Friday, December 11, 2015

Holiday Party Tray

with Guest Sandra Leesmith

How are your holiday preparations coming along?  Have you been invited to a holiday party or potluck? We have already been to a couple pickleball potlucks. Pickleball players love to party about as much as they love to play. Smile

Here is what I like to make. It is festive and healthy.

This is pretty obvious so I’m not really going to show photos nor write directions of how to do this.  You do need fresh veggies and a holiday tray. I use an aluminum tray if I don’t want to have to worry about taking it home.

Since there wasn’t much to photograph in preparation, I’m sharing some holiday decorations found here in the desert.

 Just because we don’t have snow and the traditional pine trees, we do make up for it with lights.

We also put up artificial trees which look lovely all lit up at night.

We went to my friend’s house the other night and she not only had an artificial tree in her entryway, but she had decorated her cacti in the front yard.  Notice the lights are chili peppers? 

Another favorite thing to do is wrap lights up the trunks of palm trees. Now don’t laugh. I’m sure there were palm trees in the desert where Jesus was born and surely they were alight from the glow of the angels flying around.

This one is for Ruthy.

Every year my hubby’s family all get together on the 26th. It is so much fun to see all the cousins and their children and grandchildren. We have a potluck so I will be bringing the veggie tray above and also a Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie. My financial advisor, Jim Dew, sends out a newsletter every month and besides being a great financial advisor, he is a gourmet cook. He always includes a recipe in the newsletter. This Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie looked really delicious.  And it is.

Here is the recipe copied with permission from JimDew’s  November newsletter.

Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie
·       ·  30 small gingersnap cookies, (about 7 1/2 ounces)
·       ·  2 tablespoons raisins
·       ·  1 tablespoon canola oil
·       ·  1 cup canned pumpkin puree
·       ·  1/3 cup packed brown sugar
·       ·  1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·       ·  1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
·       ·  1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
·       ·  2 pints (4 cups) frozen low-fat vanilla ice cream, softened
1 Preparation
1.     Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray.
2.     To prepare crust: Combine gingersnaps and raisins in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add oil and pulse
until blended. Press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.
3.     Bake the crust until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To prepare filling: Combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix well. Add ice cream and stir until blended. Spoon the mixture into the cooled pie crust. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. Let the pie soften slightly in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.

Happy Holidays everyone. 


  1. Hey Ruthy, Are you awake yet? Must be cause you get up before me. smile I want to know what you think of the cactus? chuckle

  2. Sandra, I LOVE your cactus!! But I got a good laugh when you sent it because I remembered Ruthy's comment. :)

    1. That is why I included it. I've been on the watch for decorated cacti ever since. LOL

    2. I hope to high heaven that decorated cacti are in short supply!!!! But I'm laughing so hard, you totally got me!!!!

  3. Oh -- the veggie tray is pure genius! I am sooooo going to do that. Clever. Clever. Clever. And that pumpkin pie -- yum. Might have to try that as well. The ginger snap crust is an awesome idea!

    Love your desert Christmas decorations! Chili pepper lights and lit cactus -- totally cool. We're having a green Christmas up's 10 degrees today -- that's 50 F. Unbelievably balmy. Not a snowflake in sight. I'm actually going to do a bit of yard work today. Unheard of in December up here.

    Merry Christmas, Sandra.

    1. Yes, we heard you were having unusually warm weather. All our Canadian snowbirds are commenting about the fact it is "warmer at home" than here as it has been in the thirties in the morning. Of course it does warm up to the seventies by mid-day.

      Glad you like the veggie tray. It is always a hit.

  4. Your decorations remind me of when we lived in West Texas. Not quite as much desert there, but people put up plenty of lights to make up for the lack of snow!

    The veggie tray is cute - so festive. And the pumpkin mousse pie looks perfectly delicious.

    It's nice to see you on the "working" side of the counter here at the cafe, Sandra!

    1. Hi Jan, I haven't tried that mousse pie yet, but I know it will be a hit because my family absolutely LOVES ice cream. smile

      Last summer, Missy needed some help one day and I offered. I hadn't really been going to Yankee Belle as I'm not much of a cook. But I had so much fun and have been enjoying it ever since. So it is fun to pop in as a guest once in awhile. Of course, the recipes you are getting from me are along the "keep it simple" mode. chuckle

  5. Hahahahahahahahah!

    THE CACTUS!!!!!

    Oh my stars, I'm rolling on the floor, that has to be the worst, and yet cutest thing!!!!

    Bloom where you're planted. :)


    1. I just knew you would laugh my fun friend. I'm looking for more cacti to share with you. chuckle.

  6. I love the veggie tray! Love it to pieces, how cute is that????

  7. That veggie tray is always a big hit. So simple too. You know I like that part. smile

  8. I love your lights pictures, Sandra. I'm not laughing about the lights on the tree trunks. Many of our restaurants do that here to decorate the trees by their doors.

    I particularly like the chili pepper lights!

    I read an article recently about best small towns for Christmas and several of the destinations were in warm places or desert areas.