I'm on the couch watching "Hart to Hart" as part of my recovery from our holiday party last night. I always love when we have a party where I thoroughly enjoy myself. This was one of those times.
We had a great mix of people, old and new friends, a good representation from the 'hood.
I'd had some health issues in the days leading up to the party, so we did a few things more last-minute than I'd wanted. But I was delighted that my kids jumped in without hesitation when asked to help clean, decorate and prep food.
Future Farmgirl turned out to be particularly helpful putting the finishing touches on our buckeyes, which would have been served without the chocolate had she not pitched in. Those turned out to be pretty popular. So was her peanut butter ball snowman display.
Here are the other runaway favorites from the party (followed by some flubs).
The Top 5:
Chartreuse and lime cocktail. [This may be the most popular drink we've ever served, beating out the Alberto No. 1 we've served off and on over the last 11 years. There's a great story behind the making of Chartreuse - which is distilled in France from a secret recipe of 130 herbs that's protected by a vow of silence by Carthusian Monks and named for the Grande Chartreuse monastery. The story, which we learned after reading the bottle, was a conversation starter and drew interest in the drink].
2. Carolina pulled pork sliders with coleslaw. [The empty crock pot is evidence.]
3. Beef meatballs cooked in grape jelly and chili sauce. [These are not my thing, but I threw in the towel a long time ago and will keep these on the menu as long as our guests (and my kids) keep polishing them off.]
4. Hot chocolate bar. [This was much more popular than I'd imagined. I learned though that I need more whipped cream. We had plenty of marshmallow varieties, candy cane stir sticks, and four flavors of hot chocolate but the whipped cream tapped out earlier than I'd have liked.
5. Dried beef, pecan and cream cheese souffle. [I'm sure that's not the real name. I don't know because this was a treat brought by a guest. Clearly, I need to get him to cough up the recipe. Another guest brought homemade flan, which was also spectacular. We do, happily, have some of that leftover.]
The bottom three:
1. Espanola butternut squash soup. [I think this fell victim to the popular pork and meatballs. Given the choice, this just wasn't an option.]
2. Blue cheese and pecan spread served with panatini, apples and pears. [This is one of my absolute favorite things, but I never even had to refresh this on the table.]
3. Hot spiced apple cider. [I'm pretty sure this was mainly because it was poorly placed...in the kitchen simmering on the stove. I need to find a better way to serve this, maybe in a thermos so it's easier to access and pour.]
Guests who dared to grab the apple cupcakes dipped in caramel were complimentary of those, but I have plenty to bring to work on Monday. I also refreshed the dates filled with goat cheese.
I won't lie that I'm not disappointed that I made too many of those so I have leftovers to munch on.
As a parting gift, each guest got one of 10 varieties of popcorn from Wisconsin's Fireworks Popcorn, with Smencils for the kids & knitted snowflake ornaments.