Monday, November 29, 2010

Ideas for Throwing a Holiday Cocktail and Appetizer Party

It's that time of year again and as always, I'm excited.

I figure our forefathers (and mothers) had the right idea by coming up with so many wonderful things to celebrate during the months of November and December, sensing that humanity would need a collective "pick me up" as the days grew shorter and the weather colder.

Whether that pick me up is Thanksiving, Ramadan, Hanukkah, or Christmas, the important thing is that we gather together with the people we care about to share laughter, libation, delicious food, and gratitude.

My family celebrates Christmas, and it's probably my absolute favourite time of year - which is strange seeing that I am otherwise such a summer loving person.

But Christmas and its special magic has me in its spell.

As such, it is not unusal for me to have my entire home decorated by December the 1st because I like to squeeze every drop I can from the season.


One of my favourite things to do over the holidays is to entertain, and certainly my annual "So What if it's Not Christmas - the Tree Is Up!" party is a great kick off to the season.

Every year around this time, a handful of close friends are invited over for cocktails, delicious bites, and a few laughs while they tease me about my passion for all things Christmas.

Secretly I know, though, how much the evening is appreciated and how much we all look forward to getting together.

As a believer in keeping things simple, I serve easy to prepare appetizers and drinks every year starting with the cocktails.

Too many hosts make the mistake of thinking they need a wide range of complicated expensive ingredients on hand - especially when it comes to stocking a bar.

I offer guests a variety of wine, beer, and two of my favourite signature cocktails...

The Red Shoe Martini























And The Greentini



The nice thing about having signature drinks and recipes is that your friends will begin to associate and look forward to enjoying these quiet comforts in your presence.

And in the warm and inviting atmosphere you create in your home.























Twinkle lights, and whimsy















Treasured decorations provide a loving reminder...



































Of where you have been and roads not yet taken.

And the food...

Those who know me, understand that when I entertain it is always with uncomplicated recipes that are tried and true that can be mostly made ahead of time.

On the menu for this particular party:

Hot Mushroom Turnovers




















Crispy Baked Chicken Wings with Creamy Buttermilk Dipping Sauce






















Bright and Zesty Shrimp Ceviche in Tortilla Cups





















Crab Stuffed Mushroom Caps




















And an assorted crudite platter with Green Goddess Dip.


















I plate all my goodies together on Christmas platters (purchased at Sears my first year of marriage and treasured as much as if they were limoges)






















Placed throughout the party area so that everyone can just help themself.





















Friends, family, good food, love, and gratitude - all put together in one wonderfully meaningful kick off to the season.

Onward to a festive and flavourful holiday season here at The Kitchen Witch!




***

Author:

Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of all levels can accomplish.

Visit her daily on her blog, The Kitchen Witch or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.

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11 comments:

  1. LYNDS...

    U HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I WOULDN'T GIVE
    TO B ON YER GUEST LIST FOR YER HOLI- DAY KICK OFF PARTY, NOT ONLY TO SAMPLE THE YUMPY APPETIZERS AND FABU COCK- TAILS, BUT THE CHANCE TO WATCH U
    IN ACTION IN YER ELEMENT AS HOSTESS EXTRORDINAIRE, FRIEND, AND CHEF!

    EVERYTHING LOOKS DELIGHTFULLY DELISH, AND THE DRINKS GENEROUS AND REFRESH- ING!

    I WISH U AND YERS A MOST BLESSED, FESTIVE, AND JOYOUS HOLIDAY SEASON.

    U WILL MOST CERTAINLY B IN MY THOTS, STUCK HERE IN THIS NURSING HOME FOR
    A SECOND CHRISTMAS, BUT I CAN LIVE VICARIOUSLY THRU U BECAUSE, AS IN EVERYTHING U DO, U "R" THE QUEEN OF CHRISTMAS!

    TOWANDA, BABY!

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  2. Love the cocktails!! I am a huge cocktail fan.... if your gonna drink, it should be in style don't you think?

    The rest of your spread looks fantastic also!!

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  3. I really look up to you, in all of your homemaking splendor.

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  4. I want to come to the party!!!

    Your house looks so festive and the food looks wonderful. Do you know I have been craving mushroom turnovers?

    I was just reading a local publication called FEAST and there was a recipe for a Swedish Fish Martini, made from an infusion of vodka and Swedish fish candy. A Swedish fish was hanging on the side of the glass. I don't know whether to be delighted or appalled, but you just know I'm going to try it. ;-)

    Great post!

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  5. Wow, some super yummy food ideas. I bet you throw a great party daaaahling. Please invite me over :D
    *kisses* HH

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  6. I sure had fun at your party...thanks for inviting me. Your ideas are great and thanks for sharing. Have a good week.

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  7. I also like to have my tree and decorations up by Dec. 1. Leaves me lots of time to focus on shopping and cookie making. I love your red shoe and greentini martinis. Looks like a delicious spread.

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  8. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

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  9. I am LOOOOVIN the idea of an EARLY, who cares if it's early PARTY!!!!!!!!!!! Next year this will be on the calendar! I am having a kinda small Open House next week so am going to make ALL of your apps, and hopefully the 2 cocktails!!!:) Love this! I, too, ahve several cheapo Xmas platters to use for all the goodies:):) I also now have some nicer ones too:):) XOXO, Pinky

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  10. Beneficial info and excellent design you got here! I want to thank you for sharing your ideas and putting the time into the stuff you publish! Great work!

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