Recipe Exchange 2018

Well…it’s that time of year!

It’s time for my ANNUAL RECIPE EXCHANGE!!!

Insert all the happy dancing and cream cheese.

Because we always bring food with lots of cream cheese.

It really doesn’t matter what the theme is…cream cheese is a flowin’ at these parties 😉 .

This year, we basically had two themes.  While we were in NYC, I told them that I wanted to do something with Mexican food and then something with fleece.  Hahahaha!  We settled on everyone wear your fleece and flannel pajamas (because when you eat a ton, you want your stretchiest pants on), and we had Mexican and Margaritas!

It was a Fleece Navidad!


If you’re new around here, I looked it up and this was my NINTH year to host a Christmas recipe exchange.  Here’s what we do:

1: Everyone emails me their recipe in advance and I compile I little booklet of all of them.

2: Everyone brings their prepared dish the night of the party.

3: We eat, eat, eat and then vote on our favorite (the winner gets a prize!).

4: Everyone leaves with a party favor and a copy of the recipe booklet.

5: I always provide drinks and dessert to round things out.

I also like to do something a little extra at these parties as well.  In years past, we’ve always donated to the food pantry, brought things for a child off of the Angel Tree or things to donate to Toys for Tots.

So, that’s how this works.  Here are the themes I’ve used over the years:
1: Cookies
2: Appetizers (we’ve done this one three times!)
3: Breakfast recipes
4: Side Dishes
5: Casseroles
6: Anything goes
7: Mexican

If the theme isn’t a main course (like cookies or side dishes), then I have that on hand.  For instance, I had savory appetizers the year we did the cookie exchange and a ham and rolls the year we did side dishes.  If everyone turns in their recipes and there is nothing sweet, then I provide dessert too.  I always provide the drinks.  We’ve combined these parties with an ugly sweater theme, we’ve done crazy pajamas…I mean, we do it all!

Here’s a little look at this year…

I’m just waiting for everyone to arrive!!

I cut brown butcher paper into big rectangles and put everyone’s names and recipes on there.  That way, when they arrived, they just grabbed theirs and placed their food on top (makes it easy for voting so that we can properly identify each dish).

Andrew took the kiddos to dinner and then when they returned, they hung out upstairs during the party.

Candles and twinkle lights are my jam.

This year, we ate in the dining room.

Our little group is suuuuuper tight and honest to goodness, in 10+ years, we’ve never had an argument…but we came close to our first one when we were in Macy’s in NYC last month trying to pick one ornament we would all go home with.  We ended up with two because we could not agree.  (It was comical how passionate some of us are about our ornaments…) Now, we laugh about it…but in the heat of the moment, there was a great divide.  So, I put the ornament I loved the most in the middle of the table as a little victory dance.  Ha!


Isn’t that the most beautiful ornament you’ve ever seen?  Hahaha!

I have all of our recipes just typed and printed out so that everyone leaves with a copy.

I always give them a little party favor/Christmas gift when they go out the door.  I try to make my gift different and special each year.  So, when we were in Edinburgh this summer, I bought them each a tartan scarf that looked totally Christmas to me!

Plaid makes me happy.  Christmas plaid makes me freaking giddy!

Voting station set up!  We were ready to rock and roll!

Lori had to come straight from work this year, so she asked if she could bring dessert instead of a Mexican dish.  How cute are these cookies?!?!  They were delicious too!!

Sheaffer likes to brag because she’s won “best recipe” the most.  This is what she brought this year.  It was so good!!!  It wasn’t award winning though 😉 .

Karla’s Mexican Lasagna came in second place!!  It was so delicious too!!

But this year, the winner was…



It was really good, friends!  She posted it on her blog HERE.

Food, food and more food!!!

And a little Meagan too 😉 .

I tried to take a pic of every recipe, but with everything going on, I only got a few.  They were all LEGIT delicious!

The recipe I made was…

Spicy Chicken & Corn Tacos

…my Spicy Chicken & Corn Tacos!  These are really good too!  I just made the filling and then everyone had it with chips (like a dip) since we were already eating so much, I didn’t think people wanted a whole taco.  So, you can make it up either way.  The directions are HERE.

Another recipe exchange in the books!  Next year is year TEN!!!  I’m going to have to make that one super SPECIAL!

Happy Thursday, friends!!

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  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog December 6, 2018 at 4:44 am

    I’ve always loved your idea of having a recipe exchange! My friends and I are having a potluck later this month, I might actually suggest doing this instead! It sounds so fun. 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Erika Slaughter December 6, 2018 at 5:11 am

    This party always kicks off the Christmas season for me. It’s the most fun night…everything is absolutely perfect and we leave with such a fabulous party favor!! Now that I think about it-maybe this should be a seasonal event instead of a yearly one? 😉

  • Beth Knecht December 6, 2018 at 5:14 am

    This is just so fun!

  • Sheaffer December 6, 2018 at 5:26 am

    Always one of my VERY FAVORITE nights of the year! And this year with Mexican food, margaritas, AND PAJAMAS? And the Christmas plaid scarves? Well, I’m not sure if it can be topped….but let’s definitely try! Love you! xoxo

  • Narci December 6, 2018 at 5:28 am

    This was such a fun night! You are the best hostess and what FUN to hang out with you girls! Love you!! Also, I totally had to laugh at that ornament: most beautiful ornament I’ve ever seen too. Haha!

  • Laura December 6, 2018 at 5:42 am

    Shay! Did I tell you I hosted my first ever recipe exchange this year? I felt empowered to do it because of your tips 🙂 We did it in October and it was all fall themed foods (apple, pumpkin, chili, etc). None of the ladies knew each other, they all just knew me, but it went great. We also made haunted gingerbread houses (graham cracker houses decorated with Halloween candy). It was so much fun! Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 6, 2018 at 6:01 am

      Oh my goodness! This makes me so happy!!!

  • Elspeth Mizner December 6, 2018 at 5:44 am

    I love this idea! It’s so fun and so simple, i love the different themes.

  • Tanya December 6, 2018 at 5:52 am

    This is such a fun tradition. I love reading about it every single year! You are blessed to have such a close group of friends!

  • Lori December 6, 2018 at 6:08 am

    What a great idea! I want ALL the recipes above.

  • Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams December 6, 2018 at 6:13 am

    Sign me up for this theme! Mexican and margaritas sound fantastic and so do the dishes! The table looked so festive and those scarves, lucky ladies!

    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams

  • Ralinn December 6, 2018 at 7:02 am

    I am in love with the Tartan scarves. I love that you have such a close group of friends. Mexican food and margaritas sounds so good. I would love to see the two ornaments everyone was so passionate and divided on. Happy Thursday.

  • Elizabeth December 6, 2018 at 7:14 am

    Everything looked so lovely and delicious! I look forward to seeing this post every year. You guys are so fun! And wow, what an awesome host you are gifting your friends with cashmere scarves! Those ones are so cute! I am obsessed!

  • kathy olson December 6, 2018 at 7:14 am

    I’d love the recipes, too!

  • Kim December 6, 2018 at 7:29 am

    In years past you have shared all the recipes with us….will that happen again this year? Pretty please!!!!!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 6, 2018 at 7:54 am

      I haven’t! I always try and share the winning recipe, but I don’t have the sources for all of them.

  • Monica December 6, 2018 at 7:54 am

    I Love this idea – Fleece Navidad! I’m totally going to do this next year with my besties!!!

  • Clare Butler December 6, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Seriously the most fun party idea ever!

  • Kristen December 6, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Soo fun! Someday I am going to host something like this! Hey, I know you mentioned this yesterday but I didn’t have time to leave a comment. Can I ask where your new kitchen island lights are from? We are in the process of remodeling our kitchen. Thank you !

    • Mix and Match Mama December 6, 2018 at 12:21 pm

      I bought them online! Email me and I will try and find the source. I don’t have it right here in front of me (I should!).

  • MelanieL December 6, 2018 at 8:05 am

    I always love your recipe exchange party posts! The scarves are beautiful and well traveled, what a very special party favor! 🙂

  • Jenna December 6, 2018 at 8:23 am

    What a fun night with your girls. What a great time of year to have it as well.

  • Carly M December 6, 2018 at 8:27 am

    Fleece Navidad! I. LOVE. THIS. Shay, you always know how to make my day! Happy Thursday!

  • Courtney Younts December 6, 2018 at 8:32 am

    I host an Christmas Cookie Party and last year I made the award winning caramel cream cheese apple dip – it’s definitely going on the menu again this year!

  • Sarah Shaneyfelt December 6, 2018 at 8:36 am

    This is always one of my favorite posts!! Love that you and your girlfriends are so tight!

  • Kelly Buffington December 6, 2018 at 8:45 am

    This is such a fun tradition! I look forward to reading about it every year to see what you choose for this year’s theme. It never disappoints:).

  • Sonia December 6, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Ah that Mexican hot chocolate looks so good, too, but then when I clicked on the link I saw it had liquor in it 🙁 Any suggestions on how to make it preggo-friendly?

    • Mix and Match Mama December 6, 2018 at 12:20 pm

      I would add the spices to regular hot chocolate. It was the heat that made it so good!

  • Heather S December 6, 2018 at 9:25 am

    I live for this post every year- I make the winning recipe for our friends and its ALWAYS a HIT!! You need to compile all 9 years worth of recipes for a new cookbook!! That baby would fly off the shelves for sure! And those scarves….swoon!

  • amlakar December 6, 2018 at 9:51 am

    I would love it if you posted everyone’s recipes 🙂 The mexican street corn looks delicious! Also, we will be in McKinney for the weekend of the Armed Forces Bowl. If you could pick your top 3 restaurants on the square for breakfast and dinner which would they be? Thanks!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 6, 2018 at 12:19 pm

      Ohhhhhhh! That’s so hard! Eat breakfast at Spoons and dinner at Cadillac Pizza and Harvest!

  • Sara F December 6, 2018 at 10:12 am

    Ok this sounds like so much fun! I have adapted your scarf party idea, and have hosted 3 years in a row now! I may have to give this party idea a try as well.

  • Pam December 6, 2018 at 10:32 am

    Can you share the mexican Street corn recipe?

  • sydnee December 6, 2018 at 11:01 am

    The hot chocolate sounds so good! Do you know if there’s a kids version?

    Sydnee | Design by Sydnee 💗

  • Wendy December 6, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    I need your Hallmark shirt!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 7, 2018 at 5:27 am

      I bought it on 🙂 .

  • Jaime December 6, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    I love all of your recipes. Have you ever tried carrots Marsala. It’s amazing! We had it at a restaurant last week! Seriously life changing! Have you ever made it? If so can you post your recipe for it?

  • Sherry Kenney December 6, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    I love the “Fleece Navidad”! We’re having Mexican for Christmas Eve this year and calling it Christmas Carnitas and Margaritas!

  • Terri D. December 6, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    You seem like such a great hostess! Your home and party decor was beautiful. Please, please, please could you try and post the Mexican Street Corn Salad? It looks soooo good!!

  • Jenny December 6, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    This is such a fun tradition. On another note, where are your kitchen lights from? They are beautiful!

  • Lisa Klein December 6, 2018 at 3:47 pm

    I love reading about this special party every year and seeing all of your incredible details!! I was inspired by your party to start my own tradition for my sweet mama tribe. December was too overwhelming for me so I hosted a Mother’s Day cocktail party on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. I had so much fun planning it, cooking and baking and mixing up a special cocktail. My friends loved it and so did I! Looking forward to hosting it again next year!

  • Natalie December 6, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    So fun, and now I feel like I have to try some of these recipes!

  • Lea Culp December 6, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    What a fun idea! I need to do something like this with my “peeps.” Maybe next year. Happy weekend!

  • Leanne Gilchrist December 6, 2018 at 7:36 pm

    Shay! The Cracked Out Beans, YUM! I wish you’d post the recipes for these! I love your chicken tacos, and I love the idea of using it as a dip instead of a whole taco. We’re doing just appetizers, what our family calls “a spread” for Christmas, and I love all of these ideas. What a fun night! I’m actually contemplating hosting my own recipe exchange. I’ll let you know if I do!

  • Alexis deZayas December 6, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    I hosted a scarf exchange for the first time this year and think I’m going to have to steal this idea next year! Love reading these posts each holiday season!

  • Sarah December 7, 2018 at 12:52 am

    An idea for next year would be to share all the winning recipes and then decide which one is the best out of the 9 best 🙂

  • Marci December 7, 2018 at 5:24 am

    I love the Graphic T-shirt and its saying! That is so my friend and I. Would you be able to tell me where I can purchase it from? Thank you!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 7, 2018 at 5:27 am

      I bought it on!

  • Stephanie Zapata December 11, 2018 at 6:00 am

    This year is my 3rd annual Recipe Exchange party & I started it because of your blog. I always forget to take pictures but this year I’m going to try not to forget!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 11, 2018 at 6:03 am

      Yay!! I just love hearing this, Stephanie!!!

  • Leilani December 11, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Can you share the recipe for Shearer’s cracked out beans?

  • Michelle December 15, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    I just hosted my (what I hope will become) annual recipe exchange this morning! Since i have an 18-month old who goes to bed fairly early, dinner time was out of the question, so I hosted a Cookie Exchange Brunch and it was awesome! Some of the girls made a dish to share and everyone made half a dozen cookies per person, which I asked them to bring already pre-packaged to make the exchanging so much quicker and easy – it was a huge hit! I printed off cute holiday recipe cards from Etsy, and printed copies of each recipe on word document, and handed them out with adorably wrapped ceramic holiday mixing bowls…everyone had lots of fun and left with big smiles in their faces! Thanks for sharing your tips and I can’t wait to see what I’ll decide to do next year…maybe an around the world theme where everyone brings a dish from their own family backgrounds!

    • Mix and Match Mama December 16, 2018 at 5:19 am

      Yay!!! I love this so much, Michelle! Merry Christmas!!