How To Throw An Afternoon Holiday Party
The holiday season is upon us, which means plenty of parties. At this busy time of year, calendars get filled with the tried-and-true staples of cocktail hours, dinner parties and holiday brunches. Why not try something distinctively different? Make 3 p.m. your new party time with these effortless-to-execute ideas.
Treat your friends to thoroughly modern take on a classic tea party for a perfect Sunday afternoon. Or beat the afternoon lull and socialize over sweet treats with colleagues in a meeting room. We’re sharing our favorite ideas from our new Savor the Moment PAIRED Meeting Breaks to help you celebrate the season in deliciously unexpected ways.
A Fireside Fete with Tenderloin BBQ Bites
With a blazing fire as the focal point, friends and family can swap stories and unwind. Hold the event indoors in the comfort of your living room or under the open skies gathered around a firepit. Set the scene with cozy throws, fluffy pillows and tasty tenderloin BBQ bites.
Melt-in-the mouth cubes of tenderloin blend with sweet tomato and chervil in these rustic yet upscale bites. These finger foods share the colors of the season and are deceptively easy to prepare.
The flavors of the spiced meat are enhanced beautifully by the caramel flavors of an icy-cold Coca-Cola®.
1 5lb beef tenderloin
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 pints of cherry tomatoes, roasted or grilled
1 bunch of fresh chervil
BBQ Spice Rub (see below)
BBQ Spice Rub
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. dry mustard
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. granulated garlic
1 tbsp. sea salt
½ tbsp. cumin
½ tbsp. brown sugar
½ tbsp. dried thyme
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Unwrap the meat, rinse well and trim fat and cartilage. Mix the BBQ spices together and dry rub onto the tenderloin.
Heat olive oil in a pan to below smoking point. Sear meat on all sides until brown. Remove from heat.
Place meat into a roasting pan and cook until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. Do not overcook!
Let meat rest for 10 minutes, then slice into 1-inch cubes.
On each skewer, place one roasted/grilled tomato, a bit of chervil and a cube of tenderloin.
Classic-Meets-Modern Tea Party
The archetypal afternoon party gets a contemporary update with a Southern spin with this fun and tasty Tea Party. Home-baked biscuits are simple to make, transport well (but are best warm out of the oven) and are divine when served with fresh butter, maple syrup, honey and delicious jams – try fig, meyer lemon or jalapeno.
Pairing suggestion: These delicious biscuit recipes pair well with the home-brewed taste of Gold Peak Iced Teas.
Classic Biscuit Recipe
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
½ cup butter, cut into ½ inch pieces
¾ cup milk
Add-ins: Bacon & Cheddar:
Mix 5 strips of crumbled bacon, 1 cup of shredded cheddar and ¼ cup of fresh chives to the batter.
Sweet Potato or Pumpkin:
Mix in ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg and a cup of unsweetened pumpkin puree or mashed plain sweet potatoes. Cut the milk to ¼ cup.
Coconut, apricot, pineapple, peach – add your favorite dried fruits for a boost of sweetness.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Mix the dry ingredients together with a fork. Cut in the butter so that the mixture looks crumbly. Fold the milk into the flour mix until blended. Add in mix-ins if desired.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for one minute. Roll dough out ½ inch thick.
Flour a 2½ inch biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass. Cut the biscuits and place on an ungreased cookie sheet 1 inch apart.
Bake 10 – 12 minutes until golden brown & remove immediately from the cookie sheet.
Host a Mocktail Hour
Bring some sparkle to your afternoon with these fruity and fizzy bubbling beverages. This is the perfect beverage for bringing a bit of festivity to just about anywhere with a freezer. A fruit-filled ice pop slowly melts into a lightly flavored sparkling drink, like Dasani Sparkling Berry, to create a sweet refreshing drink and a definite sense of occasion. This versatile recipe works with nearly any fresh fruit combinations.
½ cup plums, sliced
½ cup blackberries
2 kiwis, sliced
¾ cup green grapes
2 cups white grape juice or lemonade
3 bottles of Dasani Sparkling Water
Tightly place the fruit into 8, 3-oz. ice pop molds. Pour the juice or lemonade to cover the fruit. Insert sticks and freeze for 6+ hours until solid.
Remove the ice pop from its mold and place into a medium-to-large stemmed glass, then pour in Dasani Sparkling water.
Tasty Tart Party
Gather your friends, colleagues and your favorite sweet and savory little tarts for an event at home or in the office with these portable and devourable pockets. A blend of home-made and store-bought tarts, empanadas and turnovers makes this afternoon feast a crowd-pleaser.
Pairing suggestion: A complex array of flavors is always complemented by the pure, clean flavor of vapor-distilled smartWater.
2 sheets puff pastry
4 medium tomatoes
8 oz. fresh mozzarella, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 bunch basil leaves, chopped
Salt & pepper
1 egg, scrambled, for egg wash
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Cut each puff pastry sheet into quarters.
Mix the garlic, tomatoes and basil.
Fill each pastry puff square with sliced mozzarella and tomato-basil mix. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Fold each filled square in half to form a triangle and seal the edges by pressing firmly.
Brush the top with egg wash. Poke vent holes.
Bake 15 – 18 minutes until golden brown
Blueberry Lemon Turnovers:
1 tube of crescent roll dough (from the refrigerator section of your supermarket)
5 oz. cream cheese
¼ cup sugar
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
For the icing:
½ cup powdered sugar
1 – 2 tbsp. milk.
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Place crescent triangles on an ungreased baking sheet.
In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice. Fold in blueberries.
Spread a spoonful of filling onto each triangle. Fold in half and seal edges by pressing firmly.
Bake 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Let cool.
Whisk powdered sugar, lemon juice and milk together. Spoon over cooled turnovers and serve.
A Measured Indulgence
The holiday season can yield an overabundance of food. This theme leaves behind the huge portions to focus on that one perfect bite. Enter, the cake pop. Versatile, portable and the perfect food when you want a festive fix without piling your plate high. Match the cake pops with small bowls of fresh berries for a delicious spread.
Pairing suggestion: The mild, refreshing sweetness of ZICO® Coconut Water pairs well with the fruity flavors of the cake pops.
24 oz. softened cream cheese
¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
3 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt
24 lollipop sticks
10 oz. white confectioners coating OR semi-sweet chocolate chips
Your choice of: Freeze-dried blueberries, ground hazelnuts, dark chocolate drizzle, dried coconut shavings, etc.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Blend in the yogurt. Add flour, vanilla, salt and eggs. Mix well.
Spread into 9-inch springform pan for 50 minutes or until golden.
Cool for 1 hour, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
Scoop out round balls of cheesecake and roll them into 1 ½ inch balls. Place them on flat surface covered with wax paper.
Push a lollipop stick into each ball.
Freeze for 30 minutes.
Melt the confectioner’s coating or the chocolate chips. Dip each pop into the melted coating, then dip into one of the toppings. Place on wax paper until set.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Take your festivity beyond the expected this holiday season and treat yourself to some effortless entertaining at your home, the office or at any Sheraton around the globe. Happy Holidays.
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