Book-club Christmas banquet

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I go all out for all holidays, but Christmas holds a special place in my heart. My mother has always hosted friends and family in a cheerful home for the holidays, and I love carrying on that tradition. December feels magical. I even have a miniature food-themed tree in my kitchen.

One highlight every December is our book club’s Christmas party, where we take a break from reading and have a celebratory dinner with an ornament exchange. I love to try new recipes, and my book club friends are the perfect (willing) guinea pigs.

The Baked Artichoke Brie Spread from Peace Meals is warm and decadent, delicious on freshly sliced French bread, toast points or mini bell peppers. I’ve also made Artichoke Squares from The Star of Texas Cookbook – not the prettiest appetizer, but it doesn’t matter, as that is usually the first dish to be emptied.

Cheese Pockets from The Star of Texas Cookbook are another crowd favorite. There is something therapeutic about making these, and they freeze well. I set up a cooking assembly line and catch up on Netflix or Hallmark movies at the same time.

While I make a new recipe each year, I usually am asked to make French Onion Bread Pudding from Peace Meals. This recipe is easy to put together but feels like elegant comfort food. Between Junior League of Houston cookbooks, Pinterest and Instagram, I am never short on ideas!

Source: December 1,2018, The Buzz Magazines, Courtney Cook