I love traditions. That comfortable feeling that comes from doing the same fun thing once a year (or more) with your friends and family. There is something to be said for being able to know what to expect. With all the holidays during this time it ends up being chalked full of traditions.
Having just proclaimed my joy for the routine, I have realized with adulthood just how much life can change from year to year. This Christmas was one of those times when it felt like everything was different. Yes, I was able to see most of my family, but very few of the usual components made an appearance.
This lead my mom and I to question even the simple, like what should be served for Christmas dinner. My mom threw out the idea of keeping it light and only doing finger food and I got excited. Maybe too excited. I busted out our ridiculously well organized pinterest board and drooled over all the appetizers. My mother then indulged me and we made eight different appetizers for five people. It seriously felt like one of my Christmas gifts was just the opportunity to get to try out that many new recipes. And I was super bossy about it too. I quickly snapped a picture of each food before I would let people try it. Then I made my family go around and critique the food. All in the name of blogging! Everyone happily put up with it and gave me plenty of feed back.
Basically what I’m getting at is we cannot always have exactly what we want the way it was in years past. I struggled a bit this year with a loss of so many my comfortable traditions. Difficult life events like deaths in the family and divorce changed that. But as cheesy as it sounds, if you get to be with those people that make you laugh and patiently put up with your idiosyncrasies, it all works out.
Onto the good stuff: appetizers!
My brother and cousin are both self proclaimed “picky eaters”. While my aunt and mom are expert cooks in the kitchen. This was helpful in that we had a wide range of flavor palettes and opinions. My raters used a 5 star rating system and added helpful critiques to improve these dishes for future use. I’m not sure in the end how useful the rating system was as the scales were often tipped if one person did not like a type of food in the dish. Nonetheless, I figured out the average for each dish.
Baked Zucchini Fries with Marinara by Une-deux Senses
Overall this was a hit. Both my brother and cousin said they really liked this dish, even though they tend to not care for zucchini. I would only make this appetizer if you are able to immediately serve it to your guest. You can do all the prep work ahead of time, but it is best if you can pop them in the oven right before guests show up.
Sweet Potato Pecan Goat Cheese Bites by Spoon Fork Bacon
The picky eaters were not that keen on this one, but my mom, aunt and I loved it. This is the appetizer to make if you want to make one appetizer to impress your guests. It is full of winter flavor and sets the tone for a fancy meal. We had a lot of leftover filling and mixed it with scrambled eggs the next day. A-Mazing.