Happy Holidays Dirty Santa!

It's time to bring cheer and holiday spirit, as well as look forward to a new year of more food, fun and friends in 2008! I am amazed how time flies by and how many friends we have all made within my cooking group. Its also no wonder that food definitely ties all of us together in some way, shape or form.... and food helped us enjoy the year with our many group events.To celebrate the holidays and our groups success, we hosted holiday party where I'm cooked up a special feast! I left up to our guests to bring their favorite appetizers, drinks/libations and/or desserts to the party;whereas I covered the main entrees and side dishes! Here are some appetizers some guests brought in & enjoyed while I made some finishing touches to the dinner table:Thai Chicken Meatballs w/Sweet Chili Sauce
Hummus Plate & Pita

To offer something different for holiday eating, I've planned an ITALIAN INSPIRED MENU for the event. Here are pics & recipes of what I prepared for our holiday dinner --

Here are some of the desserts folks bought in to sweeten things up!

Bouche de Noel
Gingerbread Cake with Vanilla Sauce
Chocolate Candy Cane Cupcakes
Pannetonne Bread Pudding
with Cinnamon Glaze

White Chocolate Chip & Espresso Cookies
Rum Pecan Cheesecake
Chocolate Dipped Macaroons

For added fun, we did a "White Elephant/Dirty Santa" food/cooking/baking related gift exchange. What's a White Elephant/Dirty Santa exchange? Well, everyone who attended brought an unlabeled wrapped item they don't want anymore and leaves with something new. More importantly, no one leaves empty handed (or hungry! ). As for the Dirty Santa, while we exchanged gifts, each person has the option to "steal" a gift that was already opened. It was a lot of fun and full of laughs!


  1. I want to move to Chicago to come to your partys, they always look WONDERFUL!

  2. you never cease to amaze me joelen! this holiday party looks awesome!

  3. Wow, what a spread! My mouth is watering!