So the house is decorated. We bought a tree. We have a tree, mind you. But it's really, really large. It's quite big around and would never fit in the window of our living room. Not without eating some furniture. Since Little Mister's second Christmas we've been using a table top tree as our Christmas decoration focal point. It was nice, but I missed having a floor model. So this year we found a slim, 6 foot tree for very little money. It fits quite nicely in here, and I was able to use ornaments that haven't seen a Christmas in some years, and also spread the others out more. I'm quite happy. And so are the kids. They've never had a full size tree (save for Little Mister's first Christmas, but he was barely more than brand new at that point).
Cookies have been baked. I made some yummy gingersnaps and some tasty but ugly shortbread rounds that were rolled in and sprinkled with crushed candy cane. Honestly, it sounded prettier than the end result. I've also made a batch of honeycomb candy/sponge toffee. And I discovered that the distinct floral flavour of the local blueberry honey that I enjoy does not make a nice tasting candy. So I will have to buy a container of more generic honey that has far less character, I guess.
I still have more candy to make. Bacon caramel corn, beer caramel pretzels, more sponge toffee and possibly some jelly candies. Many will be gifts.
As for parties, we don't host any. I'd love to, but space is sorely limited. Once the family room is complete, we'll be able to have friends around to share fun and games with (I miss game nights). But for now we go to parties. And our most favourite is hosted every year by friends from church, who have a potluck and invite EVERYONE! There can be 100 people (or more, apparently) in their home. All ages (though for our sanity and Little Mister's health we leave the kids at home to enjoy pizza with their Aunt and cousin). Did I mention it's a potluck? Is there a more splendid compound word? I think not. Everyone is asked to bring a main and either a salad or a dessert. I've brought chocolate mint truffle triangles, a winter salad of endive and pomegranate on a bed of watercress (here), various casseroles, and last year I believe I took a glazed peameal bacon roast.
And this year? This year I'll take something like my winter salad. It was a big hit and very pretty. And I'm taking a recipe I found at Taste of Home that is technically a salad. It's a German Potato Salad with Sausage for the crockpot (another wonderful compound word), but it looks hearty enough to be a main on a buffet. I've never used sauerkraut before. But the combination of it with the creamy soup, the sausage and bacon makes me think that this will be balanced and delicious. Of course I'll double the recipe and use my large pot. Lots of hungry mouths to feed!
* 8 bacon strips, diced
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 1 pound smoked kielbasa or Polish sausage, halved and cut into 1/2-inch slices
* 2 pounds medium red potatoes, cut into chunks
* 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of potato soup, undiluted
* 1 cup sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
* 1/2 cup water
* 1/4 cup cider vinegar
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
* In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove to paper towels with a slotted spoon to drain. Saute onion in drippings for 1 minute. Add sausage; cook until lightly browned. Add potatoes; cook 2 minutes longer. Drain.
* Transfer sausage mixture to a 3-qt. slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the soup, sauerkraut, water, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Pour over sausage mixture. Sprinkle with bacon. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until potatoes are tender. Yield: 8 servings.
If you're in the mood for a more introspective look at Christmas through my eyes, you can go back to my post from last Christmas Eve --- http://asinglestepblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/real-meaning.html