Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Holiday Dinner and Craft Time with Friends

I had some friends over last week for my annual Holiday Dinner at Diane's.  I wish I had a larger home with a nice dining room so I could invite everyone, but I'm thankful to have my home and it is big enough for me most of the year.  I thought of adding a room off the kitchen several years ago so I'd have a nice dining space to have family and friends over.  It never happened, mostly due to finances.

I think the dinner went well.  I used some recipes from Better Homes and Gardens December  issue.  I made the stuffed pork loin, string beans, roasted potatoes and a fruit plate my friend Donna brought to the dinner.  Everyone said the meal was delicious and I know I liked it.  I'll cook the pork and green beans again soon!  The green beans were especially easy to prepare so I thought I'd post the recipe here if anyone would like to give it a try.
"Sauteed Green Beans with Shallot Crisps"
Prep time 20 min.  Cook time 14 min.
Serves 8, each serving 100 calories

1/3 C cooking oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
5-6 shallots, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
2 lbs. green beans, trimmed
1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

1. In a small skillet heat oil over medium high heat.  Add half the shallots.  Fry 3-4 minutes, until crisp and dark golden brown.  Remove from oil; drain on double-thickness of paper towels.  Cook remaining shallots.  Set aside.
2. Cook beans in a large pot, covered, in enough boiling water to cover for 6-8 minutes until crisp-tender.  Drain and submerse in ice water to cool quickly; drain well.
3.  Heat a 12" skillet over medium high heat.  Add butter and oil, swirling to coat skillet.  Add beans.  Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until beans are heated through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a serving bowl and top with shallot crisps.
MAKE AHEAD:  Shallots may be prepared up to 2 hours ahead.

I had requests for this recipe it was soooo good.  A great way to enjoy green vegetables!
After dinner we had some wonderful apple pie one of my friends brought over. 
When we finished dessert, it was craft time!
My friend Bonnie supplied the plaid flannel for the snowmen, thanks Bonnie!  We also made a "test" piece at her house a few days before the party.  I wanted to make little "kits" for each person, but ran out of time so I just handed them out to them.  I sewed the snowmen and their coats on my little singer.  They did the rest.
Here's a picture of the ornaments each person made.  They enjoyed hand sewing, stuffing the snowman, and dressing him.  Some sewed a small bell to the end of his cap.  Sharing the holidays with friends is such fun!

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