On the 8th day of Christmas, I filled my rumbling tummy…

Food is an integral part of the Christmas season. Whether you are responsible for making the turkey masterpiece, indulge in tub after tub of candy cane ice cream or simply get a kick out of the festive red and green M&M’s you’re sure to be surrounded by a constant supply of delicious treats.

It really is the perfect way to accompany the season’s other key component: parties.

Truth be told, I have a bit of a reputation for finding a reason to party every month of the year, but at Christmas the sentiment is embraced by the masses. Time off, old friends, visiting family and lots and lots of eggnog are the perfect mix to get everyone ringing in the New Year on a wobbly, but very happy foot.

And although a trusty bottle of wine is usually your ticket into pleasing any hostess with the mostest, here are a few appetizer ideas inspired by the ladies of book club. Our own Christmas gathering (where we didn’t even discuss a book. Gasp!), was full of laughs, games, Christmas cheer and most notably, amazing appetizers. Browse through these treats for a little inspiration and be sure to try out the recipes below. You can ensure your invitation will be permanently in the mail for a fa-la-la-long time to come, if you do.

My blue cheese and striploin skewers:

1 thick cut of sirloin steak
1 package blue cheese
5 tablespoons balsamic salad dressing
1 red pepper
1 green pepper (or yellow)
1 white onion
1 package wooden skewers

The whole process took me about 30 minutes minus cooking time. Cut the steak, onion and peppers into large chunks. If I had more time I would have soaked them overnight in the balsamic dressing but instead I just brushed them before putting them in the oven. Assemble the skewers anyway you like and add a dollop of blue cheese onto each one before putting in the oven. Cook at 450 degrees for 8 minutes for medium rare. None were left by the end of the night, a sure sign of a hit!

Yvonne’s amazing quinoa salad

… 3/4 cup quinoa
1.5 cup water
1 cup diced zucchini
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup frozen baby green peas, thawed
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced yellow bell pepper
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano (or 2 tsp dried oregano)
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
Pinch salt
Pinch ground black pepper
1 cup crumbled feta (or you could use a different cheese of your preference)

Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for another 4 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork. Set aside to completely cool.

Combine the zucchini, tomatoes, onion, peas and red and yellow pepper in a large bowl.

Whisk the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the vegetables and thoroughly mix all the ingredients. Add the quinoa and feta and mix until evenly combined. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 3 days.

She hasn’t posted it yet, but Julia’s pizza dip had us all stuffing our faces. It was dangerously delish and I can’t wait until the recipe is up on her blog! In the meantime, peruse some of her other gems. She knows what she’s doing: http://kentjulia.com/

Kate's adorable "beggar's purses" ... cream cheese and caviar, nbd.

Brie bites courtesy of Kristy!

This entry was posted in Food, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , , , , , by Catherine Kitts. Bookmark the permalink.

About Catherine Kitts

Catherine (@catkitts) has been known to put her party dress on at the drop of a hat and will rarely say no to a new adventure. After completing her Bachelor of Journalism at Carleton University, she worked at the editor of a local newspaper for three years before trading hard news for the world of communications, marketing and advertising. Constantly juggling hectic work and social schedules, she always makes time for some of her biggest passions: news, sports, pop culture, cuisine, literature and many others. You can expect her to cover a wide variety of topics, keeping her finger on the pulse of Ottawa, her hometown - a city she's grown to love. *Bad Habit: never wanting to miss out *Favourite Food: pickles *Favourite Restaurant: El Camino *Wine of Choice: whatever Kate is drinking *Favourite Band: (solo artist?) Justin Timberlake *Favourite Song: Dancing in the Dark - Springsteen *Fashion Icon: Lauren Conrad *Political Affiliation: none *Favourite Movie: Back to the Future, Kindergarden Cop, Jurassic Park, Drive. *TV Series: Seinfeld *Sport: Hockey / Football *Team: Ottawa Senators / Seattle Seahawks *Favorite Book: Great Expectations - Charles Dickens, Freedom - Jonathan Franzen. ** To contact Catherine write her at : inanutshellca@gmail.com

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