Christmas Party Cocktails

by Carlye Cunniff
( November 24th, 2015 )

Christmas Party Cocktails

It seems my calendar is filling up fast with Christmas parties. Different organizations I’m part of, office parties, cookie exchanges – you know the ones. With all these festivities, it’s easy to burn out on unique Christmas party cocktail ideas. I’m tempted to buy a keg for our upcoming Christmas party and call it a night, but am determined to remain festive. And what’s more festive than a cocktail at a Christmas party? Especially a themed cocktail. Behold, a list of Christmas party cocktails to fuel all your festivities this season.

Butterbeer. Harry Potter fans rejoice! You can experience the malty warmth of butterbeer in your own muggle life. Butterbeer is a perfect holiday treat – it’s warm and decadent. Also, it’s probably too sweet to have a lot of – perfect for a cookie exchange in lieu of hot chocolate. This recipe from Waiting on Martha uses non alcoholic butterscotch beer, but I plan on using the real stuff.


Apple Cinnamon Old Fashioned. Old fashioned are a constant experiment in my house – we’re always trying to perfect our recipe. This Apple Cinnamon Old Fashioned from A Spicy Perspective is the ultimate signature cocktail, sure to have your party guests wondering just how you do it.

Spiked Eggnog. Eggnog is potentially my favorite holiday food. I can go through a gallon of the stuff in 2 days, easy. I realize the health implications of that kind of eggnog consumption, but partake anyway. You could, of course, just add rum or brandy to store – bought ‘nog, but making it from scratch is much more impressive. This easy blender eggnog recipe from Real Simple makes the homemade treat almost as easy as pouring a shot into the ready-made stuff.

Christmas Eggnog

Hot Spiced Cider. The only way to do hot spiced cider is in the slow cooker. Aside from easily creating a warm and delicious cocktail, cooking up the cider this ways makes your entire house smell like Christmas. Everyone will instantly believe in you as a host or hostess if your house smells like Christmas. Kitchen Treaty makes a perfect batch with just four ingredients. I recommend adding a little whip cream and caramel sauce, but, to each his own.

Orange Cranberry Gin and Tonic. A well-made gin and tonic is a thing of beauty, but feel free to color it up a bit at Christmas. A lighter cocktail than the milky and warm varieties you’ll find gracing holiday parties, this orange and cranberry gin and tonic from My Recipes will put you in a festive mood without weighing you down.

Photo Credits:

Holiday Cheer, John MorganCC by 2.0.

Butterbeer, John Ong, CC by 2.0.

Christmas Eggnog, Iris, CC by ND2.0


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Easy Potato Latkes with Lime Crema

by Carlye Cunniff
( November 17th, 2015 )


Oh the potato. Easily one of my favorite foods. Though I could eat the humble potato anytime of day, convincing others that eating it as the main dinner course is not always simple. Enter the potato latke. Yes, latkes are traditional holiday fare, but I eat them at all times of the year. You can throw these easy potato latkes with lime crema together on a weeknight – it won’t seem like you gave up and made breakfast for dinner. Even if you did.

Easy potato latkes with lime crema

There is teeny-tiny breakfast spot in Seattle, The Ridgeback, that we go to all the time. They have this amazing crema that they put on their crepes. It’s spiced to perfection and makes the meal seem so special. It inspired my lime crema for these latkes, but I highly recommend trying it in person next time you’re in Seattle.

Easy potato latkes with lime crema

Have mashed potatoes left over? Check out my other favorite potato recipe, mashed potato patties.



3-4 small potatoes

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1/3 Cup flour

1 Teaspoon salt

1 Teaspoon baking powder

1/4 Teaspoon chili flakes

1/4 Teaspoon pepper

4 Tablespoons fresh crema

1/2 fresh lime

1 avocado, for serving

Eggs, for serving


Heat your oven to about 250 degrees, you’ll want to keep your latkes hot after you fry them up

Using a box grater or a food processor, grate your potatoes into small pieces. A box grater makes a nicer looking latke, but a food processor is so much easier. I use a food processor.

Using a cheese cloth, squeeze out all the water from your processed potatoes. Let squeezed potatoes sit for about two minutes, then squeeze them again. I didn’t want to use my cheese cloth, so I just used a clean kitchen towel.

Combine flour, salt, baking powder, chili flakes a pepper in a medium bowl.

Add potato to the flour mixture and stir until potato is fully coated.

Easy potato latkes with lime crema

Working with small batches of the potato – flour mixture, fry your potato pancakes in the heated oil. The cast iron is wonderful for this, they cook great over medium – high heat.

Easy potato latkes with lime crema

While your latkes cook, squeeze your lime juice into the crema. Add a pinch of salt to taste.

Easy potato latkes with lime crema

Serve finished latkes with a fried (or poached!) egg, avocado and lime crema.

I added a side salad and some wine to make it even more dinner – like.

Have any other latke additions or combinations that you can’t live without? Let us know in the comments!

Never miss a chance to eat, drink and travel with Wanderfood. Follow me on  FacebookPinterest  and Twitter, and subscribe to my RSS.

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Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

by Carlye Cunniff
( November 10th, 2015 )

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. I think it’s likely one of everyone’s favorite holidays, especially those of us who take a special joy in eating. Because I love Thanksgiving so much, I was sad to hear my vegetarian friend say she eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every year. If she’s lucky, her family will have used veggie broth to make the mashed potatoes, and she’ll score a side of cranberry sauce. One of the ways I show love is cooking for others – making something that everyone sitting at the table can enjoy is really important to me. I couldn’t stand to watch someone eat a lame sandwich while everyone else enjoyed the riches, especially on a holiday when we are celebrating being thankful for those around us.

I’m not a vegetarian, but I am pretty fussy about my meat these days. I’m not sure yet if our Thanksgiving table will have a vegetarian at it, but I might just make some of these vegetarian thanksgiving recipes anyway. The key to making a vegetarian meal that satisfies the celebratory nature of  the holiday? Real ingredients that don’t try to mimic the meat everyone else is enjoying. Tofurkys are not the answer. Embrace the vegetable people.

Butternut Squash Risotto (The Pioneer Woman)

You can’t go wrong with Ree, especially for decadent holiday fare. This risotto is easy, festive and rich enough to carry a meal. Butternut sound good in general? Try butternut squash lasagna (Julia’s Album), or twice baked butternut squash (Naturally Ella).

Stuffed Portobellos (Blogging Over Thyme)

Let’s face it: you can stuff a portobello with anything you want, but this recipe for portobellos stuffed with goat cheese and homemade tomato sauce is particularly fabulous looking. If you are looking for a portobello with more Thanksgiving-y flavor, think of things like walnuts, cranberries and goat cheese. Yes, please.

Thanksgiving Perogies (Agent Minty)

I lived in British Columbia for about 6 years, and was introduced (and quickly addicted) to perogies. Many a Canadian family has perogies on their Thanksgiving table, a tradition I am pretty pleased with. Another happy tradition from my Canadian days? Celebrating two Thanksgivings a year (the Canadian one in October, and the American one in November). Those were the days.

Pomegranate Carrots Recipe

Roasted Carrots with Pomegranate (Wanderfood) 

My wanderfoodie friend made these fabulous roasted carrots, and they are a perfect Thanksgiving treat. Maybe not ideal for a main course, but a perfect side that will please everyone at the table. Speaking of roasting vegetables, get creative! Roast whatever you want, add cheese, and make a  vegetable galette, you don’t even need a recipe, according to Food 52. 

Speaking of galettes, you could also make a tart. (Martha Stewart)

This one happens to be for cauliflower, red onion and chestnuts, but add whatever fall flavors sound good to you. I bet you could use my recipe for homemade potato garlic pizza, only in tart form. Let me know how that goes.

Stuffed Acorn Squash (Food Network)

If you aren’t making any meat for Thanksgiving, but still feel the need to roast something, making a stuffed acorn squash might be a good plan. This one is stuffed with quinoa and cranberries (so in theme!) but you could stuff it with any holiday flavors you like.

Sweet Potato Gnocchi (Just A Taste)

I love gnocchi. Have we been over this before? I love the stuff! It’s so great! But it’s so annoying to make. If you’re not cooking a turkey on Thanksgiving, you have extra time to make gnocchi, right? Right. It’s worth it. You’ll thank you. And your vegetarian guests will thank you. If you don’t eat all the gnocchi before they arrive that is. Gnocchi sound too tricky? Make pumpkin ravioli. Also a festive pasta treat, but a smudge easier on the nerves. Try this pumpkin ravioli recipe from Julia’s Album. 

Leek Fritters (A Thought For Food)

I admit it, leek fritters are one of my go-to meals. I love them with a poached egg on top and side of greens. I love them for breakfast. I love them for lunch. I love them for Thanksgiving. You will love them too. They are also so easy to make, they could be an afterthought, but they won’t feel like one for your guests. Another leek idea? Leek bread pudding, from the Smitten Kitchen. 

Butternut Squash Cake (Wanderfood)

In case you thought I had forgotten dessert, I didn’t. This butternut squash cake is one of my all-time fall favorites, I could eat it instead of Thanksgiving dinner.

Butternut Squash Cake

Have any other thanksgiving vegetarian recipes that aren’t on this list? Let me know in the comments below!

Never miss a chance to eat, drink and travel with Wanderfood. Follow me on  FacebookPinterest  and Twitter, and subscribe to my RSS.


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