ImageDecember is a perfect time to embrace all the year has brought forth, the lessons learned and trials and triumphs. It is also the perfect time to bring everyone you love together for a holiday party! I’m a fan of gatherings all year long but there is something special about December and that feeling “We’ve made it through another year!” So grab your friends and family and rejoice in the wonders of this life!

 Last year I was living the fine life in my quaint beachy apartment in Los Angeles, working as the executive chef at a prominent rehab house, and involved in a fantasy love affair. It happens, on this exact date, I received a phone call that would change everything. So now, a year later, I am living in a shared four-bedroom apartment, working as a chef for a family, and my fantasy has disintegrated.  As I reflect back on the year I’ve had some amazing times; witnessed friends get married, traveled to exotic locals, and even managed to create a social circle in a new city. These were of course matched by some trying times, an emotional breakdown in the club, an extreme argument with my sister, the cold! I understand life is a balance and I appreciate the growth; there is nowhere I need to be but right here, right now. So now is the time to celebrate!

                             Spiked Cider/Cocoa Skating Party

20091203-drinks-450 

Ice skating of course holds a certain magical element to those of us who do not live where there is snow. I began this holiday tradition last year in Los Angeles, and I plan to make it an annual event.

What You Need:

Hot Chocolate-Baileys-Marshmallows-Whipped Cream

Hot Cider-Whiskey-Caramel Syrup

Chex Mix

Chocolate Coated Pretzels

Mood Music: Joyous Holiday Tunes

 Meeting Place

Ice Skating Rink that stays open late

What You Do:

This festive gathering couldn’t be any easier. Have everyone over for spiked, warm libations and sweet treats, then caravan to your local ice skating rink!

 Ugly Sweater Party

1f09c59d-de8d-44f7-93b4-8d2244eb6d4c Probably the most over done holiday classic, but we aren’t in college anymore be a grown-up and serve classy snacks.

What You Need:

People in Ugly Sweaters!

Heat Turned Down-sweaters are hot

A couple of hors d’oeuvres  (not the dried out veggie tray)

Wings, Fruit Squewers, Bacon & Cheddar Pinwheels

Signature Cocktail

Peppermint Gimlet? White Russian?

Mood Music: Upbeat, Fun, depending on your guests dancing may happen

What You Do:

Mingle, mix, and eat!  Have a contest for the ugliest sweater!

Image

    Solstice Tea

edbec97d00344857fb237a3f888b0e76 This is one of my  family traditions. Dec 21 marks the shortest day of the year. To celebrate, we light a lot of candles, oo and ahh over the sunset, and eat cookies and drink tea.

What You Need:

Tea

Assorted Cookies- make them all yourself or for added fun make it a cookie exchange, each guest brings a different kind of cookie.

Candles-the solstice is all about lighting

Good view of the West

Mood Music: Classical, Celtic, anything soulful and sultry

What You Do:

Arrange cookies on platters, set out several mugs for guests to choose from, have hot water ready for tea.

 assorted cookies

The holiday spirit is infectious, but it has to start within your heart. Spread goodwill and cheer by throwing a festive holiday gathering!

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my life has been a very interesting journey thus far. in my quarter century crisis im and not certain of much except that i love cooking and entertaining, and pleasing people is my passion. (wait that sounded a little funny) i am goofy eccentric, and love to laugh, in fact i often laugh at the most inappropriate times. i place high value in honesty and working hard. i don’t really believe in faking it until you make it, without some base knowledge or some sort of depth to your cause. i believe in making mistakes and trying everything once as long as you bring yourself no harm and no harm to others. i am a new age hippy, my words to live by are freedom, serenity, and love. i look for signs of the world and listen. i do judge, anyone who says they do not is a liar, but i use my judgements against you to reflect back on me to see how i can better myself. i hate constraints of our society, including grammar, punctuation, and recipes. i think fast except when it comes to numbers. the culinary world has always been and shall be my safe haven and outlet. i want to inspire, teach, and learn.

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