Reader help, PLEASE:)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Updated to Add: Kate's skirt is from BabyGap. I bought it on sale last year after Christmas for like $2.99. This is the first time she has worn it. It is a little big in the waist but I adore it too. It has a little layer of black tulle at the bottom too. I did find it on e-bay for y'all here. Oh and the sweater is from Target as is the sparkly headband. The headband is from the adult section as Kate's head is a little large;) PLEASE KEEP the recipes coming...I am loving them and plan to try some already!


I kind of feel like Kate above...spinning around in circles. We are hosting a Christmas Party on Friday for over 100 people at our home. I need some help. We make a lot of the food ourselves and I am a little sick of some of my recipes. The invitation says cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Anyone want to share a favorite (and maybe easy, do-ahead) appetizer recipe? I would greatly appreciate it.

I am surprisingly NOT stressed at all (yet) but know that I need to stop procrastinating and start cooking:)

I just love how Kate dances in front of the Christmas tree. She did it last year too.


  1. Two words: Sausage balls - so simple! Just mix up the ingredients, then turn the kids loose with those mini-ice cream scoops and bake. Healthy? No. But oh so good!

    Another good and fast one is to do piggies in a blanket - little cocktail weiners wrapped in ready to bake crescent rolls.

    These aren't very fancy or upscale but they're really good!

    I use the recipe from the Bisquick site and it is really good.

    What recipes do you use now?

    Barefoot Contessa also has a really easy herb dip that I use. Just search the food network site for her green herb dip.

    You could do prosciutto-wrapped figs or melon slices. And it is always easy to set up fruit and cheese trays.

    I like doing palmiers with savory and sweet fillings. Puff pastry, filling, roll, bake and cut. There are a lot of recipes out there for those!

    Hope that helps!

  2. I just got the Barefoot Contessa in Paris cookbook and there's a starter/munchy recipe in there that is so so easy and I'm dying to try it:

    Cheesy Straws:

    Just buy a pack of puff pastry (2 sheets come in one pack). Roll out the dough until it's thin and a perfect rectangle. Then shake grated parmesan and gruyere cheese onto it, as well as salt, pepper, and garlic. Press all of this down on the dough so that it embeds. Then cut the dough into long lines - long rectangles, essentially strips, and twist the strips into spirals. Lay on a baking sheet and let bake in the oven for, oh, 20 minutes at 350/400 degrees? Until the dough is puffed and golden brown, basically. Then you'll have these adorable puffed spirals with delicious cheese and garlic flavor. In the cookbook there's a photo showing them standing up in glasses on the table, sort of as an edible centerpiece. I bet they would look fabulous in glasses scattered on different surfaces at the party! Enjoy; good luck!

    New York

  3. I know it sounds gross to buy premade store dip but Publix spinach and artichoke dip is fabujous. I take it out of the carton, top it with a mix of parmesean and mozzerella cheese and bake until bubbly.

    I did this in a pinch once and everyone kept asking for my receipe. It is now a joke between us all!

    Julie Head

    ps - LOVE LOVE LOVE Kates skirt! Where please?

  4. Can't help you w/a recipe! However I had to chime in and say LOVE Kate's little plaid skirt!! Twirl Kate Twirl!!!!

  5. Baked Brie is the easiest thing around!

  6. I have two easy yet delicious recipes that you might want to try:

    Baked Brie (I'm making this one this weekend for a party.):

    Pine Nut and Spinach Tart:

    I've made both of them on numerous occasions and have had many rave reviews.

    Good luck on your party!

  7. My mom makes her "cheese ball" all of the time and it is always a favorite:

    Take a block of cream cheese and mix (I use my hands) in one bunch (5 or 6) chopped green onions.

    Use hands and form it into a ball.

    Then take a jar of chipped beef (in the canned meat area) and chop it up into little pieces. Roll cheese ball in the chipped beef to cover.

    Serve room temp with crackers. YUM.

  8. I'm making this for a Christmas party:

    1 can crescent roll
    6T brown sugar
    1/2 C Kahlua
    1/2 C pecans
    red raspberry preserves
    hot pepper jelly [Reese]

    *Roll out crescent roll arranged in star shape. Place brie in center and wrap crescent roll so completely covered. Bake according to crescent roll directions.
    *Mix sugar, kahlua + pecans. Heat in microwave until hot [30 sec]
    *Mix 2 parts preserves to 1 part hot jelly.
    *Pour kahlua mixture over brie.

    Serve with hot jelly, sliced pears and/or wheat thins.

    Hope that helps and sparks some creativity! =)

    twingirlsmom at hotmail dot com

  9. I have an amazing recipe for Fried Goat Cheese Bruschetta! My husband and I were served this on our honeymoon in Jackson Hole, and him being a chef, he went home, tweaked it and now it is our "need to impress with as little effort as possible" appetizer.

    If you would like the recipe, email me and I'll send it to you.

    carrie.hammill (at) gmail [dot] com

  10. I found your blog through another and I love it but have never commented. My old roommate makes fantastic "baby capreses" as we call them that are so cute I had to share! If you're serving a lot of warm or heavy food they are a good contrast, and they're cute and Christmas-y! You'll need:

    -fresh basil
    -grape tomatoes
    -mozzarella (in the little-sized balls; I can't remember the Italian name for that size)

    Cut the grape tomatoes and little mozzarella balls in half and put them together so they make a half-red, half-white sphere. Put a toothpick through to secure. Fold the basil leaf in half and spear it onto the toothpick so it sits flush against the sphere like a little flag. I always think it looks like a little mozzarella elf wearing a tomato hat with a perky basil tassel.

    Sometimes we'll put it in a dish and dress it in olive oil and a little salt and pepper and refridgerate for a few hours so they absorb some flavor before putting out on a serving platter.

  11. I want Kate's outfit! So cute!
    I get ideas from you all the time, so I don’t know if I can be much help with appetizer ideas.
    But, one app that my friend always makes, and now I copy her because the app is so popular is a buffalo chicken dip. It does not look all, but for some reason, people gobble it right up!
    Shredded chicken - I boil and then shred in my food processor. Line a pan-(I use my glass pyrex rectangle one) with cream cheese. Mix the chicken, blue cheese dressing, buffalo sauce (red hot) and some shredded cheese together. Pour that mixture over the cream cheese lined pan. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on top. Put in oven for 20 minutes at 350. Serve with Tostitos or crackers.
    Another new one I make is green bean bunches wrapped in bacon. You tie the bacon strips around bunches of green beans. Sprinkle with melted butter, salt, pepper and brown sugar. Cook until bacon is cooked. I do not like bacon, but Lots of people do!

  12. Check out Pioneer Woman and go under her archives to Appetizers. I am making cheese stuffed jalepeno peppers wrapped in bacon tomorrow night for our couples bible study at our house- I got it from her website, she has a good selection. Also, an option would be meatballs, either from scratch or frozen. I have served those and then made a horseradish/herb dip for dipping. Let us know your menu when you decide- I love food and recipes. Good Luck!

  13. Very simple but good and a crowd pleaser.
    Salami slices and cream cheese. Roll up a hunk of cream cheese in a salami slice and hold together with a tooth pick. I usually put them on a platter with crackers and some garnish. Everyone loves them and it is so easy the kids can make them.

  14. if you want i have some simple french ones to share : could i mail you somewhere?

  15. This is delicious and really easy! You can make it a day or a few days ahead. I usually use half of the mayo called for and then the other half greek yogurt. Wasabi paste can be found in Whole Foods in a tube. I usually add a tiny bit more wasabi to taste.

  16. I know it is one of your recipes but that yummy Chicken/tomato/cilantro dish served cold could go a long way.

    I love to make my stuff from scratch too but with that many people I might check out Costco for some filler. They have some puff pastry type appetizers that are pretty yummy.

    I have to agree with the others, you can't go wrong with anything from Barefoot Contessa.

    I love Kate's headband! Where did you find it? Sophia is obsessed with headbands right now.

  17. Too sweet.... a little Sugar Plum Fairy...
    Enjoy your party. I am certain it will be lovely.

  18. I want Kate's headband! Do hot spinach and artichoke dip with carrots, celery, crackers or chips. I have served it many times. You can make it in advance and then bake it right before the party. Here is the recipe:
    (I double the spinach and use all lowfat ingredients and everyone LOVES it)
    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt salt and pepper to taste 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped 1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a small baking dish.
    In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, Romano cheese, garlic, basil, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Gently stir in artichoke hearts and spinach.
    Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with mozzarella cheese. Bake in the preheated oven 25 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.

  19. Sounds like you are going to have a great party!! I love reading all the recipes.....I do the baked brie one often at the holidays and you can do all sorts of toppings with it, so that is always a winner. Here is another FAVORITE!! It doesn't really sound that great, but trust me, it is FABULOUS!!!

    Roasted Eggplant Spread/Dip

    1 medium eggplant
    2 red bell peppers, seeded
    1 red onion, peeled
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    3 tablespoons good olive oil
    1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

    Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking.

    Cool slightly.

    Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Taste for salt and pepper.

    I usually serve it it with veggies, baked pita bread or chips, or sesame sticks!!

    Hope you give it a try!!

    BTW, love that skirt.....Sarah has the matching dress from last year and it still fits:)

    Happy Holidays!!



  20. This is an awesome recipe that Lisa (Moments with Maisie) sent to me and I LOVE:

    Tapenade Tarts

    1 pkg. puff pastry sheets (2 sheets)
    8 oz. olive tapenade
    12 oz.. feta cheese, crumbled
    1 lb. grape tomatoes, each cut in half

    Thaw pastry according to package, then roll each sheet into an 8"x8" square. Cut each sheet into 16 equal squares. Place each square in the bottom of a muffin tin, then add about 1/2 tsp. of tapenade to each one. Sprinkle on some of the feta, then top each with 3 tomato halves. Bake at 425F until pastry is puffed and browned. Remove to cooling rack as soon as you can handle them. Serve warm or at room temperature.

    I use the silicone muffin pans, and my bake time in the convection oven is 18 minutes. I have made them in traditional muffin tins and I think the bake time was less than 15. If you do use metal muffin tins, you may want to spray them with Pam to make release easier. Also, Lisa has made these substituting pesto, and those are wonderful.

  21. Kate is beautiful dancing around
    Kim, your tree is gorgeous too!

    As well, as you cook and have posted too beofre, I would be ashamed to give you ANYTHING i have but I will ask my mom for you a great recepie!
    Everything at your home looks warm and cozy!
    love the tree love Kate's outfit!

    to that man fallen from a ladder is a hoax going around the internet! I receieved it two times this week!
    I just deleted it and trashed it!
    It's still a terrible joke, not FUNNY at all!

    Will try to get you a gret recepie on the way!

    Everything is so Christmas at your home! Enjoy!
    So glad you are not stressed!
    Don't need you SICK again!

    kate is so stinkin cute just dancing away! love her outfit!
    Enjoy all the beauty!

  22. Great and delicious holiday apps (I once won an appetizer competition with the proscuitto recipe):
    Baked brie in puff pastry with rasberry or apricot preserves

    The other one is proscuitto wrapped figs, drizzled with gorgonzola or goat cheese and some toasted pine nuts served on a baguette...DELISH!

    There are also some good holiday apps that include pears that are realy yummy if you google that.

  23. i love kate dancing in front of the tree! i will have to think on the recipe, i didn't bring a lot of my cooking/recipes with me to the rental!! sorry!

  24. Yikes! 100+ people?!? And I thought 30 at our house for Thanksgiving was crazy. If I think of a good recipe, I'll send it your way.

    Kate looks so cute in these photos and I love your beautiful tree!

  25. No recipes but wanted to tell you your tree is gorgoues and Kate is just tooooooo cute!

  26. Very easy and a crowd pleaser....
    Cream cheese with red pepper or green pepper jelly poured on top, serve with crackers.

  27. I got this recipe from the Roanoke, VA Junior League cookbook. It is a HIT at every party and you can make it far ahead. Enjoy your party!

    Lib Wilhelm's Cheese Slaw

    1 pound Swiss cheese, coarsley shredded
    1 bunch green onions with tops, chopped
    1/2 cup chopped mild banana peppers
    1/2 cup finely chopped jalapeno peppers
    1 head cabbage

    Combine the cheese, green onions, banana peppers, and jalapeno peppers in a bowl. Add enough mayonnaise to bind and mix well. Hollow out the center of the cabbage and fold back the outer leaves. Spoon the cheese mixture into the center. Serve with corn chip scoops or crackers.

    Refrigerate before serving. Add additional mayonnaise if needed at serving time. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

  28. I got this recipe from the Roanoke, VA Junior League cookbook. It is a HIT at every party and you can make it far ahead. Enjoy your party!

    Lib Wilhelm's Cheese Slaw

    1 pound Swiss cheese, coarsley shredded
    1 bunch green onions with tops, chopped
    1/2 cup chopped mild banana peppers
    1/2 cup finely chopped jalapeno peppers
    1 head cabbage

    Combine the cheese, green onions, banana peppers, and jalapeno peppers in a bowl. Add enough mayonnaise to bind and mix well. Hollow out the center of the cabbage and fold back the outer leaves. Spoon the cheese mixture into the center. Serve with corn chip scoops or crackers.

    Refrigerate before serving. Add additional mayonnaise if needed at serving time. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

  29. Kim...could you please tell us again where you bought your tree garland? I ment to write it down last year! Thanks and Good luck with party! Michelle

  30. Oh my -- Miss Kate looks simply adorable and your tree -- so beautiful! Have fun -- wish I had a quick yummy recipe for you, but sadly, I do not. Maybe you can share some good ones after! Have fuN!


  31. Is it just me or does Kate look like a big girl now. She looks adorable in her outfit. LOVE IT :)

    I tried some easy and delish stuffed mushrooms off of Pioneer Woman and they were the biggest hit at that party. Also, supper easy take cresent rolls (from the can - no judgement) and roll them in rosemary and olive oil and bake. Delish.
    Have fun and enjoy your party. I hope you post pictures.

  32. I saw a lot of people suggested baked brie, but here is another version of baked brie that I feel can look quite elegant...

    cut baked brie in half and fill with blue cheese, warm in the oven until soft, but not melted all over your pan!

    serve this with dried cherried, walnuts (toasted or not), apple slices (tossed with a bit of lemon juice), crackers...etc. I always get lot of compliments on this dish.

  33. 100 people...on Friday...(add a stammer)...oh you are BRAVE! Add throwing great parties to the list of things I admire about you.

    I love this baked brie recipe because it is festive with a box of Pepperidge Farm Gingerbread Family cookies as the vessel with which to eat the baked brie.

    Raspberry Almond Brie

    1 (12 ounce) wedge Brie cheese
    2 T. seedless red raspberry jam
    1 T. Chambord or other raspberry-flavored liqueur
    1 1/2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
    3 T. sliced almonds
    1 T. honey
    wafer cookies or gingersnaps

    Slice the Brie in half horizontally. Place the bottom half on a
    microwave-proof serving plate. In a small bowl, combine the jam and
    liqueur; spread over the cheese, leaving a 1-inch edge around the
    side. Top with the remaining half of the cheese. Sprinkle with the
    brown sugar and the almonds. Drizzle with the honey. Microwave on
    High (full power) 1 minute, or just until soft. Serve immediately
    with wafer cookies or gingersnaps.

    Here is a great prosciutto wrap

    And this was heavenly...Paula Deen's Tomato & Mozzarella Tarts

    I hope this has been a help! Your evening is sure to be warm and welcoming. Have fun!

  34. Looks like you have plenty of recipes here already ... but I have plenty too if needed!
    Can I just tell you how much I adore Kate's outfit?!!! Too, too cute. One of my all time favorite little girl outfits (and I am a real 'pro' when it comes to girly stuff. LOL. All due to me not having a girl and loving girly things so very much!)
    Good luck with the party, Kim. I am sure you will be such a wonderful hostess!

  35. I love the skirt too! And I love your tree!

  36. These have been the hit at every party I have taken these to. They are not for the faint of heart. Nor the ones on Weight Watchers for sure. Here is the recipe, nonetheless! I would love to know if you ever tried them, or not!

    24 Hawaiian Sweet bread rolls, cut in half
    1 lb. ham lunche meat from deli sliced fairly thin.( sandwhich thickness)
    1lb. swiss cheese
    2 stick of butter
    1/4 C brown sugar
    2 TBSP worcestershire sauce
    2 TBSP prepared mustard

    Make 24 ham and swiss sandwhiches using first 3 ingredients and put them in an oven safe pan, side by side.

    Make a sauce out of the butter, browm sugar, worcestershire sauce and mustard, making sure brown sugar is dissolved.

    Pour sauce over al of the sandwiches.

    Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or at least until cheese is all melted and butter is bubbling.

  37. DOn't forget your tomato and cheese appetizers with the olive oil (if I recall) sprinkled on. We made them and they were a hit.

  38. Along with everyone else, I too love Kate's entire outfit!

    If you have a good gourmet store, maybe you can find one of my favorite easy things for a party like this - its a key lime cheese torte with cranberries on top. Serve with some Ritz (or fancier) crackers - its AMAZING. Everyone who's tried it agrees. It is made by a company called Rising Sun Farms. I keep one in my fridge just in case...

  39. Just catching up with you...I wish I had a recipe that was quick and simple, but for some reason I always pick the stuff that is time consuming to make.

    Love the Mommy/Daughter date photo.
    Happy birthday to your sweet guy!
    & snow in Texas...??? I'll have to rethink the business thing J was thinking about out there....eesh.

  40. sweet pictures...: ) I have a lot of recipes and if you still need some I will post one for you tomorrow. I have a good fruit dip. It's easy. If you want to service salsa and chips...pour your salsa over a brick of cream cheese and sprinkle a little cheese on is really good..: )

  41. Kate is just beautiful, as is that tree! I love her headband.

    The one thing I have a standing order to bring to every family function/ holiday get-together is my Grammas cheesball recipe. I just throw it together the night before in just minutes. ` It's especially quick if you have "helper" to shred the cheese for you.

    1 block mild cheddar, shredded.
    1 block phil. cream cheese.
    Chopped green onion to taste.
    1 small can Hormel minced ham, drained.

    Mix all ingredients and form into a ball. I roll mine in sliced almonds.

    Gin =)

  42. Kim, I made the Maple Salmon Bites from Peace Meals to take to a party this week, and they were fabulous! They looked very elegant as well. They are not at all hard - you cube the salmon and marinate it in maple syrup and soy sauce ahead of time, then dip them in black sesame seeds and bake for 5 minutes. You spread a little bit of creme fraiche on a sesame rice cracker, top with a piece of salmon and then cut some fresh chives over the tray. Dave or Will could do the assembly at the last minute - it is really very simple.

    The proscuitto-wrapped asparagus spears on Epicurious are delicious and have a beautiful presentation. Those are easily done ahead.

    I believe both these recipes are gluten-free too. That's a nice bonus!

  43. This doesn't really qualify as an appetizer but I have a cappuccino punch recipe that is SUPER easy and very, very yummy. People just love it and it's fun because it's something a little different.

    3 cups of very strong coffee
    2 cups of sugar
    1 pint of heavy cream or half and half
    1 quart whole milk
    2 t. vanilla

    Dissolve the sugar in hot coffee. Let cool completely. Add other ingredients and freeze. Put out 3-4 hours before event until slightly thawed and slushy.

    So, so good! Have fun.

  44. PS I just read Rachel's suggestion and was intrigued by that Key Lime Cheese Torta. I went on Rising Sun Farms' web site and it looks like Central Market carries them.

  45. Love the pictures and the blur is beautiful but not as beautiful as Kate!!
    I love the ham roll recipe above as well as sausage.
    2 new recipes I just used from "Real Simple"--just go to site and search!!
    1. Creamy salmon spread-yum!
    2. Baked camembert--instead of baked brie

    Oh, also they have a recipe for bacon wrapped apricots!!

    I am giving their cookbook for presents this year!!

  46. i do bacon wrapped almond stuffed dates- they are so easy and everybody loves the sweet and savory together- i would put out a place card saying what they were so that people don;t think the almonds are pits!

  47. I love the joy in all your children's faces in the pictures you take! I'm typically a silent reader and a Catholic newlywed. I often tell my hubby how I admire your faith and marriage! Thanks for the inspiration on all fronts! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  48. I just happened upon your blog...I am a mom of 2 little ones and have always had a desire to adopt...I find your story heartwarming! Your family is so beautiful! I have been reading your blog from the are an inspiration and I don't even know you! I will be visiting the blog often.. Happy Holidays to you...!
    I also LOVE Kate's clothes and have gotten some good ideas from you for my little Ella! :)

  49. Oh my word, her cardigan is so precious! I wish we had a Target or at least Lilah's Canadian Passport so we could drive over to the States and do some shopping. Hopefully this time next year, all being well.

    Sorry, I think I'm a bit late for recipies!

    Oh, and I love your tree!



Thank you for your kindness.