Here's a pic of my sister Rachel and her husband passed out on my couch while 10 children were running amok in my house. Just kidding! Only 7 were running, 1 was crawling, and 2 were wiggling.
We had so much fun with them. And we miss them. But should YOU stop by, we'll be staying up until at least 10 p.m. in our jammies New Year's Eve chomping on the following traditional menu that we chomp on every New Year's Eve (miss you Cristtin- that one New Year's Eve rocked):
Tex-Mex Dip a.k.a. 7-layer dip
Yields dip for 10 to 12 guests.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
3 medium-sized ripe avocados
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 package taco seasoning mix (I actually use about 3/4 package)
2 cans (10 1/2 ounces each) plain or jalapeno-flavored bean dip (or use refried beans)
1 large bunch green onions with tops, chopped (1 cup)
3 medium-sized tomatoes, cored, halved, seeded, and coarsely chopped (2 cups)
2 cans (3 1/2 ounces each) pitted ripe olives, drained coarsely chopped
8 to 12 ounces cheddar, colby, or longhorn cheese, shredded
large round or triangular-shaped tortilla chips
1. Peel, pit and mash avocadoes in a medium-sized bowl with lemon juice, salt, and pepper; set aside.
2. In another bowl combine sour cream, mayonnaise, and taco seasoning mix.
3. To assemble spread bean dip on a large shallow serving platter, top with seasoned avocado mixture, and layer with sour cream-taco seasoning mixture. Sprinkle with chopped onions, tomatoes, and olives; cover with shredded cheese.
4. Serve chilled or at room temperature with tortilla chips.
Cheeseball and Wheat Thins
8 oz. cream cheese
2-4 oz. finely grated cheddar cheese (more for a firmer cheeseball, less for a softer one)
1/8 tsp. liquid smoke
2 T. dried chopped chives or chopped olives (optional)
chopped walnuts, pecans, or toasted almonds.
crackers like Wheat Thins, Triscuits, or Ritz crackers
I place the 8 oz. block of cream cheese in my glass oatmeal bowl. (Use at least a four cup capacity bowl.) Poke a finger hole about 1/2 inch into the cream cheese. Pour the liquid smoke in the hole. If I accidentally get too much liquid smoke, I use a corner of a paper towel to soak up some. Sprinkle the chopped chives or olives over the cream cheese. Grate the cheese directly into the bowl. Use the fine side of the cheese grated. It incorporates better than largely grated cheese. Squish it all up until the ingredients are pretty evenly distributed throughout. I use my hands. It's very therapeutic.
Shape it into a ball. Coat it with chopped nuts.
Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge in a really good hiding spot. ;) Or you can serve it right away and it'll be nice and soft to spread on crackers.
Sparkling Apple Cider
Eureka Cheesecake (the real deal) with Cherry Topping
Yields one 9- or 10-inch pie.
Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes
Baking time: 25 to 35 minutes
Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
4 to 5 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 teasoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch (high-altitude 2 tablespoons)
5 to 6 ounces sour cream (2/3 of an 8-ounce container)
1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 to 3 ounces sour cream (1/3 the 8-ounce package)
1/4 cup sugar (for topping)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla (for topping)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (375 high-altitude)
2. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Melt butter or margarine and stir into dry ingredients. Pres into 9- or 10-inch pie pan.
3. Cream the cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, cream of tartar, lemon juice, and cornstarch with electric mixer until smooth. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 2/3 carton of sour cream. Pour into crust.
4. While cake is cooking, beat remaining 1/3 carton sour cream with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla.
5. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until cake begins to set around edges. Remove cake from oven.
6. Gently spread sour cream/sugar mixture over top. Immediately return cake to oven for 5 minutes longer. Remove from oven.
7. Let cool and refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.
VARIATION (and especially when you top with pie filling): Put the whole 8 ounces of sour cream in the cake instead of mixing some for the top with extra sugar and vanilla. Bake about an extra 5 minutes.
Okay, that's all. I promise I won't post again until 2010. Happy New Year!