New Years Eve Party Recipe Ideas

New Years Eve Party Recipe Ideas

Every year I attend a large New Years Eve party where everyone brings various food to share. It’s always delicious and a good way to help absorb the alcohol.

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Here’s a roundup of some of my favorite pot-luck recipes, one of which I’ll probably draw on in a couple of days.

Silent But Deadly: Cream Cheese Things

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Cabbage Crunch Salad

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Hoisin Chicken Wings

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Fried Macaroni & Cheese Balls

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Pizza Rolls

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Hoisin BBQ Pork Sliders

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Caramelized Onion & Gorgonzola Tarts

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Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls

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Honey Gorgonzola Mini-Toasts

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Christmas Traditions

Christmas Traditions

Religious or no, the winter holiday season is chock full of a zillion different traditions. Some of mine are a continuation of what my parents did for me as a kid, others have slowly developed over the years.

Things like:

  • Buying Mark a new ornament every year (ever since we started dating).
  • Designing and printing my own holiday cards.
  • Pretending I actually try to wait until after Thanksgiving to play Christmas music (I usually stop sometime in February and start up again in July).
  • Hosting a holiday movie party.

I’ve learned that my Christmas food traditions are pretty casual compared to some families. There’s no Christmas eve or Christmas day dinner of note. However, Christmas morning breakfast has to be just so. Otherwise the holiday feels incomplete.

It’s not complicated — just scrambled eggs and little smokies sausages (apparently that’s a carryover from my time in Montana). Brie tends to add hot chocolate and Mark requests biscuits and gravy. It’s a hearty meal to start the day with, but it’s really wonderful after dragging myself out of bed early to see what Santa has been up to.

What kinds of Christmas food traditions do you have? What makes your holiday?

Candied Pecans

Candied Pecans

I’m not a big fan of nuts.

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Sure, I can eat a handful of honey roasted peanuts now and then, salted cashews are starting to grow on me, and I like my peanut-butter crunchy, but I despise Jordan almonds and think that nuts ruin perfectly good fudge. I hate nuts in stuffing, I hate nuts in trail mix. They’re usually bitter and make my teeth feel weird.

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But these Candied Pecans might as well be some illicit drug with how addicted to them I am.

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I would go as far as to say that besides for the allergic, these would convert even the most ferocious of nut-haters.

candied pecans

They’re so easy to make and perfect to have on hand for the holidays. I’ve served them for our last three holiday movie parties, and several years ago I even made festive little baggies of them as gifts.

Candied Pecans
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 20 servings
Ingredients
  • 16 ounces pecan halves
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • ⅔ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat to 300 degrees and line a large baking tray with wax paper.
  2. Whisk the egg white, vanilla, and water together in a large bowl until its thicker and frothier.
  3. Add in the sugars, cinnamon, and salt, and then mix thoroughly until the pecans are well covered.
  4. Spread evenly over the wax paper-lined baking tray and place in oven for 45 minutes.
  5. Stir the pecans every 15 minutes.
  6. Cool for at least 10 minutes before eating.
  7. Stores well in cookie tins.

 

You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t give them a chance.

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Our humble party spread featuring the candied pecans, kettle corn, movie-theater popcorn, hummus and veggies, hot cocoa and fresh whipped cream, eggnog, pomegranate punch, salted caramel cookies, various candies, and a delicious cabbage salad courtesy of my brother and his girlfriend.

 

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Holiday shorts and cartoons before our main feature during our Holiday Movie Party

Holiday Gift Guide: 2015

Holiday Gift Guide: 2015

Here’s your gift guide for this holiday season. Whether you’re buying for someone you love or for your office’s white elephant exchange, I’ve rounded up some great nerdy options.

Stocking Stuffers (under $15)

Personal Potato Chip Maker

Personal Potato Chip Maker ($9.99 – ThinkGeek)

Erlenmeyer Shot Glasses – Set of 4 ($9.67 – Amazon)

Zombie Apocalypse Magnet Set

Zombie Apocalypse Magnet Set ($9.99 – ThinkGeek)

My Neighbor Totoro Gray Apron ($6.59 – Amazon)

Space Capsule Tea Infuser

Space Capsule Tea Infuser ($9.99 – ThinkGeek)

My Neighbor Totoro 2-tier Bento Lunch Box ($11.71 – Amazon)

The Constellation Mug ($14.95 – Amazon)

Grow Your Own Coffee

Grow Your Own Coffee Kit ($9.99 – ThinkGeek)

Star Wars R2D2 Christmas Ornament ($7.99 – Amazon)

 

Under the Tree ($15 and up)

Chemist's Spice Rack

Chemist’s Spice Rack ($49.99 – ThinkGeek)

Star Wars Death Star Waffle Maker ($39.99 – Amazon)

R2-D2 Ceramic Teapot

Star Wars R2D2 Ceramic Teapot ($39.99 – ThinkGeek)

Star Trek Klingon Bird of Prey Ornament ($17.99 – Amazon)

Planetary Glass Set

Planetary Glass Set ($34.99 – ThinkGeek)

Harry Potter House Tumbler Cup – Set of 4 ($29.34 – Amazon)

BB-8 Desktop Lamp

Star Wars BB-8 Desktop Lamp ($39.99 – ThinkGeek)

Gears and Wheels Wine Bottle Storage Rack ($60.67 – Amazon)

Alien Abduction Bookends

Alien Abduction Bookends ($24.99 – ThinkGeek)

Star Wars R2D2 Light String  ($20.49 – Amazon)

Anatomy of a Halloween Party

  1. Entertainment (a survival horror game from Frictional Games)

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  2. Mummy dogs (recipe from Brie forthcoming)
  3.  Caramel Apple Sundaes (courtesy of Brandie)
  4. Cute animal in theme-appropriate hat

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  5. Easy filler foods to fill up tummies but keep us out of the kitchen and engaging with guests. (Costco potato salad, crackers, artichoke dip)
  6. Bucket of candy for trick-or-treaters

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  7. Lazy costume (I went as myself).

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What did you do for Halloween?

Qwerty Cafe’s Halloween Spooky Snacks Roundup

Here’s some of my favorite Qwerty recipes that I think would be great for any Halloween party you may attend or host this year.
Or, you know, make them for yourself Halloween night, shut off all your lights, turn on a movie, and ignore anyone who comes to your door.

You do you.

Pumpkin Spice Rice Cripsy Treats

Pumpkin Spice Rice Crispy Treats

Vampire Repellent – aka – Garlic Deviled Eggs

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Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls

Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls

Fried Macaroni and Cheese Balls

Fried Macaroni & Cheese Balls

Queso Blanco

Queso Blanco

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

Soft Pretzels

Recipes from a Hat: Soft Pretzels

Silent But Deadly: Cream Cheese Things

SBD: Cream Cheese Things

Strawberry Margarita Cake

Strawberry Margarita Cake

I made this cake for the first time about four years ago.

 

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My boyfriend at the time was working in a managerial position for Claire’s corporate, and I had somehow ended up as the official cake baker for his employees birthdays. They quickly caught wind that I enjoyed turning alcoholic drinks into baked goods so besides for this Strawberry Margarita cake, I also made a White Russian cake and my classic Irish Carbomb cake.

strawberry margarita cake

When it showed up on my Timehop, I knew without a doubt I had to make it again. Fortunately I had the perfect excuse, it was my mothers birthday on the 2nd and she had requested a Mexican theme for the food. So, along with our Crock-Pot Enchiladas (for which I made my own red enchilada sauce), we had a taco bar, margaritas, chips and guacamole with the most perfect avocados I’ve seen all season, Cream Cheese Things, Tomato Basil Mozzarella apps,  Coconut Macaroons, and this cake.

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As you can see from the photos, the frosting looks a little suspect. Not only was it very warm in the house which exasperated the situation, but I had somehow run out of powdered sugar and it was just too late to get any more. I experimented with using a little corn starch to try to thicken it up, but it didn’t work like I had hoped.

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If you use as much sugar as you’re supposed to, you’ll have a nice fluffy frosting on your hands like my picture from four years ago.

Strawberry Margarita Cake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 16 people
Ingredients
  • Cake:
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 sticks room temperature (or hurriedly microwaved) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons lime zest (about 4 limes worth)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup non-alcoholic margarita mix
  • 2 Tablespoons tequila
  • Tequila Glaze:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 2 Tablespoon Tequila
  • Frosting:
  • 8 oz room temperature Cream Cheese
  • ½ cup room temperature salted butter
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, blended
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 2 Tablespoons non-alcoholic margarita mix
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • Special Supplies:
  • Stand Mixer
  • 2, 9" Cake pans
Instructions
  1. Cake:
  2. reheat the oven to 325 and butter and flour the inside of two 9" round cake pans.
  3. In a small bowl sift together the flour salt and baking powder.
  4. In the bowl of stand mixer with a paddle attachment, blend the butter and granulated sugar on medium low until light and fluffy.
  5. Scrape down the sides and one at a time add the eggs.
  6. Scrape down the sides slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix on low until combined. Do not over mix.
  7. Scrape down the sides and add the lime zest, milk, margarita mix and tequila. Mix until combined. If you feel your batter is too thick, add more margarita mix.
  8. Divide and pour equally into the prepared pans and place in the oven for about 35-40 minutes until golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean from the center. Rotate the pans once halfway through baking.
  9. When they're done, remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 10 minutes.
  10. Remove the cakes from their pans as carefully as possible and set flat side up on some cooling racks. Brush the tops of the cakes each with a quarter of the tequila glaze.
  11. When your frosting is ready, cut the first cake in half and place the glazed half down onto your plate or tray. Frost this layer generously.
  12. Place the second half of the cut cake, cut side up on top of the frosting. Brush with ¼ of the remaining glaze and allow it to soak in for a couple of minutes.
  13. Frost this layer generously.
  14. Approach the second cake in the same way, cut in half, put the cut half on top of the frosting, frost, place the last half on top, glaze, and then frost.
  15. At this point you're ready to frost the rest of the cake. Be generous with your delicious frosting.
  16. Decorate with freshly sliced strawberries and a twisted lime slice right on top.
  17. Glaze:
  18. When you cakes are about ready, prepare the glaze by mixing the sugar, water, and tequila in a small bowl with a fork or a whisk until fully combined and smooth. Set aside until needed.
  19. Frosting:
  20. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, place the butter and cream cheese and whisk on medium until blended and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
  21. Add the lime juice, blended strawberries, and margarita mix, whisk for another 2 minutes.
  22. Add the powdered sugar slowly, scraping the sides of the bowl every now and then, until the frosting is at your desired thickness.

The frosting is a little week, but still delicious. However, the cake itself is amazing; super moist and tangy and delightful. You could forgo any alcohol or even margarita mix, and just use it as a zesty lime cake!