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    DIY Christmas Dinner Party

    Amidst the icy weather and busy schedules, nothing sounds more inviting than staying in and hosting a cozy Christmas dinner party. I love these intimate gatherings because they are formal enough to justify some party planning, but not too overwhelming during this demanding season. Make some simple decorations, buy the perfect Shabby Apple dress, cook a delicious meal, and spend the evening relishing in the Christmas spirit with a few close friends.

    DIY Party Décor:

    1. Christmastree / “photo booth” backdrop

    2. Yarn ball wreath

    3. Hanging Christmas bells

    4. Santa hat chair covers

    5. Candy lights

    If you're feeling extra ambitious take a look at these adorable Christmas party photo booth props from OhHappyDay. There's a FREE printable download too!

    Because cooking can be stressful I've picked out some easy but delicious appetizers. I wanted to stick with a red and green theme, of course.

    Bruschetta from Couponing and Cooking

    2 Avocados diced

    1 medium tomato diced

    1/3 cup onion finely diced

    1/3 cup chopped cilantro

    1/3 cup feta cheese

    2 tablespoons olive oil

    2 tablespoons lime juice

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Sourdough baguette sliced and toasted

    1.) Prepare your ingredients and combine them all (minus the bread) in a large bowl.

    2.) Stir to combine. You just want to gently mix the ingredients. Be careful not to smash them together. The avocado, tomato, feta and onion should be lightly coated in the oil, lime juice and seasoning.

    3.) Place a heaping tablespoon of the mixture on each toasted slice of bread.

    4.) Sprinkle with a little more cilantro and feta.

    5.) Serve and enjoy!

    Mini Potatoes from Goodfood

    large bag mini potatoes

    1 tbsp olive oil

    sea salt

    low fat sour cream

    small bunch chives, snipped

    1.) Heat oven to 375

    2.) Prick the potatoes with a fork, rub with the oil, then toss with sea salt. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hr.

    3.) Let the potatoes cool for 10-15 mins, then cut a small cross in the top of each and pinch the bases to open a little.

    4.) Add a teaspoon of sour cream to each, a little freshly ground black pepper, and a sprinkling of chives.

    Spinach-Artichoke Dip from the Food Network

    2 10-ounce bags spinach

    1 teaspoon all-purpose flour

    1 tablespoon unsalted butter

    2 tablespoons minced onion

    1 ¼ cups whole milk

    ½ teaspoon lemon juice

    1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

    1 ¼ cups grated parmesan cheese

    ¼ cup sour cream

    ½ cup shredded white sharp cheddar cheese

    ½ cup frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, squeezed dry and roughly chopped

    tortilla chips

    1.) Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Stir in spinach and cook until bright green (about 30 seconds). Drain spinach and rinse under cold water. Squeeze excess moisture and finely chop.

    2.) Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook until onion is soft (2 minutes).

    3.) Add flour and stir 1 minute until lightly toasted. Add milk and whisk constantly for 1 minute until thickened. Remove from heat.

    4.) Stir in lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, parmesan, and sour cream.

    5.) Return saucepan to medium heat. Add spinach, cheddar, artichokes, and stir until cheese melts. Serve warm!

    When it comes to the main course, I've chosen three lovely options of varied difficulty. For the confident cook, what's more festive than a Christmas goose? If that’s too daunting this year go for something a little more forgiving but every bit as formal, a honey-roasted duck. Still too adventurous? Go classic with this easy turkey recipe, but not just any turkey; this is a creamy lemon, pancetta and rosemary turkey--try saying that to all you’re your friends without feeling proud.

    Lastly, but most importantly don't forget to treat yourself to a new vintage-inspired dress for the occasion. After all, throwing a party is hard work, you deserve it! Below are just a few of my favorites from the latest Winter Wonderland and Lipstick collections.

    Nutcracker Dress in Pink & Blue

    Kissed with Gold Dress

    Now what are you waiting for? Make a guest list, pick a date, and enjoy a festive evening with good food, a great dress, and hopefully even better company. Good luck!

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