Good hostess, bad blogger

That’s me. I don’t have many pictures to share of the holiday party (bad blogger) over the weekend because I was doing my best Martha Stewart impression (good hostess). At least I was trying to.

I pretty much landed back in Ontario on Tuesday night and was in Holiday Party mode immediately.

On Wednesday I made a list and checked it twice ten million times. What can I say? I’m type-A.

I wanted to keep things simple for myself for a few reasons. For one, I didn’t have much time to get things prepared both in number of days before the party, and in between Harrison’s naps. For another, I didn’t want to be busy prepping things the morning of the party or have to fuss too much about cooking up hot food during the event. I wanted to enjoy myself and welcome people at the door, and get them a drink and all that other etiquette stuff. Not to mention I had a hair appointment and we had another appointment on Saturday morning related to an exciting new development here at Casa O’Leary. (No, I’m not pregnant. Are you CRAZY!?) Stay tuned this aft for a picture of the new addition that we brought home.

I served a mix of hot and cold hors d’oeuvres. Most of what I made at home was the baking/sweets.

I made an all white dessert selection. (That sounds pretty racist. Yikes! No offense intended. I just thought it would look pretty and wintery).

Clockwise from the top: A Christmas tradition in our family – Nutty buddies. I’ll post this recipe for you soon. They are heavenly and more than one party guest told me they were hoping I’d have them on hand. Several others asked for the recipe. They are THAT GOOD! Shortbread cookies. Recipe courtesy of my friend Elysia. Cream puffs courtesy of M&M. I dusted them with icing sugar myself! And finally some sugar cookies to round out the sweets.

I had a couple more items on the list but I hit a few snags.

The first snag was that I made a full shortbread recipe and put it in a shortbread pan (to give it a nice design) and I took it out and it looked like this:

Wop wop! I guess I didn’t bake it long enough? Or maybe I didn’t grease the pan well enough for it to slide out? I don’t know. I made a regular old batch of rectangles to make up for it. I also tried my  hand at macadamia nut brittle. It turned out like this:

Double wop wop! What a seriously devastating waste of macadamia nuts. It may not look so bad in this picture, but it wasn’t hard and candy-like at all. It was just sorta solid. As a result of this double disaster I didn’t have time to make another dessert. I was going to make some chocolate moons (dusted with icing sugar) to round out my buffet of white sweets.

In the end I think we had enough of sweets for everyone.

As for the rest of the menu the table started looking like this:

And I brought out more cold stuff and baked up some hot stuff as the day went on.

The menu:

A large veggie selection with onion dip. I used one of those gourmet dip mixes. You know the ones you always get in gift baskets? Yeah, it was great and I used a bit of extra onion that I had from making…

A cheese bell. I thought I was being clever. I made my cheese ball to look like a big bell. How festive, right? Right? (Side note: I’ve only made the cheese ball twice and I haven’t yet made it into a ball. For Courtney’s shower I made it into a cheese bump.)

Large shrimp platter (Also from M&M)

Cheese selection tray from Zehrs catering

5-layer Mexican dip with nacho chips

Oriental Party Pack from M&M – A few people mentioned the party pack has almost become a holiday staple, a tradition. And why not? Those little pot stickers are so good!

Bite-size spanakopita from President’s Choice (Zehrs) In a majorly convenient Christmas miracle of miracles the Oriental Party Pack and Spanakopita had the exact same cooking directions for both time and temperature so I was able to do batches of each at the same time. That made my life a lot easier! Highly recommend.

And of course we had a selection of bevvies.

I liked the green and red together and I also froze cranberries in ice cubes in advance to brighten up the bucket. In addition to the bucket drinks I had lemonade on hand for the munchkins and a white wine sangria for the grown-ups.

And finally, because the party was meant to be casual and fun and kid-friendly I knew that people would be stopping by with their kids. And what do kids need? Something to keep them busy! So I baked up some gingerbread men ahead of time and let the kids “dress their own” gingerbread man. I had icing, and a variety of toppings to dress them up.

Here’s Liam’s creation.

So cute! He later decided he didn’t like the dried cranberries so much and promptly undressed his gingerbread man.

That’s all the photos I managed to snap of the party. Like I said, bad blogger.

It was wonderful to see those who could make it. I think I’ll host an open house party again next year. It so was nice that people could drop in and stay as long as they liked. Many people came by before hitting their work party or other holiday parties later that evening, so I think the format worked just as I planned.

Maybe this little party will become a holiday tradition people look forward to. I sure hope so!

How about you guys? Any holiday hosting? Any bad blogger-ing? We’ve only got one more Christmas party to go to this year and it’s husbandman’s work party in the city. I’m really looking forward to a night out amid all the hustle and bustle.


3 thoughts on “Good hostess, bad blogger

  1. Heather, we had a wonderful time! A short visit but glad to see everyone and to begin the feeling of Christmas! This morning’s snow is helping with that feeling too. Looking forward to seeing you soon. xxxooo

    P.S. You are the hostess with the mostess….and I don’t believe the bad blogger part at all!

  2. wish I’d been there. You did a lovely job, was the day humid? sometimes with candy and certain baking the humidity factor can be blamed for less than pleasing results. Love Gram xx

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