Party Time!!


We made it through Christmas... the laughter, the happy tears, the hecticness and with possibly with a few more inches around the mid-section...but, we made it!

New Years is just around the corner and what better way to celebrate the past year and welcome in the New Year then with a dinner party?!

You don't even need to do a full dinner evening of appetizers and cocktails is just as fun and is a bit more casual.

Personally, I would be more inclined to have people over for appetizers and cocktails (mainly due to the size of my house/dining area) and in preparation of this, I always turn to my Williams Sonoma Cookbooks. Not only do I flip through my cookbooks for inspiration, but, the Williams Sonoma website also has a plethora of recipes from a variety of their cookbooks that you can access and enjoy! This is one of my favourites:

Mushroom and Mascarpone Tartlets

If mascarpone is unavailable, you can approximate its flavor and consistency by whisking 1/3 cup softened cream cheese with 1/3 cup sour cream until smooth.


1 disk savory tart dough (see related recipe at left)

Flour for rolling out dough

1 Tbs. unsalted butter

2 Tbs. olive oil

2 large leeks, including pale green parts, halved, rinsed and thinly sliced

3/4 lb. cremini, shiitake, or oyster mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced

1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, squeezed dry and finely chopped (optional)

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2/3 cup mascarpone cheese (see note above)


Bake the tart bases

Preheat an oven to 375°F.
Divide the dough disk in half, keeping one half in the refrigerator until needed. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each half into a rough round 1/8 inch thick. Using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible. Transfer to 1 or 2 baking sheets. Gather the scraps, roll out 1/8 inch thick and cut out additional rounds. You should have about 32 rounds. Pierce the rounds in several places with a fork. Bake until the tart bases are slightly golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Cook the mushrooms

Meanwhile, in a large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms and reconstituted porcini, season generously with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms have released their liquid and become dry and softened, about 5 minutes.

Assemble the tarts

Spread 1 heaping tsp. of the mascarpone onto each tart base. Mound 2 tsp. of the mushroom mixture on the cheese. Arrange on a platter and serve immediately. Makes about 32 tartlets.

When it comes to cocktails, most of my friends "BYOB" as they have a very wide variety of tastes, however, I like to make sure I always have the 'staples' on hand (vodka, gin, rye, rum and red &white wine), mix, non-alcoholic options such as Efferve and lots & lots of bubbly!


Pull out your best stemware, flatware, serving dishes and then start to decorate!

From the kitchen (we all know parties congregate in the kitchen) to the dining room.....I know how much I enjoy putting together the centrepieces, the flatware, the linens...the possibilities are endless!

You can take the holiday decor you already have out and make small changes to transform it into New Years decor. Replace the snowmen with snowflakes, the holiday stockings for sparkley stiletto ornaments or mini snowshoes (depending on whether you're going for glitz/glam or a more rustic feel) and leave out the antlers, the greenery, the deer, the sparkley branches etc etc....

Perfect for the 'kitchen party'..a moveable island, white platters/plates and natural decor.

Farmhouse Chic Decor....LOVE the goblets!

Rustic Simplicity!

Green glass! Use the collections you already have!

More formal.....

The buffet is a perfect to set up the bar area....

Holiday colours in a rustic setting....

Rustic Modern....

White, creams and natural elements...Simple = Beautiful
Non-trad colours look incredibly festive!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and "Cheers" to 2013!