Rainytown

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So. Much. Rain. It never seems to stop. If it does stop, it quickly again starts. We're used to doing everything in a downpour now. Pushing a grocery cart full of groceries and a toddler through a parking lot in the pouring rain. Walking the dog in the pouring rain. Eating Christmas cookies in the pouring rain. Christmas shopping in the pouring rain. Ah, I shouldn't complain. . . . It's very cold rain, though. And did I mention, it never stops? . . .

Wintertime in Portlandtown. Make some coffee, light some candles, turn on the made-for-TV Christmas movies (favorite new Christmas movie: Just in Time for Christmas. I absolutely loved it.) Knit knit knit. Have a party or two. We've been having or going to party after party, which is not our usual style, but it has been really fun. All different groups of people. We're having another party here next weekend! That's the neighborhood progressive dinner. We're doing appetizers here. Can you suggest easy, cold appetizers for twenty people? I don't really know how to do this, but I do know I don't want to be shoveling hot things in and out of the oven. Even when they originally came from the freezer at Trader Joe's. Dips, cheeses, crackers . . . er . . . what else . . . ? This is only the first course of several, so, I think it can be pretty simple. All advice welcome!

It's busy right now, isn't it? No matter how you try to slow it down. There are just lots of things! The Christmas cards I ordered should be arriving in the mail here today. I'm going to make some hot tea and find the address book. Doing the cards is one of my favorite things. I've been looking forward to this. Go slow, Monday: I'm gonna settle in, stay warm, and write to all our friends with an actual pen.

***To those who have asked, the dollhouse is one I got at a secondhand store years and years ago. :) Sorry, I don't have a lead on a new one!

 

155 comments

As I was reading this beautiful post, I could feel my shoulders relaxing and smiling. You have a beautiful way of transporting me to a better place.

One of my favorite and easy cold appetizers are marcona almonds that you roast yourself with some fresh rosemary and an assortment of olives. Costco has great garlic stuffed olives in a champagne vinegar. Can't wait to read about that party!

Vietnamese springs rolls with peanut dipping sauce are my ultimate cold appetizer! Delicious, fresh, healthy and seem like they take longer to put together than they really do ;)

Two easy dip ideas - hot pepper jelly mixed with cream cheese (start with a 50/50 ratio, then decide if you want more of one or the other), and this pimiento cheese dip from Bon Appetit: http://www.bonappetit.com/columns/the-foodist/article/pimiento-cheese-a-k-a-southern-p-226-t-233.

Serve with crackers and/or crudites.

Also saw a sweet dip somewhere that was a block of cream cheese with caramel sauce poured over it, topped with toffee bits. It was served with apple slices.


What about a light dip and fresh veggies... I know I start to crave anything that isn't sweet when in the middle of the holidays, and I've enjoyed one cookie too many!

On another note: Thank you! I've been deep in thought (and some frustration) about the state of blogging; how few bloggers are active anymore, and how few of these aren't just window dressing for a corporation, or news agency. I am not trying to praise you by criticizing others, but it's worth noting that blogging is not what it used to be, and I find myself deeply thankful for Posie Gets Cozy. I hope that what you do, what you share, and how generously you do this, will last a very long time, and be appreciated and respected by many. You deserve recognition and appreciation, and support. Your blog represents tremendous labor, integrity, beauty, and inspiration, and I am so very grateful for all of it.

we took Trader Joe's spinach dip, mixed it with sauteed mushrooms and cut up chicken, mixed in some parmesean cheese and baked it in the oven and then served it with french bread slices for a pot luck. It was a hit!

We just had a big party and I often do gravlax with mustard/dill sauce and pumpernickel. You have to marinate the salmon for 2-3 days but it is super easy. I use the recipe that my mum used out of the TimeLife Foods of the World cookbook for Scandinavia. It is really impressive for such little work. You need a sharp knife to slice the salmon once it is done. Baked brie is also super easy and nice. You can put almost anything on top - cranberry sauce or maple syrup - something sweet to balance the saltines of the brie. And/or wrap the brie in puff pastry. Always nice to have something warm for an app.

My favorite appetizer is so easy and just takes one brief heat-up and you're done. Heat one jar of apricot preserves with one jar of pineapple preserves (or one big jar of apricot-pineapple, if that's all you can find) in a saucepan with a couple teaspoons of horseradish until it's liquified. Then pour it over two room-temperature blocks of cream cheese in a plate with a lip on it. Serve with crackers (a cheese spreader is helpful). So, so good.

At our knitting guild party last week, Jean brought a lovely appetizer. On a pretty toothpick, a chunk of Fuyu persimmon (about 1 inch square, "rustic" shape), then a boysenberry (placed length-wise), then another persimmon chunk. They were served on a white platter. Simply stunning ! Maybe serve with a nice cracker and a slightly sweet dip?

mini skewer with fresh mozzarella ball/basil leaf/grape tomato with balsamic glaze - great for xmas as the colors are festive!

Here's something I usually do just for our little family but can easily done big. Slice up a baguette, spread some brie, then top with dates which have been sliced in half. It's savory and sweet AND goes great with wine. It's funny how we rarely go to parties at christmas. Hope you enjoy all of yours!

Love the St Lucia photos! I like the idea of throwing parties but when I have done it I have found it so stressful! I never do anymore, except for family, which is a shame. I can't help you with appetizers. I hardly ever eat them, or dessert, I'm kinda boring!

I agree with Natalie, fresh veggies and a light dip are colorful and festive looking and a nice alternative to the rich, sweet food we tend to eat this time of year. And these seasoned fish crackers are an easy, tasty accompaniment http://feltsewgood.blogspot.com/2009/07/favorite-snack.html
They also make a great food gift, just place in cute containers.

As always, love your posts.

For a cold app, pick up some wasabi mayonnaise from TJ's. Spread a bit on slices of peeled cucumbers, then top with smoked salmon and fresh dill (optional). You could vary the topping--lump crab mixed with wasabi mayo and sprinkled with the TJ's seaweed snacks; asparagus tips sprinkled with diced red peppers. The wasabi mayo is key, and any sort of sushi combo would work well.

Have a great time!

Your guests might enjoy Mini bite--sized scones flavoured with sundried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. Bake as fresh as you can but no need to serve hot. We're having the same weather here, but thanks to you Alica rainy indoor days no longer hold any terror for me.

I LOVE this as an appetizer - so pretty, very easy, doesn't have to be piping hot, but still looks like you put in some effort.

http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2014/12/roasted-grape-and-olive-crostini/

We made them at Thanksgiving, and I've made it for dinner too, on large bread. You could do a small baguette or even a hearty cracker - maybe switch out the ricotta for a less "wet" cheese like goat cheese.

Seriously easy, easy to double, and so gorgeous, the colors. And taste.

A coworker is planning to bring mini cheese-balls with a pretzel stick in the middle to an after hours get together. Pretty easy peasey idea but very tasty. :)

So many lovely and cosy pictures ...

You can offer a variety of spreads (is that the correct word in English?) to go with freshly cut vegetables (cucumbers, bell peppers, carrots), crackers and an assortment of fresh bread (White, wholemeal, pita, ...): Hummus, red beet and horseradish (base: sunflower seeds or sunflower oil), white bean and sundried tomatoes with fresh parsley, red lentil and banana with cumin, curry and a bit curcuma (tastes so much better than it sounds), curd cheese with fresh herbs, etc.
A variety of roasted nuts is also great and easy peasy: roast nuts (almonds work great, but probably also cashew nuts or others) with a bit of olive oil, then add: a) smoked and ground sweet pepper and a bot of sea salt; or b) a bot of soy sauce; or c) a bit of honey and some spices, etc. etc.
You could also make some puff pastry parcels: storebought puff pastry tastes just as good. You cut it, fill it with different fillings (mushrooms and sour cream; ground meat, feta and spinach), bake it and let them cool before serving. They taste still great when cool and are way easier to eat because the hot filling does not explode into your mouth ... If you want to do it extra fancy, you can give each filling a different form (circle, half circle, triangle, square, ...)
Whatever you will do, it will be great and look fantastic, I am sure!

Best and easiest and most likely to produce ooooooo's and ahhhhhh's from people. An 8oz block of softened cream cheese mixed with a packet of Good Seasonings dry Italian dressing mix and about a tbs of mayo (optional). Slice a fresh baguette into 1/2"-ish slices and spread some of the mixture on top. Add a thin slice of cucumber to top. You will probably need two baguettes. It's delicious, pretty, and everyone loves it! I promise, it's a show stopper every time.

Here is a delicious recipe from The Pioneer Woman for Christmas Tortilla Rollups
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/christmas-tortilla-rollups/ And they look very festive too!
Merry Christmas from Nova Scotia!

Its all so glitteringly perfect :-)

There's nothing like a glow of a candle, especially at Christmastime. Hope our rain turns to snow. Oh boy wouldn't that be a Christmas miracle. Fingers crossed ⛄️❄️

Something sweet http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/apple-brickle-dip
Something savory http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/chicken-crescent-wreath

Fruit kabobs and hummus with veggies/crackers, perhaps? Holiday parties are always full of heavy foods so having a healthy option at the beginning is nice plus those are super simple, too:)

My go to festive appetizer is bacon onion marmalade and goat cheese on crusty bread: http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/appetizers-and-snacks/onion-bacon-marmalade/

If you want to keep it kosher/vegetarian/etc you can omit the bacon and add a drop or two of liquid smoke. I also cook mine down a lot longer because I like the onions as caramelized as possible.

Do a few different cheese balls...roll one in chopped parsley, one in chopped bacon, one in chopped pecans. Grab 3 kinds of crackers...done!

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About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.