Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Baking Party

I have known my friend Diane since first grade at Holy Family School. Over the years we have moved apart, but still end up finding each other. We now only live a few miles apart, and she has included my family in many of her parties. My favorite is her annual Christmas Baking Party. I don't recall exactly how many years ago it started, but it has become a Holiday Tradition for our families.

We start around dinner time and work into the night. Everyone, even the kids, pitch in to cook or taste test! By the time the evening is over we are all stuffed inside from eating to much, and our bags are stuffed with goodies to take home!

It is fun to see how the kids grow from year to year. This year the oldest even contributed with recipes she did on her own.

Beth's Peppermint Almond bark
6 squares of chocolate almond bark melted (we use a microwave)
6 squares of vanilla almond bark melted
stir 1/4 tsp of peppermint extract into each of the melted almond bark bowls.
Pour almond bark into a parchment lined jelly roll pan. Over lapping them and swirling with a spoon.
4 crushed candy canes sprinkled over the top.
Chill for about 1 hour. (Being in MN, the back deck is used as our 'walk in cooler' for the evening.)
Break into pieces and serve

One of my favorites from year to year has been Kelly's pretzels, She REALLY tried this year she went to at least 6 stores in search of Orville Reddenbacher Butter Flavored Oil. But no one seems to carry it anymore. And since it is a key ingredient.... She still rocked out a ton of recipes though. She has perfected the almond bark treats, she melts in the microwave and NEVER has to wait for the oven. She even makes an Oreo Cookie one my husband loves!

In an attempt to keep us from eating just junk all night. We have a table laden with plenty of food and snacks such as meat and cheese platters, chips, salsa etc. This year I brought some roasted turkey that made great turkey nachos!

Easy Roasted Turkey
Thaw turkey and place in a counter top 18QT Roaster. (No need for bags or basting.)
Coat with a generous coating of Grill Mates Montreal Chicken Seasoning.
Place lid on roaster, set temperature for 325 Degrees (low roasting will double cooking time, but it will just fall off the bone when ready) Check pkg for time based on weight of turkey
Remove meat from bone, shred with a fork and place in crock pot
Add juices/stock to crock pot
Set to warm and serve all evening.

We all made lots of recipes and did lots of laughing. So much more enjoyable than slaving away in your own kitchen to make all those recipes, or even making dozens of a single cookie to take to an exchange. The effort it takes to coordinate schedules so that we can all be together is well worth it. I know that some of us make EVERY effort to be there from year to year. The year we got hit by a blizzard was actually one of the most attended!

We are blessed to have such great friends, and family.

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