Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Garden Club Christmas Party

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!


  1. OH my word such a delightful post, Angela!!

    I ooohhhed and ahhhhed and drooled and smiled all the way down....and then the Piece de Resistance....SANTA came to your Garden Club party?

    I am so glad he was able to take a little respite for himself just before the holidays, you know how busy he is making sure the elves are under control and all those toys are made for all the good little boys and girls...and grown up ladies who deserve a new tea cup or two!


  2. The food looks amazing. The cake...oh my goodness. I'm glad you were able to fatten Santa up a little bit before the busy time ahead for him. I'm asking for a tea-cup, too.

  3. Hello Angela
    As a provincial director for the Ontario Horticultural Assoc. I oversee 18 societies or garden clubs as we sometimes refer to them. With an aging membership, many are struggling across Ontario to keep going. To see a new group formed in your area is exciting, especially to have male members.
    Our annual general meetings usually end up with a sumptuous potluck like yours and after attending a number of them to perform my official duties, my waistline suffers.
    I hope you will continue to attract many new members and young people in particular.

  4. What a fabulous array of food on the buffet table... wow! Thanks for sharing... and I hope that Santa remembers your special request for a tea cup as I know you've been nice all year!

  5. What can go wrong with Santa at your party? :)

    Wow, what a cornucopia of food! Amazing!

  6. What fun! Everything looks so good, now I am hungry and it's two hours til lunchtime. I think I will go make a cup of tea. And I bet somehow your Christmas gift wish will be granted.

  7. Thank you for sharing your beautiful luncheon. I've actually had pesto palmiers before at a tea, or rather, they were on our tea tray, but I gave mine to my son so he could have two since he's vegetarian. He loved them so much, I need to find a recipe to try to make them myself.

  8. What fun! Our garden club had our annual Christmas party last night too. We had such a good time & it was potluck just like yours.

    We always have lots of fun playing dirty Santa & we sometimes add new twists to the game. Ours is an all women's club but we do have Mrs. Santa in our group. For years now Mr & Mrs. Santa have done lots of community service in our area, visiting schools, hospitals orphanages & riding in our local parade. Mrs. Santa is a sweetheart, a very good gardener & cook.

    Thanks for sharing your party! Being with friends is my favorite part of Christmas.

  9. WOW! What a fabulous Christmas Party and array of scrumptious food. I scrolled through the photos a couple of times to make sure I didn't miss a thing! With potlucks like that, your Garden Club will be able to put together a great cookbook as a fundraiser, and I'll definitely buy one!

  10. What a Magnificant Feast !!!!
    The fellowship was probably just as awesome !!

  11. Oh my but this is a wonderful Christmas party. I wish I could have been there to sample. So many good things. No Christmas parties for me here, sad to say. Just adventures to the gym. Enjoy the festivities!

  12. What a great spread for such a new club. I hope your club will continue to grow and blossom. :-)

  13. Everything looks delicious. Wish I was there. Spinach quiche looks especially good. Thanks for sharing

  14. Looks delicious and fun. Now I'm hungry!!!!

  15. You have a wonderful start there on a recipe book!

  16. Hello Angela, I love your photos today - looks like a feature straight out of Southern Living. Such a variety of foods, wow! A good mix of sweets and savories and all 'dishes' look delicious. Thanks for sharing, Joanie

  17. Looks very tasty! I used to make Martha Washington's and they were a chocolate covered, sugary coconut center with dried cherries and I thought the cherries were why they were named after George Washington's wife!
    Merry Christmas!


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