My side of the family just had their yearly family dinner. I swore we had done it three times in the past but when I look in my blog history I can only find two posts. We did the cooking contest, taught the uncles how to do splits, took a nap on sister’s arms, got annoyed with each other, had fun with each other, had screaming kids, had kids having fun together. Wrecked poor mom and dad’s house. During a few points in the night we had on fake beards and mustaches. Who knew what was going on. All I know is that since half of us don’t have kids and I’m the only one done with adding kids to the family. Its going to get a whole lot crazier and random and loud and wonderful.
The most important part of this post is I FINALLY WON!! Every year people up their game on the cooking contest. This year I sent everyone this picture below. I told them to make an appetizer AND a dessert using any of these ingredients.
There was more secrecy this year….items placed under boxes, just numbers with a title for the items, a system. A whole system people! But some of us were working on them last minute so we still knew. There was a whole scorecard and tally system to this year. Even a kids choice! People, it gets more serious every year. The plates were numbered. Listen I didn’t plan the system, I handed that ball off to my sister. Which I would never like to pick back up again. It is getting stressful! But I do know we all tried everything and voted.
Appetizer Runner Ups:
Top Left: Fall Crostinis, recipe here
Bottom Left: Winston’s famous salsa and homemade chips
Top Right: Artichoke Dip
Bottom Right: My brother’s Nacatamales (Mexico and Nicaragua returned missionaries and these were GOOOooOooOd) Tutorial here
Appetizer WINNER…..ME, ME, ME, ME!
Best part was this recipe was from my own cabeza, not from pinterest or google. They really were so good I will do a separate recipe post. But basically they are crostinis with a fig jam on the bottom. Then a slice of prosciutto and a slice of fontina. I made a fig, honey, and balsamic glaze to drizzle on top.
Top Left: My mom’s famous peanut butter truffle thingamabobs. This time she made them with pumpkin inside. We all got LUCKY because they were still very hard and frozen when we were taste testing them. If they had come to room temperature none of us would have won. She would have stolen the show because those are our FAVORITE. But she was busy you know…chasing grandkids, hosting, cooking, and cleaning. Lots of free time to think about how she should thaw things. I need to photograph her making these one day for a family cookbook.
Bottom Left: Caramel Apples. These were so good, some caramel apples are awful and hurt my teeth to eat. These were light and perfect. Laura made these and her and her husband won the Kid’s Choice in both sections. Recipe here
Top Right: Pumpkin Pie Cannolis by Sarah & Lucas (which was #1 in the dessert portion but nevermind about that, keep on reading to see that I finally WON!) Recipe here
Bottom Right: Bryan & Jonathan googled a recipe on the spot and made it. They were these pumpkin pecan bars. If they had been cooked 5 minutes longer and the chocolate been thinner, we would have all been in big trouble. I want the recipe but fear I will never nag them enough to get it.
I THOUGHT everyone was going to do something with apples (do one did, they all did pumpkin) so I thought I would do something with pears. I did follow a recipe on Pinterest for baking caramel pears. I got three different pears, but two of the selections went bad before the competition. So I only used one. When I broiled the pears with the homemade caramel sauce in between each layer they turned super watery. So I do not want to share that recipe, I want to re do it. Because even with the mess ups they tasted fantastic and I know can be even better. I used fresh local made ice cream, sprinkled the inside of a vanilla bean on the top at the end. Then I decided last minute to make sugared cranberries and put those on top. People, I am going to perfect this recipe and post it here. You must make it for the holidays.
FINAL WINNER….ME ME ME ME!!
Our winner victory picture:
My mom got her family picture. I was in charge of it so of course my camera died after 3 shots, I could not get back to my assigned spot in time for the timer, and I took them when it was too dark. My poor mom…. I promise I have kids and a husband, one isn’t there and all the others are sitting on everyone else’s laps.