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Friday, December 24, 2010

Party Rules

It was down to the wire and I was unable to pull an "Eddie" after all.  Alas, the doorbell rang at 7:02 and our first guests arrived.  RULE:  You're first, you help.  And they did.  Chopping and pouring with a smile!

The egg nog was a vision- egg whites frothed to perfect peaks with a sprinkling of nutmeg.  As I've mentioned before our annual party is going on its 18th year.  RULE:  Stick to a menu you know and that you are known for.  Vava's would not be Vava's without:

Gala Pecan Spread
8 ounces cream cheese (soft)
2 Tablespoons milk
1 (2.5 oz) jar of dried beef (slice it up)
1/4 cup green pepper (finely chopped)
2 Tablespoons dried onion flakes
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup pecans (coarsely chopped)
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

Combine cheese and milk.  Stir in beef, green pepper, onion flakes and rest of seasonings.
Mix well.  Fold in sour cream.  Spoon into an 8" pie plate.
Saute pecans in melted butter, then salt lightly.  Sprinkle nuts over cheese mixture.
Heat in 350 oven for about 20 minutes.  Serve warm with crackers or raw veggies.

This is a staple "hors d'oeuvres" of Vava's!
 (From my very first cookbook purchased in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia 33 years ago!!!)

THE Best Artichoke Dip EVER!

2 cans (14 ounces each) non-marinated artichoke hearts - drained
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons sherry
Dash of cayenne
Dash of paprika

Mix and mash the drained artichoke hearts, the mayo and the parmesan cheese with a fork.  The mixture should be thoroughly mixed but with a few lumps.  Do NOT puree.  Add garlic and sherry.  Mix thoroughly.  Put mixture in a small souffle or casserole dish and top with dash of cayenne and/or paprika. 
Bake uncovered 15 minutes at 300.
(Recipe states:  "It will be eaten before it cools.")  Pretty much.

Corn Dip

2 cans Mexicorn or Fiesta corn - drained
1 cup mayo
16 ounces sour cream
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
3-4 green onions, chopped
2 cups grated cheese
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon lime juice

Mix, let chill well and serve with Frito scoops or crackers.

None of these are gourmet material...but here's another RULE:  serve "plain/ordinary" stuff in your pretties. Crystal bowls, pretty serving pieces dress that corn dip up.  I'm just sayin'.

We couldn't possibly have squeezed another human into our kitchen.  Why is this always the case? We DO have other rooms in our home.  The noise level was VERY loud which translates FUN times. 
RULE:  Invite interesting people.  There won't be a lull in conversation.

Both our sons are home and were "working" guests last night!  #1 Son and My Guy made a second batch of nog in the middle of the party.  Cracked 12 eggs, separated whites from yellow.  They hovered over my huge mixer reading the recipe line by line.  It was adorable.
RULE:  put the fam to work!

We're casual especially at home and some have a bravado and sense of humor
that ummm, some may not "get."

#2 Son (restored, happy & content) with #1 Son (wearing his "Tacky Christmas Sweater Party" attire from a party in Austin last week.)  Needless to say he got a few laughs

RULE:  Shop vintage and make the most of it!  

The party started with a bang early on.  And all were gone fairly early...considering.  I looked at our kitchen and was overwhelmed with the remains of the day.  But My Guy rolled his shirt sleeves up and started the process.  Together we whipped our kitchen back into shape. 

RULE:  Have a spouse that loves hosting as much as you do and cleans BETTER than you do!

As we end 2010 I'd like to wish each of you blessings galore.  Two days left until His birthday.  I hope we all get a minute or two to slow down and honor HIM.

Kisses to you!


Vava and Her Guys


Diane said...

Love, love , love and love all these pics. What a fun have a great family Vava. Love you!!
Merry Christmas to you and your guys!!!
Again thanks for sharing sweetie!!!
Diane, Your TP sister

jill said...

sounds like the party was a huge success! the pics (especially the last) are priceless. you are simply glowing (and the outfit is completely fab ;). merry christmas, vava ♥

mary said...

Your party sounds like so much fun!! thanks for sharing your winning recipes! this last picture of Vava & her guys!! has me dabbing tears! Oh my goodness how sweet! and ditto what Jill already said about the glowing & fab!!! ♥ Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic party, and you kNOW we'll all be there someday. I adore Wes's outfit!! I love that he participates in all the fun! Love you and thanks for sharing the recipes!!

lazymaisy said...

Sounds a hoot Virginia....I Wish I had been there with you ( I'm a great chopper and pourer ) Your last picture you will treasure forever ....happy happy joyous Christmas and 2011

Sandi said...

Sweet Va.... As always, I love the way you express yourself! Love all your "RULES" too. Your photos are lovely... ESPECIALLY the last one with your two 'guys'! :) Love to you, and many wishes for a loving, gentle, peaceful, Sandi

Anonymous said...

Oh Vava what a great tradition. Doesn't it feel sooo good to be a good hostess. Your pics are great. Those handsome sons. I say #2 takes after his Mommy. So glad this is going to be one of the best holidays for your family. Love to you and your family and blessing to the best of friendships. xoxox FRANCO

Dianne said...

Va, Love, that last picture did me in!!!! How absolutely adorable. I am so glad you are REALLY celebrating this Christmas. All in God's timing and He has perfect timing. xoxo

moondiva said...

Vava...the best for the best!!!! Thanking God for you and your blessing...the best is yet to be!!!
xoxo Deb

Jane K. Schott said...

From that photos I can see that all your wishes have come true. Merry Merry to you and yours.

Denise said...

What a fabulous party! You're the hostess with the mostess and THAT'S why your guests come back year after year and why your parties are so awesome! THRILLED to see that son #2 looks so happy and peaceful. And I LOVE son #1's sense of humor and confidence. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that!! And that last pictures is priceless... xoxo Denise

Kim said...

Wonderful pictures of you and your boys Va! Your house just screams Holiday Warmth/Love! Love the dip recipes too.....gotta try them all! Merry Christmas Va and family! xoxo

Emily said...

Merry Christmas Virginia! What a great night it was!

sewmuchwhimsy said...

Merry Christmas Vava! And all the best in 2011 to you and your guys. xoxoxoxxo Gretchen

LLH Designs said...

I love that last rule! I abide by the same one! Such an awesome photo of you and your boys!


catie said...

that photo of you & your guys...
it is by far the most beautifully happy photo i have ever seen of you.
love you! ♥