Saturday, November 28, 2015


Every year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas  - Mom and Dad have a bunch of Dad's friends from his college days (U of I Engineering School) over for snackies. Mom is almost always on call on Thanksgiving so one of the junior probies with small children and a large doesn't have to be.  She and Dad will make a small turkey breast and/or pork roast with some sides from the deli for a quick, simple meal, having visited their parents a previous weekend for an early Thanksgiving gathering.

But then, they'll have a get together after Turkey Day with lots of fun snacky foods for their friends.

This is my SECOND holiday season in my furever home and I'm loving it.   I'll probably have to be baby gated in Mom's office again while the food is out, but I have a nice comfy bed in there and Mom said she'd bring me snackies while people can give me pets over the baby gate.
On party day, baking starts at first light, and cooking continues on until the first of the guests will arrive. Mom and Dad keep busy, talking shop and other things while things baked, simmered and seared. Mom has friends that don't don't  meat so she always makes things they can enjoy as well.

Mom gets the buffet cleared off a bit so there's room for the glasses for the adult beverages while I patrol to make sure she didn't drop any crumbs.

Uh oh, busted trying to table surf for goodies.

Before the sun was even up, Mom put up the 60's retro aluminum Christmas tree  that goes up in the front room with a original, rotating color wheel (come on, some of you remember having one of these as a kid).
Then the bed will be made cleared off so there's a place to put coats and a few antique chairs will come up from the basement so there's room for everyone to sit in the living room.

Here's some items from this years menu as well as a few photos of some things from last year.

Cream Cheese topped with  Jalapeno Jelly (a dip combination you have to try) with crackers and veggies.

Mom's famous Hot Sweet Onion Dip, for which the recipe was requested by everyone, served with wedges of fresh Pita bread and paw-tato chips.

2 cups chopped sweet onion
3/4 cup 2% sharp cheddar
1 teaspoon hot smoked Hungarian Paprika
1/2 teaspoon Heavy Metal Hot hot sauce (from Scoville Brothers in Indiana)
1 cup mayo (not non-fat)
dash of pepper

Mix and top with 1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan and a dash of more smoked, hot paprika

Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes until bubbling.

The humans usually lick the bowl clean of this stuff.

The crock pot will get set up for Mom's party meatballs. These are vegetarian ones that EVERYONE loves.  Start with 3 packages of Gardein veggie meat balls and prepare as directed. Then in a pan, over medium heat, mix the following ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes, adding a couple Tablespoons of water in if you like a thinner sauce. Pour over cooked meatballs and keep warm in the crockpot with toothpicks to spear them. Double the recipe if you're going to have a crowd. (makes 3 dozen meatballs).

2 cups tomato sauce
1 and 1/2 cup honey (substitute 2 cups of brown sugar if your guests are vegans)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons plus two teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup finely grated shallot
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon jarred minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
A pinch of crushed red pepper
1 and 3/4  teaspoon Jane's Crazy Mixed up Salt (a low sodium herb blend), or 1 and 1/4 teaspoon regular salt)
Dad's homemade yeast rolls, cut in half and topped with:

(1) goat cheese and sauteed veggies and herbs, then broiled
(2) steak marinated in vermouth then rubbed with espresso salt and chipotle and seared, on top of pepper jack, also broiled

Plus herb encrusted pork with garlic mayo and Gruyere served on sourdough toasts
Finger sandwiches with turkey, cranberry and cream cheese, or veggies and cream cheese..
Bacon wrapped dates ready to go in the oven to bake.

Chips, fresh veggies and sliced fruit.  MMM.  There's Dad's caramel apple dip.

There will be eggnog again,  with the bar readied with some things for cocktails, plus red wine, mead and . . . Liquid Wrench? That got a few smiles last time before it was set aside and drinks mixed.

Of course there were toys, you can't have a house full of geeks without toys. Radio Controlled helicopters, board games and of course, the stuff in the shop. The hosts and designated drivers got to play with the lathe in the Bat Cave. (I think the camera crew for this one got some spiked eggnog but you get the somewhat blurry idea).
. . . . while guests more loosened up with Liquid Wrench had the option to play with Mr. Blick, International Bean of Mystery (much safer).
I'm looking forward to this years event, like in previous years,  the food will go quickly, the conversation lively.  With Dad's friends starting their own families now, it's getting harder and harder to get together so this is always a good gathering.

It's was a fun time, even as the food disappeared, no limbs were lost in the Bat Cave and there was only one or two near mid airs with the RC helicopters. Time to open the White Elephant Gifts, which some of the group brought to share last year.
There was an assortment of the deliberately useless and tacky, including the Billy Mays Slider Maker (because just making 5 small burgers is SO hard but wait there's more act now and get the special slider flipper for only $19.95 shipping and handling.) Another fun one was the small children's story books, hard bound. Or shall I say 10 for $10 BADLY edited children's story books. "Jack and her Brother Jill went up the hill" (??) and a little Red Riding Hood where the editor just couldn't handle the historical ending of Red Riding Hood which did NOT end happily ever after, instead, substituting a vague, "we're not sure what happened to Red Riding Hood, no animals were harmed in the making of this book. THE END."

Before heading home, with everyone getting leftovers to take, there was dessert.

Dad will make  trifle with butter rum pound cake, whipping cream and berries. Mom will make several chocolate rolled cakes with fluffy cream cheese frosting and freeze them in the weeks prior to the party.  She will then thaw them and serve with some homemade peppermint bark. Mom makes up a little plate of the leftover sweets and takes them to the older next door neighbors who just LOVE that each year, especially the leftover cake.

There was no big screen TV, no fuss other than food, just lots of conversation and laughter, card games and quips, and remembrances of parties past when Barkley was still with them (one year there were marshmallow guns). As always, there's big fun watching Dad with a butane torch, finishing off the classic touch to the evening, fresh creme brule' to go with a cup of coffee before everyone heads home.

And of course - even though everyone is stuffed, Mom puts out a plate of her deep fried rosettes, dusted with powdered sugar and some little plastic containers so everyone can take a few home.

Dad looked so handsome in his bow tie and it was good to see so many friends we'd not seen all year.
I think I hear someone at the door! Mom Mom, it's time to PAW-TY!


  1. I've had that jalapeño and cream cheese! It's awesome.
    Love the amount of booze you have. Haha.
    And I have one of those blowtorches too. Pretty much had to beg my parents to buy me one years ago. I love fire! Lol

  2. Um...I needs directions and bus schedules....I'll be overs just as soon as I can gets a bus pass in my furry little paws! Then we can scale that pesky doggie gate and PAWTY for REALS!!! You knows that our big brown puppy eyes and head tilts will get us TONS of goodies!
    Okays, packin' my margarita makin' stuffs now...I noticed no tequila on that bar...WTD??? no worries, I'll be sure to bring plenty! ☺
    Ruby ♥

    1. Ruby - we are in dire straits with the tequila. Someone just opened a WINE COOLER. Oh the humanity!

      See you soon!

  3. Wow, it looks like that was a REAL pawty! Let's see about that Christmas tree . . . we didn't think there were any in existence!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  4. Whut a pawty... looks like it were fun fur evfurryone!

  5. Hari om
    Bless your little furry feet, Abby, that is one mighty hoo!ie getting under paw!!! Hope the over-gate scritchies and scrappings are plentiful!!! Hugs and wags YAM-aunty xxx

  6. That looked like a great party! Lots of yum yums and crumb-busting!

  7. Wow, what a fangtastic pawty!! Our tummies are rumbling just from the list. YUM!

  8. That sounds like a fun party...except for the part where you were behind a baby gate Abby.


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