No one is more into Christmas than Dave's father. We actually call him Captain Christmas...to his face. Dave's family, and our family now, like to partake in the holiday "frolic." No we don't dress up like elves or anything, but during the month of December, we look for ample opportunities to hang out together. Frolicking for us is synonymous with the pleasure of being together as a family - no real agenda is necessary. The main requirements to for frolicking are family, cocktails, and food. Lots of food - particularly appetizers and desserts.
|Captain Christmas and Jamie high fiving after an awesome tree trimming.|
Last weekend, we hosted the clan at our house to trim our tree and generally frolic together. The dinner I "served" was basically just assorted cold cuts, rolls and salads. Nothing special. But I knew that people would fill up on the "pigs in a blanket" (also known as "cocktail franks in puff pastry") and spanikopita that I purchased at Costco. If you have not tried either of these holiday hor d'oeuvres, you really should. And if you are tempted to look down on a dressed up hot dog, I strongly encourage you to rethink your position. Sure, hot dogs are mass produced and of questionable nutritional merit, but they taste really good. And hot out of the oven wrapped in buttery pastry, they are even better. Spanikopita, a Greek pastry, are marginally less bad for you - they contain a vegetable at least - and taste equally amazing. (If you are hosting a vegetarian at your holiday gathering, spanikopita are great as they can pretty much be a meal in and of themselves.) Basically you take phyllo dough, coat it in butter and wrap it around a mix of spinach and feta cheese. You could make these from scratch. (My mom and I have done it on many occasions.). But you could also buy them frozen. I recommend the latter.
Since the meal I was serving was pretty much pre-fab, I felt the need to actually cook something. A perfect opportunity to try out a cookie recipe that caught my eye. Pioneer Woman posted this recipe for "Cleta Bailey's Toffee Squares" and it looked delicious. But contrary to the title, it didn't seem very toffee-ish. The general idea is to make a cookie dough without any levening agent (ie baking soda) and then cover it with melted chocolate and chopped nuts. I am not a big fan of nuts in my cookies, and I also wanted to up the toffee taste. So I made her recipe but covered the chocolate in Heath "Bits o' Brickle." Yep, I found pre-chopped Heath bar in the grocery store. They rock.
These bars are wonderful. They are so easy to make, freeze well, are good for kids to help with, and look lovely. I think I will try them with white chocolate on top, and maybe chopped dried cranberries?
PS: Sorry about the poor photo quality on the family pics. Our living room has about the worst light ever in the winter.
|J playing peek a boo with his great grandfather.|