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:
2: Appetizers (we’ve done this one three times!)
3: Breakfast recipes
4: Side Dishes
6: Anything goes
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…
…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!!