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Beat the Winter Blues Party

After the holidays have passed the general mindset is to hunker down for a bit and wait for spring. The cold and dreary days of winter are no reason to just sit on your couch and brood. Its the perfect time to throw a party!

The Invitation
This party is the epitome of laid-back. A simple phone call or online invitation is acceptable and appropriate. Also consider having guests bring a game or at least an idea for an activity.

The Music
To offset the doom and gloom of cloudy days and sometimes chilly temps, keep the music upbeat and lively. On line music stations like Pandora, that allow you to choose several genres is perfect for this type of party.

The Games
If you, or your guests have Wii or Xbox Kinect, the fun meter at your party will skyrocket! These interactive games are not only fun, but can also help you burn off any excess calories you may consume.

The Food
One of the most memorable parts of any party is the food, and comfort food rules during winter. Here are a few suggestions:

Chili and Cornbread/Crackers
Macaroni and Cheese
Mini Meatloaves
Hot Spinach Artichoke and Chicken Dip (recipe below)

This is one of those dishes that are hard to resist when you see it sitting out. It invites you keep taking a little sliver here and there. It is also a good go-to or party recipe. Extra seasonings arent needed because of the saltiness of the cheese.

Hot Spinach Artichoke and Chicken Dip
1 (22 oz) bag Tyson Grilled and Ready Chicken Breast Strips
1 (8 ounce) pkg 1/3 less cream cheese, softened
cup mayonnaise
cup shaved Parmesan cheese
cup onions, finely chopped
1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
cup shredded Colby jack cheese
2 frozen ready made pie crusts, thawed

Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, mix together cream cheese, Colby jack cheese, and mayonnaise. Gently stir in artichoke hearts and spinach. Divide mixture and chicken strips between both pie crusts. Top with grated parmesan. Bake in the preheated oven 40-45 minutes, until bubbly and lightly browned.

Even though this dish has a crust, the inside would be good to scoop up with pita or tortilla chips, and sprinkled with lots of hot sauce.

Drinks

White Hot Chocolate
3 cups half-and-half or Silk Coconut Milk
cup white chocolate, or white chocolate powdered mix
1 teaspoon vanilla
Chocolate mint sticks, or chocolate coated stirring spoons
Coconut Rum (optional)

For an adult beverage, the optional coconut rum adds another warming element. On another note, as delightful as this drink is, it is high in calories. To reduce fat and calories, substitute low fat milk, or fat free evaporated milk.

In a medium saucepan over low heat combine of the milk products, white chocolate or white chocolate powdered mix until white chocolate is melted. Add remaining milk product and turn heat to low. Then whisk until heated through. Remove from heat and add in vanilla. Let cool slightly and then add chocolate sticks or chocolate stirring spoons if desired. If using coconut rum add in one shot glass full. Makes 5 (6-ounce) servings.

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Content copyright © 2013 by Sandra Lee Garth. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Sandra Lee Garth. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Shalia Hayes for details.



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