.........This was the 20th year of my Gifts From the Kitchen Brunch. We started with ten people including myself. I prepare the brunch food and I ask that each one select a special "container" and bring one of those for everyone with some type of food in/on/hanging from or someway attached to the container. We have enjoyed selecting our containers and for me it is what has made this party different from other gift exchange parties. Our group is now down to eight.
This is our group picture for this year.
One of the pleasures for me is to set a pretty table and I have tried to have a different look each year, although some of the same dishes have been rotated.
So, early morning on December 8th the table was set and ready.
The candles were lit. Actually, there were three tall vases and two shorter ones with candles. Those are real flowers down in the water.
Here you get a glimpse of the long table runner and the matching napkins that I bought right after Christmas last year at Target at a great price. Also notice that I folded a green napkin to go under the plate and hang off the table. This is a favorite look that I use often. The red drink in the small glasses is Cheerwine which is a soft drink - I liked the red color plus several had never tried it before. It has a very sweet cherry flavor.
I baked gingerbread muffins in the little baking cups and placed one on each plate. The gingerbread man is a bought cookie. I think the company sure could improve on the face of that little gingerbread boy! Get rid of that big mouth!
Most of the food was served from this buffet. I kept the menu simple using some dishes that have become favorites over the years - ham and biscuits, and sauteed apples. There was a new sausage casserole recipe. And one that I liked a lot - peach french toast casserole. It uses croissants.
The little tree shaped cheese caused a lot of chatter - they like them. I split a regular half/round of cheese and used a cookie cutter. And, for the first time, I served sliced tomatoes. Good tomatoes are hard to find in Florida but recently these, with a special name I have forgotten, are available and are really good.
I always have mocha punch ready when they arrive. After we eat and visit at the table for awhile we always have a "formal" presentation of our gifts which have been kept secret until then. So, one by one we show and tell. Remember, they hold up one sample but, somewhere in the house is six more, one for each person.
Sarah, chose a journal for each one and baked a sweet bread and brought it in a decorative bag.
Lynda brought an assortment of things..........
A beautiful apothecary pedestal dish with cookies, a Christmas towel, and a very shiny snowflake ornament.
Deborah brought a sturdy open box with a ribbon handle and a cardinal perched on top with her sweet confections inside.
MaryRose, my daughter-in-law, also used a pretty reusable box for her container.
Inside were decorated cupcakes.
Joyce brought her cookies with a pretty clear plate.
She always has a story to tell and usually brings a few extras - this time some hand-stamped clothespins for us to use as clips for opened snacks and a glass toothpick holder.
Catherine loves fall and selected a pretty plate to hold her pumpkin swirl cake.
She tied it up with a nice wrap and included the recipe.
Carrie, my daughter, said her motto was "go big or go home" and brought her "north pole" decorated cupcakes on a huge tree shaped flower pot holder.
I have already seen these sitting on two of the recipient's porches with poinsettias displayed on them. And, that's where mine is, also with a poinsettia.
I had a difficult time finding anything for my container this year and two weeks before the party I settled for these little santa baskets.
I didn't have one of mine when it came time to take the individual pictures so here is a close-up which shows the loaf of sour-dough bread that I baked for each.
I always look forward to sharing this special time with these special ladies!