Tuesday, December 30, 2014

White Elephants and Tasty Bites

The same night that my parent's hosted their family Christmas Party, I had my annual friend Christmas with a White Elephant gift exchange.My friend's hosted it in the gorgeous house in Vernon and they supplied a few eats while the rest of us all brought things to share.

I don't remember everything that was out on the buffet, but the kitchen was filled with food. Here's a dabbling and please forgive me if I forgot an item or two. I was in a food coma shortly after arrival and may have forgotten everything I ate:

Bacon-wrapped water chestnuts
Oven-baked ham and swiss/cheddar sandwiches (Recipe Below)
Southwest Egg Rolls
Fruit Skewers
Cheesey-jalepeno dip
Cake balls
Bagel Dip (Recipe Below)
Raspberry pretzel bars (Recipe Below)
Gingerbread cookies
Chinese noodle salad
Antipasta Skewers
And of course we all had plenty of drinks and supplies. There was Jack Daniels Apple Cider, X-Rated and Red Bull for our lady quick-drinks, Amaretto and Sour, Captain & Bacardi Rum and Coke, tons of beer, wine, champagne - yes we love our cocktails!

The drinks help the best come out in all of us for our annual White Elephant gift exchange.

Here's how we work our gift exchange.
1) Each person that wants to participate brings  at least one White Elephant gift.
2) All gifts are to come wrapped and added to the pile in the middle of the room.
3) The participants sit around the gift pile in a circle.
4) Each person rolls the pair of dice one time in hopes of getting doubles.
    a) If doubles are obtained, a gift is chosen from under the table or a person is allowed to steal a gift from someone else that has one already.
    b) If doubles aren't obtained, the dice travel to the next person.
5) All gifts stay wrapped for the length of the game.
6) The game ends when the last gift is removed from the middle pile.
7) Not everyone will get a gift and some will have multiple gifts to open. 
8) Everyone that has a gift, opens their gift and laughs at what they received.

Some of the gifts that were received this year include: Unicorn Meat, Beer Brewing Kit, 20 used DVDs, batman puzzle, coal, coffee warmer, massage kit, white trash barbie (she made her return since she was brought into the game in 2012 and was a hit then - it's the cheapest looking knock-off barbie: eye makeup on her cheek, chest and arms are two different shades of skin, legs are way too skinny, dress is put together with mismatched velcro), a colossal TV remote, mini alcohol bottles, and more.

And my favorite gift of all was the one I received (obviously). I got a Wine-O bag - which is an insulated, reuseable brown paper bag to carry my wine in. It's so perfect for me and the person that brought it was hoping I would pick it. Sometimes life is funny how that works out.

I plan to have my recipes in printable formats in 2015 - something that will come along with a few blog upgrades that I have planned. So please bear with these recipes as they are.

Bagel Dip - From the kitchen of Caroline
1 c Mayonnaise
1 c Sour cream
4 oz. of thinly sliced deli beef or corn beef (Mom always uses 2 packages of original Budding Beef)
2 tsp. dried dill weed 2 tbs. dried parsley
1 tsp dried minced onion
1 bag of bagels

Cut up beef into small pieces.  Mix all ingredients together and set in fridge over night.  It is VERY important that you let it sit for several hours in order for flavors to marry, or it won't taste right.  Tear bagels into small pieces and serve with dip.

Oven Baked Ham Sandwiches- from the kitchen of Caroline via a Facebook recipe
2 - 12 oz. pks of Sweet Hawaiian rolls (the small dinner roll size)
1 1/2 lbs. of Virginia ham (NOT honey ham)
6 slices of swiss cheese
6 slices of cheddar cheese
1 stick of real butter
2 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the bottoms of the 24 rolls into 2 9X13 pans. Place ham on the rolls in each pan. Cut the cheese slices into 4 parts and place 2 small pieces on each sandwich. (I suggest keeping swiss with swiss and cheddar with cheddar, but go wild and mix it up if you want). Cover with the tops of the buns. In a sauce pan, mix butter, Worchestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder and poppy seeds. Wait until all the butter is melted and then brush the melted butter over the ham sandwiches. Cover with foil and refrigerate for 1 hour or over night - or bake right away. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and serve.

Raspberry Pretzel Bars - from the kitchen of Sam
1 1/2 c. crushed pretzels (using a ziploc bag and crushing with a rolling pin works best)
3/4 c. melted butter
3 Tbsp. sugar

Add pretzels, butter and sugar together in a bowl and then transfer to a 9X13 pan and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Let cool before you add the other layers. 

1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 c. powdered sugar
1 8oz. tub cool whip

Blend cream cheese and powdered sugar together. Fold in cool whip. Spread on top of cooled crust. 

1 large pkg. raspberry jello
2 c. water
12 oz. frozen raspberries

Boil water and mix in jello. Let cool slightly then add frozen raspberries. This sets the jello. Pour on top of the cream cheese mixture and spread around evenly. Put in the fridge to set for at least an hour before serving.         

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