This year was the sixth year I've hosted my Gingerbread House decorating party for close friends (my mom and Pookie too). I can't believe its been that long, but one thing is for sure, we've gotten better and better with our decorating through the years.
I'll share bits of the party, houses and recipes from some of the food I served (ya'll have been asking on snapchat for those), and some of my holiday decorations throughout our home.
This was my house, the gingerbread house kit came from World Market. I make tons of icing ( white, red or in this case slightly pink and green) we actually went through EIGHT pounds of powdered sugar making icing. The recipe I use for icing to decorate our houses is this one:
Gingerbread House Icing
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar
4 cups of Powdered Sugar
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff. Add powdered sugar and beat 5 minutes. Keep covered with a damp towel to prevent icing from hardening.
This vintage Santa pitchers sit in my kitchen window and I keep them full of red roses. I've collected vintage Santa mugs, pitchers and punch bowls for over fifteen years. They are so flipping cute, hard not to love them. You can find them on eBay and etsy.
Any time you all catch a glimpse of my tea towels on snapchat (find me by searching: Tikaac) I get tons of questions about it. I used curtain rods, they are 43 inches wide and the distance from one to another was determined be holding my longest tea towels up and determining where I wanted them to hit on the next curtain rod. Pictured are three rods. You can use any size you wish, whatever works for your space.
These chalkboard jars are another items that gets a buzz out of ya'll on snapchat. Where do you get them. do they come with bows, who wrote on yours.....
These are from The Round Top Collection ( a Houston based business) and they do have an online site, the bows were made by me and I also wrote on the lids. I change then for the season, keep them out, put them up....they've seen a many of holidays, occasions and lived all over.
SIDENOTE: the large ball shaped jars hold TWO party size bags of Hershey Kisses (that's about 600 kisses) the tall container has four bags of peanut M&M's in it.
Another spot they were moved to during my Gingerbread House party. The red cake plate is a Target dollar spot find that I added a monogram to.
Our table for the Gingerbread House party. Beautiful Lenox (pattern: Holiday) and monogrammed napkins complete with a little plaid.
Not a great picture but if you look close on the table you can see the party favors I gave each of my guest. They were lucite trays with their monogram on a background of ginger jars. They are all from Sequins and Lipstick ( link takes you directly to what I purchased).
The food for the afternoon was not fancy but was a hit by all. I served:
taco soup, hawaiian ham and cheese hot sliders, goat cheese torte, bake potato cheese ball, and a few other snack items and desserts. I'll share a few of the most requested recipes.
1 pound of hamburger meat ( or ground turkey)
1 large chopped onion
brown together in a skillet and drain.
To a large soup pot ( or a crock pot, which I used) add:
cooked meat and onion
3 - 16 oz cans of Ranch Style Beans
1 - 16 oz can of Whole Kernel Corn
1 - 16 oz can of Chopped Tomatoes, do not drain
1 - 15 oz can of Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 cups of Water
1 - 4.5 oz can of Chopped Green Chilies
1 package of Taco Seasoning
1 package of Ranch Dressing Mix ( the powder)
stir, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
When I use the crock pot, I assembly and turn on high for a couple of hours.
* I've been using this recipe since 2003
Goat Cheese Torte
This is pretty much assembly only with the exception of roasting your pine-nuts ahead of time.
line a small bowl with cling wrap
* take a bar of goat cheese ( the small one) and four ounces of cream cheese (this helps it spread and cuts some of the harsh goat cheese taste) mix them together till smooth and creamy.
add goat cheese mix to bottom of bowl.
top goat cheese with basil pesto ( I generally by a premade one, but feel free to make it if you wish)
then top with roasted pine-nuts ( roast ahead of time in a skillet)
on top of pine-nuts add chopped Sun-Dried Tomatoes
then start process over again
try finishing with goat cheese
once finished cover with cling wrap and refrigerate the night before or a few hours.
When ready to serve uncover bottom of bowl and flip onto serving plate, take remaining cling wrap off and serve with crackers of your choice. We love it with Triscuits, rice crackers or flips.
Baked Potato Cheese Ball
2 -8 oz bars of softened Cream Cheese
12 cooked and chopped slices of bacon ( or two small bags of real bacon pieces)
1/2 cup of Dukes Mayo ( any mayo is fine, I prefer Dukes)
1/2 cup of chopped Green Onions
3/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Mix all together, mold into ball, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. I make the day ahead.
This is an recipe I have changed slightly and been using since 2004 ( I write the date on any recipe I add to my book and where it came from)
Serve with crackers of your choice, we love: Bagel Crisp, Triscuits, any thicker cruncher cracker.
Hawaiian Ham and Cheese Hot Sliders
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Hawaiian rolls ( 12) - I generally double the recipe when making but this recipe is for ONE batch
3/4 pound of thin sliced ham ( my family prefers turkey)
3/4 pound thin sliced Swiss Cheese
1/2 cup butter ( melted)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 tablespoon Poppy Seeds
2 teaspoons diced minced onion ( i used the dried ones)
2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon of Salt and Pepper
line with foil or spray a cooking spray on a 9 x 13 dishes ( I use Pam cooking spray)
Cut rolls in half
line bottom of dish with bottoms of rolls
top with ham, then cheese, then ham again
put top of rolls on
Microwave Bowl: melt butter then add: mustard, poppy seeds, onions, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Whisk together,
Pour over rolls and spread around
Cover pan with foil and let stand at room temp for about 10 minutes,
Now the baking is the important part and originally the recipe I found said to bake for 20 minutes. Well that was a LIE!!!!!!!!!! Mine have NEVER been done in 20 minutes, 40 minutes is more like it. I say check at 20 minutes and keep going. You want the bread to be toasted and the inside cheese melted. Once the rolls are done, remove foil and bake about 3-5 minutes to brown the tops a bit. Remove from oven and serve.
HO HO HO punch
one CHILLED bottle of Champagne ( put in refrigerator the night before)
One CHILLED liter bottle of Ginger Ale, I use Canada Dry diet ginger ale
one 10 oz bag of frozen strawberries ( thaw, puree in blender)
Mix all together and serve.
Cranberry Moscow Mule
recipe makes one but you can double or tripe and put in a pitcher ( I do)
4 oz of Ginger Beer
2 oz Vodka
half a lime ( squeeze, squeeze, squeeze)
splash of Cranberry ( or more if you like)
Stir and Enjoy.
garnish with lime and cranberries
Crockpot Mac n Cheese
Dump all the following into crock pot and stir and turn on high for two hours
16 oz of Macaroni Noodles ( do not cook)
1/4 cup Butter
3 cups of Milk
3 cups of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
8 oz Velveeta Cheese
3 oz Cream Cheese
Our family tree in our living room. Full of ornaments we've been collecting for twenty years. Primarily Radko and Old World ornaments, ornaments the children have picked out or made. Its a little bit of everything.
Some of the wrapping I have done, bow made by me. Those nutcrackers are the ones I found at the Dollar Tree and added pom poms to them and gingham ribbon.
closer look at the nutcracker.
Our family room
A bit of our mantle and my uber dated 80's collection of sequin Christmas boxes.
My dinning room, where the Gingerbread House decorating took place. That tree is full of fruits, veggies and birds. I put the tree in a large wicker laundry basket and added the Santa suit as tree skirt. Get ya a Santa suit after the holidays on sale at Hobby Lobby ( or where ever you can one)
Seven of the finished Gingerbread Houses ( four are missing), we get INTO decorating. IT IS SO MUCH FUN. Eight pounds of powered sugar and candy EVERYWHERE.
Everyone's house was so stinking cute, I kind of wanted to keep them ALL.
This is in my library, a little pish posh of Christmas decor ( and bad lighting).
A fraction of my nutcracker collection that my mom started when we were children.
Tonight's table of Lenox Wonki Ware
A table from the other night using my Lenox holiday dinner plates and Lenox winter greetings salad plates
Drink pitcher, sugar and creamer all in the Lenox holiday pattern and filled with beautiful red roses for a festive touch
Another table where I used the Lenox holiday dinner plate, winter greetings salad plate and a Ralph Lauren sheet I had made into a table cloth.
When thinking of hostess gifts, think about what the hostess collects or what her holiday dishes are and add to them. Its a ton of work to prepare for a holiday party, the food, the prep, the cleaning before and after...tons of work. Say thanks for the invitation with a thoughtful hostess gift.
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