Sunday, December 5, 2010

Have yourself a merry little....

It's raining in L.A. right now, like REALLY raining.
The thing that makes this more than a-ok is that it was getta-Christmas-tree-weekend here!! One of my favorite weekends of the year, it's the perfect time to stay in, snuggle up (hey, you wanted an excuse to wear that snuggie from the office gift exchange anyhow, right?) and deck the halls.

On a recent trip to Trader Joe's I snagged some Pear-Cinnamon cider, which was perfect with the pouring rain & a tree waiting to be decorated. We're big fans of their yummy apple cider, that is easy to make into a perfect hot party punch.
Good news, the Pear-Cinnamon cider rocks, we warmed some up and enjoyed the rainy night!!

This time of year is all about a little planning ahead to make nights like this one extra festive....
Have some easy appetizers ready to rock (by stocking some simple staples) and always keep crackers & almonds on hand, easy to create a cheese plate to make the apps into a spread! I suggest stocking up on this cider, and some Cupcake Vineyards Malbec (inexpensive & yummy).

Here's a few preparation-pointers that make it a snap to entertain with no notice~

Cheese-Cranberry goodness for entertaining:
Two items you can keep in the fridge for most of November & December are an 8 oz container of cream cheese & a container of Trader Joe's cranberry orange sauce.
Pour 1/2-2/3 cup of the cranberry over the cream cheese & serve with crackers.

Chicken Apple Sausage Puffs

1 box puff pastry, thawed (keep a box in the freezer all through the holidays- it only takes about 40 minutes to thaw and 30-45 minutes to make this easy appetizer)
4  chicken apple sausages from Trader Joe's (the regular grocery store has it too, just costs more!)- you'll have a leftover sausage & 32 puffs- or just use 1 sheet of pastry and 2 of the sausages for 16 puffs & have the other sausages for later!

Pre-heat the oven to 400
Cut each sausage into 8 pieces
Cut each sheet of puff pastry into 16 squares
Place a piece of the sausage in the center of a puff pastry square and fold the corners into the center- pressing the corners together so they seal together.
Place the little wrapped up sausage bites a baking sheet covered in foil- bake 30 minutes or until golden brown- cool for 10 minutes and server warm.

Happy Holidays!!

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