This year, 2015, was our second annual Christmas Eve bash! Last year my husband asked if I’d like to have a big party with both of our families on Christmas Eve. It was a no brainer. We love hosting parties and truly LOVE Christmas!
Growing up we both had big family holidays at our grandparents with all of our cousins and LOTS of delicious food. Christmas Eve was never about presents. We may have left with one gift each. That night was always about spending time together as a family. Those memories will never be forgotten and they are forever cherished in our hearts. As life goes on our grandparents that hosted those parties are now in heaven. We went a few years with nothing to do on Christmas Eve because our parents had big parties on other days. This lead us to start a new tradition… the “Annual Christmas Eve Bash!” It’s one of the best decisions we’ve made. Our daughters now talk about this party for months! It brings an immeasurable amount of joy to our hearts to know that what we set out to do is being accomplished. That our daughters will forever have these memories of family togetherness. We have every other day of the year to be alone as a family with “just us”. In my heart I know that I am making my grandmother proud by carrying on her tradition and keeping her memory alive. She was the sweetest little Italian woman, the best cook, and so full of love. Though I miss her dearly, I am sure she is heaven smiling down on us for upholding her traditions.
So, about this Bash! We try to come up with a new fun theme each year. Last year we chose “Frozen” and made the house look like an ice castle. This year we went with an Ugly Christmas Sweater Bash! The winners (as voted by the group, (one adult, one child)) received a very nice prize!!! There was the annual white elephant gift exchange which brought a whole lot of laughter! Our hardcore euchre tournament brought two new winners this year! And not to go unnoticed….all. the. food! So much food. Almost all Paleo too. We did have a few treats that weren’t strict Paleo, but everything was gluten free.
The main reason for this post is to outline the menu and share the recipes with everyone. Hubs and I were just discussing earlier how we always make an overabundance of food. It has to stem from a party we’ve attended at some point that the hosts ran out of food and we swore that would never happen. So now we have enough leftovers to feed a small army, or freeze for when I’m feeling lazy!
- Rosemary wreath filled with grape tomatoes and a variety of olives; green, black, kalamata, and almond stuffed green olives. Fresh marinated mozzarella was set in the center of the wreath.
- a variety of cheeses such as cheddar toffee, a cranberry goat cheese, pepper jack and roasted red pepper cheese, cranberry cheddar, a smoked bacon cheese, herb goat cheese, smoked gouda, and a red wine nitrate free salami (TraderJoes), and all sprinkled with dried cherries and cranberries
- a selection of gluten free crackers
- organic rainbow baby carrots and organic sweet mini peppers
- shrimp with cucumbers cut and scooped to use as dippers for cocktail sauce (purchased from Trader Joes and free from artificial colors and preservatives)
- a fruit tray with berries, organic grapes, and melon with a vegan, paleo caramel dip set next to a bowl of clementines
- and the biggest hit was the Bacon Wrapped Sausage Stuffed Dates from my blog (click here for the link)
- Slow roasted pork chops seasoned w/ BBQ Rub from Make It Paleo II by Primal Palate
- Pulled BBQ Chicken (organic chicken cooked in a pressure cooker) served over Bacon and Caramelized Onion Mac and Cheese from Brittany Angell. The recipe says it can be made ahead and baked the next day but everyone that tried it agreed it was amazing the first day and not as great (still good!) after it was baked. So next time I make it, I’ll be sure to leave the crumb topping off, not bake it, and serve the day of.
- Kielbasa (nitrate free, very clean ingredients, from Costco), sautéed in avocado oil with peppers and onions and seasoned with sea salt, ground dry fennel and black pepper.
- Sweet potato puree made with ghee, grade B maple syrup, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and coconut milk.
- Purple, pink and white new potatoes (all organic and locally grown) fried in ghee, seasoned with adobo then roasted in the oven to finish cooking.
- Steamed organic green beans (organic and frozen) tossed with ghee and seasoned with sea salt, black pepper and garlic powder.
- Peanut Butter Pie from PaleOMG, Julie Bauer’s Paleo Cookbook, left off the whipped cream and topped it with melted enjoy life chips.
- Gluten Free Fudge Brownies from a Trader Joes box mix with an added Caramel swirl (from the vegan paleo caramel dip for the fruit).
- Soft Batch Green Tea Chocolate Chip Peppermint Cookies from Brittany Angell. I added Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil (5 drops) and an extra egg because my dough was too stiff. They turned out to be utter perfection! Recipe made a little over 2 dz cookies and they were all devoured!
- Paleo Pecan Pie Bars from the cookbook Paleo Happy Hour. I made these on Thanksgiving and loved them so I decided to make them again and wasn’t surprised to see the whole pan was gone!
- Paleo Nutella Fudge made two ways both with homemade hazelnut butter, one was topped with chopped hazelnuts and mini chips and the other had a crunchy hazelnut butter mixed in instead. Recipe to come to the blog soon!
- A few purchased desserts: gluten free chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting from Trader Joes, Gluten Free (GF) Fudge Brownie cookies and GF snickerdoodle cookies both from Aldi’s! (while none of these are paleo my biggest goal was to have everything gluten free and the majority of the meal paleo. That was achieved!
- Aside from Berkley Filtered Water we had Natural Milk (non homogenized), Chocolate Milk and Eggnog (free from the chemical storm most are made with) from our local dairy farm.
- Coffee Bar with the milk listed above
- Hot Chocolate from Trader Joes
- Gluten Free Beer, and craft Belgium Beer
- Organic Red and White Wine
That about sums up the menu and party! There is always so much work that goes into having parties, especially for 25 people, but when its all said and done its worth it! We had so much fun and loved every minute of our Christmas Eve. Heck, we’ve already started planning for next year!