Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top 5 Appetizer Recipes for New Year's Eve!

Let's ring in the new year - whether your throwing a house party or attending one (does anyone even go out anymore?) here are my top 5 recipes for delicious appetizers (most include my favorite of some sort of cheese-sorry dairy-free fans) to share among your guests or bring to a party!

#5 Buffalo Chicken Dip

2-8 oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup of blue cheese dressing
1/2 cup of ranch dressing
1 cup of Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing sauce
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, boiled and shredded
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375.
In a large bowl combine softened cream cheese, ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, and buffalo wing sauce. Using a hand mixer, mix until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Fold in shredded chicken and 1 cup of shredded cheese. Pour into a baking dish. Top with remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until dip is warmed through.
Serve with tortilla chips, bread, crackers, pretzels, and celery. Note: You can substitute one cup of either dressing or split between the two.

#4 Hot Caprese Dip (adorned from How Sweet It Is)

10 ounces fresh Mozzarella, cubed or Whole Milk Mozzarella
2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and juiced
3 tablespoons freshly chopped basil (or about 1 tablespoon dried) + more for garnish
Preheat oven to 375.
Make sure tomatoes have as much juiced squeezed out of them as possible – this will prevent the dip from becoming soupy or watery. In a small baking dish, combine chopped cheese, tomatoes and basil and mix. Bake for 15 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes so cheese becomes bubbly and golden. Serve immediately with crackers, melba toast, or french bread.
Note: dip may appear “watery” which is why it is VERY important to get as much moisture out of the tomatoes as possible. Also make sure dip is consumed immediately, as the longer it sits, the more juice that develops. Don’t worry if there is a little bit of juice – it is still delicious!

#3 Brown Sugar Dijon Baked Brie

4 inch round-Brie cheese with rind
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup sliced almonds or pecans
1 French baguette
Additional sliced almonds to garnish

Slice brie horizontally, set aside.  Mix together brown sugar, Dijon, and almonds. With cut side up, place half of mixture on brie.  Top with second half of brie-cut side up (this is so that it doesn't melt all over itself when heating up) and layer with rest of Dijon mixture and sliced almonds on top.  Bake @ 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes until brie just softens.  Remove from oven and serve immediately with slices of the baguette and fresh fruit.

# 2 Gorgonzola-Onion Crustini - These are my absolute favorite appetizer!

1 container of Gorgonzola cheese
1 small wedge of domestic Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
3/4 - 1 cup of mayonnaise (not fat-free)
1-2 garlic cloves, pressed
cracked pepper
1 French Baguette
fresh parsley chopped for garnish

Slice baguette in 1/2 inch slices and place on baking sheet. Combine the cheeses, mayonnaise, onion, garlic, and cracked pepper together.  Generously spread mixture on bread slices and bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes or until golden and bubbly.  Remove from oven to a platter and garnish with parsley. 
Note:  This mixure can be combined up to a few days before using.  Just remove from refrigerator and place on bread and cook.

#1 Easiest Elegant Chardonnay Cheese Fondue (okay so this is my favorite too...)

1 can of condensed cheddar cheese soup
1 – 1 ½ cups Cheddar/Swiss shredded cheese
¼ cup beer/wine/apple juice
1-2 clove garlic, pressed
1/8 tsp. Tabasco
Dippers- bread cubes, assorted veggies, apples, pears, ham cubes

Combine all ingredients except dippers in a microwavable bowl.  Stir together and microwave for 3-4 minutes or until smooth.  Pour into heat proof dish with sterno or a lit candle underneath.  Serve immediately with dippers.  Enjoy-EASY!

Some other favorites are:

Happy New Year Friends~ What are you making?

Linked up with lot's of delicious recipes...@ Your Homebased Mom

I Didn't.

I didn't blog during the intimate Christmas season because I was busy enjoying my family and friends.

I didn't use super expensive wrapping and bows this year...just because.

I didn't send my Christmas cards out "on time" (according to who?), and everyone just loved them anyway.

I didn't have the family Santa picture this year at the club because we were busy on vacation with our family.

I didn't take enough pictures...because I was busy being in the moment.

I didn't break out into hives when my living space has been trashed for about 24 hours according to what I would like.

My husband and I didn't exchange big gifts this year...just because.

I haven't had shoes on other than my comfty slippers except when we went out and shared a pizza the other night.

I didn't have fancy new Christmas paper goods this year, we used up all the many last years of extras and had an eclectic table.  I started to apologize to our 18+ Christmas dinner crowd, but then stopped because did anyone REALLY care-no they thought I was being smart-rather than frugal.

I haven't taken down any Christmas decor as of yet because my 5 year old wants to leave it up forever (I am getting the bug though).

We didn't have to get out of bed before 6 a.m. this Christmas morning because Hubs had the day off and my kids slept in (super exciting).

We didn't a lot...and things are always just fine.

Each year I have the visions and lists of all the crafts, decor, photos, and seasonal opportunities that I would like to accomplish or attend, but this year I took it down a every year when the "didn't" list starts to find it's way.  It doesn't matter that I don't use the finest china in the cabinet or have the biggest house on the block to entertain for our Christmas season...all it matters is that we have family and friends around us that we can look in their eyes for the Christmas LOVE that is shared. 

This season we had the magical visit of Santa-we were all excited because little boy believes. 

This season we themed our Christmas dinner around Italian food-all the potluck recipes brought were delicious!

This season we welcomed back a lost relative to our family gathering.

This season we spent over a week with our beloved nephew who lives out of town.

This season our church was over the top to share the Christmas story with over 20,000 people!

This season our family traveled together for a Christmas get-a-way before the busyness.

This season our house was decorated after Thanksgiving for us to enjoy a little longer.

This season my boys was excited to give to the bell ringers everytime we were out and about.

This season we had our active duty Army cousin adorn our Christmas dinner.

This season we welcomed our close friends who celebrate Hanukkah at our celebration of Jesus!

This season our family spent more time with each other through the holiday season.

This season the gifts were bought and wrapped before December.

This season we shared the love of God to neighbors in need.

This season a lot happened, some that was envisioned and some that was not, but most of all we were able to enjoy what this season is all about-the birth of Christ.  The holiday season may not always be what we envision, but for my case it was even MORE...MORE time, MORE family, and most of all MORE love was spread to our community and shared in our home.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Few Cricut Ideas for the Holidays

 Personalized Recycle Totes-instead of a Christmas gift bag or wrapping paper, a gift within a gift!
 Large-style Bins-Personalized
Wilton Pretzel Rod Candy bags stuffed with Christmas M&Ms, folded topper using Nativity cut-out glued to topper.  These were place setting gifts for a Christmas Gathering.

Menu Plan Monday

linked up with hundreds of menus at

Welcome to another edition to Menu Planning Monday!  There are only a few more weeks of 2010, hard to believe, and a few more menus.  We have a few events this week, but we still need to have a plan.  Some easy dishes as well as some comfort food added this week since it is FINALLY cold (54 degrees) in south Florida-I know some of you are laughing....).  Enjoy~

  • Crunchy Baked Chicken/Mashed Potatoes/Green Beans
  • Turkey-Wild Rice Soup/Beer Bread/Salad
  • Grilled Asian-Style Mahi-Mahi/Caesar Salad
  • Beef Tacos/Yellow Rice/Salad
  • Leftover Buffet
Crunchy Baked Chicken

4 large chicken breast
shredded Swiss/Monterrey jack
1 can of fat-free/reduced sodium cream of chicken soup
1/2 can white wine or chicken broth
large handful of croutons, crushed

Place chicken in 9x13 and cover with salt/pepper.  Combine soup and white wine, set aside.  Top each breast with cheese, and pour over soup mixture.  Top off with crushed croutons.  Bake at 375 until chicken is cooked thoroughly.  I like to cover with foil for first 30 minutes, then uncover to finish.

Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

1 cup shredded  carrots
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 TBLS butter
1/2 cup flour
2 small cans of chicken broth (I like low-sodium)
1 can low-fat evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups cooked wild rice (I use the quick rice or brown rice)
1 cup diced turkey or chicken
1/4 cup toasted almonds
Salt/pepper to taste

Melt butter in large sauce pan over medium heat and saute carrots, mushrooms, celery and onion for about 4 minutes or until crisp tender.  Stir in flour, gradually add broth and milk, whisking until blended using a whisk.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in rice and turkey, reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.  Serve with toasted almonds on the top. Delish with leftover turkey or chicken!  This is considered a light recipe per 1 1/4 cup serving - 240 calories/8 fat/2 fiber

Saturday, December 4, 2010


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Holly @ KENIMER KIDS wins the $20 GIFT CARD to Stampin' Up! 
Fantastic!  You will be contacted in the next week with instructions on how to redeem!