Several times this year I've written about the new Crossroads Garden Club I was privileged to join in early 2012. We may be new but our "little" club has been growing every month, and on Monday night we all gathered for our first annual Christmas Party. Because we talk about food so much here in blog land, I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the foods we brought to share. Not too shabby for a not-quite-one-year-old club, eh!
Are you tempted yet? My contribution, at lower right, was the same Olive-Walnut Dip I made several times last year, adapted from a recipe for a favorite tea sandwich spread. If you need a quick and easy dip, and I did, just mix 2 (8-ounce) blocks of cream cheese, 1 cup of sour cream, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and 1/2 cup chopped olives. Decorate with sliced olives on top. Keep your mouth shut about how easy this is and everyone will think you knocked yourself out. Seriously.
But the item on the table that captured my attention immediately was my friend (and the garden club president) Deberah's Caramel Apple Spice Cake. Oh, mercy, it is divine! (And no, I don't have the recipe. Yet!)
Just as good: Her Carmelitas, these thick, decadently rich bar cookies that tasted like you'd managed to bake caramel ice cream topping into them. Along with cakes, doughnuts and other sweet treats, we hardly knew where to begin.
Before tucking into all the sweets, most of us sampled lots of savories, like this spinach quiche and hot artichoke dip.
Deberah (who must have cooked all weekend) also made this Hot Pimiento Cheese Dip. Great idea, and something different!
Our secretary/treasurer, Wilma, brought a great cheese ball. Love cheese balls, always!
Garden club member Charlotte, whom I already knew to be a great cook, made yummy and pretty cheese straws. And I don't know who made the puffed pastry treats with basil, I believe, at back, but they were excellent, and I think they'd be quite at home on a tea tray serving as one of the sandwiches/savories.
Mini-quiches are just always a good idea, aren't they? For the tea table or the buffet table, they always play well with others.
Fruit for the healthy eaters is always nice to see. (Yes, I ate some fruit, don't think I didn't!)
And I got rather amused at how many times I heard these grown-ups say, "You know, kids just love these Rice Krispie treats." And then I'd see folks return for another, and another. Funny! But you don't need an excuse with me, I like 'em too!
This little goodie (maker unknown) was some sort of cream cheese and ham spread sandwiched between two pecan halves or rolled in pecans. So much flavor in such a cute little package!
Charlotte also made these chocolate treats she found on the Internet called Martha Washingtons.
Charlotte said you'll see them made with different kinds of nuts, but she chose walnuts. They taste just like an Almond Joy, the classic candy bar, but my question is … why are they called Martha Washingtons? Charlotte doesn't know, and all the web recipes for them don't seem to know, except for one person who posted that Martha was said to be a good cook so maybe she liked these. If anyone knows the answer, I'd love to hear it!
The beverage station featured these lovely Christmas cups!
And, to save the best for last, I thought you'd like to see just who is a member of our garden club, which includes both men and women. Recognize the white-bearded man in the red shirt? Yes, indeed, Santa Claus is a member of our club! (Around these parts this sweet couple is known as Santa Paul and Wendy Claus, and they bring cheer to lots of local boys and girls.) Just to be on the safe side, as I left the party I said, "Santa, I want a new teacup for Christmas." (No, I don't have anything in mind, I'm just hedging my bets.) "A teacup?" he asked. I nodded. "I think I can handle that!" he said, and with a nod of his nose he bid us all a good night!