Thank you to Harrison Gregory at the Richmond Times-Dispatch for featuring my recent cookie exchange in the Celebrations Section (Smart Cookies: A new twist on a holiday tradition). It is a wonderful annual celebration of creativity and food and I am very grateful to the friends and family who make it a worthwhile event.
From top: 1) This year I wanted to do something a little different with the cocktails and decided to serve them out of the bottles themselves. I was able to dress up pretty little gift tags from Anthropologie with mini glittered pine cones and jingle bells in order to use them as drink name tags. 2) Partridge in a Pear Tree (developed by my mother Karen Kelley) 1/3 pear vodka + 1/3 white cranberry juice (private label brand available at Martin's) + 1/3 Northern Neck ginger ale + cinnamon stick for spice and garnish. Birch paper straws from Mongrel. 3) Naughty 'Nog 2/3 Homestead Creamery Eggnog (available at Whole Foods) + 1/3 Bulleit bourbon. 'Santa wants a cocktail' napkins are from Mongrel in Carytown. I found the cocktail glasses for 50 cents a piece at the Good Samaritan thrift store in Southside Plaza. 4) Poinsettia Punch 1/4 St Germaine elderflower liquoir + 3/4 Prosecco (you can find inexpensive brands at Trader Joe's). Tinsel cocktail stirrers are from Target. 5) A grilled cheese bar was a fun way to put a 'do it yourself' spin on a traditional treat. Cheeses included: brie, white cheddar, pimiento cheese, blue cheese, Gouda and Jarlsberg. Toppings included: Smithfield country ham, maple turkey, baby arugula, comice pear, honeycrisp apple, wickles, pimientos, cranberry relish, cherry butter, spicy mustard, stone ground mustard. Bread served: sourdough, multigrain, pumpernickel and challah. 6) Whenever I go to the deli counter at Martin's, I always ask for the 'saltiest ham they have'. Chances are it's going to be a Smithfield brand. 7) Virginia coal cookies, powering Santa's naughty list for 100+ years. 8) Sheldon's red velvet whoopie pies were not only beautiful but delicious. 9) Ibbie's Peppermint Bark was the perfect addition to the exchange. 10) Mom outdid herself as usual with Grandma's Sunset Cookies in two new versions, Lavender and Peppermint. 11) Amy and I welcoming Santa (aka Dad) to the celebration. 12) Austin, me and Dad 13) My lovely coworker friends Jillian, Jamie, Katie and Katie.