of us). This party has always been a highlight in our year because at the end of it all, washing up dishes at 2am and tidying up what doesn’t require a ton of physical energy, we got to spend an entire evening with those who mean the most to us, and when you really think about it, isn’t that all that matters? What would professional success or big life events be without having someone to share it with? And between you and I, having that connection, those people, is worth celebrating and giving thanks to in any way that you can.
So with that my dear readers, I wish to now raise a figurative toast to you all for your kindness, your support, your readership, and I wish you all a very safe and Merry Hannukah, Kwanza, Christmas, and Holiday Season to you and yours! May you find a moment to thank and celebrate your loved ones too! — The Real Cooking Maggie
- I have included my menu & spread below for those of you interested in the full line up, as well as the links to the Gingerbread Sheet Cake, which was featured last year, but made by myself this time around and it was A HIT!!! It’s buttery, light, and full of holiday flavors, so if you’re looking for something yummy to make at your own holiday table, then I recommend this one for sure! The recipe does provide a recipe for a cream cheese frosting, but I think that makes the whole thing a little heavier – the whipped cream keeps it light and airy, and the gelatin prevents it from turning into a hot melty mess!
- Next week (not on Christmas mind, but the Wednesday/Thursday after), I plan to revisit Corgi Sugar Cookies & include my first attempt at SHIPPING cookies! Not only that, but ON DECEMBER 26TH you can begin ordering Corgi Cookies from me! I’ve perfected the recipes, I’m working on my piping skills & will hopefully have the necessary items for shipping!
- Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers
- Gingerbread Sheet Cake w/Stabilized Whipped Cream (see link to recipe below)
- Warmed Brie & Bread
- Bruschetta & Garlic Toasted Rounds
- Spiro’s Deli: Bomber Beef Sandwiches, Chicken Tenders, & Mostaccioli with marinara sauce
- Meat & Cheese Tray / Cheese & Cracker Tray (no meat)
- Mini Crab Cake Bites
- Potato Skins w/Sour Cream
- Moscow Mules
- Spotted Cow (Pony Keg)
- German Glühwein
Gingerbread Sheet Cake from Serious Eats
Stabilized Whipped Cream from Our Best Bites