Welcoming in the New Year

Another year is quickly coming to a close. They say that the older you get, the faster time flies.  If that is the case, I might as well leave the Christmas decorations up because it will be here again before I know it!

How do you welcome in the New Year?  Do you gather with family and friends New Years Eve?  Do you need an appetizer to take to a party?

I thought I would share a few of our favorite appetizers and drinks with you.

Tomato Bruschetta

Double Tomato Bruschetta – This is wonderful stuff, addictive even.  What makes it even better is that it is so darned easy to throw together.  On more than one occasion I have had to  come up with an appetizer on a moments notice and this is the one I turn to.  Even if you don’t have the toasted baguette, make it and serve as a dip with crackers or pita chips. Don’t have fresh basil?  Use a teaspoon of pesto!


English Sausage Rolls


English Sausage Rolls We don’t have a family gathering without these sausage rolls making an appearance.  Of course you can make your own puff pastry and I often do, but when I am in a hurry the Puff Pastry sheets do just fine.  Even better is that the folds in the pastry are just the right width to hold the sausage.


Shrimp sauteed in garlic


Shrimp Sauteed with Garlic   If you and your guests love shrimp and garlic, this is for you.  Simple to prepare & cooks quickly are two big bonus points for me.  These can be served in tasting spoons with a dollop of cocktail sauce or on a platter with cocktail sauce and / or garlic aioli on the side.


penguins ACream Cheese Penguins add a whimsical touch to any party.  I suggest purchasing Colossal olives for the bodies.  These are a great appetiser if you have kids, they love them. If you are brave – make a couple and let the kids make some of their own. Pre-cut the carrot feet and beaks – then make them eat the ones they make.  (they will have done plenty of licking and touching)


A salute to 2013 and to all of you, Happy New Year!


Photo by Marianne

Manhattan    2013 took my friend Linda and I to NYC for the first time and I loved the energy and vitality of New York.  I don’t drink Manhattan’s but isn’t this drink beautiful?   I thought it a fitting tribute to a wonderful 2013 adventure to meet Ina Garten at the Meredith Publishing Offices in NYC.  No, we didn’t share Manhattan’s with Ina but we did share a wonderful lunch and yes, she is a gracious as she appears to be.



Morman champagne

Photo by Marianne – Thank You!


Mormon Champagne  A fitting tribute to my grandchildren who love to celebrate with ‘fancy’ glasses. New Years Eve celebrations need to include a special drink and this is perfect for both the children and adults that prefer a non alcoholic choice.  




Marianne's Lime Margarita

Photo by Marianne


Classic Margarita In April 2013, Sauza Tequila was an AllRecipes Brand Ambassador sponsor.  The Southern California Brand Ambassadors wasted no time planning a Mexican themed party to make and sample some great authentic Mexican food and ‘test’ a variety of Margarita recipes.

Marianne's Indianna Martini

Photo by Marianne – Thank You!


Indiana Martini  A combination of lemon-lime flavored soda, triple sec, raspberry-flavored vodka and a maraschino cherry.

I did not make it to Indiana, darn it!  But isn’t this picture wonderful!  Makes me want to make a Martini.


Photo by Mauigirl Julie

Photo by Mauigirl Julie



Luscious Slush Punch  This is a sweet, non alcoholic punch that just has a special Island flair and can easily be doctored up with coconut rum.  

October 2013 took me to Maui with a  group of AllRecipes foodies.  What a special treat that week was.   A week of food, friendship and laughter.  No wonder this year has flown by!  


so long 2013

About Baking Nana

Each morning my granddaughter Sarah calls to ask, “Watcha doing, Nana? Are you baking Nana?” Hence my “name” Baking Nana. I am a mother to three wonderful children and a grandmother to 12 very hungry grandkids. I don’t bake fancy cakes but I do make wonderful yeast bread and home cooked meals made with love.


Welcoming in the New Year — 19 Comments

  1. I suppose the silver lining to the cloud of living so far away from the “Westies” is that I can’t crash your parties. If I lived within driving distance, I could become a pest. Your beautiful food, prepared with love, is a feast for the eyes, and the palates, as well. Happy New Year to the hostess with the “mostest”!

  2. BN: I know I ask a never-ending barrage of questions about every blog entry. You are so sweet about trying to help. 🙂

    I am not familiar with English Sausage Rolls. They look fantastic! Is that breakfast-type link sausage? Or something else? Do I need to pre-cook the sausage? Or is it pre-cooked when you purchase it?

    • Hi Bikerfamily! The sausages are skinless breakfast links. They are raw but cook perfectly wrapped in the pastry. You can use bulk sausage and shape it into ‘ropes’ but that is more time consuming. When I do that I ‘dust’ the ropes of sausage with flour for easier handling.
      I should have made them for you when you were down here in December!
      Have a wonderful New Year!

        • BN: I’ve searched my local grocery stores (that’d be two) for skinless link sausage. Of course, nothing available. I guess that’s what happens when you live in a podunk little town. So I’m going to need to commit to a little extra work. I am considering partially freezing links to help with removing the casings.

          • You could either do that or buy bulk sausage meat and roll into ‘ropes’. I thought Farmer John skinless link were Nationwide but I guess not. In England, of course we used bulk sausage – I suggest dusting parchment with paper and rolling them into a rope. It will work just fine – just a bit more work.

            • BN: I’m stubborn. (And I hate the way raw sausage feels so I wasn’t too excited about trying to roll it into a rope). So I tried the sausage partially frozen, scored the casing with a fairly sharp knife, and stripped off the skin. The family seemed very pleased!! I only used half the puff pastry, so I have more to make.

  3. Hello Baking Nana, as always you give good advice. The shrimp and the Sausage rolls look delish. Wishing you and your family a very happy New Year, or as they say in my family BUON ANNO.

  4. Hello, Baking Nana! You must be getting lots of questions–I just checked my AR e-mail acct, and it’s filled w/ posts from here! Your penguins are the cutest I’ve ever seen, and I think Marianne needs to come out of retirement and start a new career. Happy 2014.

    • Hi Emeralds!
      Thanks for stopping in and Happy New Year!
      Aren’t Marianne’s photo’s the best? Well, Marianne is the best!
      We have such a good time with those darned penguins, the kids love them but truth be told, so do the adults!
      Best wishes to you!

  5. What a perfect blog for the perfect apps & drink combinations for a perfect New Years celebration – – did I use “perfect” enough – LOL!! But I’m just saying like it is!!! I wanted to eat the pictures – they look so scrumptious!! Those penguins are sooooo cute!! And I’ve had the Slush Punch at a wedding and it is sooooo good!! Your website is beautiful and your information is . . . dare I say it . . . PERFECT!!
    Happy New Years BN – – you’ll probably be busy answering e-mails all day New Years Eve and Day like you were for Christmas – – lube up the fingers for typing!! Thanks for helping all of us as we build our culinary abilities.

    • Hi Pam – Thanks so much for stopping in.
      I dare say, Christmas day hit a new record for me – over 17,000 views on how to cook that rib roast. Thank God that not everyone had a question! 🙂
      Happy New Year to you and yours!

  6. Such a wonderful blog! I love the idea of those English sausage rolls. I think I’ll take those to the football playoff party we have coming up in a few weeks! Manhattans are my very favorite cocktail! I’ve even had one IN Manhattan before! 🙂 Thanks for your beautiful blog!

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