Fun Christmas Food + Drinks

It’s 25th November today, which means that the next month will be filled with “Christmas Entertaining”. Picnics, cocktails, family bbq’s, get-togethers, work-do’s (arrgh), office parties and more!

So we thought some fun and festive food + drink ideas might be in order…

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Savoury:

Betty Crocker’s Easy Fiesta Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree Cheese Board from Cabot Cheese, Vermont

Babybel Cheese Santa from Cute Food for Kids

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Fruity:

Edible fruit tree from Ginger & Garlic (scroll down for instructions)

Strawberry Christmas Tree from taste.com.au

Strawberry Santas!

Corporate Christmas Party Food from Tracey Lau.  No recipes but pictures show Chocolate Dipped Cherries and a Vanilla Bean Bavarois with Raspberry Coulis – gorgeous!

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Gingerbready:

Gingerbread tree – no recipe but I guess you could use any gingerbread biscuit recipe – the idea is lovely:)

Double gingerbread cupcakes from babble.com

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Yummy:

Mini snowman shots – eat em’ fast!

No recipe – this is from a wedding blog – but it is apparently chantilly mousse and raspberry sauce. Doesn’t it look Christmas-sy!

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Cupcakie:

Lovely Mini Christmas Vanilla Cupcakes from Once Upon a Plate

Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes from Sweat Peas Kitchen

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Drinkie:

Refreshing Raspberry Mojito from a la carte kitchen

[b.t.w. we have put a yummy ice republic mojito mix in our “It’s a Man’s Xmas” gift box – so cool for Christmas or Boxing Day bbq’s]

Apple, Ginger and Cranberry Cocktails from the fabulous What Katie Ate

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Party:

And if you’re looking for some fun entertainment ideas for young and old I love the “Christmas Minute-to-Win-It” ideas in oncloud8’s Not So Silent Night blog post.

Happy Eating & Drinking & Being Merry !!

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Father’s Day Brunch Ideas

fathers day brunch ideas

Dads LOVE food, especially breakfasts… so for our last Father’s Day related post we’re talking Sunday Brunch!

First up, some ideas for the food…

BACON, EGG & TOAST CUPS

These are a great idea for a full extended-family Father’s Day brunch because they are much less labour intensive than traditional bacon and eggs for feeding a crowd. There are lots of recipes on the web for these, including this on one of our favourite blogs: Annie’s Eats

image from thenoshery.com

STEAK SANDWICHES

Any breakfast/brunch dish involving steak is definitely going to be popular with the boys! The delicious image below is from The Pioneer Woman; for a more Australasian take on the recipe you could try a Steak Sandwich with Caramalised Onions.

Father's Day Brunch Ideas - Steak Caprese Sandwich

MINI QUICHES

Little cheese and bacon quiches are great for kids to make for their Dad on Father’s Day morning (real men will eat anything their kids make for them!). There is a nice and easy recipe on the kidspot website and they can put their own little spin on it by adding mushrooms, tomatoes etc.

Father's Day brunch - mini quiches

image from thewhitelibrary.com

And doesn’t that bacon look great on a skewer – especially for a buffet-type brunch.

CINNAMON SUGAR FRENCH TOAST BITES

What celebration brunch is complete without a little taste of French Toast? These toast bites look scrummy and will add that great little touch of sweetness to your meal.

fathers day brunch - french toast bites

Click through the image to the recipe from multiplydelicious.com…

PANCAKES

An oldy-but-a-goody, pancakes are a brunch staple, and this simple buttermilk pancake recipe from Allyson Gofton is tasty and light. Traditionally served with bacon on the side + maple syrup, or lemon juice + sugar, or apricot jam + whipped cream or…

Fathers Day Brucnch ideas - pancakes

Then, some drinks…

Along with fresh fruit juice and coffee, you could jazz up the occasion with a breakfast cocktail…

BLOODY MARY’S

fathers day brunch ideas - bloody mary

Bloody Mary’s are popular brunch cocktails in the US, but even if this doesn’t seem like your kind of thing it is worth checking out this blog post on the drink if only for the absolutely beautiful photography.

For a less alcoholic and all-round healthy alternative…

SMOOTHIES

Not all things that are good for you taste bad! This blender full of goodness and vitamins and spinach is wonderful – fresh and fruity and sweet from a dash of honey. You can’t taste the spinach particularly, but it adds a nice fullness and creaminess to the smoothie. Our favourite recipe for a spinach smoothie is Annie’s Eats Green Monster Smoothie.

So, once you’ve got your food or drinks sorted, all you need to do is set the table with a touch of spring, add the folded newspaper or crossword, and spoil your dad, husband, partner with a fabulous Father’s Day brunch.

fathers day brunch table setting idea

And because it’s his special day… you could even let him off the dishes 🙂

Homemade Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Over the last couple of weeks we have been posting a series of Father’s Day Gift Guides, based on gifts we currently have available for sale at The Paper Package. But today, we thought we’d focus on some fantastic homemade Father’s Day gift ideas that you could make yourself at home to celebrate on Sunday 4 September.

1. Father’s Day Cupcakes

You cant go wrong with home baking for any dad, and cupcakes are so easy to make. My favourite recipe is from Nigella Lawson – very easy – and then some buttercream icing on top (piped on using a glad plastic bag with the corner snipped off).

Then all you need to do is decorate them a bit in a Father’s Day style:

  • Easy – Father’s Day Party Printables

Print out some of these fun printable labels and cupcake toppers, stick them on a toothpick and you’re done!

Party printables, cupcake toppers, banners, cards, invitation & more via blog.catchmyparty.com

  • Tricky  

These could be fun to try and make for a fishing-mad father…

Father's Day Fishing Cupcakes from Nothing But Country via tidymom.net

  • Fiendishly Hard

Warning – we are heading into Heston Blumenthal territory here…

Fast food fun from bakerella.com

Yes, these are actually cupcakes and biscuits (the french fries!). If you click through the image there is a full tutorial on how to make these, plus printable downloads for the french fry bag and snack holder. Incredible. If you actually have a go at trying to make these please send us a photo – we would love to see how they turned out 🙂

2. D.A.D. Photographs

We’ve found a few examples of these on the web – and it seems such a simple, but really cool idea that Dads will love.

Click through for tutorial from Twinkle Toes - the blog

You can find wooden letters in NZ from craft stores, Spotlight etc. I’ve also found a link online to Mums Know Best (we have no affiliation with any of these stores so can’t vouch for the product/service sorry).

If you don’t have the time to get the wooden letters for props here are a couple of other creative ideas for Father’s Day photos:

3. Dad’s Rule Print

Don’t you just love Dadisms!! They are so much fun because they immediately transport you back in time to when you were about 8 years old again!

This fantastic free printable was designed by Amy Proffitt (aproffittablelife.blogspot.com) and can be downloaded in various colour combinations. Makes a great print to frame, or to give as a Father’s Day card maybe… (and the hidden message is fun too)

4. A couple of great homemade gift ideas from Martha Stewart

Retro Father’s Day labels

Use these labels to make your own snack range, designed just for his tastes!

Or maybe you could try this yummy sounding Caramel, Bourbon and Vanilla sauce

The presentation of this is gorgeous – I don’t know where you would get the little spoons though, maybe from the Sallies or other second-hand shops?

5. DIY Superhero Gift Box

This idea is a bit more complicated but it could be really fun (and what dad wouldn’t love to think of himself as a superhero to his kids!)

Superhero Gift Box from alphamom.com

Click through the image for printable labels and full instructions (which can probably be simplified if you didn’t feel up to the whole shebang!)

6. Father’s Day Ticket Book

This is a lovely design for a Father’s Day coupon book… (note: needs login to download)

7. Father’s Day Card

And this is a cute design for a Father’s Day card that kids could print out and fold…

Father's Day greeting card from anythingbutperfect.com

Mid-Winter Christmas in July

RECIPE FOR A MID-WINTER CHRISTMAS PARTY

Start with some wintery weather:

Mid-Winter Xmas

Snow on the Beach (Christchurch, 25 July 2011)

Mid-winter xmas

Snow in the Garden (Christchurch, July 25 2011)

Invite your family:

Family Portrait

And/or your friends:

Friends

Light the Fire:

Fireplace - mid winter xmas

Set the table:

Spice up some nuts:

Nuts for mid-winter xmas

Sweet and Savoury Spiced Nuts (from notwithoutsalt.com - click through for recipe)

Mull some wine:

Mulled Wine (click through for recipe - or just buy ready-made at the supermarket and heat up:)

Don’t forget to put the Tegal Turkey Roll in the oven:

Mid-winter xmas turkey

Turkey Roll with Cranberry Stuffing (& yummy little sausages wrapped in bacon - click through for recipe)

or the roast veges:

Play some games:

While you steam some pudd:

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Pudding (click through for Ruth Pretty's fab sticky banana puddings with caramel sauce recipe - deliciousness!!)

Or whip up some Egg-Nog Cupcakes:

Egg Nog Cupcakes from annies-eats.net (click through for recipe)

Or assemble something for the kids:

Snowman Cupcakes from meetthedubiens (click thru for Instructions)

ISN’T THIS WEATHER JUST THE BEST EXCUSE TO START A WONDERFUL WINTER TRADITION?

Oh… and if you did want to add a gift or two… we know just the place to look:

Gift Ideas

Winter Gift Guide - The Paper Package

Food, Food, Food (3 things about food)

 

What’s Really in our Food?

One article doing the rounds on the internet yesterday listed the “The 10 dirtiest foods you’re eating”. I’m such a sucker for these kinds of “top 10” lists, and I really like food, so… had to have a look really.

Bearing in mind that this is an American article, so at least one of the foods they’ve listed is probably not high on NZ’s grocery list, the rest of the list were (scarily!) pretty common foods, and while I think everyone will be aware of the problems with most of them – there were a couple of surprises.

In case you wanted to know… these are the dirtiest foods you’re eating…

Photos via "The 10 Dirtiest Foods You're Eating" Men's Health 6 June 2011

Ewwww! No not really, they don’t look that bad do they (apart from the raw chicken).

The whole list was:

  1. Chicken
  2. Mince
  3. Ground turkey
  4. Oysters
  5. Eggs
  6. Rock melon
  7. Peaches
  8. Lettuce
  9. Salami & cold processed meats
  10. Spring onions

The surprises for me were the rock melon, peaches, lettuce and spring onions. You don’t normally associate fresh fruit & veg with food poisoning etc, do you?  Or maybe you do.  I should probably have been paying more attention, because it turns out that the recent deadly outbreak of e-coli in Germany has been traced to an organic farm’s bean sprouts!

I couldn’t find any similar list for NZ foods, so don’t know whether our oysters, eggs etc are a problem, but the whole article is worth a look if you’re interested in minimising the risk of being one of the up to 200 000 cases of food borne illness occuring in NZ each year (3x the rate of Australia & 2x the rate of the UK 😦 )

Have you ever heard of Baked Potato Soup?

And speaking of food, I saw someone on a reality tv show the other night making “baked potato soup”, which I’d never heard of. Then yesterday I randomly saw this photo on the web – and it looked so good that we’re definitely trying it this weekend (I might just leave off the spring onion though & replace with chives or something seeing they were just on the list of the 10 dirtiest foods:)).

It’s going to be hard for this soup to beat actual baked potatoes on a chilly Sunday night – but we’ll give a go and see.

Photo via The Curly Carrot

If anyone else is tempted to try, you can find the recipe here at The Curly Carrot.

Like Gingerbread Men? Like Ninja’s? LOVE these!

On a final food related matter I also found these on the web yesterday (I really need to get off my computer and do some work!!) and just thought they were so cool… NINJABREAD CUTTERS to make NINJABREAD MEN!!

Photos via Fred and Friends

Awesome! Just when you thought the world had run out of big ideas!

Being a gift shop owner, I immediately thought of their gift giving potential – and rated it as High. They would make a great gift idea for guys or kids that like cooking (or might even be enough of an encouragement to get a non-domesticated male or child cooking).

We don’t sell any of these at The Paper Package, but wouldn’t a gift made up of things like these ninja cutters, a cook’s blow torch (what guy wouldn’t like to play around with a little blow torch!) and a book like Esquire’s “Eat like a Man” (to be released here in July I think) be a great food-related gift idea for guys?

Photo via Amazon