Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cookie Swap Time Part II

Now that you know how to get things started for your cookie swap I thought I'd share a few things we've done at my cookie swaps in the past!  You know ladies only need 3 things to have a good time; wine, food, and each other!  So with Christmas music in the background and everyone arriving, obviously we start off the evening with wine and a few apps!  I don't like to fix anything too heavy so we will all have room for dinner but we definitely need something on our tummies as we sip our chardonnay!  I usually fix some sort of dip or cheeseball with crackers, some sort of veggie tray and something salty like nuts or chex mix.  One of my favorite dips is a taco dip.  Everyone loves it and it is sooo easy too make.  Here is the recipe:

Taco Dip

1 large container sour cream
1 package Hidden Valley Fiesta Ranch Dip Mix
Small diced tomato (you decide how much...I usually use 2 Roma tomatoes)
Thinly sliced green onions
1-1 1/2 cups grated Jalepeno Monterry Jack cheese

Mix the Fiesta Ranch Dip Mix with the sour cream and spread in the bottom of a shallow dish like a ceramic pie plate or quiche dish.  Top with grated cheese, onion and tomatoes.  Serve with Tostitos!  It's delicious!  If you can't find the Fiesta Ranch Dip Mix you can substitue by using 1/2 package Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix with 3/4 package regular Taco Seasoning Mix.

This year I am going to make a cheese ball that is absolutely delicious.  It's from Tastefully Simple and it's called Creamy Crab Cheesball Mix.  You can order from Tastefully Simple online and they deliver within a few days.  You can order from my daughter Brooke over at Shrimp and Glitz by going to her website at Everything by Tastefully Simple is wonderful!  They have lots of good gift ideas too!

After we chat a while, laugh, sip our wine, laugh, nibble on apps, it's about time for dinner.  I don't prepare a big spread of food, I usually do something light and simple.  I don't want to be cooking while everyone is having a good time!  In years past I've prepared things such as a crab bisque with quiche, shrimp perlo and a salad, and last year we had a wonderful shrimp and corn chowder with salad.  This year I'm thinking of having a delicious Tomato Bisque that is sooo easy to make it tastes like you were eating in a 5 Star restaurant, and cheddar and chive muffins with my 7 layer salad.  I'll share those recipes later.  You don't have to prepare a meal.  I've been to cookie swaps before and we just had apps.  I've even been to swaps where everyone brought their favorite app along with their dozens of cookiesI  It's all in what you want to do!

It's so much fun when everyone arrives with their bags of cookies!  It's just as exciting to see how they are packaged as it is to see what kind of cookies everyone baked!  I've already heard some snippits of what kind of cookies my friends are bringing!  I can't wait!  Everyone puts their cookies on the table and it's so tempting to start swapping right then and there so we can sample everyone culinary prizes! 

Once we've all filled our tummies it's time for dessert!  Last year it was 2 hours before everyone was to arrive and I had no idea what to fix...I looked in my pantry and saw a loaf of about a bread pudding.  I love bread pudding, especially in the winter time.  That's another recipe I will share later...but to give you a hint, it has dried cranberries in it and nutmeg sauce on how bad can that be?  (I love Ina Garten!)

Okay....time to go to the table for the big swap!  Be sure to take a large container to haul the loot home in!  Market baskets are perfect for this, especially if they are monogrammed!  Everyone goes around the table and takes 1 container of each type of cookie.  Husbands are home anxiously awaiting the arrival of the sweets!!  It's about time to leave but before everyone heads out the door I always have a little treat for my guests.  You don't have to do this but I LOVE giving gifts.  I do something every small and inexpensive.  I usually don't spend over $2 each...YES, you can find cute things for very little money.  The dollar store is my best friend!  Here are some of the things I've given in past's just a small token of love for my dear friends!

One year I gave each person a little bayberry votive.  I found the votive holders at a local crafts store for $0.50 each...the candle was probably $1.00.  I wrapped it in cellophave and attached a ribbon and a little notecard with the following poem

"This bayberry candle is a gift from a friend
On Christmas Eve burn it down to the end
For a bayberry candle burned down to the socket
Brings luck to the home and wealth to the pocket."

This is a tart burner I found again at a local craft store...ON SALE...for $2.00.  I added a tealight and a tart.
I thought the teapot was perfect for the kitchen...where we spend a lot of our time!

Last year I gave each friend a personalized ribbon notepad that I made.  The size of the notepad is 8.5 x 5.5
I love limegreen and red for Christmas!
Well, after hugs and goodbyes everyone leaves and I take off my shoes, pour me a big glass of wine, throw on my apron and clean up the kitchen.  It's actually one of my favorite household chores!  Oh, and more more thing...dress FESTIVE!  You're there to get in the Christmas spirit!  I'll let you know how this year's cookie swap goes next week!  Until then I've got to decide what kind of cookies I'm going to bake!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting the Taco Dip. This looks so easy, which is needed for me. I have a wine gathering with the girls this week and can't wait to try this.