Thursday, December 22, 2011

Beer challenge + way too much food = how we celebrate Chritmas!

In my group of friends we take two things very seriously ... Christmas and birthdays. If someone in the group cannot make either of the two events we are immediately concerned.

Luckily, this year everyone made it to our Christmas party, hosted by our good friend Kristi and her husband Matt!

In the past years we have tended to be pretty creative with gifts and have given each other some amazing handmade birthday gifts and Christmas gifts, but this year we decided to start something new...

Pandora bracelets! Pandora is a jewelry company that carries mainly silver jewelry and their most popular item is the charm bracelet. We bought the basic silver rope bracelet and one inital charm for everyone. Instead of scrambling to figure out a "creative" gift for each birthday or Christmas, we now plan on adding a charm!

At first I thought the bracelets looked kind of gaudy, but now that I have been wearing it for almost a week, I've realized that you can make it as simple or as outrageous as you want. I can't wait to add more charms, but I don't want mine to have a bunch of things dangling off of it or a bunch of different colors.

I cannot wait to see what it looks like in a few years after I've accumulated more charms. Hopefully I have charms under the tree this year! ;)

A party with us isn't a party without drinks and food either! We all brought something for everyone to snack on, and we had plenty to go around! Lisa sent me an awesome recipe for artichoke dip and it was a huge hit!

Here's the recipe:

1 6.5 oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 c. mayonnaise
1 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
1 8oz oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 4oz can of green chile peppers

1. Preheat over to 350
2. In a medium bowl, mix the artichoke hearts, mayonnaise, 1 c. of parmesan cheese, cream cheese, and green chili peppers. Scoop mixture into a baking dish (I use an 8x8 pan). Top with remaining 1/2 c. of parmesan cheese.
3. Bake for 25 min or until bubbly & slightly browned. Serve warm.

**I made a couple of small modifications to this recipe. I added an extra package of cream cheese (I used one low fat, one full fat) to add volume, and then I added chopped spinach and for the parmesan cheese, I used the Kraft three cheese blend, that came in the regular jar but seemed a bit fancier? I didn't think it would make that big of a difference but I think it did!

After eating and chatting upstairs, we headed down to the basement to drink and play our annual beer challenge. Kristi and Matt had quite the assortment of beers in their basement that needed to be consumed so we took care of that!

Here's the deal for our Beer Challenge (I should make that a proper noun), one person - the bartender - see me below - pours beers into plastic cups and the participant has to taste each one and guess what they are. Usually, we have just four or five beers, but this year we had SEVEN!

Here were the options:

Bud Lite
Miller Lite
Busch Lite
Miller High Life (heavy)
Michelob Ultra
Bud Lite Lime

Sound hard? It really is!

Those walls are orange and blue - anyone guess why?? Hint: We live about five hours from one of the biggest cities in the US and Iowa doesn't have an NFL team...

I got four out of seven beers - which was shocking! Usually I do the worst! I think the winner got five out of seven? This one was really hard! The only easy one was really Bud Lite Lime.

Overall it was a great time! You know that feeling when you want something to get here faster, but at the same time you don't want it to get here, because that means it will be over soon? That's how I am feeling right now with Christmas and this break in general!

Merry Christmas! Hope your week is going well!


Anonymous said...

Love our bracelets!! Glad we went for it!!

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

That looks like a lot of fun! I HATE beer though so don't think I would enjoy the beer challenge ;)

I'm going to have to try making that dip recipe Lisa sent you. Looks delicious!

Marisa A. said...

How fun and as a Chicagaoland native....GO BEARS!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

That makes sense that you added more cream cheese! I was wondering how it would turn out with the addition of the spinach as I thought it might be dry. So adding more cream cheese makes total sense. I am glad it turned out!

What a fun tradition!!

Jenn :D said...

What a fabulous idea!! I wondered that too, if I'd like one of those bracelets or not. Can't wait to see the charms you get to add eventually! Looks like you girls had an awesome time. Those nights are much needed and perfect!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

I like the charm bracelet idea! That's the same artichoke dip my aunt makes! It's great, isn't it!? I also add spinach to it and sometimes a tiny bit of sour cream. Just for fun!

Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

It looks like you had a ton of fun! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!