Monday, December 20, 2010


Take a peek in Georgia's window and see what's cooking

Well, it's  December and there's snow in the air and on the ground.   A great time of planning and dreaming and just praising the Lord for this time of year.
Some years ago we had an  Open House on Christmas Eve for almost 18 years.  We have discontinued this particular Open House for the 65-70 folks we had always entertained, but I still will  be having a  Christmas Eve with  our family.

I'll still be preparing a feast so.. stop by the menu page for the Christmas Eve celebration  and also visit my  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Menu and Recipes page..plenty of recipes and ideas and tips to help you through your entertaining.

There's  still a lot of planning that goes into preparing for an open house (whether for 30 OR 70).  I start the menu at least a week before hand..adding and deleting what I may want to have...(it pays to keep records...I have many years worth of Open Houses to fall back on)...Once I do this..then, comes the grocery planning...Where the best deals are for the week..and so on.. I normally grocery shop between three stores anyway, so this is not new...just a little more challenging. 

Remember "The Twelve Days Of Christmas"? Well, my list would go something like this:
12 packs of cream cheese
5  pounds of shredded cheddar
3 pounds of onion dip
3 packs of Smokies>
4 bags of tortilla chips
4 pounds of Velveeta
2 quarts of mayonnaise
10 pounds of potatoes
4 boxes of snack crackers
3 pounds of ground beef and 2 pounds of Italian sausage
Fruit juice, soda, and sherbert
Carrots, celery, green pepper, cucumber, broccoli
Assorted chips, pretzels, and peanuts.
Barbeque sauce, salsa, hot sauce
Heartburn, indigestion, and gas.
And a partridge in a pear tree J

Well, that's just a example of what is bought...

Now after I make the list, shop for the food, and bring back all the bundles..I begin making preparations for the cooking and storing of all of it.  One thing I don't have to worry about is the cookies and desserts...wonderful!!!!  Our daughters, Wendy and Lisa pitch in with cookies and candies and fudge and we end up with  a table full of desserts alone.  Now that everyone’s grown and has families, they all sign up and pitch in a variety of everything needed.  So it helps tremendously.

I begin preparing two days before Christmas Eve.  There are appetizers that can be made ahead and frozen..such as Bacon Squares and Party Pizzas.  I usually make them and cover a cookie sheet with plastic wrap and lay them in rows until the pan is covered..then I do another layer of them and cover that totally with plastic wrap, too.  This method is repeated until all the appetizers are gone.  At that time, plastic wrap is wrapped completely around the entire pan and then a layer of foil is put on so it seals and protects it from freezer burn.  At this time, it's placed in the freezer until needed the night of the party.

Other things that can be made ahead are dips, such as Hidden Valley Ranch (which is wonderful for veggies and chips) and also Knorr's Vegetable Soup...(great for veggies).  I make the  cheese balls or cheese spread on this day too because they can be refrigerated.

The day before...I usually make the mixture for the taco salad dip and store in an enclosed bowl with lid.  The flavor of the onion gets into the cream cheese and has a better flavor.  Salami Rollups can be done at this time too.  They're very simple, but tasty.

Boil the potatoes the day before for Potato Salad or  Party Potatoes .  This gives them time to cool and easier to handle before mixing. It's a good idea to do this with the eggs for Deviled Eggs also.

THIS IS ALSO WHEN I DO MY MAJOR CLEANING....(thought I'd just throw that in).

CHRISTMAS EVE DAY...7:00 a.m...READY.....SET.......GO!!!  Now this is when all the activities get set into gear. If you walked into my house at this time you would just die because there’s food, bowls, plates, knives, pots, pans all over the place and my pajamas on and hair sticking straight up.  But, baby, this is the busy time!

I make the vegetable tray and cover well with plastic wrap put it into the cool garage.  (Comes in handy when the temperature is down).  Then, on another tray, I spread the Taco Salad Dip mixture (I made yesterday), and put the finishing touches on that. This, also goes into the cool garage. And on and on and on until I'm completely done....I try to gear toward totally getting through by 4:30 I can shower, get my hair fixed and dressed and take a breather before the family comes (now we're talking about nearly 30—(and that’s not including Jon’s family in North Carolina who can’t be there.. L   I try to make things that can be kept in crock pots, and on warming trays, or just cool and cold stuff and only have to bake a few things off and on through the evening.  This gives me more time to visit and just enjoy everyone when they come.(nothing worse than a grumpy hostess).

A another blog is coming with the menu and recipes.   It varies a little from year to year.

The  key to preparation for a party of any kind is to PLAN..PLAN...PLAN.....Take notes..keep for the best buys....and enjoy yourself..And you know what made this all possible??  The Lord Jesus...just because of Him we're celebrating and sharing and giving.  Because it's HIS birthday after all.

From all of us to all of you.


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